The introspective approach of C.S. Lewis in his authoring of The Problem of Pain and later A Grief Observed is salient. Experiencing the death of his mother as a boy, the abandonment of his father, the bitter tragedy of war, Lewis attempted to make sense of the reality of pain and suffering from a Christian standpoint through his writing of The Problem of Pain, published in 1940. His later book, following the death of his wife to cancer, A Grief Observed is more critical even on some of his musings in The Problem of Pain. For Lewis, the process of living intimately through grief was an actualising of the pain he tries to make sense of in his earlier book. In his later book however, the struggle to explain is that much more difficult: As Putman observes, “the emotional trampling that grief brings causes him to question his faith in some ways.”1 Even though much time has passed since his death (d. 1963) we need of course be careful and tread carefully and with empathic bearing since it is Lewis’ bereavement at the passing of his wife that is the rationale behind his book.
“Sooner or later I must face the question in plain language. What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, ‘good’?”2
His work is a Christian reflection on some fundamental questions that emanate from living, from anticipating and from believing. The Problem of Pain poses the following outlook: “To ask whether the universe as we see it looks more like the work of a wise and good Creator or the work of chance, indifference, or malevolence, is to omit from the outset all the relevant factors in the religious problem.”3> Lewis makes the argument that human pain, animal pain and the existence of hell are not adequate reasons to reject belief in God. In his presentation of the problem of pain Lewis notes atheist objections to belief vis-à-vis pain from the perspective that a God who is ‘good’ cannot permit the suffering of peoples – particularly the undeserving and weak. Such arguments, as understood by theists, are centred on a perfect being theology, that God must be the greatest conceivable being and therefore the greatest source of goodness. Lewis notes the contention that God must be both morally good and omnipotent, strong enough to protect and stay the hand of the cruel and oppressive. How could pain therefore exist if God is good and if he able to prevent harm to his creatures. Both C.S Lewis and Muslims would use a similar approach to argue against atheistic contentions since both assert that the meaning, we ascribe to notions such as ‘happy’ in a human context, and ‘almighty’ and ‘good’ in the context of God need to be understood holistically in light of scriptural teaching about God and about the afterlife.
One of the ways Lewis makes sense of the plight of pain and suffering is theologically through the narrative Christians have long grappled with – the question of Adam’s sin and its bearing on humanity, and in light of Christian belief in Jesus’ crucifixion. The question of pain and suffering is central to the hypothesis which proposes Adam’s sin as an initial catalyst for the defective human condition.
The Qur’ān highlights that such a propensity towards good and evil exists in man. This is contrary to the Christian outlook which positions man as inherently sinful and unable to draw close to God, hence necessitating God Himself to become incarnate to sacrifice Himself for our forgiveness. An account is provided by C.S. Lewis – “man is now a horror to God and to himself and a creature ill-adapted to the universe not because God made him so but because he has made himself so by the abuse of his free will. To my mind this is the sole function of the doctrine… It may be impossible to find out what they meant by this, or we may decide that what they meant was erroneous. But I do not think we can dismiss their way of talking as a mere “idiom”. Wisely, or foolishly, they believed that we were really — and not simply by legal fiction — involved in Adam’s action.”4
The generating of sin meant that humans become bound by and subjugated to a sinful state and are, as a result of a sinful state and nature, both unwilling and incapable of reconciling with God. As C.S. Lewis proposes, since the Church Fathers proposes a number of theories to attempt to understand the role of Adam, Satan, sin, the devil in light of Jesus’ salvific function, “it may be impossible to find out what they meant by this, or we may decide that what they meant was erroneous.”5 Second-century Greek bishop Iraneus of Lyons proposed the devil-ransom theory in which the devil had kept humanity captive. Both Irenaeus, and Origen before him, provide early statements of the devil-ransom theory, expressing ideas associated with sacrifice, ransom, substitution and redemption with the idea that the ransom is paid to, or made from, the devil. Of the Greek Fathers, Gregory of Nyssa (c.335 – c.395 AD) is also attributed with upholding the devil-ransom theory. Other theories include twelfth century Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm of Canterbury’s satisfaction theory.
