How can the problem of evil be solved?
“The problem of evil” has always existed and been questioned throughout human history.
What is evil? What is the criterion for evil? Does evil exist in the real sense? If yes, what is its source? How can Allah’s justice and mercy be reconciled with the existence of evil?
- 1. What is evil?
Acting upon the rule, “Things are known by their opposites”, we think if we deal with the concepts evil and good together, the issue will be understood better because those two concepts are mentioned together in the verses of the Quran and hadiths: good-bad/evil.
Khayr lexically means “goodness, good, useful deed and benefit”. It means the things and deeds that Allah orders, wants and likes and that the mind approves. Sharr lexically means “evil, bad and bad deed”. It means the things and deeds that Allah does not like and love, that He prohibits and will punish if they are committed and that common sense rejects.
The bad deeds that occur outside the will of man (like earthquakes, disasters coming from the sky and the earth, etc.) are called natural or metaphysical bad (evil) deeds; the bad deeds that occur based on man’s free will and acts (like theft, hurting, killing, rape and oppression) are called ethical bad (evil) deeds. It is determined by both the Quran and scientists that most of the things called natural evils are actually things caused by the intervention of man:
“When he turns his back, His aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah loveth not mischief.” (al-Baqara, 2/205)
“Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hands of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil).” (ar-Rum, 30/41)
Our Lord, who is Rahman (All Merciful), lists the bounties after attracting attention to the balance and system in the realm in the chapter of ar-Rahman. He says “do not transgress (due) balance”.
- 2. What is the criterion for evil?
What shows things as beautiful to us is our vision, not foresight. “Vision (Basar)”, which is the eye of the mind deals with the issue in terms of esthetics while “foresight (basirah)”, which is the eye of the heart, deals with it in terms of religion and ethics. Since the problem is related to ethics, not esthetics, human eye, which is deprived of the eye of the heart, cannot be a criterion. The following verse indicates this issue:
“…But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” (al-Baqara, 2/216)
In that case, the criterion regarding the issue is not man but divine revelation. Human nature becomes “perfect man” to the extent that he acts in accordance with that criterion, that is, divine revelation. Perfect people regard misfortune and grace as the same; they tolerate the created beings due to the Creator; they attain happiness both in the world and the hereafter.
The relative value of evil occurs based on the use of vision and foresight. Vision can be the slave of feelings and emotions in the fields where foresight is not present. In that case, something that gives pain and that is evil for a person can be thought as something giving pleasure and useful, like taking revenge and raping. The following verse seems to indicate this fact: “Satan made, (to the wicked), their own acts seem alluring...” (an-Nahl, 16/63).
In addition, the verse meaning “the people to whom prophets were not sent will not be punished” (al-Isra, 17/15) shows that the criterion is not man, but revelation. Man can understand some good and evil things but it is not a general principle. The decree about whether something is good or evil belongs to Allah. Human mind is a limited source of knowledge; it is not a source of decree.
- 3. Does evil exist in the real sense in the realm?
Those who look at the universe with faithless philosophies and pessimist thoughts in the history of humanity have seen everything as bad, evil and chaotic. They present it as a justification for their faithlessness. However, those who look with the light of belief accept the evil but say that evil is very little compared to good deeds. Some believers say that good deeds are essential and evils are occasional; in other words, they state that not doing good deeds or doing little good deeds causes evil.
When we look at the realm fairly, it is seen that what is essential and dominant is goodness; the things that we call evil are occasional; maybe they are factors that contribute to the perfection of good deeds. We can liken them to the salt and spices added to the meal. What is essential here is the main ingredients of the meal. Salt and spices are very little and optional; they do not have to be included. However, the taste of the meal becomes perfect thanks to them; similarly, life is purified and becomes perfect with illnesses and misfortunes.
He who focuses on the thorn on the rose tree denies the beauty of the rose; he thinks that the tree consists of thorns; thorn becomes lovable to the person who focuses on the rose. As Imam Busayri puts it, “The eye sometimes denies and does not see the light of the sun due to an illness, and the mouth denies and cannot and understand the taste of water due to an illness.”
Thus, what gives the universe its color is the point of view of man. A sad person who cries sees everything sad; a happy person sees everything happy. As Badiuzzaman Said Nursi puts it, “A person who sees the good in things has good thoughts. And he who has good thoughts receives pleasure from life.”
