Q: I entered into a long discussion with a Muslim brother about who created evil. I told him that it is Allah (Exalted be He) who created evil as well as good, Jannah (Paradise) as well as Hellfire, and the believer as well as the Kafir (disbeliever). However, the Muslim brother said that evil is from man and that Allah (Exalted be He) creates only what is good and beneficial. He wondered how Allah (Exalted be He) creates evil and then punishes us when we commit it. I answered him that Allah (Exalted be He) enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil. There is a difference between creating and enjoining; Allah (Exalted be He) created Hellfire, but He forbids us from it. However, each one of us sticks to his opinion. (Part No. 1; Page No. 8) Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says,
And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.
I know that I have only a little knowledge. Therefore, I argued with him, convinced of my little knowledge. Although my Muslim brother is more knowledgeable in religious affairs than me, he could not convince me, and I could not convince him. I know that my opinion is right and may be wrong and his is wrong and may be right. I know also that Allah (Exalted be He) forbids us to engage in argument without knowledge. Therefore, I write this letter to Your Eminence to enlighten me. May Allah guide you!I ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to guide us to the right and truth; verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. And our last call is "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds." I extend my best regards and deep appreciation to Your Eminence, in advance, for clarifying the relevant Islamic ruling. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)
The basic ruling is that Allah (Exalted be He) has created all things in general. He (Exalted be He) says,
Allâh is the Creator of all things
"While Allâh has created you and what you make!"
Allah (Exalted be He) has created good and He enjoins and loves it, and He has created evil and He prohibits and dislikes it. There is a huge difference between Allah's creation of things and His will and between loving and enjoining them and being pleased and satisfied with them. Allah (Exalted be He) says,
If you disbelieve, then verily, Allâh is not in need of you; He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you.
He (Part No. 1; Page No. 9) (Exalted be He) also says,
...and Allâh likes not mischief.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.