Anselm of Canterbury challenged the long-running theories of his predecessors and proposed a different outlook on atonement. He questions his interlocutor:
“As to what you say of his coming to vanquish the devil for you, with what meaning dare you allege this? Is not the omnipotence of God everywhere enthroned? How is it, then, that God must needs come down from heaven to vanquish the devil? These are the objections with which infidels think they can withstand us.”6
Anselm’s text, Cur Deus Homo (Why God became Man), provides a satisfaction theory of the atonement. For Anselm, it is does not befit God to forgive sins by compassion alone and to “pass over anything in his kingdom undischarged.” Instead, God is owed the price of sins committed, since there is a payment of the ‘honour’ taken from Him:
“He who does not render this honor which is due to God, robs God of his own and dishonors him; and this is sin. Moreover, so long as he does not restore what he has taken away, he remains in fault; and it will not suffice merely to restore what has been taken away, but, considering the contempt offered, he ought to restore more than he took away. For as one who imperils another’s safety does not enough by merely restoring his safety, without making some compensation for the anguish incurred; so he who violates another’s honor does not enough by merely rendering honor again, but must, according to the extent of the injury done, make restoration in some way satisfactory to the person whom he has dishonored. We must also observe that when any one pays what he has unjustly taken away, he ought to give something which could not have been demanded of him, had he not stolen what belonged to another. So then, everyone who sins ought to pay back the honor of which he has robbed God; and this is the satisfaction which every sinner owes to God.”7
Christians all hold that the incarnation of Christ played a crucial role in effecting the reconciliation of mankind back with God. The relationship between incarnation and the Christian outlook on soteriology is the crucial point of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo. C.S. Lewis proposes a similar outlook though one that feeds off different atonement theories that have come to us from the second century onwards. Lewis attempts to make sense of the seeming difficulties the concept of Original Sin would have in relation to God’s majesty, power, foreknowledge, divine plan. As he explains,
“This is, if you like, the “weak spot” in the very nature of creation, the risk which God apparently thinks worth taking. But the sin was very heinous, because the self which Paradisal man had to surrender contained no natural recalcitrancy to being surrendered. His data, so to speak, were a psychophysical organism wholly subject to the will and a will wholly disposed, though not compelled, to turn to God.”8
There is a problem, as Lewis outlines, in believing that God would not have known that Adam would err. That would suggest that God created a being with an anticipated perfection, like a demigod, but who then instead upends the cosmic order of things with his sin. To try and make sense of it all, Lewis positions the event, and all subsequent earthly happenings in the context of a preordained plan in which the crucifixion becomes the focal point of God’s plan for creation: “In fact, of course, God saw the crucifixion in the act of creating the first nebula.”<9 Lewis’ statement here is a reflection of fundamental Christian belief, shared by differing denominations, of the salvific function of Jesus Christ.
According to ex-Ahmadi Nabeel Qureishi, “The Christian God is willing to forgive us for all of our sins by paying the penalty Himself…The Christian God says believe in Him, follow Him and he will take our sins upon himself.”10 Qureshi’s words, nor Lewis’ here reflect well the idea of a perfect being who is necessarily and maximally omnibenevolent, and this in turn skews such a conception as Lewis draws on of understanding of pain through a Christian paradigm. In Qureishi’s outline in order for the penalty of sins to be paid to God, God pays the penalty to Himself and He is thereafter appeased because a price has been paid unto Himself. He is the one who pays the price to Himself. Langford writes, “Sin had brought alienation from God, the lack of personal fellowship with Him. God, consequently, took it upon Himself to rescue humanity by paying the price for its fallenness.”11 The method of forgiveness is not for God to forgive people’s sins if they sincerely repent, and nor has He made it possible for people to reconcile back to Him. The way possible is for Him to become incarnated and then receive the full penalty of the sin back to Himself through a blood sacrifice. But the only way possible is to believe the event actually happened and that Jesus was truly God incarnate.
