|Forum Home > The Origins of Evil > The Definition of Evil|
From the Book: A Warning to the Son of Adam about the Origins of Evil by Shaykh Abu Nasr Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al-Imam
Some linguists, such as the authors of As-Siha and Al Qamus Al Muheet, have defined "evil" as the opposite of good. Al-Ragrib Asfahani stated, "Evil is hated by all." Al-Jarajani said, "Evil conflicts with human nature." Others have defined it as "wrong-doing and corruption."
In his treatise, Tafsir al-Mauthain, Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote:
"Two things are mentioned about evil: the pain and suffering that it causes and secondly, its sources. There is no other name for it. Accordingly, it can be said that evil is agony and the source of agony. Sin, kufr, shirk, and all other types of transgression against Allah are types of evil - even if they bring pleasure to the sinner, they are still evil. They are wicked deeds that bring about grim consequences."
The ill-effect of evil is comparable to the consequence of someone who drinks a lethal dosage of poison. Its end result is the same as an animal targeted for slaughtering, a person sentenced to death or fatally burned bu fire. Ibn Al-Qayyim said,
"To some, evil is like a tantalizing poisionous dish. As the person dines, the food tastes delicious and is easy to swallow. (The evil-doer) experiences the same enjoyment in sin and disobedience."
The Shaykh's words are clear. Evil is the opposite of good. The reality of evil is pain and suffering, which emanate from the causes that lead to it. The greatest source of evil is disobedience.