The Wisdom Behind Creating Evil, Iblees (Satan), Pain ..etc.
By Lorna Chepkwony
A student at AIU (American International University)
In calamities, trials, tribulations, pain, disease there lies many benefits that vary in accordance to the individual and also vary in degrees of relevance. Allah Subhanahu wa Taala tells us:
Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned.
With the onset of calamities comes the realization of the greatness of Allah’s Lordship and His all-encompassing power. All of mankind is in need of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and He is constantly engaged in fulfilling the needs of the entire creation. He causes rain to fall in one part of the world and causes another part to experience severe drought – all this in a bid to test and try mankind to see who indeed will realize the might and power of the Most High and therefore worship Him alone.
Humans are the slaves of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and He is our Lord. Servitude entails humility and dejection, although not all of mankind accepts this concept, especially not the arrogant and those who wallow in disbelief and ignorance. It is to this that the saying of Allah aza wa jal, points to,
Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘we belong to Allah and to Him will we return’.
They acknowledge that they belong to Him, that they are but lowly servants of His, that they will return to Him for judgment and are subject to His decree and regulation. They know that there is no way of escape from Him nor is there any refuge except in Him.
When one experiences hardship, the realization that he or she cannot suppress the hardship except by turning to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and acknowledging the fact that there is no one to depend on to remove it except Him, brings about a sincerity for Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He bring them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.
And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safe to land, you turn away (from Him). And man is ever ungrateful.
Ibn Kathir in His Book of Tafsir as regards the above verse, (17:67) said: ‘Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl fled from Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam at the time when Makkah was conquered. He rode over the Red Sea to cross over to Ethiopia, but as they proceeded, a heavy stormy wind overtook their boat, and huge waves came to them from all sides, and they thought that they are encircled therein. The people of the boat said to one another: “None can save you except Allah. So invoke Him (Allah)(by making your faith pure for Him Alone and none else) to deliver you safe (from drowning).” ‘Ikrimah said to himself, “By Allah if none can benefit in the sea except Allah (Alone) then no doubt none can benefit over the land except Allah (Alone). O Allah! I promise You that if you delivered me safe from this, I will go and put my hands in the hands of Prophet Muhammad and surely, I will find him full of pity, kindness and mercy.” So they were delivered safe (by Allah), and returned to their seashore and came out of the sea. ‘Ikrimah then proceeded to Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, narrated his story, embraced Islam (just as he promised Allah), and became a perfect Muslim. (Tafsir ibn Katheer).
Facing calamities can cause one to turn to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in repentance – ‘rushing to do that which would please his Lord, turning back to Him at every moment and foremost in doing that which He loves’.1
When harm touches man he calls upon his Lord, turning in repentance to Him.
Calling upon Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala is a mark of servitude and exemplifies it. Submissiveness and supplication are a show of a person’s need of Allah and expresses his inability to change any matter himself or having any power or ability.
Calamities can also bring about training in forbearance, the ranking of which differs in accordance to the magnitude of the calamity. A display of forbearance at the onset of the severest calamities is ranked highly as far as attaining the pleasure of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala for this is a manifestation of being pleased with whatever He, in His unquestionable Wisdom, has decreed.
The patient and steadfast will be repaid their wages in full without reckoning.
The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said,
None has been given a gift better and more encompassing than patience.2
Endurance of trials and tribulations patiently brings about expiation of sins and errors.
Any disaster that strikes you is through what your own hands have earned and He pardons much.
The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, said,
The believer is not afflicted with illness or hardship, even if it be a worry that troubles him or a thorn that pricks him, except his sins would be expiated as a result of it.3
Blessings are never truly appreciated until one loses them. Thus when one is faced with hardship, he attains an understanding of the greatness of blessing of ease and well-being. The companions of the garden in Surah Qalam lost their garden, a punishment from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala for their failure to attribute their possessions as being a blessing from Allah and thought themselves to be self-sufficient. When they lost the garden, they turned back to Allah – repenting to Him and hoping that He would replace it with something better.
Tribulation and hardship prevents one from evil, vanity, boastfulness, arrogance and oppression. If Nimrod had been a poor, weak, blind and deaf person, he would never have argued with Ibrahim concerning His Lord; however, he was deceived by his sovereignity:
What about the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord, on the basis that Allah had given him sovereignity?
Similarly, Pharaoh declared that he is the Lord of the Egyptians the Most High, until when he faced the wrath of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala which came in the form of drowning in the sea. He uttered as such for he thought himself to be sovereign and he was only humbled when he faced a dire calamity.
Shaytaan, who was evicted from Paradise for his disobedience of Allah out of sheer pride, is an enemy to mankind. He whispers to him, causing weak man to divert from the obedience of his Lord. If Allah thus guides man, he returns to Him in repentance, recognizing the attributes of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala of being oft-forgiving and the Most Merciful. Some of the salaf used to say, “Indeed I am disobeying Allah! I know this because of the behavior of my wife and livestock.” When a slave falls into sin, one of the punishments is that they encourage the Shayateen to grow bold against the sinner and consequently, they bombard him, equipped with temptation, whispers, making him afraid and harm him. They go forward in opposition to him, causing the servant to forget. His well-being lies within remembering Allah and his destruction will be the result of his forgetting.
Indeed the enmity between man and Shaytan is old, commencing from the time that Adam (aleyhi salaam) was created – from the time he was ordered to prostrate to him. Shaytaan refused, became arrogant and hence disobeyed his Lord. His arrogance and pride led him to commit a whole host of sins, it made him expend every effort in misleading the children of Adam and made him beautify and embellish sins such that they accepted them and eagerly committed them. Due to this, Allah aza wa jal, revealed the Books, sent the Messengers and enjoined His servants to various laws and admonitions in order to secure them from the evil of Shaytan. Two groups emerged: the guided and the misguided. The groups who were guided are the inhabitants of Paradise and the group who were misguided are the inhabitants of the Hellfire, and Allah aza wa jal did not create anything in vain.
The above few wisdoms and benefits behind the creating of evil in general, are some of what cause mankind to be tried and tested, the highest level of severity being experienced by the Prophets. They were accused of being insane, ridiculed and mocked at, called poets and degraded. The Prophets and the righteous have always faced trials and tribulations, with each person being tried in proportion to his religion. Some of them would be sawn in half but this would not cause them to renegade from their faith. We ask of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to make us steadfast on His religion.
1ibn al-Qayyim, Madarij as-Salikin[1/467]
2Bukhari [#1429] and Muslim [#1053] on the authority of Abu Said al-Khudri
3Bukhari [#5641] and Muslim [#2573]
v The Noble Qur’an
v Tafseer ibn Katheer
v Trials and Tribulations, wisdom and benefits by al-Imam al-‘Izz bin ‘Abdi-s-Salam with an appendix from the work of ibn al Qayyim
v The Decisive criterion between the Friends of Allah and the friends of Shaytan by Ibn Taymiyyah
v Sins and their punishments by Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah