Justified Evil

By Bilal Raza

The Problem of Evil:
I first encountered the problem of evil in a discussion with some atheists on campus. The problem of evil approximately states that a God that is omnibenevolent (most merciful), omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful) would not allow evil to exist in the world and yet since evil does exist, there is therefore no such God. They argued that if Allah is all-powerful, He can get rid of evil. If He is all-knowing, He is aware that there is evil in the world. And lastly, if He is the most merciful, He cares about us and would get rid of evil in the world or wouldn’t have created it in the first place. They then concluded by saying that since there still is evil (natural or moral) in the world, there is no such God. According to them, even if there was a creator, He would be lacking in any of the three criteria of power, knowledge, or mercy.

Let us think this through:
Now let’s ask ourselves a question: Is this argument applicable to Islam? Are there really any evils that would disprove Allah’s existence? I would say that both natural and moral evils can exist but cannot disprove the existence of Allah. This is because while Allah is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, according to the pillars of Islam He is also wholly just (Aadil). If evil exists in the world, it is always justified.

Context is everything:
We cannot know Allah’s reasons for allowing evils in this world. Even if we guess some, we would still lack the complete picture. Allah is omniscient—He clearly knows more than we do. Therefore, what may seem evil to us may not actually be evil if we knew the entire truth behind it.

Picture a scenario in which a person from before the time of modern medicine is placed into an operating table in a modern operating theatre. This person may take a look at the surgeon’s rather sharp and dangerous tools and assume that the doctor is evil because he is going to cut him open! This patient wouldn’t know that surgery is actually going to cure him of whatever illness ails him. It is only after the surgery is done that he would appreciate what just happened to him.

Similar examples can be found in the Holy Quran as well. The story of Moses and the scholar Khizr, from the Quran is one such example (Khaled, 2009). In this story, Khizr is a man who was blessed with hidden knowledge from Allah. Acting as an agent of Allah, he performed several acts which seemed to be morally evil but in actuality were blessings in disguise. While following him around, Moses was surprised to see Khizr make a hole in a ship owned by poor yet friendly villagers and later in the story, kill a young boy. It was only after he grew impatient with Khizr’s actions that Moses demanded he explain why he did what he did. Khizr then explained that the ship was en route to a kingdom where an evil king would seize every good vessel by force. The minor damage that Khizr had done protected the villagers from losing their sole source of income. Furthermore, the little boy he killed would have become an oppressive tyrant in the near future, his parents were soon going to be blessed with a more virtuous son, and since the boy died a minor’s death, he would not be destined for Hell in the afterlife. Therefore, his death was beneficial to the society, to his parents, and to the boy himself.

Free will:
However, the average person does not have hidden knowledge provided by Allah nor is the average person an agent of Allah like Hazrat Khizr (as). So what happens when we commit what seems to be an evil act?

I would argue that yes in fact the evil that we have committed may indeed be evil but because Allah is wholly just, He would allow us to commit evil acts as well as good ones. Free will in itself is a greater good that goes hand in hand with moral autonomy. A god that forces us into acting one way and one way only is not a just god—and to some extent is not an omnibenevolent one either. If God was to create a world that had only good in it then we would be biological robots rather than free sentient beings. Without free choice, there would be no sense of individual achievement, no choice for us and no moral decisions to make. Additionally, since moral evil is committed by humans, it is also possible for humans to rectify it. Therefore, it can also be argued that a just god would refuse to interfere to some extent in morally evil circumstances. He would not rob us of the opportunity to seek and employ justice or the opportunity to forgive our human oppressors and move towards developing as a more morally perfect being. Therefore, some evils committed by humans towards other humans or creatures may actually be evil but it would simply be against Allah’s justice to rob us of our free will that allows us to commit both evil and good acts in the world.

Natural Phenomena:
A clever person would ask why then are natural evils like hurricanes, wildfires, or earthquakes permitted—where free will has no part in the occurrence of the phenomenon? A typical response would be that such things are a means of punishment by Allah swt. But what we never seem to realize is that while we may find that although some natural laws and natural phenomena conflict with what are our perceived needs, they might be neutral or even beneficial to us. We simply do not know the entire truth and thus without realizing the benefits label these laws or phenomena as entirely natural evil. I would like to argue that many such natural evils have a dual-nature of being beneficial to us in one way, but harmful to us in another. For example, without fire, we would not be able to make metals, cook our food, or use it as an energy source. But the same useful property of fire can also burn us. Similarly, wind is dangerous to us in the form of hurricanes, but it is important for maintaining our planet’s heat balance (Time, 1973). I would go so far as to say that such benefits are worth the risk and in some cases even essential for survival. Life as we know it may not exist and we may actually run into more problems if the properties of such natural laws were different or changed. To conclude, it seems from our perspectives that these examples of natural phenomena may be evil, but in reality they can also be good for us. Hence they can be thought of as somewhat neutral.

