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Evil Can Never be Attributed to Allāh

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim

A brief explanation on the ḥadīth of the Messenger (ﷺ): “I answer your call with happiness, and goodness in its entirety belongs to You alone, and evil is not befitting of You.”

Imām Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 721 AH) said:“In his [the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)]’s invocation:

‘I answer your call with happiness, and goodness in its entirety belongs to You alone, and evil is not befitting of You.’

Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ

Turn not to the tafsīr of those who say its meaning is: one does not seek to come closer to You with evil, or that evil is not raised unto You. Verily, the meaning [of this invocation] is more magnificent, greater, and of superior impact than that. For [Allāh] is the One whose names are all good, His attributes are all perfect, His actions are executed out of wisdom, and His speech is all true and just. Thus, the presence of evil in any of His names, attributes, actions, or speech is impossible. Compare this with the saying of [Allāh]:

إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ ‎﴿٥٦﴾‏

‘Indeed, my Lord is on a path [that is] straight.’
[Hūd, 11:56]

and contemplate how this is mentioned immediately following His saying: ‘Indeed, I have relied upon Allāh, my Lord and your Lord.’ That is, He is my Lord and thus He won’t leave me alone or ever fail me. He is also your Lord, so He will not grant you power over me or prevent me from calling you [to Islām]. For, truly, your forelocks are in His Hands, you do not execute an action except by His leave. [In fact], the forelock of every living creature is in His Hands, they do not so much as move except with His permission. He is the Disposer of their affairs. Considering this, He is on a path that is straight in His disposal of their affairs, in His allowing them to carry out actions, and in His implementation of what He has ordained for them. He does not carry out these actions except with wisdom, justice, and righteousness. For if He was to give you power over me, it would only be in light of His wisdom for which He would be deserving of praise because the power that had been granted was from He who is on the straight path. He does not oppress, neither does he carry out purposeless actions, devoid of wisdom. This is how our knowledge of Allāh should be, unlike the belief of the parties of the Qadarī sects: the Majūsiyyah and the Jabariyyah. The ones who deny reason [for His actions], and deny the wisdom and righteousness [of Allāh]. And Allāh the Exalted alone is the granter of true guidance.”

Source: Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 20-21

Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 11, 2022
Edited: May 27, 2022


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