Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our nafs is not a creator

Question: In the books of Ahl as-Sunnah, on the one hand it is written that both good and evil are from Allah, but on the other hand it is written that humans are responsible for the sins they commit. Is it not a contradiction? Is it not our nafs that creates sins?

ANSWERThere is no contradiction in our religion. The Creator of everything is Allahu ta'ala alone. There is not any other creator. Our nafs (a negative force within humans that prompts them to do evil) cannot create anything. To consider the nafs as the creator is the view of the Mu'tazilah. Our nafs is not even an accountable creature unlike humans and genies. When a human dies, his/her nafs will be annihilated. How wrong it is to call a thing creator that is not even held liable and is doomed to annihilation! One of the six fundamentals of faith is to believe that both good and evil are from Allah. A person who does not believe in this cannot be a Muslim.

Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, inheritors of the Messenger of Allah, state:

Allahu ta'ala is the one who always creates, trains, and develops everything, who causes every favor to be done, and who sends every favor. He alone is the owner of strength and power. Unless He gives us thought, nobody can will or desire to do good or evil. After man receives the thought, he can will to do something, but unless Allah wills and gives strength and opportunity to that thought, nobody can do one bit of kindness or evil to anybody. He creates everything that man wants if He wills it. Only what He wills happens. He sends us the thoughts of doing good or evil for various reasons. When His born servants (men) whom He pities wish to do evil, He does not will and create it. When they wish to do good, He, too, wills and creates it. Goodness always arises from such people. He, too, wills to create the evil wills of His enemies, with whom He is angry. Since these evil people do not wish to do something virtuous, evils always arise from them.

In other words, all people are a means, a tool. They are like the pen in the writer’s hand. Only using their partial will that has been bestowed upon them, those who will goodness earn blessings, while those willing evil to be created become sinful. Allahu ta’ala willed in pre-eternity to create the optional deeds of people through their will power.

Our nafs causes us to commit evil
While it is our nafs that causes us to commit evil, is it true to say, "Both good and evil are from Allah"?

In terms of causing it, of course evil is from the nafs. However, in terms of creating it, both good and evil are from Allah. The nafs desires evil and causes it, and Allahu ta'ala creates it. That is, it is Allah who creates and wills evil, too. A fly cannot move its wing unless He wills and creates it. Every adversity that befalls us takes place by Allah's will and creation. Our nafs is not a creator. It cannot create either good or evil. It is Allahu ta'ala alone who creates everything. The Qur'an al-karim says (what means):

(The Creator of everything is Allah.) [Az-Zumar 62; Al-Mu'min 62]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [As-Saffat 96]

(Your Lord creates what He wants, chooses what He wills. They do not have the right to choose.) [Al-Qasas 68]

If a servant deserves a disaster, Allahu ta'ala sends it to him/her. As a matter of fact, a Qur'anic verse says:

(Any disaster that befalls you is because of what you commit with your own hands, yet Allah forgives most of them.)
[Ash-Shura 30]
(This means to say that disasters are being sent because of our sins, but the Sender is Allah. It is declared in this verse that Allah forgives most of them. That is, the One who sends disasters is He, and He forgives most of them.)

(Whatever good comes to you comes from Allah [as a grace of His]. Whatever evil befalls you comes from yourself [in return for your sins].) [An-Nisa' 79]

As is seen, this Qur'anic verse says that evil befalls us because of our sins, but it is Allahu ta'ala who creates evil. The verse preceding the above one says that evil, too, is created by Allah. The meaning of this verse is as follows:
(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil reaches them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.”) [An-Nisa' 78]

It is a condition of faith to believe that it is Allah who creates both good and evil. A hadith-i sharif says:
(A person who does not believe that qadar, good, and evil are from Allah is not a Believer.) [Tirmidhi]

Of the ahl al-bid'ah (people of innovation), some reject qadar, and some reject the fact that good and evil are from Allahu ta'ala. There are people who reduce fundamentals of faith to less than six or who increase them to seven. Moreover, there are even people who say that there is no such thing as the fundamentals of Islam. This stems from the disease of blaming the early scholars and thus trying to rise by treading on them, which is a very abominable act. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif that it is a sign of Doomsday for upstarts to blame the scholars who lived in the past with a view to make reform in the religion. Our Master the Prophet stated, "Scholars are the inheritors of the Messenger of Allah." Does blaming the scholars of old, who are the inheritors of the Messenger of Allah, not sadden the Messenger of Allah, the owner of inheritors? One must recover from the disease of blaming the early scholars.

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