By MUKHTAR AHMAD FAROOQI
Evil simply means the absence of good but any immoral or wicked act is considered an evil. Person involved in such act is known as evil doer. Evil involves unbalanced behavior involving anger, revenge, hatred, psychological trauma, expediency, selfishness, ignorance, destruction or neglect. Evil is categorised into: natural and moral evils. Natural evils are events that happen in the world that occur naturally, such as: earthquakes, tsunamis, wild fires, etc. This category might also include disease and other events that are not the result of the actions of a person. Moral evil on the other hand is human wrongful actions and their results like a murder, theft, rape, war etc.
Evil tends to be the sort of evil referenced in theological contexts, such as in discussions of the problem of evil. The problem of evil in this sense is accounting for evil in a world created by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God. There shouldn’t have been evil in the world when the creator has these attributes, but there is evil in the world. Theodicy is the branch of philosophy of religion that deals with it. It gives us explanation of why a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God permits evil. The term literally means “justifying God.” This has been the point of contention between the contemporary and natural philosophers. Theodicies and defences are two forms of response to what is known in theology and philosophy as the problem of evil.
Privation on the other hand is the absence or lack of good. It is a is a theological doctrine which attempts to steal a middle course between saying that it is merely illusion and saying that it is fully real. Augustine applies his logic to evil. According to him Evil does not exist independent of anything else. Evil, it is claimed, is such that its nature lies in the absence of privation of good rather than in the presence of something positive or intrinsic.
Metaphorical understanding of good and evil is framed using the concepts of light and darkness. If evil, like darkness, does not truly exist, but is only a name we give to our perception of privatio boni (privation of good), widespread observation of evil does not preclude the possibility of a benevolent, omniscient, and omnipresent God. Good and evil share the same metaphorically asymmetry as light and darkness, evil cannot have any source, cannot be projected, and, of itself, can offer no resistance to any source of good, regardless of how weak or distant. Then, goodness cannot be actively opposed, and power becomes a consequence of benevolence. Contrary to this, evil is the default state of the universe, and good exists only through constant effort; any lapse or redirection of good will apparently create evil out of nothing.
Evil is real. it has a real nature of its own. it is not simply privation of being or of right order. And albeit it were, the problem of explaining it might remain, for sin and pain do not become justified and do not cease to be a problem, merely by being described as privation rather than as an intrinsic nature. Every actual entity is good. Nothing evil exists in itself, but only as an evil aspect of some real entity. As such, there can be nothing evil except something good.
Muslim philosophical perspective on the notions of good and evil(sharr) is enclosed within the wider ontological understanding of existence (wujūd) and nonexistence. Good is defined as a positive entity that branches from existence while as evil, stems from non-existence and as such is viewed as a negative entity. Two eminent Muslim philosophers Ibn Sīnā, referred to as Avicenna, and Sadr al-Din Shirāzī, who was mostly recognized as Mullā Sadrā gave an ontological interpretation of what constitutes good and evil. Ibn Sīnā formed a theodicy by distinguishing the various categories/forms of evil such as “essential” evil (sharr bidh-dhāt), which is non-being or privation, and “accidental” evil , which can be either being or privation. In his analysis, Ibn Sīnā concluded that it is the non-essential/accidental evil that is the main cause of human suffering and that the total amount of good outweighs the amount of evil in this universe.
Mullā Sadrā, on the other hand, developed a philosophical approach by combining theology with mystical insight. Mullā Sadrā’s in his major work called Mafātih Al-ghayb explained, absolute existence is absolute good and since Allah is the only Necessary Being, He is the absolute good as perfection applies only to the Necessary Being. And, the remainder of creation—all contingent entities—lacks certain degrees of goodness; that is, evil and suffering are partial and negative.
It may be concluded that Muslim philosophers have mostly referred to evil as privatio boni “privation of good,” which in turn provides a strong rationale for the doctrine of the optimum . According to this principle, regardless of the existence of evil and human suffering, this world has been created in perfect fashion by its creator Allah who is the Perfect One. Therefore, the volume of good that is inherent in the makeup of creation is inconsequential in relation to the amount of evil and human suffering.
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