There may be some things that atheists, deists, and pessimists regard as evil: For example, the expulsion of Hz. Adam from Paradise, the creation of Satan and its attacks on people, Allah's sending prophets and testing people, diseases, misfortunes and afflictions, people persecuting one another, death, resurrection after death, reckoning, eternal hell ...
Islamic scholars gave the necessary answers to those questions. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who gave the most reasonable and logical answers based on the verses of the Quran and hadiths among them, states in the Twenty-Ninth Word that ethical evils are a reality as follows:
“If the universe is studied carefully, it will be seen that within it are two elements that have spread everywhere and become rooted; with their traces and fruits like good and evil, beauty and ugliness, benefit and harm, perfection and defect, light and darkness, guidance and misguidance, light and fire, belief and unbelief, obedience and rebellion, and fear and love, opposites clash with one another in the universe. They are constantly manifested through change and transformation. Their wheels turn like the workshop of the crops of some other world. Of a certainty, the branches and results, which are opposites, of those two elements will continue into eternity; they will become concentrated and separate from one another. Then they will be manifested in the form of Paradise and Hell.”
After this determination, we regard it enough to summarize the questions and explanations regarding the issue.
The expulsion of Hz. Adam from Paradise is an assignment. It is an assignment that enables all talents and abilities of human beings to develop and their material and spiritual improvement. Thanks to it, man becomes a mirror to all divine names. This assignment is the duty of becoming the most honorable creature and the vicegerent of the earth. Man becomes an addressee of Allah thanks to those abilities, which have not been given to any being.
If Hz. Adam had remained in Paradise, his rank would have been stable; his abilities would not have developed. Indeed, Allah has numerous angels and spiritual beings like that. In fact, eating from the forbidden tree turned out to be an excuse for this important outcome. Besides, Paradise is not a place of reproduction; there would have been only Adam and Hawwa (Eve) as human beings. Their returning to their real homeland with billions of offspring now is a good thing, not evil
“That is to say, it was pure wisdom and pure mercy that Adam should be expelled from Paradise.”
“Why are devils created? Almighty God created Satan and evil; what is the wisdom in it? Isn’t the creation of evil, evil, and the creation of bad, bad?” Badiuzzaman Said Nursi answers the question above as follows:
The creation of evil is not evil; committing evil is evil because creation and bringing into existence are related to all the consequences but the deeds of slaves are related to a particular result, that is, the intended result. When a person does something evil for himself, he does not do all results and good aspects of that thing evil because Allah creates good things by wanting them. He creates bad things due to the desire of the slave but He creates them unwillingly.
“If ye reject (Allah), Truly Allah hath no need of you; but He liketh not ingratitude from His servants: if ye are grateful, He is pleased with you…” (az-Zumar, 39/7)
The question “Is it not better for Allah not to create evil even if the slave wants it?” is contrary to the secret of testing. Suppose that the pen writes what is correct but does not write what is wrong in a test; can it be called a test?
“For example, there are thousands of consequences of rain falling, and all of them are good. If due to misuse of their wills some people receive harm from the rain, they cannot say that ‘the creation of rain is not mercy’ or that ‘it is evil’. For it is evil for them due to their mischoice and inclinations. Also, there are numerous benefits in the creation of fire and all of them are good. But if some people are harmed by fire due to their misuse of it and their wills, they cannot say that ‘the creation of fire is evil’; because it was not only created to burn them. Rather, they made a wrong choice and thrust their hands into the fire while cooking the food, and made that servant inimical to themselves.”
“In Short: A lesser evil is acceptable for a greater good. If an evil which will lead to a greater good is abandoned so that a lesser evil should not occur, a greater evil will have been perpetrated. For example, there are certainly some minor material and physical harms and evils in sending soldiers to fight a jihad, but the jihad leads to a greater good whereby Islam is saved from being conquered by infidels. If the jihad is abandoned due to those lesser evils, the greater evil will come after the greater good has gone, and that is absolute wrong. Another example: to amputate a finger which is infected with gangrene and has to be amputated is good and right, although it is apparently an evil. For if it is not amputated, the hand will be amputated and that would be a greater evil.” (Mektubat, On İkinci Mektub)
Thus, the creation of harmful things, devils and misfortunes in the universe is totally good in terms of their outcomes or it is good since the good aspects are more than the bad aspects, and produce good results. For instance, the ranks of angels and animals are fixed since devils do not attack them.
