|Kitab-ul-Taqdeer (Book of Destiny)|
GOOD and EVIL
No other problem has given mankind more anxiety than the question of Good and Evil. Being an inseparable part of the bigger question of fate and destiny, this problem has been one of high priority for philosophers as well as people of religion. In this regard, the well-known dilemma attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas is:
If Evil exists by the will of God, He cannot be all good; and if Evil exists despite His will, He is not all powerful.
Since I have not set myself in this book the task of examining the question of destiny philosophically, I shall not trace the human intellectual endeavors in this regard. (1) It will be suffice to discuss it from the common man’s perspective.
It is said that Gautum (Buddha), the crown prince of
a royal household, had a very sensitive and humane disposition. He noticed the norm of the strong controlling and oppressing the weak, both in the animal as well as the human world. He concluded that life was just a misery. Hence, it is to be shunned to the point of complete disinterest to achieve a state of freedom from life’s troubles (Nirvaan). Gautum’s philosophy has dominated Man’s thinking for almost 2,500 years!
(1) Interested readers may refer to my work “Insan nay Kya Socha” (What Man has Thought).
Disapproval of the Material World
The principle emanating from this
philosophy is that Matter is quagmire for the human soul. The span of worldly life must be spent to liberate the soul from its ‘imprisonment’. This can be done by shunning life ---- rejecting pleasures, refusing desires, and doing grueling body (Yoga) exercises. That is MYSTICISM.
Indian philosophers noticing the social & economic inequality
in human societies, arrived at the notion of re-incarnation --- one is rewarded or punished in life on the basis of one’s previous life. This was nothing more than the ancient Greek idea of ‘Transmigration of Soul’; the Indians have simply borrowed
Christianity’s ‘ORIGINAL SIN’
it. Some thinkers came to the thesis that Man
is intrinsically evil. Christianity formulated the concept of the original sin by Adam and Eve in Paradise. Therefore, Man, born with sin, must absolve himself through believing in Christ and Crucifixion.
Dualism of Magig
Persian thinkers theorized about two universal forces
eternally at war with one another - Ahrman (darkness) and Yazdaan (light). They are engaged in the struggle of good and evil. This theory of dualism, being the religion of the ancient Persian Magig, is attributed to Zoarastra. The very concept of two opposite warring forces is the origin of the theory of DIALECTISM of Hegel, the famous German philosopher. That, in turn, is the basis of the economic theories of Marx.
Yet another ideology claims the non-existence of
opposing forces, attributes like right / left, above / below, etc. Thus, only good exists. Contrary to this is Shaupenhaur’s ideology of pessimism claiming that only evil exists. This echoes the Buddhist philosophy. Shaupenhaur fell a victim to pessimism as any intelligent but nervous person would. Yet another school of thought claims good and evil to be individual relative human impressions rather than real. For instance, a cyclone (or flood) coming to an uninhabited jungle is not termed ‘evil’ but it is very much so when it ravages a human settlement. Better still, a dark night is evil for the robbed but good for the robber.
These, then, are the various, confusing, conflicting human ideologies about good and evil. Let us now see what the Quran has to say on this intriguing question.
The Quranic Philosophy
About physical events, termed . natural evil’, the Quran says: “We have not created the skies and the earth and what is between them (the Universe), but rightfully (بالحـق)” (15/75). The many-faceted word Haq here means something constructive. Contrarily, ‘باطل’ (wrong) means destructive. Therefore, the Quran pronounces the universe constructive (good) as a whole. It has been seen that there are countless FORCES OF NATURE at play according to Allah’s law. We have also seen that Man has the potential of discovering and harnessing those forces – “Whatever is between the skies and the earth is rendered harnessable for you (all)” (45/13). Until the discovery of physical laws governing a force (SCIENCE), it remains uncontrolled and destructive. It becomes constructive when harnessed. Many forces of Nature were awesomely destructive during Man’s infancy. They become constructively useful as they were gradually harnessed through scientific work. The Quran felicitates men who approach the Universe with a scientific mind and make discoveries and thus help probe the rightfulness of the Universe and its forces.
