Why Does Allah Permit Rape?

02 November, 2018
Q Assalamu Alaikum. I just read in the Caribbean that a six year old was raped and murdered, a similar crime happened here in Canada, Ontario, a few years ago. This really aches my soul especially because of innocent children involved. My questions are why does Allah allow one child to live a full life, become adult and die later from natural causes and another to suffer in childhood before its death? And why doesn't Allah prevent small children and young women from getting raped even if they take precautions? How can you expect a rape victim to worship Allah with full faith again?

Answer

Short Answer: If Allah so willed, He could have made humans like other creatures who have no freedom. In that case, there will be no test and no reward or punishment waiting for him in the afterlife. But Allah decided that man should be His khalifah, and that he should have the freedom to do good or evil in this world for a time. And while we are on earth, Allah does not interfere with our freedom even if we choose evil. Does this mean that there is nothing wrong in using our freedom and the blessings before us as we please? Certainly not. Remember: Allah has sent us His Guidance too through His Prophets, through His Books. It is our bounden duty and responsibility to live by the Guidance of Allah; but Allah does not want to force any one to accept this Guidance, as man is free to accept it or reject it

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Wa Alaikum Assalam Dear Brothers,

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Vicegerent on Earth

In the Holy Quran Allah Almighty tells us that He created man to be His khalifah (vicegerent) on earth:

{Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ They said: ‘Will You place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- while we do celebrate Your praises and glorify Your holy (name)?’ He said: ‘I know what you know not.’} (Quran 2:30)

The word khalifah is translated above as ‘vicegerent’ (= ambassador); and it signifies that the status of humans is above all other creatures of God, including even angels. It is because of man’s position (man includes woman too) as khalifah, that Allah gave him all kinds of faculties such as intelligence, ratiocination, discretion, imagination etc which account for his creative genius. And Allah the All Wise gave him the freedom to use those faculties in the proper way too. Then He placed all the things He created on earth at his disposal and sent down His Guidance:

{It is He Who has created for you all things that are on earth…} (Quran 2:29)

{There shall most certainly come unto you guidance from Me: and he who follows My guidance will not go astray, and neither will he be unhappy.} (Quran 20:123)

Freedom?

Being Allah Almighty’s khalifah on earth, man has to make use of all the blessings Allah has bestowed on him to make creative efforts for his welfare on earth as well as for the attainment of the ultimate felicity Allah offers in Paradise. This about sums up man’s responsibility on earth. But unlike other creatures, man is gifted with freedom, though within limits.

This means that man can, if he so chooses, do evil. And we need to understand that in Allah’s scheme evil is the other side of the coin: that without it good does not exist on earth. Both good and evil are given for testing humans on earth. Only those who pass this test can get rewards in the hereafter:

{Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial; to Us must you return.} (Quran 21:35)

If Allah so willed, He could have made humans like other creatures who have no freedom. In that case, there will be no test and no reward or punishment waiting for him in the afterlife. But Allah decided that man should be His khalifah, and that he should have the freedom to do good or evil in this world for a time.

And while we are on earth, Allah does not interfere with our freedom even if we choose evil. Does this mean that there is nothing wrong in using our freedom and the blessings before us as we please? Certainly not. Remember: Allah has sent us His Guidance too through His Prophets, through His Books. It is our bounden duty and responsibility to live by the Guidance of Allah; but Allah does not want to force any one to accept this Guidance, as man is free to accept it or reject it:

{Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it)} (Quran 18:29)

How about Evil?

The foregoing does not mean that Allah does not care for what happens on earth, for instance when man in his arrogance commits terrible cruelties like the rape and murder of a six-year old girl or the bombing of a school full of innocent kids from a height of 40,000 feet. There is an incessant and relentless reckoning of all our doings here:

{And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and you will see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say, “Ah! woe to us! what a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!” They will find all that they did, placed before them: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice.} (Quran 18:49)

Most assuredly such a Day will come, when we have to answer for all our misdeeds before Allah Almighty:

{But those who reject (Allah) – for them will be the Fire of Hell: No term shall be determined for them, so they should die, nor shall its Penalty be lightened for them. Thus do We reward every ungrateful one!} (Quran 35:36)

Allah Almighty warns the evil-doers of a most certain and grievous punishment awaiting them, just as He consoles the good people with the happy news of Paradise. It is the duty of all believers to do whatever we can, not only to do good but also to prevent evil.

And if we on our part fail to prevent the crimes or cruelties taking place around us, we need to be patiently praying to Allah for His help. There is no place for despair in our religion; as Allah is always there to guide us and help us believers in all our efforts towards good.

Trials

We need to remember that the life of this world is not a bed of roses; there are always severe trials, as there is terrible pain inflicted by some humans on others, even on kids as you said. Those who have learnt the lives of the Prophets must know that even such holy and pious people had to suffer terrible pain. Remember Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as well as some of his companions – how they too suffered immensely in their lives.

Remember the family of Yasir and in our own day the sufferings of the Muslims of Bosnia, Iraq and Palestine for instance. And there are indeed more cruelties happening in this world than one reads in the news. But Allah is always watchful; He never ever is indifferent to the sufferings of the poor and the innocent.

Exactly that is the reason why He has made His Paradise so beautifully filled with all pleasures meant for His suffering servants; and His hell is full of terrible torments for the criminals who commit atrocities like the raping of little kids.

Allah’s Wisdom

You ask: “Why does Allah allow one child to live a full life, become adult and die later from natural causes and another to suffer in childhood before its death? And why doesn’t Allah prevent small children and young women from getting raped even if they take precautions?”

We should not allow our emotions to get the better of our commonsense. And we should never forget that we are all weak and fallible creatures of Allah Almighty and we have no right to question His wisdom.

Allah (May He be Glorified and Exalted!) is the Creator, Sustainer and Law-Giver of this universe and everything in it. He is Wise; He knows the hidden mysteries as well as the open; His is the Dominion, the Power and the Glory; and we are nothing.

So who are we to say ‘He should do this or that with His creation’? Our duty is to wholeheartedly submit to His will and pray for His mercy and forgiveness. May Allah Almighty forgive our sins of arrogance or ignorance!

And Allah knows best

I hope this helps

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Does Islamic Law Require Witnesses to Punish a Rapist?

Marital Rape OK within Islamic Marriage?!

Real Talk: What Does Islam Say About Rape and Slavery?

 

About Professor Shahul Hameed
Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.