However, people were created for competition and improvement. There are many degrees for human beings just like the degrees between a seed and a large plane tree, and like the distance between Abu Bakr the Veracious and Abu Jahl. If there were no evil and devils, there would not be such a distance. The gold under the ground and the other minerals are at the same level. When skilled masters like prophets melt those minerals in a pot like Satan, the worthless metals that form the majority will be removed but gold will be purified and will be valuable. The owner of the mine will not say, ‘I have obtained only ten grams of gold out of a ton of minerals.’ If a person sows a hundred date seeds and eighty of them rots but only twenty of them become trees, is it possible to say that it is bad?
The creation of devils and the sending of prophets are like that.
Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states in his work called the Eighteenth Word while dealing with verse 7 of the chapter of as-Sajdah that there is no evil in the real sense in terms of Allah and that what is regarded as evil is good in essence:
“In everything, even the things which appear to be the most ugly, there is an aspect of true beauty. Yes, everything in the universe, every event, is either in itself beautiful, which is called ‘essential beauty,’ or it is beautiful in regard to its results, which is called ‘relative beauty.’ There are certain events which are apparently ugly and confused, but beneath that apparent veil, there are most shining instances of beauty and order.”
He points to the beautiful flowers of summer behind the snow, rain and mud in the season of spring. He reminds us that Paradise and flowers of eternal bliss exist behind storms, earthquakes and illnesses. However, he attracts attention to the fact that people love what they see, that they prefer a gram of pleasure in advance to tons of permanent pleasure in the future and that they regard it as evil.
Badiuzzaman Said Nursi was sent to exile and isolated from his relatives and friends but he wept for the ummah that suffered, for humanity and their pains in the world and the hereafter; he did not weep for himself. When he looked with the light of belief, he saw and felt the trace and manifestation of divine mercy; then, he stated that belief would be enough even if there was pain of a thousand-fold more than the pain he mentioned. He said heedless and aberrant people should weep for it or they should get rid of that agony by becoming believers.
Nursi explains the reason why he often mentions those annoying and depressive incidents as follows: “To demonstrate what a wondrous remedy and brilliant light is the sacred antidote of the All-Wise Qur’an.”
He expresses the nature of death, which is regarded as the greatest evil, with comparison in his book called Lem’alar as follows:
“I looked in the face of death, which is imagined to be most terrible and terrifies everyone. Through the light of the Qur’an I saw that although its veil is black, dark, and ugly, for believers its true face is luminous and beautiful.”
Death is a rest from life’s duties, a change of residence and a dispatch to the place where one’s beloved ones gather. It is an invitation to the gardens of Paradise from the dungeon of the world. It is a ceremony in which the rewards of our deeds or maybe more are given; it is a feast day for believers.
Those who regard death like that view death as a wedding night like Mawlana Rumi.
Nursi states in his book called Mektubat that the word “wa yumit” addresses human beings as follows:
“Here is good news for you! Death is not destruction, or nothingness, or annihilation; it is not cessation or extinction; it is not eternal separation, or non-existence, or a chance event; it is not authorless obliteration. Rather, it is to be discharged by the Author who is All-Wise and All-Compassionate; it is a change of abode. It is to be despatched to eternal bliss, to your true home. It is the door of union to the Intermediate Realm, which is where you will meet with ninety-nine per cent of your friends.”
He also states the following in Mektubat: “Death is created like life; it too is a bounty.” Then he explains it: He explains death’s being a bounty as follows:
“Death means one is freed from the duties and obligations of life, which become burdensome. It is also a door through which one passes in order to join and be united with one’s friends, ninety-nine out of a hundred of whom are already in the Intermediate Realm.”
“It is to be released from the narrow, irksome, turbulent prison of this world, and to receive an expansive, joyful, troublefree immortal life, and to enter the sphere of the Eternally Beloved One’s mercy.”
“There are numerous factors like old age which make life arduous and show death to be a far superior bounty.”
“For example, if together with your very elderly parents who cause you much distress you beheld before you your grandfather’s grandfathers in all their pitiful state, you would understand what a calamity life is, and what a bounty, death.”
“Another example: one can imagine how difficult life is in the harsh conditions of winter for the beautiful flying insects, the lovers of the beautiful flowers, and what a mercy death is for them.”
