Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya on Divine Wisdom and the Problem of Evil
By: Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya / Translator: Zeni, Tallal M.
The renowned theologian and jurist Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d.1350) wrote numerous titles, many of which are still popular today. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya on Divine Wisdom and the Problem of Evil is a translation of selections from two of Ibn Qayyim's books: Key to the Blissful Abode and Remedy for Those who Question on Matters Concerning Divine Decree, Predestination, Wisdom and Causality. Ibn al-Qayyim first discusses twenty-six wise purposes behind God creating humanity and settling them on Earth. His perspective is that whatever exists in this world is either purely or preponderantly good, or indirectly leads to a greater good. Ibn Qayyim then explores how the presence of evil allows the manifestation of many of God's Beautiful Names, glorious attributes and compassionate actions. While for humanity, the existence of the evil provides the righteous with opportunities to strive against it; for Paradise can only be reached by 'traversing a bridge of hardships and tribulations'. The discussions of the existence of evil is followed by thirty wise purposes and secrets in God allowing people to sin. Prominent among them are that God loves repentance and loves to manifest His Attributes of forgiveness and mercy. Here, Ibn al-Qayyim also debates at length whether the punishment of Hellfire will be eternal or whether it will come to an end.