Additionally, it would be unjust for God to make a special exception for humans alone—so that fire doesn’t burn us and hurricanes do not harm us. How would it be fair if fires could hurt animals and forests but not humans? If such a scenario was true I’d imagine we would have pretty inflated egos and little humility! Such favouritism would lead to pride—the same quality that led to Shaitan’s downfall for eternity.

This doesn’t mean that we are completely vulnerable to natural evils. Allah swt is just and therefore He has given humans the ability to study, predict and prevent all these natural phenomena. Therefore it is up to us to take action against these natural phenomena in order to protect others and ourselves.

Ying-Yang:
Good and evil are two sides of the same coin. Good cannot exist without evil since they both are complementary opposites. If one disappears then the other does so as well. For instance, curing a patient’s illness is good work; but a doctor or a nurse can do this only if someone is sick in the first place. Therefore, the opportunity to do good stems only from a need for it. This need to do good can exist only when there are such natural evils. Therefore a just god would allow natural evils to exist so that we are not deprived of the freedom to do good and thus make our lives and work meaningful. There must be evil present for good to come into play.

References:

1.       Khaled, Amr. “The Story of Musa (Moses) and al-Khidr: Knowledge and Learning.” Silver Lining. 5 Mar. 2009. Web. 27 Nov. 2009. <http://realisticbird.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/the-story-of-musa-moses-and-al-khidr-knowledge-and-learning/>.

2.       “Science: The Benefits Of Hurricanes.” TIME magazine: Science. TIME magazine, 24 Sept. 1973. Web. 27 Nov. 2009. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907967,00.html>.

5 thoughts on “Justified Evil

  • Your article doesn’t address the “problem of evil and suffering” sufficiently, but raises more questions and WT*s (with respect to the Quranic stories you’ve mentioned).

    Free will or destiny?

    The problem of evil and suffering isn’t denying the existence of evil nor does it find any conflict in the coexistence of good and evil. We know there are both good and evil in this world. The problem is that your idea of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent god doesn’t fit into the fact of such a world with good and evil.

    You say that we cannot know the whole truth of whether an act is evil. Then why do we send murderers, thieves, and rapists to jail? Maybe their actions were actually beneficial for society down the line in the future. Does that logic seem reasonable to you? Should we not ever penalize or criminalize simply because we can never know whether or not an act was “truly evil”? If god only knows whether an act was truly evil or not, then why does he command humans to criminalize murder? Who knows, maybe that murderer did us all a favour, right? See, your own reasoning conflicts with the religious law of Islam. In Islam, murder, robbery, etc., are all crimes and must be punished. This means that these acts are evil in and of themselves–i.e., they are intrinsically evil–which defeats your idea that we can never truly know the “entire truth” behind something. We don’t need to. Your own god says that these acts must be punished because they are evil.

    Now this conflicts with your story about Khizr. If murder is an evil act because the Quran says that it is, then why is Khizr justified for murdering a child (a big “WT*” moment)? You can say that he “knew” the future about the child becoming a tyrant, but that doesn’t change the fact that Khizr committed murder. Your own religious law says that murder is evil and must be punished. Yet we have a grave example of hypocrisy.

