What are the answers given to the question “Why did Allah create evil?”

The Answer

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Philosophy and theology have been talking about and discussing the issue of evil and free will for thousands of years. The problem of evil was first raised by Epicurus in Ancient Greece. David Hume discussed the same issue in detail in the 18th century and claimed that the existence of Allah and the existence of evil could not be reconciled. According to him, if Allah were omnipotent and perfect, why did He allow evil? In fact, similar views were expressed by al-Maarri and Ibn ar-Rawandi centuries ago in the Islamic world. Twentieth-century thinkers, such as Paul Drapper and John Mackie, said that the problem of the existence of evils supported atheist ontology and they walked in the same path as those before. In fact, atheist and agnostic thinkers made the most important criticism against theism with the problem of evil.1

Theist thinkers gave important answers to those criticisms:

For example, according to Farabi, the evils that exist are relative; they have a necessary place in the universal system; and many good deeds cannot be abandoned for a few evil deeds. Although flood occurs due to rain and some people are harmed by it, the good part of rain is more than its evil part. Thus, the creation of rain is not evil; it is good. A lot of good cannot be abandoned for a little evil. The benefits and harms of fire are similar. If evil had not been created at all to prevent harm, more evil would arise. Ibn Sina explains the wisdom behind the creation of evil like Farabi.2

According to John Hick, people need an environment that will allow them to attain spiritual ascension and perfection. Therefore, evil and negativity need to exist. In such an environment, natural and ethical evils are necessary.3

Poverty can help a person to save money and turn toward work. An ill person can learn to maintain his health, to live healthily and to keep a balanced diet. He who sees the harm of telling lies can give up lying. As it is stated in a Turkish proverb, a misfortune is more useful than a lot of advice.

On the other hand, the existence of natural and ethical evils will give people the right to choose and prefer; so, ethical and spiritual ascension will take place.4

When Imam Ghazali mentioned the problem of evil, he used the following argument hundreds of years ago: “laysa fil-imkanabdumimmakan = There is nothing more beautiful than what is created in the realm.“ Thus, the world was created in the best way. However, this evidence used related to the creation of evil is generally known as the expression of Leibniz. As Ghazali says, this world was actually created in the most beautiful way, there cannot be anything more beautiful.5

Augustine emphasizes free will and makes explanations regarding the same issue: One can choose between good and evil with his free will. Without evil, one would not be able to choose the good. According to him, that should be seen as the main source of the creation of evil.6

According to Eleonore Stump, the reason why Allah permits evil is to show man the destructive effects of his free will and it is necessary. Thus, Allah helps people because one cannot correct the destructive effects of his free will in any other way.7

According to Richard Swinburne, people should see and know the consequences of their actions in order to ensure that the deeds done with free will comply with ethical laws. Moreover, the evils observed for great goodness should be ethically accepted.8

*It was published beforehand (ÂdemTatlı. Bilimlerin Işığında Yaratılış. Üsküdar Üniversitesi Yayını no: 2, 2017, p. 401-430).
1.Taslaman, C. KuantumTeorisi, Felsefe ve Tanrı. Istanbul Yayınevi, 4th impression, Istanbul, 2010, p. 170- 171; Mehmet Aydın, Din Felsefesi, p. 156.
2.Taslaman, C. ibid p. 171.
3.Taslaman, C. ibid p. 172.
4.Taslaman, C. ibid p. 172.
5.Taslaman, C. ibid p. 172.
6.Taslaman, C. ibid p. 173.
7.Taslaman, C. ibid pp.173- 174.
8.For references, seeTaslaman, C. pp. 174- 175.

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