Islamic Answers to Basic Questions About Life

There is a good and evil, and right and wrong. Everyone is aware of this, but not many can word it correctly so that it can be easily understood. The fact that it is hard to put in words is the real cause of lots of misunderstandings from the educated elite to the completely illiterate concerning the definition of these two words. Both good and evil seem to be hazy words that float around the edge of our understanding, but usually never come squarely inside the realm of understanding. This short article will attempt to bring good and evil squarely inside the realm of understanding. Once good and evil is understood reasonably, then we can speak intelligently, and with clarity on a wide variety of subjects. I must warn the reader that some parts of this article are written more with sentence flow in mind instead of political correctness. For instance, in one place when speaking of all human beings, this article uses words such as ‘mankind,’ or ‘man.’ This was not an attempt to incite a riot because of a word, but only to make the sentences have a certain flow, and rhythm. With that being said, let’s get started defining right and wrong.

Right and wrong, or good and evil, is a standard for analyzing situations and behavior, particularly human behavior. Right and wrong can be used to describe the behavior of anything (and usually it is used to describe most things), but it is actually specific to human behavior. People have come to call things good or evil, right or wrong by prescription that really should not properly be called these things. For instance, people may say there is an evil fire, or a good rain. Since we understand each other when we use these words in this way, there is no harm done. However, in order to truly understand the meaning of good and evil or right and wrong we have to use precise meanings, and proper applications of these words. So, for the purpose of getting to the true meaning of good and evil, from this point let us agree that in this article, unless the context of the sentence dictates otherwise, ‘right’ will mean ‘good,’ and ‘wrong’ will mean ‘evil’ both interchangeably; and this paper will restrict these words to speaking of human behavior, unless the context dictates otherwise.

What can be called ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is usually thought to be a matter of opinion, but this is not true. Right and wrong are categories that come from four realities. These four realities come from one source. The four realities on which right and wrong are based are: life, death, sickness, and health. The four realities come from one source, and the source is God. God created life, will cause death, gives health and sickness.

All people are subject to life, death, sickness, and health. It is a person’s choice to believe or disbelieve in God. Simple disbelief in Him does not make anyone exempt from the order that He has imposed on the lives of people. No one caused their own life, nor can anyone prevent their own eventual death. At some point most people will get sick, and most people will enjoy some period of health. God is the source of all of these things. With that being said, then know that generally right and wrong are based on life, death, sickness, and health. Specifically, both right and wrong are based on Gods commands for people.

What is right are those things that promote health and life, and what is wrong are those things that promote sickness and death. What God commands us to do and allows us to do ends up promoting life and health, and avoiding sickness, and death. Those things that God tell us to avoid or He has forbidden are things that usually promote sickness and death. So what is right is what God tells us to do, and the things that God tells us to avoid doing are those things that are wrong. Outside of this definition, good is no more than someone’s opinion of how they would like for people to act, and evil is the way of acting that is displeasing to the person defining these things. In truth, only God can take that sort of position since He created us.

Now that the right and wrong has been defined, one can enquire as to how it applies to the most general situations in life so as to have a reasonably more accurate understanding of right and wrong. There are so many specific situations in life that it is futile to try to mention every single one of them. Almost all of the situations of life fall in these general categories: man’s understanding of himself, man’s relationship with God, relationship with family, relationship with the community, and relationship with the environment. How one responds to these relationships is what determines whether someone is good or bad. There may be some situations that do not fit neatly into any category mentioned. Therefore it was necessary to say that ‘almost’ all situations of life fall into those categories, instead of saying ‘all’ situations. Life seems to always have examples of things that do not fit neatly into man-made categories. God alone is perfect, and the author of this work humbly admits that he is far from being perfect. To explore specifics of right and wrong as they apply to the general situations in life is the subject for later speculation. For now this general definition of right, and wrong is sufficient to speak on the subject reasonably. So much for good and evil or right and wrong.

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