IN PRAISE OF RESEARCHERS
Sura Aal-e-Imran says:
“There are great signs of the Truth in the Universe and in the cycle of day & night for those who use their mental faculties wisely. That is, for those who keep in view Allah’s law in every facet of life, standing, sitting or even lying down; ponder deeply over the structure of the Universe and discover enough truth to say out loud: ‘O our Preserver! You haven’t produced (all) this wrongfully. You are too exalted to have produced it so. (It is our ignorance which brings calamities upon us). Grant us the potential to (discover and utilize the Universe through scientific application and thus) save ourselves from destruction (and calamities).’
Nations ignoring scientific work remain deprived of the good that there is; their actions go wasted; they remain down-trodden. Clearly, such people do not get help from any quarter!” (3/189-191).
The Quran terms such researchers as ULEMA (the knowledgeable)
(35/27-28). Man’s efforts to provide practical proof for ‘O our Preserver! You
haven’t produced (all) this wrongfully’ have harnessed
the hitherto awesomely destructive forces of Nature --- and considered ‘evil’ --- and have rendered them useful, constructive and ‘good’. Rain water is flood if not controlled but is a revitalizing life source when harnessed. Uncontrolled fire is another such force. Yet another example is a wide variety of poisonous creatures (snakes, scorpions, etc.) which are now a valuable source of antidotes.
The author’s own experience
I take the liberty of citing my own personal
experience in this regard. After I have had a successful surgical operation in 1964, I experienced an accidental hemorrhage. All the expert, sincere efforts of the physician (1) were in vain. I fainted. People around me, including the physician, gave up hope. My breath going, the doctor gave me an injection as a last resort. The bleeding stopped and I gradually came to, returning from the very edge of life. Later, the physician told me about the wonder-drug he had used. It was REPTILASE, an antidote made from snake poison! “O our Preserver! You haven’t created (all) this wrongfully!” By the way, my experience is not unique or extraordinary. A visit to a chemist’s can provide ample evidence of this phenomenon.
(1) My dear fried Dr. Syed Abdulwudood
Children born Deformed
It was ignorance which led people to believe that
babies are born deformed as punishment for sins of a previous life. Scientific research changed all that so much so that intending marriage partners in developed countries undergo routine medical check-ups. Constant medical care ensures that children are mostly born healthy. Medical research still goes on.
The Question of Pain
Pain in considered by some as the ultimate example of
evil. But medical experts point out the usefulness of the phenomenon of pair; it is actually the warning signals sent out by a body when it malfunctions. In the absence of pain, one would not be aware of a physical or physiological problem until it is too late. Pain is a blessing in disguise! (1)
The Right Measure
It is equally important for mankind to discover the correct
measure of substances for maximum benefit. A glass-full of water gives life; huge amounts of water causes death by drowning. Arsenic in minute quantities is revitalizing but kills in large doses. Use of substances in right quantity is of immense importance. It is so effectively proved by the Homeopathic system of medicine where treatment is based upon this principle of ‘the right dose’. Homeopathy is living proof of the maxim that all things in the Universe are essentially ‘good’. They become ‘evil’ when they are in the ‘wrong’ quantity’.
من شر ما خلق
This should explain clearly the Quranic verses (113/1-2). One must
be careful of the evil in things. A thing becomes ‘good’ or ‘evil’ according to its use by Man. Sura Aal-e-Imran states this principal in (3/25) to say Allah’s
Allah has created ‘Good’ alone
hand has ‘good’ alone and He has
(1) Pain is a crude phenomenon of Nature, like many. Scientific research is currently trying to find a way of eliminating it altogether. George ……. Boehm hopes the research efforts to materialize in a decade. (article published in the PAKISTAN TIMES of 24.1.1971, a Lahore, Pakistan daily newspaper).
