Lesson 25: Evil and the Justice of God

In religious texts, it is asserted that God has created the realm of nature for the benefits of humanity, as God says in the Holy Qur’an, thus:

﴿ هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي الأرْضِ جَمِيعًا ﴾

“It is He who created for you all that is in the earth.”1

In this regard, this objection is put forth: natural evils, i.e. undesirable events such as earthquake, flood, typhoon, volcanic eruption, and the like; predator and biting animals; plagues; and viruses go against man’s interests and bring harm to him. If man’s exploitation of nature were concomitant with the justice and wisdom of God, why did He create nature as associated with evils? If nature’s association with evils is inevitable, it follows that serving the interests of man should be considered the philosophy behind the creation of nature.

General Welfare and Public Good

This objection is caused by a partial outlook on events, observation of limited individual losses, and overlooking of the general welfare and public good although rationally public interests and benefits prevail over personal and particular interests. On this basis, gains and losses in the realm of nature must be considered as a whole and the general objectives and interests must be gauged. With this outlook, the problem will be solved.

Regarding death which can be regarded as the most painful occurrence and the most prominent manifestation of evil, Ṣadr al-Muta’allihīn said:

“If we reflect well on this undesirable phenomenon, it will become clear that it is beneficial to the person who dies as well as to the others. Its benefit for the one who dies is that he will become free from the life in this world which is replete with miseries and afflictions, and its benefit for the others is that had there been no death; uncontrollable population explosion would have made life’s arena narrow and human living impossible.

“In a tradition (ḥadīth) reported from Imām al-Ṣādiq (‘a), it is said that some of the previous communities asked their prophet to petition to God the removal of death from them.2 The said prophet petitioned so and God granted it and took death away from them. As a result, their generations multiplied and the usual flow of their lives was suspended because each person had to attend only to the needs of their ageing parents and grandparents and had no opportunity to perform any constructive work. For this reason, they asked their prophet to petition God for the return of the attribute of death to them.”3

Unpleasant Things and Understanding the Sweetness of Doing Good

One of the utilities of the undesirable [things and happenings] is that it makes a person perceive and enjoy the good and pleasant things. Had it not been for illness, man would have never found out the blessing of good health and felt its pleasure. Had there been no hunger, being full would not have been understandable and satisfying. Without darkness, light could not have been appreciated. Of course, this does not mean that without considering individual capacities and potentials, God would originate painful happenings and creatures that bring about evil so as to teach the value of good and goodness.

This rather means that one of the benefits of what is called ‘evil’ is to identify and perceive the pleasantness of good. In view of the fact that God creates the creatures while considering their inherent potentials, and the reply to the objection on why the [Arabic] letter alīf is a straight line while the letter dāl is a curve is that these traits are part of the corollaries of their nature. Each of them is demanded by this type of existential designation and realization and nothing else; all these differences are based upon the principle of cosmic justice of God – “giving every right to its owner”: 4

أَعْطىٰ كُلَّ ذي حَقٍّ حَقَّهُ.

Undesirables and the Blossoming of Talents

A study of human history and great personalities clearly shows that undesirable events have a crucial role in the blossoming and coming to fruition of talents, and the secret behind this is that as necessitated by his instinctive desire to prevail over the undesirable things. In order to emerge victorious in this confrontation, one would have to strive hard to make use of all his natural talents and capabilities, and this state of affairs leads to his personal growth and maturity.

Resistance against undesirable things strengthens and fortifies man’s will-power and resolve, and causes the gem of his personality and manliness to appear.5 One must endure all difficulties and afflictions in order to discover what is due to him. The Holy Qur’an says:

﴿ لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإنْسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ ﴾

“Certainly We created man in travail.”6

It also says, thus:

﴿ فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا ٭ إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا ﴾

“Indeed ease accompanies hardship. Indeed ease accompanies hardship.”7

What is interesting is that these two verses come after certain verses which God has revealed as a consolation for the Holy Prophet () in facing undesirable events. It thus states:

﴿ أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ ٭ وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ ٭ الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ ٭ وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ ٭ فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا ٭ إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا ﴾

“Did We not open your breast for you and relieve you of your burden which [almost] broke your back? Did We not exalt your name? Indeed ease accompanies hardship. Indeed ease accompanies hardship.”8

