Hajar Mulder's views on Islam, religion, the news, politics.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Evil and what to do against it?
These verses are defining of what Qur'an--also on many other places--has to say about evil:
As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing. And on their eyes is a veil; great is the chastisement they (incur). Of the people there are some who say: ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day: but they do not believe. Fain would they deceive Allah and those who believe, but they only deceive themselves, and realize not! In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: and grievous is the chastisement they (incur), because they lied (to themselves). When it is said to them: ‘Make not mischief on the earth’. They say: ‘We are only ones that put things right.’ Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize not. When it is said to them: ‘Believe as the others believe’: they say: ‘Shall we believe as the fools believe?’ Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know. When they meet those who believe, they say: ‘We believe’; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: ‘We are really with you we (were) only jesting’. Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and give them rope in their trespasses; so they will wander like blind ones. These are they who have bartered guidance for error: but their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction, their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness, so they could not see. Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return.
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels; ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth’. They said: ‘Wit Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?’ Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?’ He said: ‘I know what ye know not’ and He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: ‘Tell Me the names of these if ye are right’, they said: ‘Glory to Thee: of knowledge we have none, save what Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom’. He said: ‘O Adam! Tell them their names’. When he had told them their names, Allah said: ‘Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?’ And behold, We said to the angels: ‘Bow down to Adam’: and they bowed down; not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith. And We said: ‘O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression.’ Then did Satan make them slip from the (Garden) and get them out of the state in which they had been. And We said: ‘Get ye down, all (ye people), with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood – for a time’. Then learnt Adam from his Lord certain words and his Lord turned towards him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. We said: ‘Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be Companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein.
It is We Who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life: small are the thanks that ye give! It is We Who created you and gave you shape: then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated, not so Iblis; he refused to be of those who prostrate. (Allah) said: ‘What prevented thee from prostrating when I commanded thee?’ He said: ‘I am better than he: Thou didst create Me from fire, and him from clay’. (Allah) said: ‘Get thee down from it: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).’ He said: ‘Give me respite till the day they are raised up’. (Allah) said: ‘Be thou among those who have respite.’ He said: ‘Because Thou hast thrown me out, lo! I will lie in wait for them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor wilt Thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for Thy mercies).’ (Allah) said: ‘Get out from this, despised and expelled. If any of them follow thee, Hell will I fill with you all. ‘O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and enjoy as ye wish: but approach not this tree, lest you become of the unjust.’ Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them: he said: ‘Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever.’ And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shameful parts became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies, and their Lord called unto them: ‘Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was avowed enemy unto you?’ They said: ‘Our Lord we have wronged our own souls; if Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost. (Allah) said: ‘Get ye down, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood, – for a time’. He said: ‘Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die: but from it shall ye be taken out.’ O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you, but the raiment of righteousness- that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition! O ye Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe see you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the Satans friends to those without Faith. When they commit an indecency, they say: ‘We found our fathers doing so’ and ‘Allah commanded us thus’: say: ‘Nay, Allah never command what is indecent: do ye say of Allah what ye know not?’ Say: ‘My Lord hath commanded justice; and that ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return.’ Some He hath guided: others have deserved the loss of their way; in that they took the Satans in preference to Allah, for their friends and protectors, and think that they receive guidance. O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer; eat and drink but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters. Q:7:10-31
Evil as the example are people who reject Our Signs and wrong their own souls. Whom Allah doth guide, – he is on the right path: whom He rejects from His guidance, – such are the persons who lose. Many are the Jinns and men We have made for Hell: they have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, – nay more misguided: for they are heedless.
Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn, from the mischief of created things; from the mischief of those who blow on knots; and from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind, the King of Mankind, the God of Mankind, – from the mischief of the Whisperer, who withdraws, – who whispers into the hearts of Mankind, – among Jinns and among Men.
Allah did indeed give His creatures enemies. Plants and animals are enemies to each other, because they feed from one and other. Men and spirits (jinn), described in the Qur’an as a peoples endowed with the possibility to choose between good and evil, have a moral enemy: The fallen angel Iblis (Lucifer), the only angel who did not obey Allah swt. He disobeyed out of envy of man’s creation, even though Allah asked him to do so. Iblis then became Satan and asked Allah’s permission to seduce man towards evil and obtained permission. Allah swt then immediately cursed Satan for this disobedience and destined him for Hell. Satan will succeed, however, in getting part of mankind on his side. Man has natural enemies in both creation and in himself. Man has received natural evil from Allah swt. With it he will hurt others, but mainly himself. Degradation to permanent disbelief and lock oneself from any belief, is the first punishment a disbeliever incurs in this life already. Punishment in the Hereafter will be the fate of the person who disbeliefs and acts badly in this life. The person who does believe, knows that his or her assignment is to serve Allah with faith and good deeds. The person who does not believe, forgot this, either by choice, or because of Satan. And Allah made these people immune to His message, unless they return to His path on their own accord. Repentance indeed is always an option. Furthermore, people were made enemies to each other.
The first man described as one to commit sin, is Adam. In Islam, he is considered the first prophet: He was the first man to learn the names of species and objects in nature around him. He also was the first to learn the difference between obedience and disobedience and to receive the very first test assignment. Adam did not fulfill it as required, a narration that differs from the Biblical version, where the woman was the first one to be seduced by the archetypical serpent. She then seduced the man to eat from the tree. Adam, as the first prophet and mediator to Allah swt, is the one held primarily responsible for this disobedience and the blame is not shifted to a female figure. Qur’an does not state the number of people the first community of men consisted of, nor which people also were punished for the first disobedience: Eating from the tree that was forbidden to eat from. Qur’an clearly states, that Adam and his wife were permitted to live in a garden richly provided with sustenance, as well as with the tree, eating of which was forbidden. Man is created as a ‘vicegerent’ on Earth and his future life will be on Earth. Man would most probably have to ‘descend’ from the Garden anyway. Apart from the aspect of obedience to Allah, this narration has another aspect: That of man reaching maturity. Man gains awareness of his own identity in all its positive and negative qualities and wants to hide those that are private, although the first people still realized that Allah swt sees and knows everything in them. As soon as man leaves the Garden, he is left to himself, though he has Allah’s guidance at his disposal. Man will have to listen to the voice of his or her conscience. Not stated, however, are the whereabouts of this Garden. Chapter 7 of the Qur’an makes clear that (also) man today can be seen as Adams descendant.
The Qur’anic chapters 113 and 114 are frequently used supplications in Islam against evil. A believer may recite them, according to tradition, during sickness and before sleeping, or as a supplication intended to protect from any harm. Next question would be, whether Islam has any further traditions concerning the issue of what might be belief or disbelief.