Saying that evil is a lack of good
Fatwa No: 209479

Question

Some people say that evil is not an entity by itself, but rather, it is a lack of good. Is this notion correct?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

There are evil souls like the devils and the rebellious jinn, and acts and incidents of evil, like disbelief, dissoluteness, disease and epidemic and so on. Indeed, Allaah created good and evil, and He tests His slaves with them, as Allaah says (what means): {And We test you with evil and with good as trial.}[Quran 21:35] For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 2855.

There is good and wisdom in all what Allaah does, but evil takes place in the acts of the creatures, and this is due to the lack of good in their acts.

Ibn Abi Al-'Izz Al-Hanafi dealt with this subject when he interpreted Al-‘Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah as he said: “Know that all evil is due to nonexistence, i.e. the nonexistence of good and the causes that lead to it; in this sense it becomes evil, but as regards its very existence, there is no evil in it. Example: evil souls: their presence is good in itself, but evil happened to them because of depriving them from good matter, as in principle they were created dynamic, so if they were helped with knowledge and the inspiration of good, they will move towards good, but if they were left (without help), they will move by their nature to what is contrary to this.

Allaah Knows best.

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