The verse Indeed ease accompanies hardship” shows that the said blessings bestowed by God upon the Prophet () is the outcome of his efforts and persistence in the way of playing his crucial sacred role as well as his patience and fortitude in facing adverse conditions. It is this ‘usr (difficulty) which brings about the yusr (ease). Given this, one must not remain passive for even a moment; rather, after getting relief from every endeavour or pursuit, one must embark on another struggle and turn his attention to his Lord by constantly striving hard. As it is thus stated,

﴿ فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ ٭ وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ ﴾

“So when you are done, appoint, and turn eagerly to your Lord.”9

In this regard, Mawlawī [Rūmī] has thus said:

رنج گنج آمد كه رحمتها در اوست مغز تازه شد چو بخراشيد پوست

اي برادر موضع تاريك و سرد‬ صبر كردن بر غم و سستي و درد‬

چشمة حيوان و جام مستي است‬ كان بلنديها همه در پستي است‬

آن بهاران مضمر است اندر خزان‬ در بهار است آن خزان مگريز از آن

همره غم باش و با وحشت بساز‬ ﻣﻲطلب در مرگ خود عمر دراز‬

Pain is a treasure, for there are mercies in it:

the kernel becomes fresh when you scrape off the rind.

O brother, a dark and cold place,

to endure patiently sorrow and weakness and pain,

Is the Fountain of Life and the cup of intoxication,

for those heights are all in lowliness.

That spring is implied in autumn, and that autumn is in the spring:

do not flee from it

Be a fellow-traveller with grief, agree with desolation,

and seek long life in your death.10

Finding the way to paradise without enduring hardships and afflictions while undertaking the humane-sacred mission is impossible. The Holy Qur’an has emphatically and categorically mentioned this subject in this manner:

﴿ أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُمْ مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ مَسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّى يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَى نَصْرُ اللَّهِ أَلا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ ﴾

“Do you suppose that you shall enter paradise though there has not yet come to you the like of [what befell]] those who went before you? Stress and distress befell them and they were convulsed until the apostle and the faithful who were with him said, ‘When will Allah’s help [come]?’ Look! Allah’s help is indeed near!”11

Painful Incidents or Warning Signs

From the perspective of man’s spiritual life, undesirable natural events have also significant and considerable benefits on top of which is to reprove and wake him up. Entertainment and attachment to the outward manifestations of the corporeal world cause negligence of the spiritual values, and as this attachment increases, his distance from spirituality and real happiness also increases. In waking up man from the slumber of negligence and drawing his attention to lofty values, God, the All-merciful, has used many ways, among the most important of which are painful and undesirable happenings. In this regard, the Holy Qur’an has thus stated:

﴿ وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّبِيٍّ إِلاَّ أَخَذْنَا أَهْلَهَا بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَضَّرَّعُونَ ﴾

“We did not send a prophet to any town without visiting its people with stress and distress so that they might entreat [for Allah’s forgiveness].”12

﴿ وَلَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ بِالسِّنينَ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ ﴾

“Certainly We afflicted Pharaoh’s clan with droughts and loss of produce, so that they may take admonition.”13

Istidrāj and Ibtilā

Istidrāj and ibtilā are two Qur’anic concepts which refer to material blessings and undesirable natural events. Whenever a person sinks in the abyss of sins and disobedience to God while not facing painful happenings and always living in comfort and material blessings, he is afflicted with the punishment of istidrāj.

However, whenever he would experience difficulties and adversities after committing sin and this would prompt him to repent for his sins and return to the service of God, he is a recipient of God’s mercy and through which the jewel of his faith will be purged of the dirts of sins.

In his compiled book Al-Kāfī, the traditionist (muaddith) al-Kulaynī has recorded Imām al-Ṣādiq (‘a) as saying:

“Whenever God desires for the wellbeing of His servant who commits a sin, He would put him in difficulty, and whenever He desires evil for His servant who commits a sin [as he himself chooses], He would give a bounty to him so he will forget to seek forgiveness and will be amused by the said bounty. This is what God refers to when He says:

﴿ وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴾

“As for those who deny Our signs, We will draw them imperceptibly [into ruin], whence they do not know.”14, 15

It is thus stated in the pithy aphorisms of Imām ‘Alī (‘a):

كَمْ مِنْ مُسْتَدْرَج ٍبِالإِحْسَانِ إلَيْهِ، وَمَغْرورٍ بِالسَّتْرِ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَفْتُونٍ بِحُسْنِ الْقَوْلِ فِيهِ! وَمَا ابْتَلَى اللهُ أَحَداً بِمِثْلِ الإِمْلاَءِ لَهُ.

