Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on relative and absolute evil in Allah’s creation

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi:

ولا ينقص ملكه بمعصية العاصين ولو كان الجن والإنس كلهم عصاة فجرة قلوبهم على قلب أفجر رجل منهم فإنه سبحانه الغني بذاته عمن سواه وله الكمال المطلق في ذاته وصفاته وأفعاله فملكه ملك كامل لا نقص فيه بوجه من الوجوه على أي وجه

Allah’s kingdom does not decrease because of the disobedience of the disobedient, even if all the jinn and human beings were disobedient and trespassing the limits and their hearts were like the heart of the most wicked man among them. For He, Exalted is He, in His essence is Rich (al-Ghani) beyond the need of anyone other than Him. He has absolute perfection and completeness in His essence, His attributes and His actions. So His dominion is perfect and complete, and there is no defect or imperfection in it in any way.

كان ومن الناس من قال إن إيجاده لخلقه على هذا الوجه الموجود أكمل من إيجاده على غيره وهو خير من وجوده على غيره وما فيه من الشر فهو شر إضافي نسبي بالنسبة إلى بعض الأشياء دون بعض وليس شرًا مطلقا بحيث يكون عدمه خيرًا من وجوده من كل وجه بل وجوده خير من عدمه وقال هذا معنى قوله بيده الخير ومعنى قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم والشر ليس إليك يعني أن الشر المحض الذي عدمه خير من وجوده ليس موجودًا في ملكك فإن الله تعالى أوجد خلقه على ما تقتضيه حكمته وعدله وخص قومًا من خلقه بالفضل وترك آخرين منهم في العدل لما له في ذلك من الحكمة البالغة

And from the people there was someone who said, “Verily His creating His creation in this way that exists is more perfect and complete than creating it in any other way, and it is better than it existing according to any other way. And as for what is present in it of evil, that is relative evil which can be ascribed in relation to some things in exclusion to others, but not an absolute evil which its non-existence would be better than its existence in every way. Rather its existence is better than its non-existence.” He said, “This is the meaning of the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), ‘in His Hands is good’ and the meaning of the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) ‘And evil is not attributed to you.'” Meaning that pure evil whose non-existence would be better than its existence is not present in His dominion, for verily Allah the Exalted originated His creation as required by His wisdom and His justice. And He chose [some] people from His creation by His bounty and left the rest of them to His justice because of His far-reaching wisdom in that.”

[Jaami’a al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam 2/46-47 (ch. 24)]

See also: Ibn al-Qayyim on the Wisdom and Benefits of the Creation of the Shayaateen

See also, from our brothers at Trying to Follow the Salaf: Is evil attributed to Allah? – Shaykh al-Albaani

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One thought on “Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on relative and absolute evil in Allah’s creation

  1. Pingback: Ibn al-Qayyim on the Wisdom and Benefits of the Creation of the Shayaateen | Tulayhah

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