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Answer to A Question
The Difference between Khair (Good) and Shar (Evil), and Husn (Pretty) and Qubh (Ugly)
To Abu Qusay


As-Salaam Alaikum Sheikh, may Allah grant you a long life to witness the victory, InshaAllah.

I have a question about the difference between Khair (good) and Shar (evil), and Husn (pretty) and Qubh (ugly)? Because when the topic is raised among the brothers, varying answers are given on the subject, please explain to us the difference between the two subjects, May Allah bless you.


Wa Alaikum As-Salaam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu

A. Husn (pretty) and Qubh (ugly), and Khair (good) and Shar (evil) are terminologies used by the scholars of jurisprudence and the understanding of their meanings would be according to how they defined and used them, and not as in their stated meaning in the language. I.e. for you to know the meaning and the difference between them, you must refer to the scholars of Jurisprudence not the scholars of the language, do not open the dictionary and look for the meaning of Husn and Qubh, and Khair and Shar and then say that you obtained the answer, you must look at what the jurisprudence defined and follow that meaning.

B. The scholars of jurisprudence discussed the (legislator) i.e. who has the authority to issue the classification of the actions, whether they are an obligation (fardh), recommended (mandoub), permissible (mubah), detested (makrooh), or forbidden (haram), and on the things being halal or haram? This means that it is in terms of the commands and prohibitions on them, i.e. in terms of being praised and condemned and the consequent reward or punishment.

Hassan and Qubh are defined from this angle. What is in accordance with the orders of the Shariah is praised and obliged, it is Hassan and it's rewarded, and what is contrary to the rules of Shariah is condemned and forbidden, it is Qubh and it is punishable. Therefore Hassan and Qubh are relevant when defining actions and things in terms of what is their Hukm Shar’i (Islamic ruling), and in terms of what are the consequent praise or condemnation i.e. in terms of the reward and punishment.

Therefore, in the case of theft, for example, in terms of issuing its ruling, it is forbidden, and in terms of praise and condemnation and the consequences (reward and punishment), that the cutting off the hand is applicable or the Hellfire in the Hereafter, here we say that theft is Qabih (ugly).

C. The scholars of jurisprudence also discussed the criteria, which the person refers to when measuring the effect of harm or benefit on him, and if the person should undertake the action or not as a result, so they refer a certain action to the criteria of Islam, which they accepted, and if the result of the measurement is (benefit) according to Islam, then they love this action and carry it out and they call it Khair (good), and if the measurement is (harm) then this action is hated and they decline from undertaking the action and they call it Shar (evil).

So in the case of theft, for example, in terms of the Islamic criteria, which is used to measure its benefit or harm to the person, and which results in the person taking the action or refraining from it, this is good and evil.
So you will say that theft is evil because it is harmful according to the criteria of Islam and therefore you will refrain from stealing.

D. So you will call theft (Qabih) ugly if the discussion is about issuing the ruling on it i.e. it is forbidden, and in terms of reward and punishment i.e. the cutting off the hand in this life or going to Hellfire in the Afterlife.

And theft is called Shar (evil) if the subject of your discussion is the criteria that you use to measure benefit and harm, so you measure according to the criteria of Islam, not by your benefit or whim, accordingly you find it harmful and you will hate it and refrain from doing it, and you will call it Shar (evil).

E. Conclusion:

If the discussion is in the context of issuing the ruling on the actions and things and what follows in terms of reward or punishment, it will be described as Husn and Qubh.

If the discussion is over the criteria that you use to measure the benefit or harm and therefore love the action and carry it out or hate the action and refrain from it, then this will be described as good and evil.

Your brother,
Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah

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Last modified onMonday, 21 March 2016 00:25


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