“There are many persons for whom constant grants of His Bounties turn them wicked and stand fit for His punishment and there are many more who have become vain and self-deceptive because the Merciful Allah has not exposed their weaknesses and vices to the world and other people speak highly about them. All this is an opportunity. No trial of the Lord is more severe than the time He allows (in which either you may repent or get deeper into vices).”16

For those who take admonition and do reflect, therefore, difficulties and undesirable things are manifestations of goodness and reflection of God’s grace and mercy. For these individuals, painful happenings are like bitter pills that the doctor or guardians of the patient – out of sympathy and compassion – would ask him to take these pills to save his life. Now, if these individuals do not refrain from harmful foods and because of their failure to observe the doctor’s instructions on taking medicine, the bitter medicine fails to bring about the sweetness of good health, the doctor can in no way be blameworthy and be at fault. The undesirable thing is an outcome of the misuse of the patient’s will power, and nothing else.

The Role of Sins in the Occurrence of Painful Incidents

From the perspective of Qur’anic worldview, good and bad deeds of the human beings have an influence on some of the natural pleasant and painful happenings. In connection with the role of good deeds in the multiplication of bounties, the Qur’an thus says:

﴿ وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَى آمَنُواْ وَاتَّقَواْ لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِم بَرَكَاتٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ ﴾

“If the people of the towns had been faithful and God-wary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth.”17

And it also says:

﴿ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ﴾

“If you are grateful, I will surely enhance you [in blessing].”18

﴿ اِسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا ٭ يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًا ٭ وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ أَنْهَارًا ﴾

“Plead to your Lord for forgiveness. Indeed He is all-forgiver. He will send for you abundant rains from the sky, and aid you with wealth and sons, and provide you with gardens and provide you with streams. ”19

Regarding the evil deeds’ contribution to undesirable events, it thus says:

﴿ ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ﴾

“Corruption has appeared in land and sea because of the doings of the people’s hands, that He may make them taste something of what they have done, so that they may come back.”20

﴿ وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُوا عَنْ كَثِيرٍ ﴾

“Whatever affliction that may visit you is because of what your hands have earned, and He excuses many [an offense].”21

﴿ وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ اللَّهُ النَّاسَ بِظُلْمِهِمْ مَا تَرَكَ عَلَيْهَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ ﴾

“Were Allah to take mankind to task for their wrongdoing, He would not leave any living being upon it.”22

﴿ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَى قَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴾

“That is because Allah never changes a blessing that He has bestowed on a people unless they change what is in their own souls, and Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing.”23

On this basis, in interpreting evils, one must not overlook the role of man in his undesirable actions. In fact, fairness in giving judgment and conducting research dictates that instead of putting into question the justice of God, one must first examine the ideological and practical equilibrium (faith and good deeds) of the human beings. Yet, what can be done when the egoistic man has no concern for exonerating himself even from entertaining doubt and skepticism on the justice of wisdom of the One who created him?!

The Saints of God’s Account as Separate

The principle is exclusive to those who do not have total protection from sins as they are prone to commit sins and wrongdoings, and the selected saints (awliyā) of God and genuine believers are excluded from this principle. The undesirable things that happen in their lives have a different interpretation, and that is promotion of status, elevation of perfection and getting closer to the Station of Divine Proximity. For instance, Imām al-Ṣādiq (‘a) was reported to have said:

“In the sight of God, man has a station which he cannot reach through [his] own good deeds. God will afflict him with misfortune in body, wealth or offspring. Whenever he demonstrates patience, he attains such station.”24

The Imām (‘a) also said to Isḥāq ibn ‘Ammār:

يا إسْحاقُ لا تُعَدَّنَ مُصيبَةً أُعْطِيَتْ عَلَيْها الصَّبْرَ و أسْتَوْجَبْتَ عَلَيْها مِنَ اللهِ ثَوابًا بِمُصيبَةٍ، إنَّ المصيبَةَ الَّتي يُحْرَمُ صاحِبُها أجْرَها وَثَوابَها إذا لَمْ يَصْبِرْ عِنْدَ نُزولِها.

“O Isḥāq! Do not regard as misfortune the undesirable happening which you endure and for which you earn [spiritual] reward from Allah. Misfortune is the undesirable happening which one cannot endure and from whose reward one cannot earn.”