“Just as sleep is a comfort, a mercy, a rest, particularly for those afflicted by disaster and the wounded and the sick, so too is death, the elder brother of sleep, a pure bounty and mercy for the disaster-struck and those who suffer tribulations that drive them to suicide.”
“However, as is proved decisively in many of the Words, for the people of misguidance, death is pure torment the same as life, and pure affliction.”
Nursi deals with illnesses, which are regarded among great evils, and the Prophet Ayyub (Job), who is a hero of patience, and states the following:
“Worship consists in fact of two kinds, positive and negative. What is meant by the positive is obvious. As for negative worship, this is when one afflicted with misfortune or sickness perceives his own weakness and helplessness, and turning to his Compassionate Lord, seeks refuge in Him, meditates upon Him, petitions Him, and thus offers a pure form of worship that no hypocrisy can penetrate. If he endures patiently, thinks of the reward attendant on misfortune and offers thanks, then each hour that he passes will count as a whole day spent in worship. His brief life becomes very long. There are even cases where a single minute is counted as equal to a whole day’s worship.”
The 25th Flash of the same book called the Booklet of Ill People “was written as a salve, a solace, and a prescription for the sick, and in order to visit them and wish them a speedy recovery.” He emphasizes that illnesses are preachers informing us about the value of life and that prevent life from passing very quickly and uselessly; then, he explains the wisdom behind it and lists the important results that they make human life gain.
In addition, Nursi considers illnesses and misfortunes as atonement for sins based on a hadith in the Booklet of Ill People:
“O sick person who thinks of the hereafter! Sickness washes away the dirt of sins like soap, and cleanses. It is established in a sound Hadith that illnesses are atonement for sins. The following is stated in a hadith: ‘As ripe fruits fall on their tree being shaken, so the sins of a believer fall away on his shaking with illness.’” Then, he states that real illnesses are religious and spiritual and that they threaten our eternal life.
“Had there been no illness, good health and well-being would have caused heedlessness, for they show the world to be pleasant and make the hereafter forgotten. They do not want death and the grave to be thought of; they cause the capital of life to be wasted on trifles. Whereas illness suddenly opens the eyes, it says to the body: ‘You are not immortal. You have not been left to your own devices. You have a duty. Give up your pride, think of the One who created you. Know that you will enter the grave, so prepare yourself for it!’”
- 4. What is the source of evil?
In Zoroastrianism and Manicheism, there is a dual understanding: the god of goodness and the god of evil. Mutazila, which regards the creation of evil as evil, tries to purify Allah and attributes evil to man; they fall into another danger by saying, “Man is the creator of his own deeds.”
That the creation of evil is not evil was explained in the answer to the previous question; it is possible to refer to it again. However, we will include a different explanation of Nursi in the 13th Flash:
Knowledgeable people regard the levels of existence as sheer good even if they are troublesome. They regard the non-existence of goodness as sheer evil.
The existence of something is based on a real cause but its non-existence does not need any real cause. For instance, performing a prayer occurs when a slave wants and makes an effort; not performing a prayer occurs by that slave’s sitting and not doing anything.
The life of a person necessitates all of his organs being complete and in their proper places; death may occur when one organ is cut off. The existence of a garden depends on the work of a hundred people but its existence may occur by a worker – for instance, the one who checks the water channel - not doing his duty properly.
Therefore, the following is stated in the Quran: “Whatever good, (O man!) happens to thee, is from Allah; but whatever evil happens to thee, is from thy (own) soul...” (an-Nisa, 4/79) The Prophet states the following: “O Allah! All good belongs to you; evil cannot be attributed to you.” (Muslim, Musafirin, 201; Nasai, Iftitah, 17) Thus, he states that all good deeds are from Allah, that man can have them through belief, demand, intention, consciousness and some deeds, that evil deeds come from the soul and that they can occur with some deeds or with a bad intention.
Therefore, devils and devilish people cause a lot of evil and destruction but they do not have serious roles in the occurrence of good deeds. Therefore, the Quran advises us to wear the armor of taqwa, to gird on the weapons of taking refuge in Allah and asking for forgiveness, and to take refuge in the trenches of the Sunnah in order to be protected from their evil.
- 5. How can Allah’s justice and mercy be reconciled with the existence of evil?
