ACCORDING TO the theologians or researcher in religious studies, suffering (also evil and pain) “evidently” could emerge as an object of study that requires more in-depth research. Here is the proof; a book entitled Evil and Suffering (The Pilgrim Press, 1998), edited by Jacob Nuesner, devoting attention to how religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Jewish, and Muslim) see about evil, suffering and pain that endured and experienced by humans. A book that we can say as a comparative study.
The texts of scriptures from each religion researched, studied and sought the keys relating to those topics. It was also tracked the explanation of the origin of evil and suffering. Various questions in each primary literature was sought its answer. Suffering was not just limited to the suffering in the world but also human suffering when he had to undergo torture in hell. And we know, in the history at the past; suffering, fate, evil and similar themes has provoked a long and complicated theological debate which divide people into camps of jabbariyyah and qaddariyah.
Nowadays such issues may be no longer take an important position in the philosophical-theological debate because people may have shifted their focus. But it is fine to catch a glimpse of the complexity of these issues. Jonathan Brockkop who wrote on the subject of Islam in the book Evil and Suffering above, gave the example of two propositions which at first glance seem contradictory; God is absolute and The Almighty, nothing will be happened without He create it and God is very loving and loves His people. Those two propositions are easy to understand when we talk about grace and well-being but what about the hunger and poverty. Can we say that both come from God or both occur away from His will? Thus one of the example.
However, in his conclusion, he asserted that Islam has provided interpretive framework that helps Muslims to comprehend all kinds of events or phenomena including suffering, pain and evil. He also realized that what was viewed as suffering can be very different or determined by environmental factors as well as cultures. He said the problem was not how Muslims facing suffering but rather how Muslims understand their own responses against suffering, pain, etc.
Presumably the latter conclusions of Brockkop not miss. In our country, the problems that make headache can be addressed lightly. Behold to these phrases; Storm must be passed or Gusti Allah mboten sare (Java; means God does not sleep). Bismillah, mengko lak ono ae dalane (Java; means bismillah, later surely there is a way). Earthquake strucked just as the new house was finished to built and then collapsed straight away. The owner of the house said, “Thank God my house is already accepted by Him”. As ever told by Cak Nun. They understand that this is the road that at least making them transcendent and feel lighter psychologically and who knows by that way, the way out or changes can find them. Not to mention if it is seen that people (Javanese) once very fond of penance. A behavior which might be for other communities/foreign is a form of suffering that, strangely, intentionally done.
It does not mean suffering or unpleasant conditions we expect to happen. However, when we forced to face the situation of hardship, the readiness to deal with already. Even at a certain level there is a behavior that deliberately take the “elements” of suffering as a method to achieve a particular goal. Even in various opportunities Cak Nun notices, throughout all of these severe living conditions, be intention to be replaced by God to the form of welfare for our grandchildren. Once in Kenduri Cinta, Cak Nun also said, “For people who are overlong live in misery, decay can be transform into maturity”. That means, suffering – to borrow a phrase from Sabrang MDP- has been distilled so that the result was wisdom or maturity.
Indeed it is uneasy and as if we are not willingly to see someone who wants to understand and addressing suffering with a “subjective way”. It is because our natural mind has long been surrounded by the wills that has nature of “require” us to leave suffering, we must go forward, we must achieve a career, we must build prosperity, we have to achieve financial freedom, as though it is. Of course nothing wrong with that. It is just our impulses pro progress that make our thoughts does not want to stop babbling about people who suffer. If such that way so when the advance, the really passive person, unwilling to move to change the situation, this is what makes our nation lags behind other nations. Relentlessly. Sometimes full of cynicism.
And, when “modern” people apparently failed to achieve its goals or fall from their settled condition, we do not expect them to suffer more than those who suffer but we have addressed it with full of great wisdom, maturity and even with joy.