    On the topic of free will

    The problem of evil usually raises defenses from religious folk about the free will of the individual committing the evil act. “A person commits the evil act because of free will,” the argument goes, “and god merely allows for the exercise of free will.” Now this again conflicts with the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent god. What is free will? If your god is all-knowing, then he already knows what all my life decisions will be. If my decisions are already known then isn’t that the same as my decisions being predetermined? If god knows exactly what I’ll do before even I know what I’ll do then that’s not free will, that’s destiny! Just like in the story of Khizr, god knew that the child was going to be a tyrant. But wait! The child was murdered. He was never given a chance to change because you can’t change destiny. Hence, he had no free will. Why not raise the child to not be a tyrant? Why murder an innocent soul? Isn’t that like being sentenced to capital punishment for a crime you haven’t yet committed? At that point in time, the child was still innocent, was he not? If god knew that the child was going to be a tyrant, then why create him at all? If he didn’t want to interfere with the child’s free will (and his decision to become a tyrant), then why not give him the opportunity to change? If we can’t change from what our end will be, then that proves that there’s no free will, but only destiny. We’re only “making” decisions in a superficial sense. We’re actually just acting out a play that god already knows the end of. Have you ever thought about why we have to go through life (and all its suffering) if an all-knowing god already knows what’s going to happen? An all-knowing being would already know exactly who’s going to hell and who’s going to heaven, which renders life utterly meaningless. Your fate is already known. You’re not exercising any free will, but instead you’re just doing exactly what’s already known that you’ll do before you die. You’re destined to either go to hell or heaven! You may not know which, but god already does.

    Your examples raise more questions and issues than they resolve. The mere fact that Khizr acts like an instrument for god’s punishment (or omniscience) shows that you believe in a god who is willing to interfere with human free will. (He used Khizr to kill a “future tyrant” or could Khizr have refused to murder a child?) Yet evil and suffering continue to exist.

    Nature isn’t evil, but does cause suffering

    The arguments about natural disasters aren’t about the existence of evil. Natural disasters aren’t evil and no atheist would argue as such. The argument is rather that natural disasters cause suffering by killing off hundreds of millions of humans, destroying their homes, starving them to death, and bringing great suffering. So, why does god create a natural mechanism that allows for hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts and earthquakes, knowing full well that millions upon millions of humans will suffer because of it? Since you claim that this god of yours has created these natural laws, that means that he is directly and solely responsible for the suffering caused by natural disasters (there’s no aspect of free will involved). How can a god responsible for causing suffering in the world be benevolent? Why couldn’t god just make natural mechanisms that don’t cause suffering? If he didn’t because he couldn’t, then your god is not all-powerful.

    Fairness between animals and humans

    You also go on to say that god wouldn’t want to create an unfair world where animals and humans are different. But that’s exactly what your god has created. Humans have dominion over animals, according to the Quran, and they’re here only at our pleasure. So who cares if animals are treated differently? God is testing us, not them. They don’t care about heaven and hell because it’s not important for them. If humans were truly special to an all-powerful, all-knowing and benevolent creator, then why treat us like animals?

    Ying-yang?

    The problem of evil means that the concept of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent god cannot be possible in a world wherein both good and evil exist. The claim isn’t “why does evil exist” as much as it is “how can god exist in such a world”. We know that good and evil exist in the world. We don’t need an explanation for how good and evil are “ying yang” or “two sides of the same coin”, but rather how can an omniscient, all-knowing and all-powerful god exist with evil?

    Finally, you never touch on the topic of worship or prayer. If god can’t interfere with human free will, or can’t interfere with the existence of evil, or can’t cause any change in the human condition, THEN WHY DOES HE DEMAND WE PRAY TO HIM? What good could come of it? If he’s utterly incapable of interfering with human affairs for fear of being unjust, then there’s no reason to pray to god because he won’t interfere with your life anyway.

    So, since god already knows exactly what you’ll do in your life, exactly where you’ll end up in the afterlife and can’t interfere with your free will, forget ever asking this god for anything.

  • Perhaps the author should’ve tailored his article towards the general population including atheists rather than just targeting Shia Muslims who have an intricate pre-existing understanding of the various subjects of Islam. He could’ve done a better job explaining.

    “The problem of evil and suffering isn’t denying the existence of evil nor does it find any conflict in the coexistence of good and evil….The problem is that your idea of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent god doesn’t fit into the fact of such a world with good and evil.”
    The author mentions that natural and moral evils do exist. He isn’t denying the existence of evil, but rather, he is attempting to provide arguments as for why evil exists in the presence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-merciful god. You say that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent god doesn’t fit in a world with good and evil. But the author mentions that that is not all there is to the god he believes in. His point lies on three subjects:
    – God happens to be all-just as well as all-knowing, all-merciful, and all-powerful.
    – Human knowledge and perception is imperfect.
    – Free will is a supreme good or a supreme value.

    “You say that we cannot know the whole truth of whether an act is evil…”
    First, when the author carefully uses the word ‘may’ as in “may not actually be evil,” he is making an exemption for actions that are intrinsically/obviously evil. He should’ve probably made that a bit more obvious because obviously not everyone can spot the obvious.

