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If Allah made all things, then Allah made evil. But for what purpose did Allah create evil? Some say evil was created for humans to be "tested," but why is it necessary for humans to be "tested"? What is the purpose of this test? Can't free will exist without evil? Couldn't our actions be between a) a good choice b) an even better, more positive choice? What is the purpose of pain, evil and testing and why did Allah create these things?

  • Woah! That's six questions in one. Would it be possible to edit to highlight one specific question? After understanding the response, if there's more questions later, then ask separate questions. (A simultaneous answer to all these questions can't be upvoted/downvoted appropriately [e.g. maybe 2 out of the 6 sub-questions deserve an upvote], nor can we link subsequent "duplicate" questions to this one.) – Rebecca J. Stones Mar 23 '17 at 9:17
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    Keep it simple. Allah created light. Lack of light is darkness. There is no such thing as dark, it is just absence of light. Allah created heat. Lack of heat is cold. There is no such thing as cold, it is just lack of heat. Allah is the source of all goodness, love, justice, infinite providence. There is no such thing as evil, It is the absence of Allah's goodness, guidance, and blessings when we seal our heart to Allah and pursue false deities. – 0tyranny 0poverty May 27 '17 at 2:02
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But for what purpose did Allah create evil?

Simply put, to punish those who pick the evil option and to reward those who choose not to. Let me use the example of Adolf Hitler. Hitler is willing to kill millions of people, but Allah does not allow evil choices so he is forced to do something good instead. And in the end he goes to Jannah. It doesn't make sense does it? Because the only reason he did good is because Allah forced him to (by not allowing evil). So instead of going to Hell, he goes to Jannah. All because Allah does not allow people to do evil.

So, the primary function of evil is to see who will choose to do it. And to punish those people.

Also, I would like to point out that inaction can also be evil. So unless Allah is going to force people to do certain things (for example, believe in Him), they would still be doing bad things. And if he forces people to believe in Him (which is one of the biggest good deeds) people get the reward for it for no reason whatsoever.

Another thing to point out is that intention plays an important role in deciding if an action is good or evil. For example, a person praying is a good deed if he is praying for the right intentions, otherwise:

So woe to those who pray [But] who are heedless of their prayer - Those who make show [of their deeds]

Praying to show off is a bad deed.

The implications become that Allah has to control people's intentions as well. Where is the free will now? When people are forced to think good thoughts and forced to do good actions.

What is the purpose of this test?

Allah knows best. But our main purpose is to worship him freely. Angels already exist who worship Allah and only do good at different degrees. But we are made specifically so that we can in fact choose not to worship him (which makes our worship better). If we can't even choose not to pray, we would be nothing but Angels except without all the cool powers.

Can't free will exist without evil?

As I have shown you, it can't. Or it can only exist as much as the Angels, and they already exist. But, Allah wants us to worship him when we can choose not to, do good deeds when we can choose instead to do easier evil deeds. That is the true test.

Couldn't our actions be between a) a good choice b) an even better, more positive choice?

Yes and such creatures already exist in the Angels.

What is the purpose of pain, evil and testing and why did Allah create these things?

So we can choose good when we could instead have chosen evil.


To conclude, the angels also asked the same question you are asking now:

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."

And we can only guess as to Allah's reasons:

  1. So that people who will choose evil can be punished, otherwise Hitler would go to Jannah just because Allah forced him not to do what he was willing to do.

  2. Allah would have to force people to do some good deeds which are mandatory, and that would mean they get rewarded for nothing.

  3. Allah would have to control people's intentions, and that loses the whole purpose and people would just be robots.

  4. Humans would just be Angels. And there is a reason Angels don't go to heaven or hell and that is because they have no choice except to do good. Allah does not want more angels. He made us distinct from angels so that we can choose to do evil.

  5. Our good deeds are much better since we had the choice to do easier evil actions.

  • to punish those who pick the evil option and to reward those who choose not to. - but it was Allah who knew that evil will occur before he created as he has pre-written everything. Allah knew Adolf Hitler would go on to kill 6 million Jews before it happened. So in essence Allah is the creator of evil. My question is why? He could have stopped it and not created everyone. – user3574492 Aug 16 '18 at 14:48
  • @Envayo The example about Hitler was pretty simple. God knew before he created people that someone called Hitler would grow up to kill millions and millions of Jews. Yet God allowed it to happen. As God is the ultimate cause of everything, then doesn't that mean God created evil? When he had the power to avoid it, he still chose to let it happen. – user3574492 Aug 16 '18 at 22:49
  • @The Z I don't know if I understood your example about Hitler correctly, but it sounds like Hitler is certain to end up in Hell. We, people, can't tell whether a person will go to Hell or Heaven; only God knows. – Envayo Aug 17 '18 at 5:19
  • @Envayo I was just trying to use an example of a well-known person everyone would condemn to hell. Otherwise, yes, of course it is only Allah's decision. I would have used the example of the Pharoah (who we know is condemned to hell) but it is less well-known. – The Z Aug 17 '18 at 6:21
  • @user3574492 No one is disputing the fact that God created evil. God created everything including evil. But God created evil as part of the test. The last 5 points in my answer are a guess as to why this was. – The Z Aug 17 '18 at 6:27
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Let's say I give you two bowls of different sweets and ask you to taste it. Just after you tasted one, I force you to tell me which one is more sweet. Would you be able to tell me? The answer is NO.