measures / standards for all things. This principle reminds one of the verse (4/79) in Sura Nisa: The ‘good’ you get is from Allah and the ‘evil’ you get is of your own doing. Verse (4/78) says: “Say: Everything is from Allah”. (all actions bear results in accordance with Nature’s law). Also, in (28/60), it says: “Whatever (you) get from Allah is ‘good’ and permanent”. (if you follow Nature’s law, you will get good for ever). Sura Beni Israel says: “When We bless Man with Our bounties, he acts indifferent; when he is in problems, he is frustrated” (17/83; 41/51). Elsewhere, the Quran says: “When We give Man a taste of bounty, he gets carried away. When he begets problems from his own doing, he gets depressed (and disappointed)” (30/36; 42/48). Sura Aaraaf says: “Fertile land yields well (by Allah’s law) whereas bad land not so well” (7/58).
MORAL GOOD & EVIL
So for we have discussed the physical universe and its properties. In the human world, however, good and evil demonstrate another diversion. A sword has the basic property of cutting (throats), but the different motives of sword-wielding
The Purpose: Standard of Good & Evil
men (a tyrant and a champion of
the oppressed) produce opposing results in human society. Yet another example is the use of human faculty of mind which can be used either to deceive or to safeguard against deception. The question, then, is how to determine the (good or
The purpose can only be determined by Wahi
evil) nature of an act in human
human social situations. Decidedly, human reason cannot provide the answer --- it is simply impossible for it to be objective. The source beyond human reason is Allah’s Word which has already determined the standards of good and evil – the Permanent Values. When Man follows the permanent values established by Allah’s Message, good occurs. Otherwise, evil happens. A society negating permanent values (relying on human reason alone) is called the Wrong System (باطل) because it results in evil. Such a society utilizes the Universe according to human reason which is guided by human emotions which are really instincts inherited from Man’s animalistic phase (self preservation, self-aggression, etc.). Self-preservation, for example, on the group level, actually means preservation of one’s nation. It is not hard to imagine the chaos resulting from this attitude by various nations all over the globe. Mankind
The present day Hell
is currently going through the hell of nationalism and
the resulting chaos of selfish and ruthless human societies that we have today --- “its sparks spread (all round)” (76/8). Ignoring permanent values results in division of mankind not only on the global but also on a national level. Rich and poor classes
Rich and Poor by Birth
poor classes are created and become permanent and
hereditary. A particular life-style is pre-decided for a child according to the social class it is born in. It is not surprising, by the way that Hindu clergy explained the socio-economic disparity of humanity through the philosophy of reincarnation.
The viewpoint opposite to this theory attributed the social
differences to God who was the architect of Man’s socio-economic status – fate! Drummed up through ages, this ideology became one of the firm tenants of faith for the common man. This propaganda was deliberate. It aimed at keeping the masses ignorant of the real cause of socio-economic disparity --- the unfair system established by the ‘haves’ (rulers, clergy, capitalists) to perpetuate their privileged social position to rule and control the multitudes of ‘have-nots’.
The Quran is a source of ‘good’
Let us now refer back to the verse which
attributes all good to Allah and all evil to Man. The permanent Values needed to achieve ‘good’ are preserved in the Quran. Sura An-Nahal says: “They (who oppose) ask those who adhere (to the system)” What has your Preserver sent down? They reply: ‘good’ ” (16/30). Thus, Allah is the source of ‘good’. So is the code of life (the Quran) given by him. Therefore, ‘good’ comes from Allah and ‘evil’ comes from Man! This is further explained in the same verse: “Those who are (true to permanent values of) ‘good’ in this life have good in the hereafter” (16/30). This brings to light another definition of ‘good’.
Good and Evil (Profit and Loss) can be quite clearly seen (as material gain and loss) in the realm of physical (animalistic) life. As such, nothing is permanently good or evil. That status changes under changing circumstances --- milk is good if one is healthy but not when one is down with flue etc.; (a glass of) water is good but (a pitcher-full of it is) evil under other condition. Therefore, good and evil are relative (not absolute).