    Secondly, our knowledge is never as complete in range or span as God Himself. We have certain limitations such as time and space that prevent us from knowing the entire truth of what effects an act will have over the course of time. But can we make a pretty good judgements and assumptions? You betcha! Is it the best judgement? No. Should we make judgements? Yes you have the free will to do so. Should we make judgements and impose them on other people’s acts? If you meet the requirements for a fair judge and you live in a society, then yes. God has specifically given us what is described as “‘aql”—a natural faculty of metaphysical perception that uses logic/intellect for reasoning, deducing law, and understanding the divine. Besides the fact that God has already made it obvious for us in His guidelines for our lives, we can use this faculty to ascertain what is evil.

    On the topic of Khizr:
    No it’s not hypocrisy, here’s why…
    First a thing or two on who Khizr is:
    “Quranic commentators have related several opinions with regard to the status of Khizr. Some say he is one of the prophets; others refer to him simply as an angel who functions as a guide to those who seek God. And there are yet others who argue for his being a perfect wali meaning the one whom God has taken as a friend. It is mentioned in the Quran in S.18:65 that Khizr is one of those whom We had blessed.”

    Anyways, the thing is that he is an exception. Khizr is not like you and me. He had a special dispensation. He has a certain privilege, knowledge (knowledge of the hidden as they call it) and jurisdiction that is far greater than any average human. Khizr’s actions were not personal and his intent was to simply carry out the commands he was given by God (the intent of God). He acts as the hand of God. Basically for all intents and purposes he is an agent of God.

    So the question now becomes why did God take that kid out of the picture? The reason given is that the no matter what the kid would’ve grown to become Hitler times ten. And it is mentioned that God immediately reprimands for this loss by giving future-Hitler’s parents a new baby that would be virtuous and would be a source of pride and blessings for the family. Apparently, since the kid dies as an innocent, he goes to Heaven. The parents would have years of happiness in their future, and society would benefit etc. etc…As mentioned in the article. This is all God’s decision, not Khizr’s decision. For all intents and purposes the kid might as well have died from a disease or something natural. But I guess there was a point to prove to Moses and God decided to use Khizr to show it.

    😛 You may now wish to argue why god didn’t kill Hitler? God knows. I have no idea…I’m only human. It’s beyond my clearance level.

    Here is more on this specific event as taken from the Tafsir (exegesis or commentary) of the Holy Quran:
    “Moses was tested ‘by many ordeals’ 20:41 the first of which was the murder of the Egyptian 28:14-15, an act which he committed by Divine impulsion and with the approbation of God deep inside him, without however, his perceiving it; nevertheless he felt no affliction in his soul for having killed the Egyptian, although he himself was not acquitted until he had received a Divine revelation on the subject. For all prophets are interiorly preserved from sin without their being conscious of it, even before they are warned by inspiration.
    It is for that reason that al-Khidr showed him the putting to death of the boy, an action for which Moses reproached him, without remembering his murder of the Egyptian, upon which al-Khidr said to him: ‘I have not done it of my own initiative,’ recalling thus to Moses the state in which he, the latter, found himself when he did not yet know that he was essentially preserved from all action contrary to the Divine Order.”

    On the topic of free will and destiny / Argument from free will:
    First a thing or two on Free Will in Islam:
    Shia Muslims believe that an individual is responsible for his action and that he or she has free will to carry out his or her actions. But this free will is not something that excludes God’s authority. Rather the free will itself is created by God. God has not set a definite course for human history. Instead, God may alter the course of human history as is seen to be fit. So the picture painted is a dual one, one that includes free will and destiny:
    Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) cited a simplified example, easy to understand by all people in accordance to their thinking, when he replied to a questioner asking him: “What do you mean by saying: Neither determinism nor free will but a state in between the two”? He answered him thus: “Your walking on earth is not like your falling down on it”, meaning that we walk on earth by our free will, but when we fall down on it, it is out of our will.
    Hence fate and destiny will be a state in the midst of two states, i..e a part being on our part and by our choice, and we do it according to our free will. And the second part being out of our will, and we submit to it, without being able to repel it. So we shall be called to account for the first one, while we shall not be called to account for the second part.

    But note that our (re-)actions taken during actions which are out of our control will be taken under consideration (how you act in a test).

    “If my decisions are already known then isn’t that the same as my decisions being predetermined?”