Said Nursi explains this issue in the form of question and answer in his book called Lem’alar:
“The creation of devils, who are pure evil, and their harassing the people of belief, and many people not believing and going to Hell because of them, appears to be terrible and ugly. How does the mercy and beauty of the Absolutely Beauteous One, the Absolutely Compassionate One, the Truly Merciful One, permit this infinite ugliness and awesome calamity?”
a) We stated above with evidences that the creation of Satan led to many general good deeds along with some small evils.
b) The landowner acts as he wishes in his land.
We do whatever we wish related to the beings that we have; we will react if others intervene. On the other hand, we dare to oppose and criticize what Allah, who is the owner of the universe, does.
Nursi explains in the Booklet of Qadar that people have no right to complain related to misfortunes and illnesses as follows:
“God Most High has made the garment of the body with which He has clothed man a manifestation of His art. He has made man to be a model on which He cuts, trims, alters and changes the garment of the body, thus displaying the manifestation of various of His names. Just as the name of Healer makes it necessary that illness should exist, so too the name of Provider requires that hunger should exist. And so on…”
“Sovereignty is His. He holds sway over His possessions as He wishes. Moreover, a skilful craftsman makes you a model in return for a wage and dresses you in a bejewelled garment that he has artistically fashioned. Then in order to display his art and skill, he shortens it and lengthens it, measures it and trims it, and he makes you sit down and stand up. Can you say to him: “You have made the garment that makes me beautiful ugly. You have caused me trouble, making me sit down and stand up.”? Of course, you cannot say that. If you did, you would be crazy.”
“In just the same way, the All-Glorious Maker has clothed you in an artistically wrought being bejewelled with such faculties as the eye, the ear, and the tongue. To display the embroideries of various of His names, He makes you ill, He afflicts you with tribulations, He makes you hungry, He fills you, He makes you thirsty; He makes you revolve in states like these. To strengthen the essence of life and display the manifestation of His names He makes you pass through numerous such conditions. As is indicated in the comparison, if you ask: ‘Why do you inflict these calamities on me?’ a hundred instances of wisdom will silence you.”
In fact, Allah gave us the wages for acting as models more than we deserved and stated in the Quran that He would give more if we fulfilled our duties well:
“Say: O Allah! Lord of Power (And Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power. Thou causest the night to gain on the day, and thou causest the day to gain on the night; Thou bringest the Living out of the dead, and Thou bringest the dead out of the Living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest, without measure.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/26-27)
“It is by means of disasters and sicknesses that life is refined, perfected, strengthened and advanced; that it yields results, attains perfection and fulfils its own purpose. Life led monotonously on the couch of ease and comfort resembles not so much the pure good that is being, as the pure evil that is non-being; it tends in fact in that direction.”
c) “This worldly realm is the field of testing, the abode of service. It is not the place of pleasure, reward, and requital.”
Illnesses become means of passing the test as long as they do not affect belief and are patiently endured. They are means of gaining eternal bliss; complaining about illnesses might cause us to lose that treasure. When one finds an illness severe, he should take refuge in Allah and ask for health.
“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere” (al-Baqara, 2/155)
The following is stated in another verse:
“Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. to Us must ye return.” (al-Anbiya, 21/35)
Allah states at the beginning of the chapter of al-Mulk that we have been created to be tested from birth to death and that everything given to us is a means of testing. We have no chance of escaping from this test. Besides, this test is not similar to the tests we make. Every conscientious person will accept that a person who insists on doing mistakes despite numerous warnings of heavenly books, prophets and spiritual guides loses the right to be shown mercy. That is, passing this test is a grace of Allah; failing the test and going to Hell is a manifestation of Allah’s justice. For, it is a general principle that “he who shows consent to being harmed is not shown mercy”.
d) Badiuzzaman Said Nursi considers the existence of illnesses and misfortunes as “a divine warning” and explains the issue with the example of the shepherd and the sheep:
“The sheep struck by the stones turn back, as if saying: “We are under the shepherd’s command. He knows us better than ourselves, so we must return.” Then, the sheep returns followed by the herd.”
“Know, O my soul, you are not more astray than the sheep. When stricken with misfortune, say: ‘ اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّٓا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ (‘To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return.)’ al-Baqara, 2/156) Return to the real shelter and become a believer; do not be depressed. He takes care of you more than you.”
Anyone who analyzes his own life will see that the times we remember our Lord most, we worship and pray sincerely most are times of distress and trouble. We keep away from worshipping and we live heedlessly and comfortably at times of welfare and ease. However, we were not sent to this world to live comfortably and to take pleasure. The evidence of it is that young people get old, those who pass away do not return and every pleasure ends.
