Table of Contents

Debate Of Good And Evil, Compulsion And Free Will

In Mishkat1 is mentioned a report of Sahih Muslim that “Allah fixed the very portion of adultery, which a man will indulge in. There would be no escape from it. The adultery of the eye is the lustful look and the adultery of the ears is listening to voluptuous (song or talk) and the adultery of the tongue is licentious speech and the adultery of the hand is the lustful grip (embrace) and the adultery of the feet is to walk (to the place) where he intends to commit adultery and the heart yearns and desires, which he may or may not put into effect.”

It is clear from this tradition that whatever a man does, he does so because it is written in his destiny and therefore he should not be blamed. It means that since it was the will of Allah, what is the mistake of man and why would Allah be displeased with the people? What does all this mean? It means that it is Allah’s work, but man is guilty.2

From another tradition of Mishkat3, it is seen that when Allah creates a man for Paradise, He makes him work, so that he would be eligible for Paradise and when He creates a man for hell, He makes him do as hellish people do and then He puts him in hell, therefore it is proved that a man would not be responsible for his deeds.

According to Ihya-ul-uloom of Ghazzali4, good actions of people show faith in Allah and all worldly affairs appear according to the will of Allah. And good and evil, profit and loss, Islam and infidelity, good guidance and deviation, devotion, sin, polytheism and faith are the commands of Allah and no one can disobey His commands. If Allah wants to mislead anyone, He misleads him. It is thus clear that whatever is done, it is by Allah and man does not do anything. What justice is it that man has to bear punishment?

The writer says that in his opinion, the question of good, evil, free will and compulsion is beyond human’s sense and though he has read discussions about it in different languages, but through his investigation, he hasn’t formed a final opinion. O my Lord! This matter is beyond my intellect. I believe in whatever is Your command and Your Prophet’s and the commands of the Infallibles in this matter, and to follow it, is my duty and I don’t want to argue anything about it.

“Keep us on the right path. The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.”5

  • 1. Pg. 12
  • 2. In this matter, a clear and simple faith is enough that Allah has not created a man like vegetables and minerals. On the contrary, He has bestowed him power and strength, that a man can do whatever he likes and he can use his power with the help of Allah’s gift. No doubt that Allah has given some abilities to man and some He has kept beyond him. For example, when a man is standing, he is given choice to raise one of his feet, and he can raise it, but he cannot raise both the feet together and remain suspended in space.

    It is clear that a man is helpless in some matters and therefore he cannot be held answerable in those matters as it is illogical. His reward and punishment depends only on his work in which he was given an authority. Readers of the Holy Quran can understand that Prophet Isa (a.s.) is mentioned to have created living things and Isa (a.s.) himself has also mentioned about his creation, but through the power of Allah.

    Thus a man performs good deeds and bad deeds but whatever he does, he does not on his own, since he has no personal power. Whatever he does, he does so by the power that Allah has granted to him. Therefore, good or bad will be related to man and to blame Allah for it, is meaningless. Therefore, good or bad, everything is from Allah and if it means that whatever a man does is from Allah, is entirely wrong.

    And if it means that whatever is good or bad in the world are granted by Allah, then we accept that whatever good is from Allah and whatever Allah does is all for the best, and evil is out of Allah’s will, because Allah is Supreme, the Knower and Omnipotent. Therefore, He does not allow bad deeds. Those who have invented the concept of compulsion, believe that a man is helpless and whatever Allah wants, He does. Seeing the senseless and inhuman deeds of their elders, they attributed all their misdoings to Allah in order to save them from blame.

  • 3. Pg. 12
  • 4. Pg. 66/67
  • 5. Surah Al Hamd 1:5-7