GOOD AND EVIL OF DESTINY

Belief in Qadar is obligatory and it is one of the six pillars of faith (Refer Sahih Muslim hadeeth # 1). 

Nothing takes place in the universe without His permission. No good can be obtained nor harm avoided unless Allah decrees it. Although both good and evil are parts of Allaah’s creation, i.e., He is the creator of both good and evil, Allah does not attribute evil directly to Himself, because He is Good and all which comes from Him is Good. In the Qur’aan Allah enjoins humans to “… seek refuge in the Lord of the Dawn from the evil of what He created.” (Soorah al-Falaq, [113]: 1-2). He does not say: “from the evil He created”, instead He attributes the evil to His creation and not directly to Himself.

Furthermore, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib related that in the Tahajjud prayer Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to say:

“…I hear Your call and am following Your religion, and all good is in Your two hands and the evil is not attributable to You…”
(Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, pp. 373, no. 1695)
The evil that comes from Allah is relative evil. It may be evil in one perspective but good from other perspectives.

Ibn al-Qayyim said regarding this concept:

“Allaah does not create anything purely evil from all perspectives. His wisdom rejects that. Creation may be evil and corruptive from some respects, yet in it are benefits, wisdom, and greater considerations than its corrupt aspects. Existence of evil is limited to that. It is not possible from the Lord’s perspective for Him to want something which is corrupt in all respects, there being absolutely no benefit in its creation. This concept is among the most obvious impossibilities. For good is in Allah’s hand and evil is not His, instead all that is His is good. Evil only exists due to the absence of its being related to Him. For if it was His it would not be evil.” (Madaarij as-Saalikeen, pp. 199-200)

For example, sunshine is essential for plants to grow and synthesize chlorophyll, yet in some places it causes the rivers and lakes to dry up leading to drought, famine and death. Rain is also essential for plants to grow; yet on some occasions it also causes floods, drowning and death.

Pure evil, on the other hand, is a result of human activity.

Humans think evil and, if Allah permits it, they do evil. However, if Allah permits them to do evil, there must be a beneficial side to it known to Allaah. Allaah has informed His creatures that He does not oppress anyone.

“Your Lord does no wrong to anyone.”
Soorah al-Kahf, (18): 49

Human beings often do things which would be considered evil, not for the evil itself but for the expected good to come from the evil. For example, the act of slashing open someone’s chest and extracting his heart would be considered evil and cruel, however, when done as a heart operation it is considered a great good. Human beings are responsible for their evil because it is a product of their choice.

Regarding God’s permission, Muslim scholars of the past have distinguished between God’s wish and His will.
  • His wish is sometimes referred to as His Legal Wish, meaning that He wishes for humans Islaam; the right way of life consisting of submission to whatever God has instructed. However, He also gave humans the ability to accept His wish or reject it. Consequently, humans may go against God’s Legal Wish.
  • His will, on theother hand, is referred to as His Creational Will, meaning that what takes place is by his permission alone. Among the things which take place are events beyond human will and events which are in accordance with human will.  For example, humans are governed by the laws of “nature” which they cannot escape. If one jumps up, he or she must fall back down. If one’s knee is struck by the doctor, the foot kicks out, no matter how hard the mind fights the reaction. Humans cannot go against Allah’s Creational Will.

Shaykh Al-‘Uthaymeen stated regarding the good and evil of destiny,

“Its good and evil is relative to the final consequence. The good of destiny is what is beneficial and its evil is what is harmful or hurtful. Its good and evil is relative to the one for whom it is destined and the final result. Some of it is good like acts of worship, good health, wealth and some of it is evil like acts of disobedience, sickness, poverty. Relative to Allaah’s action it cannot be said to be evil based on the Prophet’s supplication in Qunoot which he taught al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, “Protect me from the evil of what You have destined.” He attributed evil to what Allaah destined and not to Allaah’s destiny.”

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Taken from the commentary on the book  “Lum‘atul-I‘tiqaad’ (Radiance of Faith) written by Imam Ibn Qudamah Al Maqdisi and commentary by Imam Ibn Uthaymeen and Dr. Bilal Philips.

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