This is with regard to the Arabic word ب ل و or بلاء (root) and its derivatives, used in Quran about 38 times. As per Dictionary of Holy Quran (ISBN: 0-9766972-8-2, it has been translated as, “to test, try, put to severe trial, prove, experiment (Is it ‘experience’ or experiment?) Etc.
There are many verses of the Quran where this word and its derivatives have been interpreted as God tests us in trouble as well as in prosperity. Almost 90 % (a huge majority) of interpreters and scholars have translated these as ‘testing’, whereas some intellectuals have disagreed saying why God should test us when He knows everything? and that it is disrespectful to say God is testing. They also think that humans, regardless, learn how to overcome trouble and pain in future and thus improve their way of life so there is no need to test them.
Testing could be in two situations, one, that God puts humans in trouble, to see how they behave in the adversity they face, and also He gives prosperity to test how they behave? On the contrary there are situations where human beings face troubles and difficulties because of their own doings and likewise get prosperous by their own efforts. In both of these situations God would test them as to how they would behave.
In my understanding, may God, forgive me if I unintentionally misunderstand this subject in Quran, God says about Himself;
والذي قدره فهدَ
He who created the system of ‘cause and effect’ and then revealed, (from time to time) the guidance.
I think, how human beings react, while in trouble, prosperity or normal conditions, is being evaluated (not tested) by God so that everyone is rewarded, or punished accordingly in the life after death.. Without God’s evaluating our actions relating to DOs and DON’Ts, how are we going to be punished or rewarded in the hereafter?
I am of the view that God has not predetermined every event, and that it is wrong to think that we do not have any free will, because this puts the concept of the ‘reward and punishment’ into confusion.
The mention in Quran, of creation of Adam and Eve, is most intriguing. If one tends to explore why God created humans and other life, it is not questioning Allah, but simply is a reflection of the fact that to search for causes is ingrained in humans who reflect and ponder. If understood properly, it may perhaps open for us a window of understanding for such concepts as قدرية and جبرية , which humans are struggling to understand for long time, or yet, may open new windows of understanding on this topic.