punishments are in both worlds. Therefore sin is in truth the very worst evil
in this world and in the next, for because of it man both becomes unhappy and
devoid of peace in this world and in the next is liable to eternal destruction.
What kind of a man then is he who does not flee from sin and does not strive to
escape its terrible consequences. Assuredly every wise and intelligent person
will do his utmost to obtain release from his sin, which occasions pain and
punishment in both worlds. And, as we have mentioned at the beginning of this
book, every one who carefully and thoughtfully ponders over this subject will
fully understand that sin is in truth the evil thing and the deadly poison which
renders man miserable, and which corrupts and destroys him both in this and in
the next world.
In order to enjoy true happiness the first thing necessary is that man
should obtain deliverance from sin itself. Only by doing so, by gaining
release from the slavery of sin, can he hope to escape from the utter ruin and
destruction which are its ultimate consequences.
If man had no hope of salvation, then assuredly his condition would be worse
than that of the lower animals. His misery would be beyond al conception and
beyond the power of tongue to relate or pen to describe. But thanks be to God
the AllWise, the All-Merciful, for ever and ever, that through His infinite
mercy He has discovered a
way by means of which we and all men who walk in this way of salvation may
escape from sin and its eternal consequences of ruin and destruction, may become
acceptable to the holy one and obtain true and eternal happiness. With the aid
of God Most High we hope to explain this way of salvation in the next chapter.
But before doing so we must say a few words in confutation of the vain and
baseless fancy which some men hold, that sin and evil have no real existence but
are merely a phantom of the human Imagination. We shall afterwards add a few
words about. the origin of evil.
Although the existence of sin and evil is clearer than the sun, and is
invisible only to the man who knowingly and deliberately closes his eyes to it,
and though the only person who will venture to deny it is the man who puts out
of sight every proof and all evidence of this matter, yet men did exist in olden
times and are still to be found who, when they are unable to discover the origin
of evil, or because through love of the world and of sill evil pleases them and
seems to them good, assert that sin and evil have never had an origin, but that
they are merely an imagination of men's mind. They say that evil is merely
anything which injures man and good anything which benefits him, but that in
reality both are necessary for man in this world, and from this point of view
there is really ii,) difference between good and evil. Many Sufis and