Why does Allah allow bad deeds to be committed in this world? Is it not injustice to watch oppression, injustice and evil without doing anything?

The Details of the Question

Some people state the following for Allah: “Does Allah want to prevent bad deeds like oppression, injustice and evil but cannot do it; in that case, He is weak. If he does not want to prevent, it means He has bad thoughts and watches oppression, injustice and evil without doing anything.” How should we answer the people who have such thoughts?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

When Allah creates something, He creates them so that they will bring about good things. When we look at the order in the universe, we do not see any deficiency or irregularity; sane people that see the order in the universe cannot help glorifying the majesty of Allah.

However, people can transform those good things that were created in the universe to evil things through their own will.

For instance, the creation of fire is useful. However, if a person puts his hand into fire, it will be evil for that person. As a matter of fact, Allah created fire so that people would meet their needs. However, if a person puts his hand into fire with his own will, he cannot say, “Why did Allah create fire?”, “Why did the fire burn my hand?”, “Why did Allah allow it?” There are laws that Allah imposed on the universe. If you obey those laws, you will gain some advantages; if you disobey them, you will be harmed.

As for man, with the expression of the Quran, Allah created people so that they would worship Him; He ordered people to keep away from bad deeds, ugly deeds and naughtiness; He stated that He would punish those who do not obey Him with a severe torture and He warned people regarding all issues by sending more than one hundred thousand prophets.

However, people who do not fulfill their duty and do not heed those orders will suffer the consequences.

The reason why Allah does not prevent evil deeds directly is the fact that we are being tested in this world. This world is a place of testing; people are allowed to do good deeds and bad deeds. If those who do bad deeds and who make mistakes were intervened, the testing would be meaningless.

If roses were thrown on those who did good deeds and thorns were thrown on those who did bad deeds, the world would not be a testing place.

As for a person who suffers a misfortune, that misfortune will be beneficial for him in terms of its result. If he had sins, that misfortune would be atonement for his sins. If he had no sins, that misfortune would be atonement for the sins he would commit in the future. Besides, the misfortunes he suffers may be a means of entering Paradise for him. That is, Allah will treat a person who suffered misfortunes with mercy; the rewards that Allah gives will eliminate those misfortunes.

We sometimes misinterpret some incidents that are seemingly bad and object to them by asking why it happened because we do not know the real nature and the inside of the incidents. It is definitely not appropriate to ask for misfortunes. However, when it does happen, it is necessary to show patience and think of its reward by saying, “Both your troubles and your blessings are nice.” It is the high degree of slavery.

Not every misfortune is sorrowful; it is necessary not to regard each misfortune or each illness as a manifestation of sorrow.

The following is stated in a hadith:

“The greatest misfortunes come to prophets, then to saints and then to the other sincere people.” (see Munawi, Faydul-Qadir, 1/519, no: 1056; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 3/343)

When we say misfortunes, we mean being tested through misfortunes. The outcomes of big tests are big. The questions asked in a test for recruiting officials and governors are not the same. The former is easier than the latter; and the outcome of the latter is more important than the former.

A wonderful statement regarding the issue is as follows:

“Everything about Divine Determining is good and beautiful. Even the evil that comes from it is good, and the ugliness is beautiful.” Sözler (Words)

Man should have a look at his body first. He should think of each one of his organs separately. Then, he should ask himself: The place, shape, size and duty of which organ is not arranged in the best way? Then, he should go to his own world of spirit and continue the same thought in the same realm. Is memory unnecessary or imagination? Is love extra or fear?

The body forms a whole with all of its organs and it becomes useful when it is so; similarly, the spirit is a whole with all of its feelings, emotions and faculties. It can only be useful when it is so. If you remove the mind and memory from the human spirit, it cannot function. If you remove the feeling of anxiety, man will be lazy; he will not work for the world or the hereafter. If you remove fear, he cannot protect his life. If he does not have the feeling of love, he will not take pleasure from anything.

Both the body and the spirit of man were arranged in a wise way. It is called the “visible qadar.” Similarly, all of the incidents that a person experiences throughout his life are regular and orderly. It is called the “spiritual qadar.” The visible qadar gives information about the spiritual qadar. All aspects of both of them are nice; except for the sins committed through the partial free will.    

