Different Religions have different points on this issue. Some believes in reincarnation. According to them the reason that children and the innocent suffer is because at one time in their previous lives their souls were bad souls. I.e. they were mean spirited individuals or they didn’t know right from wrong or they knew it but chose to ignore it. They basically killed, lied, cheated, stole did some of the bad things that we know is wrong.
This is also a challenging issue for all religions that proclaim a belief in a God/Bagwaan/ Allah who is at once omnipotent and beneficent. We believe that God tries people in different ways, through both hardship and ease. While the cause of suffering is not always evident, the way that people respond to difficulty is a test of their moral fiber. Responding to hardship with patience and fortitude is a virtue for which we believe a great reward is promised in this life and the afterlife. Additionally, there may be a silver lining behind every difficulty. For instance, major disasters often bring out the best in people, inspiring them to perform remarkable acts as they respond to their own or another’s hardship with compassion and courage and come to the aid of those in need. Muslims also take comfort in their belief that life doesn’t end after death.
Now if i answer the question, as Muslims I will support the second opinion that Allah is at once omnipotent and beneficent. He tested his people by taking different exams, by suffering them from different conditions. He tries them by hardship and ease both. Some become successful but some losses their patient and says Allah is not with me, or Allah can’t do this to me. They become dishearten.
According to Muslims, innocents can suffer but if relate it to children then these innocent beings of 2-3 years have not even reached the age to comprehend what is belief to be tested. But the test is for those who are adult enough to understand what cruelty and accountability is , to see what they will do with their free will…
The test is also for their parents or adult relatives who have to witness such cruelty towards the innocent beings.
If we look into the life history of our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) he also suffered a lot in his life because Allah wanted Him to get closer. He (S.A.W) lost his Mother at the age of Six, then He lost His grand Father and faced many hardships if we see the history. Allah choose Him the most beloved Person then handovered the nabovat to Him.
Similarly if we see the life of Hazrat Yousuf (A.S). He also faced many troubles. His brothers throw him in the well due to jealousy. He spent his life as a slave for many years. But He did not lost his patient and imaan. He remained in jail for seven years due to wrong blame. But He remained positive and as a reward He got the position of the Treasurer of Egypt and He met His family again.
A beautiful lesson is that even the closest people in your life go against you, as long as you trust Allah and have patience, He will raise your status and open doors for you even in the darkest moment.
“Always Remember that “Diamonds needs more trimming to be free from defect. Likewise, The believer has to go through many tests to get higher degrees.”
I will finish this by quoting a beautiful story here…
Once upon a time, in a small village lived a poor smith, one day his son asked him, father you are always grateful to the Lord and you always pray for him yet you are so poor and your life is not gonna get better, yet there are many other merchants in this bazzar who don’t even pray and they are reach, why God do this to you?
He told his son bring me a piece of iron and his son did so, then he said put it in the forge and when it grows red took it out, the boy done so and told his father, what now? he answered now put it in water and when it became cold put it again in the forge and do it for 10 times, and the boy did as his father instructed him. Later the smith told him: Now fetch me a hammer and the piece of iron you put in forge and washed with water, his son obeyed and the smith put the piece if iron on the anvil and hit it with the hammer with all his power. the iron bent but did not break, then he picked up another piece of iron which was never put into forge and water and put it on anvil and hit it gently, the piece of iron broke into shards.
The smith told his son: This is why God put me in forge and then water, to make me strong, to purify me. Those merchants are already broken.
This is true for all of us, the more close to Allah(s.w.t) we are the more difficulties we have to face.
We felt that superior people or one who have money and luxuries of life are living very happy and full life but in reality Allah is testing them by giving more. As Allah ordered to do sadqa and zakaah to needy people. If they don’t do so then they would face a severe azaab from Allah in akhirah.
As Allah said in Surah dhariyat
” The same pious people will live in luxury in the gardens and the springs of Paradise, who spend a portion of their wealth in the world on the poor, the masakeen and the needy.”
Similarly In Surah Al-Ma’arij, Allah Almighty has said:
“Those in whose wealth the share of both the beggar and the non-beggar is fixed, these are the people who will be in Paradise with honor and dignity.”