The Problem of Evil

Ibn Sînâ's Theodicy

By Shams C. Inati

Subjects: Philosophy Of Religion, Medieval Studies
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781586840068, 227 pages, January 2000

The first comprehensive study of Ibn Sînâ’s Theodicy.


Who of us has not at one point wondered why it is that a God with absolute goodness, knowledge, and power would cause or allow evil in the world? This issue, which is traditionally known as the problem of evil and which is most puzzling to the human mind, received significant attention from Ibn Sînâ. In the present work, Shams C. Inati argues that Ibn Sînâ provides seven main theses to justify Gods causing or allowing the presence of evil in the world, and that the problem of evil disappears from his philosophy only by virtue of the thesis which relies on God's omnipotence as he defines it (i. e., capacity to fulfill all possibilities).

Following a historical background, which traces the thought of those who had an impact on Ibn Sînâ's response to this issue, including Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus, the work analyzes in detail and critically examines Ibn Sînâ's view. The book is an original piece of work and the first comprehensive study of Ibn Sînâ's Theodicy, which helped shape later Islamic and Christian treatments of the subject and left significant marks on the thought of major medieval philosophers, including Ibn Rushd, Aquinas, and Suarez.

Shams C. Inati is Professor of Islamic Studies at Villanova University.