At the human level of life, however, Good and Evil have a different
Absolute Good and Evil
standard i.e. good is which develops and integrates
the human personality; evil is that disintegrates and damages it, since the human personality is non-physical, too. For instance, the Evil in poison can be readily observed, but the Evil is falsehood in beyond observation. The standard of Good and Evil for the human personality, therefore is the Permanent Values (Morality). Morals are exclusive to Man. They are non-existent in the rest of the Animal Kingdom. Morality has no basis in a society which does not accept the existence of the human personality. Such a (materialistic and secular) society has social and / or legal laws which keep the social fabric intact. Generally, such laws are erroneously referred to as morals – lying, cheating, etc. In essence, however, they are social rules not moral code. For example, a person in a secular (materialistic) society will think (1) nothing of lying if it is beneficial and can go undetected by the society’s law-enforcing apparatus. Contrarily, a person who accepts the existence of the human personality does not lie under any circumstances. Such abstention from falsehood aims at preserving the integrity of the human personality. That is morality. From the Quranic perspective, the definition of a person of high moral character (the best behavior) is: ‘The one who rejects material benefits in order to preserve permanent values (to benefit one’s personality)’. As against the materialistic (secular) societies, the code of morality for the human personality are permanent. Adhering to this code generates absolute Good, ignoring it results in absolute Evil, i. e., for example:
(i) fraud will always be evil,
(ii) fraud will always be evil, whatever its nature of gravity,
(1) ‘Conscience’ is just the code of behavior learnt during early years of a child. It varies from one society to another, one time to another.
(iii) fraud will always be evil, regardless of changing times or circumstances.
Permanent Values (pertaining to the human personality) are permanent, unchanging and absolute.
Since the concept of permanent values is non-existent in a ‘wrong’ (non-Quranic) society, a member of it who tries to adhere to and follow such values often incurs material losses. In the face of such a clash, mysticism suggests rejection of the (material) world as the way out. This attitude is self-deceptive. One just cannot ignore the world one lives in. The Quran’s suggestion under such circumstances is to create a society on the basis of Permanent Values – to ensure good for one’s body “حسنات الدنيا” (the worldly benefits) as well as for one’s personality “حسنات الآخرة” (the benefit of hereafter).
Therefore, the Absolute Good, according to the Quran, is that which provides good in the physical as well as the personal realm. The opposite is, of course, Absolute Evil.
The meaning of verse (16/30) of Sura Nahal should now be very clear which talks about “حسنة الدنيا” and “خير" in the hereafter. Such a social system is termed ad-Deen by the Quran. To summarize what we have said so far:
The Materialistic (secular) concept of life caters only for the physical side of Man. Ad-Deen opposes this.
Mysticism advocates rejection of the physical side of Man. Ad-Deen opposes this, too.
Ad-Deen (the Quranic ) concept of life caters for the physical as well as the personal side of Man. This is absolute Good.
This Absolute Good is achievable through conviction (إيمان) and proper deeds (تقوى), or in other words, by having unshakable trust in Allah and the human personality and leading a life according to Permanent Values. Sura Baqara says: “ If they become convinced and lead a proper life, they’ll get Good from Allah. Only if they knew!” (2/103). Such people have been called abraar (ابرار) in (3/198), i. e., those who enjoy the bounties of (the physical) life as well as of (the human) personality. Sura Nahal asks the convinced not to ‘sell’ (ignore) a permanent value for material benefits, if they want to have Good from Allah, (16/95).
The not-so-convinced prefer the material gain in a clash of values. This misconception is mentioned in Sura Baqara: “It may be that you ignore what is actually good for you and want what is actually evil. Allah knows and you know not” - (don’t depend upon your own knowledge of good and evil. Go by Allah’s knowledge) - (2/216).
The most difficult time in a clash of material and permanent values is when it involves losing one’s life. This is termed as Jihaad (or Qitaal). On such an occasion, the Quran asks the convinced to readily offer life because ‘That is good for you if you (really know’ (9/41). Men cannot sometime see the truth because material benefits are readily achievable and the Good takes a while in materializing. Such men are hasty (17/11).