From here, one can realize the incorrectness of the notion of those who think that the undesirable events in the lives of the saints of God are covered by this verse:

﴿ وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُوا عَنْ كَثِيرٍ ﴾

“Whatever affliction that may visit you is because of what your hands have earned, and He excuses many [an offense].”25

For instance, after the attainment of martyrdom of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) and his companions, the criminal Yazīd cited the said verse in a bid to manipulate public opinion with respect to his responsibility in what had transpired in Karbalā. Yet, Imām al-Sajjād immediately confronted him and gave his decisive reply:

“This verse of the Qur’an does not apply to us; what apply to us are these verses:

﴿ مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الأرْضِ وَلا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلا فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ ٭ لِكَيْلا تَأْسَوْا عَلَى مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ ﴾

“No affliction visits the earth or yourselves but it is in a Book before We bring it about – that is indeed easy for Allah - so that you may not grieve for what escapes you, nor exult for what comes your way.”26

What can be inferred from an examination of these two verses which were cited by Imām al-Sajjād (‘a) in reply to Yazīd is that without committing any sin or disobedience, some individuals will have painful experiences so as to attain [the state of] submission and contentment on account of their patience and endurance.

As a result, they would not accept anything except that which the souls accept; neither do they get sad for losing worldly things nor do they rush to acquire them. Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) and his companions were an illustrious example of such personalities.

Evil and Retributory Justice

Out of this point, one can reply to the misgiving about evil in the context of retributory justice. The misgiving is that the painful experiences that serve as a retribution or punishment for the sinners bring about disturbance, loss and harm to the innocent and righteous and as a result, they are unjustly victimized.

The reply is that the misfortunes and painful experiences serve as means of perfection and elevation for them, and although they have to suffer and lose materially, they will earn great rewards in terms of the life in the Hereafter. In order to attain these, every reasonable person should wholeheartedly endure material afflictions, and in principle, with this outlook, painful happenings turn sweet and desirable, and in the words of Mawlawī [Rūmī],

هر بلا كز دوست آيد رحمت است آن بلا را بر دلم صد منت است

ای بلاهای تو آرام دلم حاصل از درد تو شد کام دلم

نالم و ترسم که او باور کند وز ترحم جور را کمتر کند

‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd is reported to have said: “One day we were in the company of the Prophet () who was then smiling and we asked him the reason for his smile. He () said, ‘I was surprised at the believer’s impatience for illness. If he only knows the extent of rewards given to him for experiencing pain and illness, he would desire to be constantly sick.’”27

Pains and Rewards

In their theological texts, the justice-oriented (‘adliyyah) theologians have some discussions about suffering and recompense. First, they have divided suffering into two groups, viz. preliminary (ibtidāī) and meritorious (istiqāqī). They have then dealt with the positive form of preliminary suffering and thereafter they have mentioned that the justice of God necessitates that recompense must be given to those who endure suffering. In this regard, Ibn Maytham al-Baḥrānī has said:

“The positive form of preliminary suffering consists of two things. One is that in exchange for it, God bestows ample rewards in such a way that if one could choose between accepting the suffering and rewards, and the absence of suffering and to be deprived of those rewards, he will choose the former. Another is that the said suffering or undesirable thing includes bounties due to him or others. The reason for the first case is that the preliminary suffering without recompense is injustice, and the reason for the second case is that suffering with recompense and without motive is futile, and injustice and futility are impossible to apply to God.”28

The current theological discourse is the answer to all the misgivings being raised in relation to the retributory justice of God and from the perspective of non-meritorious sufferings and afflictions. And its outcome is that such sufferings and afflictions, on one hand, are manifestations and expressions of the Divine grace for humanity, and on the other hand, God bestows so much reward to those who endure sufferings and afflictions that any forethoughtful and realistic person would voluntarily endure those sufferings and afflictions.

Concluding Points

At the end of this lesson, we deem it necessary to mention the following points:

1. The [existence of] influence of man’s good and bad deeds in natural occurrences is one of the precepts, revelation and teachings of the Qur’an, and rationally, the existence of such a relationship between man and nature is possible, and since the authority of revelation is affirmed by reason, it follows that reason dictates that it must be accepted.

2. It is true that this relationship can be interpreted as natural and on the basis of conventional cause-and-effect relationship, and it can be said that what is meant by the effect of the good deeds of the human beings – in the sending down of blessings, for instance – is that whenever faith (īmān) and God-wariness (taqwā) are prevalent in human society, the individual members are hopeful and optimistic, and eagerly help one another in exploring and unraveling the secrets of nature; unity and solidarity reign in society; and laws and regulations are totally observed. On this basis, the causes and factors for advancement will be provided, and thus, the bounties of life will increase and thereafter the blessings of the Heaven and the earth will descend upon them.