    God is not bound by space and time. He is outside of time. Our perception of time is very different than His. Our perception (and this question’s perception) is inside time. In Islam, God is physically limitless whereas we are limited. If you are faced with a choice, God already knows all the decisions you can or will make and He already knows which one you choose because he is outside of the timeline that we humans are limited by.

    Just because you know your child will get into a cookie jar once you leave the room doesn’t mean that the child MUST get into it, he has the choice to obey, he just chooses not to. Similarly, God happens to know what you will choose and what you will do, He doesn’t dictate your actions. Free will does not stop becoming free because God knows what will happen. According to Islamic beliefs, He may throw a test or two your way that you cannot avoid, but even then He won’t dictate how you react in the test. He simply knows…He is omnipresent and omniscient. At the end of the day, we still make choices. We still have the ability to decide between different options. We still have free will.

    Natural Evil and Suffering:
    “Natural disasters aren’t evil and no atheist would argue as such”
    Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say:
    “Natural evil, or surd evil, is a term generally used in discussions of the problem of evil and theodicy that refers to states of affairs which, considered in themselves, are to be avoided and not to be promoted, and for which no agent is morally responsible. It stands in contrast to moral evil.”
    I know it’s a weird term dude…but fact remains, atheist or not, it is used in philosophical/theological discussions. The misunderstanding here is one of terminology.

    As for suffering:
    “It happens often that you dislike something (and deem it to be unpleasant), but God has placed in it a great deal of good.” (4:19)

    First, let’s address suffering and its assumption as being completely bad. Yes it is true suffering usually involves some kind of loss, pain and is often subject to the human tendency to emphasize that negativity. And that is fine and completely understandable. However, there is, like the quote above says, good to be found in suffering as well. The same weather systems that create tornadoes also create thunderstorms that water the earth and that bring fires to rejuvenate forests. The same kinds of bacteria that sometimes make us sick also yield substances that bring healing. And I suspect with all of our scientific knowledge we have not yet begun to scratch the surface of the intricate interrelationships of things on our planet. We simply do not know enough about our world even today to declare what is inherently “good” or “evil” in those processes apart from our personal experience of them.
    Let’s give you that though…let’s generalize and say that atheists don’t argue that natural disasters are evil. The suffering that does relate from it though may actually be useful in the sense that it provides you with opportunities to do good. It helps one build character, earn respect, do good deeds, bond with other people, help others, develop themselves as an individual or develop themselves spiritually, etc etcetera…

    Secondly, one of God’s roles in Islam oft-mentioned is that of a sustainer. Some natural mechanisms are simply just in place for sustaining and returning things back to equilibrium. Other natural phenomena may be part of natural cycles, which are essential for life. All of these phenomena are in turn based on fundamental laws of the universe which God has put into place. To violate His own laws and make exceptions so that we don’t suffer would mean that God lacks in integrity. And if that is the case then it would mean that he lacks in Justice—which is simply unacceptable by the standards and definition of God in Islam. Therefore God would not do this. However, you should note that if you do sincerely pray to God requesting relief from suffering (and preferably take the first step), God will assist you, he will protect you, and you will find safety and peace because he is after all…omnibenevolent.

    Thirdly, yes God can make natural mechanisms that don’t cause suffering, he has that capability because he is all powerful. But He has imposed on himself a restriction of being Aadil—of being Just. It is one of the pillars of Islam that Muslims believe in. God is Just. And first, for the very same reasons I have explained above, he won’t create such natural mechanisms because it would be against his Justice/his integrity (this is one of those words that is difficult to translate to English). And of course, a big point needs to be made here about justice. When we define God as being “just,” we most often do so in terms of what we think justice ought to be for us or in relation to what we understand to be just from our frame of reference. In the process, we often don’t give much thought to how justice for us might be injustice to someone else in a different context. So that would be something to keep in mind as well.

    Another reason why He won’t create such mechanisms is because that wouldn’t be much of a test for us at all. The very reason he created humans is that unlike angels and jinn, while we also have independent thought and free will, we are deeply steeped in physical incapability and suffering. And for a creature so weak and low to rise above all that, realize God, appreciate Him, worship Him and seek to attain qualities attributed (generosity, kindness, etc) with God Himself…that has the greatest meaning. This immense potential of ours…to realize God and emulate his characteristics…despite all of our shortcomings, doubts, dilemmas, and handicaps is what makes us far greater than any of his other creations. Anyways, that’s my personal understanding of why humans were created. While it may be based on the Islamic view it may not be something everyone would necessarily agree to.

