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Religions 2018, 9(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020047

Evil and Human Suffering in Islamic Thought—Towards a Mystical Theodicy

Religious Studies Department, Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY 10471, USA
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 27 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theodicy)
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Abstract

This paper sheds light on the treatment of the ‘problem of evil’ and human suffering from an Islamic perspective. I begin by providing an overview of the term ‘evil’ in the Qur’an to highlight its multidimensional meaning and to demonstrate the overall portrait of this notion as it is presented in the Islamic revelation through the narrative of the prophet Job. Having established a Qur’anic framework, I will then provide a brief historical overview of the formation of philosophical and theological debates surrounding “good” and “bad/evil” and the origination of Muslim theodicean thought. This will lead us to Ghazālian theodicy and the famous dictum of the “best of all possible worlds” by one of the most influential scholars of Islamic thought, Abu Ḥāmid Ghazālī. The final section of this paper will explore the Sufi/ mystical tradition of Islam through the teachings of one of the most distinguished mystics of Islam, Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī. The conclusion of the paper will attempt to bring about a new understanding of how the so-called “problem of evil” is not presented in Islam as a problem but rather as an instrument in the actualization of God’s plan, which is intertwined with human experiences in this world—an experience that is necessary for man’s spiritual development. View Full-Text
Keywords: problem of evil; theodicy; Qur’an; Job; good; evil; al Ghazālī; mysticism; Islam problem of evil; theodicy; Qur’an; Job; good; evil; al Ghazālī; mysticism; Islam
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Rouzati, N. Evil and Human Suffering in Islamic Thought—Towards a Mystical Theodicy. Religions 2018, 9, 47.

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