What can be understood, however, from the apparent meanings of the Qur’anic verses and traditions (aḥādith) is that in addition to the natural effects of faith, God-wariness and repentance (tawbah) in the sending down of the Divine blessings, there is also a sort of metaphysical effect, particularly the sins of those who are responsible for some undesirable events, and this effect is beyond a sort of natural effect.

3. The abovementioned subject is one of the universal principles and laws of human life, and one must not pass judgment on it by merely studying the personal lives of individuals. In many instances, in a corrupt and wicked society there may be pious and impious individuals who enjoy or are deprived of material bounties. There are reasons and causes for it which are not hidden to the people of insight.

4. That some painful natural events are caused by the undue attitudes of some individuals can in no way be a justification for a person not to do something to stop them and to make use of his intellectual, theoretical and physical ability to prevent the occurrence of undesirable events such as earthquakes and floods. In fact, from the religious perspective, saving a life is obligatory and laxity in facing critical events is not permissible. This point is exactly true with regards to another religious principle, i.e. admonition to patience and fortitude in facing adversities and undesirable things.

5. Regarding painful states such as poverty, insecurity, illness, and war which are caused by the egoism of the oppressors and criminals, the following points must also be borne in mind. Firstly, committing sin and disobeying God have a role in the occurrence of these conditions. For instance, it is stated in a tradition (adīth) that whenever the members of society abandon the duty of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is wrong (amr bi ’l-ma‘rūf wa ’n-nahyi ‘ani ’l-munkar), wickedness will prevail.

6. Secondly, after the occurrence of these events, the members of society are duty-bound to stop and finally uproot the traces of these events. Thirdly, those who are responsible for these undesirable states shall be held responsible and condemned from the perspective of reason, conscience and religion, and they must be punished accordingly.

Review Questions

1. Write down one of the benefits of undesirable things.

2. How can undesirable things cause the blossoming of talents?

3. What is meant by istidrāj and ibtilā?

4. Write down the role of sins in the occurrence of painful happenings.

5. What is the explanation for undesirable things that happen to the saints (awliyā’), God’s elect and the faithful?

6. Write down the misgiving on the existence of evil in the context of retributory justice along with the refutation to it.

7. What is meant by ‘suffering’ (ālām) and ‘recompense’ (a‘wāḍ)?

  • 1. Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:29.
  • 2. Most probably, it means some alteration in the law of nature and the usual mode of death, and not abrogation of the law of death which is definitive, universal and unexceptional.
  • 3. Al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 260; Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, Al-Tawḥīd, p. 401.
  • 4. See Ḥakīm Sabziwārī, Sharḥ al-Asmā’ al-Ḥusnā, p. 54; Murtaḍā Muṭahharī, ‘Adl-e Ilāhī, pp. 188-191.
  • 5. Nahj al-Balāghah, Saying 217.
  • 6. Sūrat al-Balad 90:4.
  • 7. Sūrat al-Sharḥ 94:5-6.
  • 8. Sūrat al-Sharḥ 94:1-6.
  • 9. Sūrat al-Sharḥ 94:7-8.
  • 10. Mathnawī-ye Ma‘nawī, Book 2, lines 2261-2265.
  • 11. Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:214.
  • 12. Sūrat al-A‘rāf 7:94.
  • 13. Sūrat al-A‘rāf 7:130.
  • 14. Sūrat al-A‘rāf 7:182.
  • 15. Uṣūl al-Kāfī, vol. 2, “Kitāb al-Īmān wa ’l-Kufr,” “Bāb al-Istidrāj,” ḥadīth 1.
  • 16. Nahj al-Balāghah, Saying 116/260.
  • 17. Sūrat al-A‘rāf 7:96.
  • 18. Sūrat Ibrāhīm 14:7.
  • 19. Sūrat Nūḥ 71:10-11.
  • 20. Sūrat al-Rūm 30:41.
  • 21. Sūrat ash-Shūrā 42:30.
  • 22. Sūrat an-Naḥl 16:61.
  • 23. Sūrat al-Anfāl 8:53.
  • 24. Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 71, p. 94.
  • 25. Sūrat ash-Shūrā 42:30.
  • 26. Sūrat al-Ḥadīd 57:22.
  • 27. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, Al-Tawḥīd, section (bāb) 62, ḥadīth 3.
  • 28. Qawwām al-Marām, p. 119.