    Additionally, favouritism and making things easier for humans doesn’t necessarily work. The last time God showed favouritism to a buncha humans, namely the Israelites, despite all the Manna from heaven and all the continuous miracles given to sustain them, all it took was a few days for the very same people to turn their back on God and start worshipping a cow instead. FAIL.

    Lastly, yikes mang stop assuming that God’s power exists for the sake of making the world good for us. Not only would something like that reduce God to the level of performing for us what pleases us and makes us happy and not only is it a selfish view of God, it is also idolatrous. Within this thought exists the assumption that we can, or should, control God and his actions in the world.

    Fairness between animals and humans:
    That’s not the point. The point was that having an exception in the natural laws of the universe for humans and not for animals is unfair. Please read the article carefully. They are not only here “at our pleasure.” They happen to be God’s creations and they are here at God’s pleasure…put here via the very same processes and laws of the universe that he created. In the course of nature, animals do happen to be a source of our sustenance and you are correct to say that we have dominion over animals according to the Quran, but that is only because, as the Quran says, God allowed that.

    “So who cares if animals are treated differently?”
    Integrity. Justice. Natural Laws. See above. Perhaps its difficult to make the mental link because the author didn’t explain better.

    And as for “why treat us like animals?”
    The answer to that was in my explanation of why we were made. For you, as a human, to rise above your animalistic nature and being, to rise above all the suffering and still have faith in God, to still worship him despite all those setbacks, to still aim to earn all the positive qualities that are associated with God…That is the ultimate test, that is our ultimate potential, and our ultimate achievement.

    Ying Yang:
    This is an argument for why evil exists and has to exist if we have free will and if God is just. It explains why a Just God who regards our free will highly would not create a world without evil despite being all powerful. That’s the point of this argument. World without evil=world without good. –> You’re a freakin robot with no choice.

    On the subject of Praying:
    “Those who worship God for the hope of gaining, they’re not real worshippers, they’re merchants. Those who worship God out of fear of punishment, they’re slaves. And those who worship God to be grateful towards their creator, they are the free people, and their worship is a real one.” (Bihar al- Anwar, Vol. 78 , P. 117)

    He has provided motivation for us to pray for him (reward or punishment). I guess that serves as conditioning towards the third kind of worship. But hey you still have free will to do so if you desire to OR to not do so if you desire that instead. At the end of the day no one is forcing you to pray. Muslims may have various reasons: they may pray to show their gratefulness towards our God, to establish a deeper relationship with God, for guidance and strength, to show their dependence on him alone and no one else, to ask for forgiveness, to ask for blessings, for comfort, for peace of heart etc. God doesn’t need our prayers. He isn’t dependent on them. He has plenty of His various creations to do that for him and praise Him in their various own ways. In fact it’s the other way around, we need Him. All ya need to do is request His help (Preferably nicely and with some sincerity) and then take the initiative. Any good, any benefit from praying is for you. God doesn’t benefit from your prayers.

    I’ve already explained the Islamic view on free will, determinism, and what role God plays in it. Anyhow to answer your questions once again would require me to revisit that topic all over again. To be short and quick…No he’s not utterly incapable of interfering with human affairs for fear of being unjust…God does interfere every now and then. Islam has a dual view that includes free will and predeterminism. The concept of Bada’ states that God has not set a definite course for human history. Instead, God may alter the course of human history as is seen to be fit. A person’s action is not caused by what is written in destiny but, rather, the action is written in the destiny because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time. God can provide you with unexpected opportunities your way. But He does mention, that in order for you to be helped, you need to take the first step/make an effort/take the initiative. And only then will He assist you every inch of the way. Allah helps those who try to help themselves. The concept of tawakkul in Islam means that you don’t just sit at home pray and trust God to provide for you. It is to work hard as if it all depends on you and then to place your trust in Allah as if it all depends on Him.

    *Yawn* That’s pretty much all I can help you out with for now. You may want to refer to books, actual Islamic scholars for topics of Predestination and Free Will in Islam, Wikipedia, or Al-Islam.org if you wish to pursue the subject in depth… I’m just an average dude with an average life. Heck I’m not even a philosopher and I obviously don’t know the secrets of the universe. I certainly try to understand and make sense out of it, but alas my understanding is not unlimited, and quite like yourself, I am only human and therefore prone to observational bias, limited scope, and other stuff. I can certainly understand your arguments and can definitely relate to where you’re coming from. But at the end of the day, these are my two cents, they’re different, and that’s alright. Hope it helps.