When we, as weak individuals, are astonished by the manifestations of the spiritual qadar that are outside our will, and falter and hesitate, we should look at the visible qadar and endless wisdoms in it. For instance, we should remember the merciful training in the uterus: The divine mercy and wisdom trained us in the best way and we were not aware of anything that was taking place.

Now, we are experiencing different manifestations of the same mercy.

We should learn from the hadith

“Having good thoughts about Allah is regarded as worshipping”; (see Abu Nuaym, Hilyatu'l Awliya, III/263)

and we should rely on the mercy of our Lord, who feeds and raises us and who arranges our life in the best way. We should evaluate all of the incidents that we experience as exam questions and we should look for a manifestation of mercy in the incidents that our soul does not like. The soul of a person does not want to go to school but wants to play games. However, the mind objects to it. It shows the soul the beautiful ranks in the future and dissuades it from games. That is, what is beautiful for the soul is not beautiful for the mind.

The heart is a completely different thing. If it is illuminated with belief, it sees everything and every incident as a manifestation of divine names. It attains the fact, “All of Allah’s names are beautiful and all of the manifestations of His names are beautiful, too.” No ugliness is in question for that fortunate person anymore.

Those who say “Both your troubles and your blessings are nice” are fortunate people who have attained that rank. Those people are the people who are defined as, “Allah loves them and the love Allah.”

In Risale-i Nur Collection, beauty is dealt with in two parts: “something that is beautiful itself” and “something that is beautiful in terms of its outcomes”. We can give some examples regarding this classification: The day is beautiful itself; the night has a different beauty. One evokes being awake the other being asleep. Is it not obvious that we need both?

On the other hand, the fruit itself is beautiful and the medicine is beautiful in terms of its outcomes.

The incidents that man experiences are like the night or the day. Health evokes the day and disease evokes the night. If it is considered that diseases atone for sins, that they show man that he is weak, that they remind him of his slavery and that they break off the relationship of the heart with the world, making it turn toward the Lord, it will be seen that diseases are bounties as great as health. Health is the feast day of the body and diseases are nutrition for the heart.  

“Night and the day” are only a chain of the manifestations of “jalal and jamal” (majesty and beauty) that are continuously active in the universe. There are many other chains like the minus and plus poles of electricity, the black and white part of the eye, the red and white blood cells of the blood. We are surrounded by those binary systems in our inner world and outside; we benefit from them in different ways.   

A Quranic verse regarding the issue is as follows:

“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” (al-Baqara, 216)

The verse is related to jihad but its judgment is general. This verse attracts the attention to another binary system: War and peace. Peace is like the day; everybody likes it; war evokes the night. However, those who do not fight when it is necessary endanger their future and their generations are destroyed. Those who are martyred during wars attain the rank of saints and the worldly life that they lost is like the night compared to their new life.   

Can you think of a misfortune worse than death? By informing us that there are good things behind the things that the soul dislikes, the verse offers consolation for the other troubles, diseases and disasters of the world.

A sacred hadith:

“My mercy has surpassed my wrath.” (see Ajluni,Kashful-Khafa, 1/448)

This sacred hadith is interpreted as follows:

“There are so many manifestations of Allah’s mercy behind each misfortune that His mercy surpasses the pains caused by each misfortune.”

Life is not even like a moment compared to eternity. If the diseases, misfortunes and troubles that we experience in this short life are good for our eternal life, there is no need to worry about them. Seventy or eighty years have no value compared to eternal life. All of the ephemeral misfortunes and troubles of this world are like nothing compared to the endless bliss.

However, the soul of man wants immediate pleasures; it does not look at the future. That area belongs to the mind and the heart. As we have mentioned, not every misfortune is sorrowful. The incidents that our soul does not like and that blacken our ephemeral world are either divine warnings that put us back to the right path or atonement for our sins; they make us suffer their consequences in this world, not leaving them to the hereafter. Or, they are means of turning man’s heart from the ephemeral life in the world to Allah and the hereafter.

On the other hand, misfortunes are a testing of patience; the reward of passing this test is great.

Lastly, they are divine punishments. General misfortunes may contain parts of all of them. They may be sorrow for some people, warning for some people and atonement for others...

The safest method for individual misfortunes should be as follows: If the misfortune affects us, we need to blame our own soul and then repent. If the misfortune affects other people, we should regard it as something that will cause them to improve themselves. Thus, we will improve and train our soul; and we will not think of bad things about other people.

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