According to my opinion, I would discuss two reasons here, there might be more (and I am not saying that I am correct)

  • Just like the bowl of sweet, if you can't distinguish which one is sweeter by tasting one then imagine how could you distinguish GOOD and EVIL. Evil is necessary for the existence of good.
  • It's kind of implication. Let's try to understand.

    1. If no evil exists -> there would be peace
    2. If there's peace -> all have agreed over single cause
    3. If all agrees over a single cause -> all would stop questioning
    4. If all stops questioning -> all will loose creativity
    

    It implies that if there's no evil, eventually there would be no creativity, progress and advancement. You can read about the inventions, innovations, progress and advancement during wars, specially World Wars

I don't claim to be accurate, but I think above are the reasons which concludes that we need evil to progress. By this I didn't mean to follow evil.

Now, if you believe in ALLAH and you believe that ALLAH created this world and you believe that ALLAH is needless than you have to keep faith. Take the example of teacher and student. If you are a teacher and taught any suject to your student with faith and sincerity, then it's your right to TEST him/her. It's just the case. ALLAH is testing you that you only either you only claim that you believe OR you do act on what you believe. And it's nature.

Hope it clears some of your confusions. I might be wrong, so anyone can correct me.

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    "2. If there's peace -> all have agreed over single cause" Not necessarily. I'd say if the only "problem" was that you say something is blue while I say it's green we can still be at peace with each other. "3. If all agrees over a single cause -> all would stop questioning" Again not necessarily. Just because we share an opionion does not mean we aren't curious about other possibilities. It may be more difficult and take more time but it's not impossible. As for the sweets: I can't tell which is sweeter, but I know what sweetness is. I don't need bitterness for that. – The Raven Queen Mar 23 '17 at 14:31
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    I don't see how this answer addresses the question; I can only identify this as relevant to the question: "If you are a teacher and taught any suject to your student with faith and sincerity, then it's your right to TEST him/her." which basically says "you have no right to question this". It reads like a statement of authority, not an explanation of why it's reasonable. – G. Bach Mar 23 '17 at 15:25
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If you do not believe in life after death, I do not think any answer will satisfy you. You can stop reading now.

If you do believe in life after death, then, according to the Quran, which we Muslims believe as the word of Allah, the life of this world is a test. After this test, Allah will send the ones who have done good deeds and stayed away from evil, to paradise.

The life of this world is temporary while the life after death is eternal.

  • But how can it be a test if Allah already knew the outcome. It's not exactly free will then is it? – user3574492 Aug 16 '18 at 14:50
  • Where in my answer have I mentioned that Allah already knew the outcome? – Danesh Aug 19 '18 at 5:59
  • You didn't. You said this life is a test, so I am countering with my argument. Are you denying that Allah knew the outcome? – user3574492 Aug 19 '18 at 12:43
  • No. There are two parts to your question: free will and Allah's knowlege. On free will, in Islam, free will is not full, it is limited. According to a tradition, Ali (ra), the prophet's (pbuh) son-in-law, was asked to explain free will. He asked the person to lift one leg, the person did, then he asked to lift the other, the person could not. So, that is free will and destiny. The second part, Allah tests you despite knowing the outcome, to make it clear to you, the choice you have made, before rewarding or punishing you. – Danesh Aug 20 '18 at 13:37
  • He asked the person to lift 2 legs at the same time? What in the blue moon does that have to do with free will or destiny? There is no such thing as limited free-will, You either have free-will or you don't have it at all. Omniscience and free will are incompatible and that any conception of God that incorporates both properties is therefore inherently contradictory. So let me get this straight, Allah is essentially punishing us for his own inscription? – user3574492 Aug 20 '18 at 15:07
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Ok, so I think it's quite clear on why these pain,etc. exist...to test humans. And why would He test us, you ask? Well, before I move on to try answer THAT, let me ask you: Why are tests aka exams held in schools? One of the reasons is to identify what topics the students haven't mastered yet. When the students know what they don't know, they will ask for guidance from their teachers. By analogy, when humans are tested with tragedy of any sort, it's because Allah wants us to realize our wrongdoings. But most of all, by testing us, Allah wants us to RETURN to Him.Seek His forgiveness and blessing.Complain our miseries to Him.Surrender ourselves and ask for His help.He wants us to remember Him, after being distracted by the world. Allah loves His creations more than we love ourselves.

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