  • >>>>> First, when the author carefully uses the word ‘may’ as in “may not actually be evil,” he is making an exemption for actions that are intrinsically/obviously evil. <<<<>>>> Secondly, our knowledge is never as complete in range or span as God Himself. <<<<>>>> Besides the fact that God has already made it obvious for us in His guidelines for our lives, we can use this faculty to ascertain what is evil. <<<<>>>> Khizr’s actions were not personal and his intent was to simply carry out the commands he was given by God (the intent of God). He acts as the hand of God. Basically for all intents and purposes he is an agent of God. <<<<>>>> But this free will is not something that excludes God’s authority. Rather the free will itself is created by God. God has not set a definite course for human history. Instead, God may alter the course of human history as is seen to be fit. So the picture painted is a dual one, one that includes free will and destiny <<<<>>>> Just because you know your child will get into a cookie jar once you leave the room doesn’t mean that the child MUST get into it, he has the choice to obey, he just chooses not to. Similarly, God happens to know what you will choose and what you will do, He doesn’t dictate your actions. Free will does not stop becoming free because God knows what will happen. <<<<>>>> I know it’s a weird term dude…but fact remains, atheist or not, it is used in philosophical/theological discussions. The misunderstanding here is one of terminology. <<<<>>>> Let’s give you that though…let’s generalize and say that atheists don’t argue that natural disasters are evil. The suffering that does relate from it though may actually be useful in the sense that it provides you with opportunities to do good. It helps one build character, earn respect, do good deeds, bond with other people, help others, develop themselves as an individual or develop themselves spiritually, etc etcetera… <<<<>>>> All of these phenomena are in turn based on fundamental laws of the universe which God has put into place. To violate His own laws and make exceptions so that we don’t suffer would mean that God lacks in integrity. <<<<>>> However, you should note that if you do sincerely pray to God requesting relief from suffering (and preferably take the first step), God will assist you, he will protect you, and you will find safety and peace because he is after all…omnibenevolent. <<<<>>>> Thirdly, yes God can make natural mechanisms that don’t cause suffering, he has that capability because he is all powerful. But He has imposed on himself a restriction of being Aadil <<<<>>>> Another reason why He won’t create such mechanisms is because that wouldn’t be much of a test for us at all. <<<<>>> This immense potential of ours…to realize God and emulate his characteristics…despite all of our shortcomings, doubts, dilemmas, and handicaps is what makes us far greater than any of his other creations. <<<<>>>> Additionally, favouritism and making things easier for humans doesn’t necessarily work. <<<<>>>> Not only would something like that reduce God to the level of performing for us what pleases us and makes us happy and not only is it a selfish view of God, it is also idolatrous. Within this thought exists the assumption that we can, or should, control God and his actions in the world. <<<<>>>> Within this thought exists the assumption that we can, or should, control God and his actions in the world. <<<<>>>> This is an argument for why evil exists and has to exist if we have free will and if God is just. It explains why a Just God who regards our free will highly would not create a world without evil despite being all powerful. That’s the point of this argument. World without evil=world without good. –> You’re a freakin robot with no choice. <<<<>>>> Muslims may have various reasons: they may pray to show their gratefulness towards our God, to establish a deeper relationship with God, for guidance and strength, to show their dependence on him alone and no one else, to ask for forgiveness, to ask for blessings, for comfort, for peace of heart etc. <<<<>>> Any good, any benefit from praying is for you. God doesn’t benefit from your prayers. <<<<>>>> I’m just an average dude with an average life. Heck I’m not even a philosopher and I obviously don’t know the secrets of the universe. I certainly try to understand and make sense out of it, but alas my understanding is not unlimited, and quite like yourself, I am only human and therefore prone to observational bias, limited scope, and other stuff. I can certainly understand your arguments and can definitely relate to where you’re coming from. But at the end of the day, these are my two cents, they’re different, and that’s alright. Hope it helps. <<<<>>>> God knows. I have no idea…I’m only human. <<<<<

    A human with logic and reason. Use it and stop believing in fairy tales.

  • All my arguments didn’t appear because I used >’s and <'s for your comments. I don't have the time to type them up again now. Maybe another time.

    Moderator: you can delete my last comment.

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