Short Answer: Animals are devoid of an understanding of good and evil. God created a perfect ecosystem wherein all life depends on all other life to exist in an overall symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship. Predatory carnivores must eat other animals in order to survive, and aside from Man, most predatory carnivores are also prey for another bigger or stronger carnivore. This is not an indication of evil, but of God’s perfect design.
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We need to understand in the first place what predatory carnivores are: they are animals that hunt and kill other animals primarily for food. Polar bears, killer sharks and crocodiles are examples.
The implications behind the question are as follows:
- Predatory carnivores tear into their prey and devour them; hence they are ‘evil’; indeed they could be called the very incarnation of Evil.
- God is believed to be perfect in His goodness.
- If so, how can we believe that a perfectly good God could create such terrible creatures?
To put the idea in other words: “If God is so perfect in His goodness and mercy, why has He created evil itself?” Or “how can a good God allow evil?”
The answer is that a good God may allow evil if He has a good reason.
And we need not know God’s reasons for allowing evil, because Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that we are given only very little knowledge:
…of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!) (Qur’an 17:85)
Therefore, it would be enough if we know of a possible reason for God to allow evil to exist.
Predatory Animals Act According to Their Nature
The first point to note is that we should note that from a biological or ecological point of view predatory carnivores are not evil.
They hunt and kill their prey for food.
They are carnivores by nature, while the very idea of evil presupposes a motive behind it.
And such a motive cannot be attributed to any animal.
Nature Is an Ecosystem
Secondly we should realize that the whole of nature is an ecosystem, where each part is made to fit with all other parts God has created.
This means that everything contributes to everything else, and every creature relies on other creatures to survive.
Without such an arrangement the ecological balance would be upset; and not just nature but life itself would be destroyed.
That is to say, everything is made to work so wonderfully well sustaining the ecosystem in accordance with the smallest aspect of a complex detailed plan.
It is inconceivable that this is all possible without a Super Planner behind it.
Any thinking human can get a glimpse of it all, if he/she undertakes a serious and comprehensive study of the working of nature.
Good and Evil from the Islamic Point of View
From the Islamic point of view, evil is like one of the twins, the other being good, as good on earth is ironically linked to evil.
Because good in this world cannot exist without bad, as they are two sides of the same coin, and both are relative concepts.
Indeed the imperfections and shortcomings of this world provide ample opportunities for us to make creative efforts for improvement.
And this makes our lives and work meaningful.
It appears that the forces of good and evil work in opposite directions; but in the final analysis their work may be seen as a covert cooperation to fulfill the Divine plan.
And we know, evil cannot be without God’s willing it to exist; and if so, evil has a role here to play.
In short, without evil, there is no good.
What Seems Evil Can Be Good For Us
And as for humans, both are equally necessary for their spiritual development.
For the spirit to grow, it has to overcome evil and do good.
From the Islamic point of view, all things and events are under the control of the Almighty and so a Muslim trusts in the eternal benevolence and mercy of Allah; as Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
My mercy extends to all things. (Qur’an 7:156)
As Allah’s mercy is all-pervading, it fulfills the smallest need of the lowliest creature in the most unexpected ways.
In Allah Almighty’s scheme of things not only predatory carnivores, but even the tiniest microbes serve their purpose.
As John Milton wrote in his sonnet, On His Blindness: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”