A clash between physical interests and those of the
personality is the time for one to not only test oneself of one’s conviction but also to spur oneself on the path of Ad-Deen. This is termed as iblaa by the Quran. The ultimate testing time comes with potential death during such clashes (21/35; 67/2). This is why the Quran wants one to always exclusively adhere to Ad-deen. A complete negation of permanent vales, therefore, is more destructive because of a complete lack of knowledge of real good and evil.
Summary: Good and Evil are results of Man’s actions alone. If he employs his capabilities to deal with Nature in accordance with Permanent Values, Good results. Otherwise, Evil is produced. Nature’s Law of Deeds decides on Man’s success and failure to the last iota (99/8-9; also: 2/110; 2/215; 27/89; 28/80; 73/20). Allah has NOT pre-decided success (good) or failure (evil) for Man. What He has pre-determined is the Law both for the physical and the personal aspects (in this life as well as in the hereafter).
GAIN AND LOSS
The Quran has also used the terms nafa (gain) and zarar (loss) for khair (good) and shar (evil), respectively.
Early Man’s ignorance and fright of awesome Nature (referred to earlier in this book) made him bow and plead to Nature for mercy. This need of achieving benefit and avoiding disaster from Nature was the origin of deities and the practice of worship. The Quran put the forces of Nature in their right place, controllable by Man and thus, not worthy of worship. “They worship those (other than Allah) who do not (have the power to) benefit or damage them (people)” - (25/55 - Also: 5/77, 6/17, 6/71, 10/18, 10/106, 21/66, 22/12, 48/11). These forces do not enjoy such powers even over their own selves (25/3, 13/6). Next to gods
Not Even Exalted Men
and goddesses people believed certain exalted men
had that sort of a power. To Muslims, no one is, or can be, more highly-placed than the Rasul (messenger) ‘Mohammed’. The Quran told him to announce: “tell them: I do not possess (the power) to either benefit or damage (even) my own self!” (7/188, 10/49).
Nonetheless, some men do cause harm to others. This is explained in (58/10) where it attributes such occurrences to Allah’s izn (laws). One must safeguard
Men harming other men
oneself against such evil men. Suar Aale Imran: “if
you are steadfast and adhere to Allah’s laws, no plot of them (enemies) can harm you” (3/119). Elsewhere, it says: “Had the inhabitants of these settlements been convinced of Allah’s laws and adhered to them, they would have been showered upon by bounties of the sky and the earth. But they rejected those laws and they were apprehended because of their own deeds” (7/96). Therefore, harm comes to Man due to his own actions – “If you keep on the right track, no one can hurt you” (5/105).
Nevertheless, as is our everyday experience, good and fair people do get a
Bad deal in society. Its solution? Simply to replace the entire
social set-up with the system based upon Allah’s laws. Thus, His laws will benefit Man. That is why such acts by Man are attributed to Allah. Sura An’aam says: “If you are hurt by Allah (‘s law), the only respite is from Allah (‘s laws) as He has established measures for everything” (6/17, 10/107), also: 39/38).
One Important Point
Allah attributes to Himself the good deeds done (according to Allah’s laws) by Man. This very important point needs further elaboration. Refer to the Battle of
The Battle of Bedr
Bedr where the holy fighters (who had already been called
Allah’s Party) were told: “It was Allah killing them, not you”, and also that “you did not shoot arrows at them. Allah did” (8/17).
Similarly, on the occasion of the Accord at Hudaibiya, Muslims repeated to the ‘Rasul Allah’ (the messenger) the oath under which they had sold their wealth and persons to Allah (9/111), it is referred to as: “Those who were making an agreement with you (O Rasul!) did in actual effect made it with Allah!” At the time of the oath-taking ceremony, “Allah’s hand was there above your hand!” (48/10).