In that case, man, who is sent to this world of testing with important duties has to work hard to gain the eternal life and as it is stated in the chapter of at-Tawba, he has to find ways of selling his soul and wealth to Allah and reach Allah with a profitable deal. The problems in life are like milestones and teachers of it.
“Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, (without purpose)?” (al-Qiyama, 75/36)
Allah sometimes intervenes in the oppressions and ethical evils committed by human beings. “Unbelief continues but oppression does not continue” (Munawi, Faydul-Qadir: 2/107) As this hadith points out, oppression and evil will be punished sooner or later. When the misfortunes that hit previous nations, and the calamities, wars and disasters that hit the nations following them are evaluated truly, it will be seen that Allah does not neglect punishment. To warn those who make mistakes while the test is going on and to slap them is contrary to the secret of testing. It shows that Allah gives respite since the world is a place of testing but that He never neglects
“Let not the Unbelievers think that our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: But they will have a shameful punishment.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/178)
“Think not that Allah doth not heed the deeds of those who do wrong. He but giveth them respite against a Day when the eyes will fixedly stare in horror.” (Ibrahim, 14/42)
“Then shall anyone who has done an atom´s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom´s weight of evil, shall see it.” (az-Zilzal, 99/7-8)
“Each one of them We seized for his crime: of them, against some We sent a violent tornado (with showers of stones); some were caught by a (mighty) Blast; some We caused the earth to swallow up; and some We drowned (in the waters): It was not Allah Who injured (or oppressed) them:" They injured (and oppressed) their own souls.” (al-Ankabut, 29/40)
In fact, the unbelievers state the following in order to veil their mischief and irreligiousness, not to show their mercy to the oppressed people: “Let us accept that adults are tested; what about the oppressions to which those innocent children, weak people and animals are exposed? What kind of a test is it?”
Since they do not believe in the hereafter, they cannot estimate that the problems in this world are trivial compared to the rewards in the hereafter. They do not think that it is also a test for those who turn a deaf ear to the screams of the oppressed people. Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Arakan, etc. are a great test of people, especially Muslims.
A stanza by the Turkish National Poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy:
When I see someone else's wound, I suffer a great hardship.
To end it, I'll be whipped, I'll be beaten!
I can't say, “Never mind, just forget it!” I'll mind.
I'll crush, I'll be crushed, I'll uphold justice.
The statements above seem to have been deleted from the glossary of the ummah. Those who put the ordinary death of an animal in the headlines do not turn a hair in the face of the inflictions on Muslims. They even take pleasure from it occasionally.
Thus, when incidents are viewed from a perspective that is away from Allah and belief in the hereafter, they may be misinterpreted. The greatness of the penalty given to the oppressors and the reward given to the oppressed will alleviate the pain of the oppressed and relieve those who support justice. Those incidents show that “Paradise is not cheap and Hell is not unnecessary.” “Long live Hell for oppressors!”
The deniers perform demagogy by overlooking the general mercy, system, mutual assistance and solidarity in the universe and by emphasizing some monstrous people’s killing animals and oppressions. They whitewash their own oppressions in the face of this general mercy. There are so many manifestations of divine mercy that our ancestors formulized the following fact in history: “He who becomes prosperous through oppression will have a terrible ending.”
- 6. How can eternal Hell be just for the sins committed in a short life?
Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains this hard issue through an analogy. Twenty-five years of imprisonment or life imprisonment given for a murder committed in a minute is fair in the justice of human beings – we do not regard it enough if it is committed against us; similarly, eternal Hell, that is, life imprisonment for a person who spends his life by denying Allah is both justice and mercy since that person denies and abases Allah and His infinite names, and denies the rights and witnessing of all the creatures created by Allah.
Is it not regarded mercilessness to show mercy to man, to whom Allah equipped with faculties like mind, will and power, which He did not give to any other creatures, whom He addressed, rendered the most honorable creature and the vicegerent on earth, to whom He sent heavenly books and whom He helped through prophets? Is it not regarded injustice not to punish him? Therefore, Paradise is sheer mercy and Hell is the manifestation of justice.
“...It is not Allah that hath wronged them, but they wrong themselves.” (an-Nahl, 16/33, Aal-i Imran, 3/117)
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