What is Islam?

by James William Lovegrove (Habeeb-Ullah)

Good and Evil

The problem of evil does not admit of easy solution. But for Islam it would have remained an unsolved mystery. We do not believe evil to be an independent entity. Anything and everything that emanates from the Foundation of Good must be, and is, good—so says the Quran. But the good of it comes out when we work under given conditions.

Opium or any other poison acts as a panacea if used in certain quantities under certain conditions and on certain occasions. Everything has been created for a good purpose, and has its use. If you exceed the limit it becomes evil. In short, everything has its use and abuse; it becomes good if it is given its proper use and evil when abused. Revelation and science help us to find the real use of everything. When we go against the knowledge thus received we commit evil. Thus everything in its certain measure good is in another measure evil. These measures are unalterable and unchangeable, seeing that they have been prescribed by the Creator of all things. Belief in this unchangeable measurement is an article of faith in Islam. In other words, our belief in the theory of causality springs out of it and is helpful in maintaining moral order. If we strongly believe in the good and evil consequences of our actions which are sure to befall us, we cannot go the way of evil. We never take poison, but within prescribed limits as a medicine, because we believe in its mortal effect. Similarly, if the world strongly believed in the baneful result of the abuse of things, evil would have long since ceased to exist. What is true on the physical plane is true also on the emotional and moral plane. Every emotion in us has its proper use. It becomes high morality and virtue when exhibited on proper occasions, but it is wickedness and sin when it gets the better of us in an uncontrolled manner. In fact, under the teaching of Islam, the misplacement of things is evil. Adam may fall, when he gives way to his craving in the forbidden limits, but the craving in itself had its righteous use. For this reason, we Muslims do not believe in sin in nature—the abuse of nature is sin.