Suffice to say, then, that whatever occurs in accordance with Allah’s laws is attributed to Allah Himself. This is how ‘Rasul Allah’ Ibraheem said, “(Allah is) who created me and then guided me (onto the right path), the one who satisfies my hunger and thirst, and cures me of any illness, and the one who will give me death and will revive me” (26/78-81).
Not only the universal events but also the potential and actions of humans is attributed to Allah. Sura Ar-Rahman: “Allah created Man and taught him to speak” (55/3-4). Elsewhere it says: “The One who taught him the use of the pen” (96/4). Sura Maaeda says: “(Those animals) which you train (to hunt) as Allah has trained you” (5/4).
All this goes to say that the Quran attributes directly to Allah whatever occurs or is done in accordance with His laws through the potential given to Man by Him. Some of these points will be elaborated later in this book.
Shaitaan (Devil) - Iblees
Shaitaan / Iblees (the Devil) is just another excuse for Man’s actions. Let us briefly examine Shaitaan.
We have so far seen that:
1. Man is born with animalistic instincts (emotions or drives) as well as intellect (which serves to fulfill those drives).
2. Life at the human level requires observance of ‘permanent values’.
3. In case of a clash between an animalistic instinct and a permanent value, one of the following two happens:
a) the permanent value triumphs and intellect works to serve its cause.
b) the instinct triumphs and intellect works to serve the instinct’s cause.
In case of 3 (b) above, Man’s emotions no longer work under a permanent value and therefore are referred to as rebellious intellect. The Quran refers to these unbridled emotions as ‘Shaitaan’. Linguistically, it is considered to be derived from the Arabic root-words ‘شاط ‘ or ‘يشيط ‘ (to flare up). This is my preferred explanation of the term although some take the word to have been derived from Hebrew (meaning ‘the hinderer’) – forces which hinder the progress of permanent values.
Psychologically, when a person is overcome by his / her unbridled emotions (animalistic instincts), it gives rise to aggression (a desire to dominate others), and he / she behaves irrationally. When emotions cool off, he / she repents and frustration sets in.
The word ‘Iblees’ is a derivative of the Arabic root b-l-s which means, to be frustrated. To the Quran, ‘Shaitaan’ and ‘Iblees’ are two sides of the same coin --- unbridled emotions resulting in frustration.
Therefore, ‘Shaitann’ / ‘Iblees’ is nothing but Man’s own emotions. Also, emotions and intellect are neither good nor evil. It is how they are used which makes them so.
Incidentally, Islam (the Quran) values human intellect and emotion very highly. They are gifts of nature and Allah is a source of Good alone. Nothing of His creations can be intrinsically evil. But the ancient Persian philosophy of the Magus (Zoarstrians) did precisely that by pronouncing ‘aharman’ (Shaitaan) to be intrinsically evil and to exist without Man and to be at odds with ‘Yazdaan’ (the
The Concept of Compulsion
God). The idea of Shaitaan being as an
independent creature was used by the irresponsible to create the notion of compultion, i. e., all Man’s evil deeds are instigated by Shaitaan (an entirely separate from and independent of Man). Please refer, at this point, to our observation earlier in this book when Iblees disobeyed Allah one the basis of being under compulsion (having no choice and thus not being responsible for his actions). In other words, refusing to accept responsibility for one’s action is a characteristic of Shaitaan / Iblees.
Let us now turn to the Quran to see its view of Shaitaan and Man. With
The Quranic View
regards to the story of Man it figuratively says: “Then
Shaitaan (led) them both to evil apprehensions” (7/20). Sura Q (ق ) says: “And We have created Man and We know what evil suggestions his own self makes (to him)” (50/16). It is clear that ‘Shaitaan’ is nothing but Man’s own self. In the battle of Uhud some (hypocrites) abandoned their station out of greed. The Quran refers to them thus: “Shaitaan made them falter because of their own actions” (3/154). We have also seen that, overcome by emotions, Man loses balance of mind -- Sura Yasin says: “You let Shaitaan (emotions) overcome you and thus your reason was paralyzed and you ended up in hell” (36/60-62). Sura Ibrahim narrates an imaginary dialogue between Shaitaan and its followers on the Day of Judgment. The wrongdoers blame Shaitaan for their evil deeds. Shaitaan rejects the charge by telling them that he did not exercise any control over them – he just suggested; the deeds were done by people themselves. Therefore, “Don’t you blame me. Blame yourselves” (16/22).
