11 December, 2018 | 2 Rabi al-Thani, 1440 H

"Silence saves you from regret"

- Imam Ali (as)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Abstract

The problem of evil is the greatest challenge to faith in God. This lesson attempts to answer both the intellectual and emotional problems of evil.

INTRODUCTION

 

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.

 

 Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel!

 

The greatest spiritual crisis that humans will ever face is the problem of evil and suffering. The question goes like this, if God is all good, why does He permit evil and suffering? Why doesn’t He stop it? After all, if He loves His creation, He would protect them just like a mother protects her children.

 

In this lesson, we look at two aspects of the problem of evil in this world. The first is the intellectual problem of evil and suffering. The second is the emotional problem

 

of evil and suffering. On the latter, we will give some pointers on how to deal with suffering in the modern world.

 

 BODY OF TEXT

 

 Answering the Intellectual Problem of Evil

 

 The intellectual problem of evil sees God and evil as mutually incompatible. If God is all-good and all-loving, then He would naturally want to alleviate suffering from us and get rid of evil. Since there is great suffering and evil in the world, then God is either

 

  1.  powerless to do anything about suffering and evil
  2. or careless and callous about His creation
  3.  or He does not exist

 

Obviously none of these options are good as they do not help the case for any monotheistic conception of God. Since God is the creator of the universe, it is impossible that He be powerless. Many people see God as All-Loving and All-Good which means that He would or should stop evil if He did indeed exist. Since evil still persists, many atheists will say that this is proof that God, or at least the Abrahamic understanding of God, does not exist.

 

 This is a rather simplistic depiction of the intellectual problem of evil since there is another way of looking at the problem of God and evil that is logically sound.

 

 Yes, God is All-Good and All-Loving, and as the creator of the universe, He is also All-Powerful. So why does He allow evil to exist?

 

 A popular answer that theologians give is the following: God brought us unto this earth in order to test us. If God interferes in every single instance of evil in this world, then what is the point of free will and testing? It is by being tested on this earth that we grow spiritually. With constant divine intervention, we as individuals cannot grow spiritually.

 

 The second answer is that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil to exist. This means that our knowledge and awareness of things is very limited. God sees things from eternity and knows all possible outcomes. He allows evil to exist to the extent that it will have a positive effect in the world or the afterlife or both. We

 

may not be able to see the good of it as of now, but on the “macroscale” of things it does lead to an ultimate good no matter how bad it seems in the short-term.

 

 This last part thus requires some honesty and humility. We can’t predict with 100% accuracy what will happen five minutes from now, how can we ever make a judgment on the effects of evil acts throughout the span of human history in this world and the Hereafter?

 

 The Emotional Problem of Evil

 

 The emotional problem of evil is about people’s dislike or even hatred of God who permits suffering in the world. People lose their loved ones, their health, their jobs or see society around them fall apart where much of it is due to evil acts such as murder or illnesses and disease brought about by war. They are angry that God doesn’t do anything about it.

 

 Remember that often enough, this kind of attitude stems from a subtle and hidden assumption that there is no afterlife. The person expressing such anger may outwardly believe in the Hereafter and God’s Final Judgment, but deep down inside he or she isn’t really certain about it.

 

From an Islamic perspective, and indeed from an Abrahamic perspective, God has the last word on the Day of Judgment. Our lives here are limited, and those of us who live in the 21st century will notice that time goes by super-fast. Know that you will soon die and on your death-bed, you will forget most of the evil and suffering that came your way.

 

 This world, as we said earlier, is a world where God tests our free will. If we didn’t have free will, we couldn’t be truly good. In order to be truly good and reach union with God, one must be able to choose good over evil. For God to get rid of evil in the world, which is the result of human intentions, he would need to get rid of our free will. But if he did this, he would also take our ability to truly love and do good.

 

 For Allah, this isn’t worth the price. Why should Allah sacrifice our potential for infinite greatness and good for the sake of some evil people? And it’s not like they’re going to get away with it, they will be accountable for every single thing they do in their lives whether it is a small lie or or a big thing like murder.

 

 But what about those who suffered from evil? According to Islam, God will reward those who suffered from evil on the Day of Judgment. He will do this on multiple levels. First, their suffering will be a means for having their sins forgiven. Second, they will get extra rewards in heaven.

 

 Third, there are some forms of evil that may cause long term psychological pain for its victims. On the Day of Judgment, God will make some people forget the horrible things they suffered in this world in order to fill them with inner peace. It will be as if none of it ever happened.

 

 Finally, remember that suffering is our best teacher. We learn more from suffering than from our happy days. Our happy and comfortable days tend to make us heedless, whereas suffering wakes us up and makes us realize that nothing in this world is dependable. We can only depend on God.

 

 Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh

The emotional problem of evil

People’s dislike or even hatred of God who permits suffering in the world. They are angry that God doesn’t do anything about it.

The intellectual problem of evil

This problem sees God and evil as mutually incompatible from a logical perspective.

Q1

What is the emotional problem of evil?

It is people’s dislike or even hatred of God who permits suffering in the world. They are angry that God doesn’t do anything about it.

Q2

What is the intellectual problem of evil?

This problem sees God and evil as mutually incompatible from a logical perspective.

Q3

What is one of the main reasons why God allows evil in this world?

Human evil is produced by free will. By preserving human free will, God allows humans to flourish and reach their highest potential of the good. But free will also means that humans can choose the wrong path.

Q4

Why doesn’t God punish people who do evil?

He does punish them, but that can take place in this world (if they are lucky) or take place in the Hereafter if they are unlucky as punishment in the next life is much worse.

Q5

Are there rewards for people who suffer from evil in this world?

Yes, one of the rewards is having sins forgiven.

problem of evil
intellectual problem of evil
emotional problem of evil
evil in this world
day of judgment