God and Evil

How can there be GOD if there is so much evil in the world?

This is question that may come to a believers mind at the start of their learning journey towards understanding GOD. How can there be GOD if there is so much evil in the world? To discuss this a few related concepts needs to be known first. These include reviewing some of the attributes of GOD, purpose of creation of mankind and the Day of Judgement. We accept that it looks like there is a lot of evil in the world but there needs to be an analysis of what evil is and what the world would look like if there was no evil in it. This essay will look into all the above to conclude the answer to question raised in the topic, referring to verses from the Holy Quran

One of the attributes of GOD is “Al-Qudoos” which means: the One Whose characteristics cannot be conceived by the senses, nor can He be conceived by imagination, nor can He be realized by any mind or reason or judged by any intellect. This attribute illustrates that there will be lots of questions relating to GOD’s existence, His actions, His laws, and His nature which is absolutely wise, however the senses, imagination and intellect of human beings will only understand these as much as they are capable of. Which in turn means that some people will find answers to satisfy themselves, but others will be stuck in doubt whether there is GOD or not. Identifying this attribute of GOD, The Quran says: “Whatever in the heavens and in the earth declares the glory of Allah, the King, the Holy” (62:1). Another attribute “Al-Mu’min” means: the One to Whom peace and security are rendered: He provides the means of their attainment, blocking all the avenues of fear. This attribute tells us that peace and security belong to GOD. If divine guidance is followed, the natural result of that will be peace and security and evil can be avoided. The Quran recognises this attribute by describing GOD as: “… the One Who gives peace, Who grants security” (59:23) [1]

Let’s now look into the purpose of creation of mankind. The Quran says: I did not create the jinn and the humans except that they may serve Me (51:56). This shows that the expectation of GOD, the creator of mankind, from His creation, is to follow Divine guidance. This may be in the form of guidance from messengers, from the holy Book or other good morals, that the intellect guides them to.  The key point is that human beings are not supposed to act in any way contrary to the divine guidance. This doesn’t mean that they are not capable of deviation from the true path, they are, and that is also recognised by GOD, but enough power has been granted to people to choose from the right or wrong actions [2]. Those who follow the divine guidance are referred to as the friends of Allah and one of their qualities is that even though they can fall into evil, but they protect themselves from it and qualify for rewards in this world and the hereafter:  “Now surely the friends of Allah shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. Those who believed and guarded (themselves against evil) shall have glad tidings in the life of this world as well as in the life hereafter…” (10:62-65). This capability of doing evil is also explained in another verse of the Quran which says that some people desire good deeds and be associated with GOD’s glory, however others may have an evil desire, for them the ending is not fruitful and neither their plans will succeed. The Quran says: Whoever desires honour, to Allah belongs the honour all of it. To Him do the good words ascend, and the good deeds He raises; (as for) those who plan an evil plan, they shall have a severe chastisement, (as for) their plan, it shall surely perish. (35:10). Therefore, there are clear indications of divine guidance requiring justice and good deeds and forbidding evil and rebellion. However, we see in the world that there is so much evil within humans, primarily to gain personal benefits or making bad use of free will granted by GOD.  This evil and injustice has an impact of the eco-system around humans and results in disasters that are then attributed towards GOD. On the other hand, we also see those following divine guidance and trying to mend the eco-system, however they are always outnumbered [3]. This moves us into the discussion of understanding what evil actually is?

The Quran says: “Surely evil is the dwelling place of those who are proud. (16:29) and “… We try you by evil and by good by way of probation” (21:35). Someone knowing what is good for them will only not follow it, if they are proud or think they know better. This is where they start to move away from divine guidance after receiving it. Some people will just choose not to accept GOD, as accepting will mean following divine guidance and then they will have something to go against. Without believing, they are free to do what they feel like and get into the trap of evil. On the other hand, doing evil has been made a possibility by GOD, so there are choices available to humans and they can decide whether they want short term gains following personal desires or eternal ones following divine guidance. Its also important at this stage to understand the concept of Satan. The Quran says: “…by Your Might I will surely make them live an evil life, all of them” (38:82). When Satan was given permission to leave paradise and become a source of evil, this meant that he was allowed to show all benefits of leaving good deeds and decisions to follow a personal or non-divine path. Satan’s job is not to make someone perform evil but persuade them enough that they find evil to be more beneficial.

Now that we have discussed GOD being the source of all good and why evil exists, we can see why so much evil exists in the world. However even after human beings, the creation of GOD, deviate from His guidance, GOD even recognises that and assures in the Quran that “And whoever does evil or acts unjustly against his own soul then asks forgiveness of Allah, he shall find Allah Forgiving, Merciful” (4:110). Human beings are able to be influenced by Satan, they are able to be influenced by their own desires, they are able to be influenced by others, all of which goes against divine guidance and attract them to the temporary pleasures of evil deeds. However, GOD has given them more options after performing a sin. They have a choice now to repent and seek forgiveness or carry on doing the sin at any point in their life. Those who recognise GOD’s mercy, they ask for it and get it. Even after repeating the sin several times. All actions are accounted for and are being recording as long as they are in this world. GOD even recognises that there will be people who have done evil knowing or unknowingly and don’t get a chance to repent before leaving the world. His mercy is stated in the Quran in the following words: “On the Day when He gathers you for the Day of Gathering, that is the Day of loss and gain: whoever believes in Allah and does good, He will remove from him his evil…” (64:9). If you have been following divine guidance largely in your life and have been subject to sin due to weakness or even deliberate, there is a chance that GOD will remove the sins from you [4]

So, we can conclude that GOD exists, He has created this world, set guidance for mankind and gave them the choices. One of the reasons that so much evil exists in the world is people not recognising GOD as their creator (non-believers), ignoring GOD in their lives, not looking for divine guidance or not following divine guidance. The common phenomenon that’s called evil are people cheating each other, causing damage to the environment, doing injustice for personal gains, natural disasters and diseases etc[5]. Most of this evil is the result of peoples actions rather than being created by GOD or even Satan as one of the sources of attraction towards evil deeds. In cases where GOD wants to try a person by presenting evil deed as a more attractive choice, that is to test him and increase there belief in GOD so their belief in divine guidance increase and they server GOD better and even persuade others to serve him better


Ali Jaffri

Jan 2023 – London