------------------------------ x - x - x - x --------------------------
The burning question, then, is how may Man avoid being overpowered by his own emotions?
How Man can avoid being controlled by his own emotions
Mysticism suggests crushing one’s emotions through strict self denial. But this is as impractical as its other suggestion of denial of this world. Human emotions
cannot be crushed into silence. Any attempts to do so is unwise. Emotions, like Reason, are an asset. The freshness, the variety and the colorfullness of human life springs from desires, which, in turn, are caused by emotions. The Quran’s guidance regarding human emotions is, literally as well as figuratively, out of this world! In (45/23), it says: “Do you see the one who takes his own emotions as his god? Allah(‘s law) makes him go astray, despite having knowledge (and reason); (it is as if) his ears and heart are sealed shut and he is blindfolded. Who else but Allah can help him onto the right path?” Such people are misled because “One who follows one’s emotions disregarding Allah’s guidance, goes astray” (28/50). It is clear, therefore, that human emotions are evil when they are uncontrolled and good if guided by Allah’s law. This was illustrated by the ‘Rasul Allah’ when he said that
The Muslim Iblees (Shaitaan)
every person has their own Iblees. Asked if he
himself had one, the ‘Rasul Allah’ said, ‘Yes, I do. But I have converted my Iblees to Islam.’ Iblees (Shaitaan) is nothing but human emotions is also illustrated in the allegorical story of Man’s birth. Expelled from Paradise, after Iblees having refused
Iblees is controllable
to bow in obedience to Man vowed to mislead Man
(17/62-63). Allah responded to this challenge by saying: “People who follow Me will not come under your control” (17/65). “In fact, he (Iblees) will have no control over people who are convinced (of the truthfulness of Allah’s law) and depend upon and trust their Allah. His control will only work on those who ignore Allah (‘s laws) either completely or partially” (16/99-100). Men convinced of Allah’s law shut Shaitaan out of their minds so that: “If a wandering thought of Shaitaan touches them, they remember (and remind themselves of Allah’s law) and thus they can see more clearly” (7/201). This is illustrated in the story of ‘Rasul’ Yousef’ (Joseph in theBible) where he refused to be enticed by the wife of his Egyptian master. Yousef
practically demonstrated that Shaitaan fails to overcome
the Convinced --- “Surely, he was one of Our pure (of heart) people” (12/64).
A question can arise at this point. One may ask why have this constant
Why the tussle of good and evil
tussle of good and evil at all? The answer is simple. This clash of good and evil is a logical consequence of Man’s
freedom of choice. Freedom of choice cannot exist if there is only one possibility. The moment of choice is the occasion where Man’s potential is brought into play. This Universe operates on the principle of Evolution which is based upon clash. Life is like a stream which accelerates when it clashes with falls of stones. Only a plectrum can release the dormant notes of a harp. A sword is sharpened by ‘struggling against’ the whetting stone. A spark is produced by a flint only when it rubs against a stone. Similarly, clash with evil brings out the good in Man. This is known as ‘the development of his self (personality). Shaitaan provides this essential clash which is so necessary for Man’s development. The Quran refers to this tussle: “… We strike wrong (Evil) with (the hammer of) Right till it (Evil) is smashed into retreat “ (21/18). In the social world, Good can triumph over Evil very swiftly if Allah’s law is implemented. Evil keeps resisting Good; that is the work of Shaitaan: “They establish a system of justice based upon Evil. They were ordered not to do it. This the very thing Shaitaan wants – to lead them to the farthest wrong path!” 4/60).