“I do not mean that our sufferings are a punishment for being what we cannot now help being nor that we are morally responsible for the rebellion of a remote ancestor. If, none the less, I call our present condition one of original Sin, and not merely one of original misfortune, that is because our actual religious experience does not allow us to regard it in any other way.”12
C.S. Lewis furthers the discussion on sin from a Christian outlook by juxtaposing what he sees as a model of forgiveness in Christianity with something else in Islam. That something else is not altogether explained – “The problem is not simply that of a God who consigns some of His creatures to final ruin. That would be the problem if we were Mahometans. Christianity, true, as always, to the complexity of the real, presents us with something knottier and more ambiguous — a God so full of mercy that He becomes man and dies by torture to avert that final ruin from His creatures, and who yet, where that heroic remedy fails, seems unwilling, or even unable, to arrest the ruin by an act of mere power.”13 Lewis’ remark speaks perhaps of an inadvertent mistake or a lack of familiarity with Islamic soteriology, and where and how it contrasts with the earlier dispensation of Christianity. In Islam the matter is easily understood in relation to God’s willingness to extend mercy and forgiveness to His servants. He says,
“Why should Allah punish you if you are grateful and faithful? Allah is ever Appreciative, All-Knowing.”14
Adam becomes archetypal; in the Qur’an his function speaks more of God’s Ever-Nearness, mercy and closeness than about becoming a ‘horror to God’ resulting in wrathful penalty-seeking through the blood sacrifice of another individual. Secondly, Lewis does not himself discount the presence of hell or divine punishment – “Our Lord speaks of Hell under three symbols: first, that of punishment (“everlasting punishment” Matt. xxv, 46); second, that of destruction (“fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell,” Matt. x, 28); and thirdly, that of privation, exclusion, or banishment into “the darkness outside””15 – but grapples with attempting to make sense of it while wrestling with the belief in a forgiving God and the redemptive power through Jesus.
In the Islamic theological tradition, all humans are born pure with inherent goodness, in a state of fiṭra – with the proto-knowledge that God is reality, that He is worthy of worship, and that humans are imbued with a fundamental level of goodness: “No child is born but upon 16, denoting a pure innate, monotheistic disposition. God explains in the Qur’ān:
“Can there be any doubt about God, Creator of the heavens and Earth?”17
“So be steadfast in faith in all uprightness ˹O Prophet˺—the natural Way of Allāh which He has instilled in ˹all˺ people. Let there be no change in this creation of Allāh. That is the Straight Way, but most people do not know.”18
Furthermore, at many points in the Qur’ān, God reminds us that He is Just and does not do anything unfair or unjust to His creatures. This is a repeated Qur’ānic motif:
“…for never does Allāh do the least wrong to His creatures!”19
“…and because Allāh is not ever unjust to His servants.”20
It will be said], ‘This is for what you have stored up with your own hands: God is never unjust to His creatures.’21
“Whoever does good does it for his own soul and whoever does evil does it against his own soul: your Lord is never unjust to His creatures.”22
“The judgment passed by Me shall not be altered; but never do I do the least wrong unto My creatures!”23
The reminder is poignant in outlining the basis of Islam’s view on the human project — on hamartiology (the place of sin) in Islam, and Islam’s doctrine of salvation (soteriology). God is Ever-Near (al-Qarīb) to His creatures, makes clear to them the way of guidance and the dangers of misguidance, and calls on them to be mindful of earthly and spiritual trappings. The human is naturally cognisant of God, is created in a pure state with a natural predisposition to affirm God, and is further imbued with the capacity to do both good and evil. Life is thus a test of i) an individual’s recognition of God ii) of belief in and adherence to His Messenger iii) recognition and gratitude for His blessings, iv) of the individual’s love and devotion to God, v) and of the way such God-centric focus inspires good conduct with others. Islam delineates that man is weak, prone to error and that He will find a merciful and understanding God, who is willing to forgive and pardon wrongdoings when a person turns sincerely to Him and commits himself to positive transformation.
But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.24
This does not mean that sin does not have consequences. It does, and it indeed did Adam, shown through his being removed from heaven. Sin surely distances us God’s divine pleasure and from His blessings, both earthly and heavenly. An individual can exhibit goodness that can become corroded by the effects of sin. Life is thus a test, and no-one is punished for someone’s else’s sin, and nor does God, fully holy, demand a blood payment for sin – and in the Christian paradigm, a blood payment paid by Himself back to Himself. The Qur’an states explicitly:
“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches God but your piety. He has subjected them to you in this way so that you may glorify God for having guided you. Give good news to those who do good.”25
In Islam, mankind’s relationship with God is built on an understanding that God is Merciful, that nothing that man does impedes on God’s holiness for God is necessarily, maximally holy. The things we do, distance us from divine grace, yet God is Ever Close and pleased that His servants return to Him. Allāh further states: “That He may give them in full their rewards and increase for them of His bounty. Indeed, He is Forgiving and Appreciative.”26
Qur’ān commentators agree that God’s attribute al-Shakūr (the Most-Appreciative) means that He appreciates all that His creation does seeking nearness to Him. Fourteenth-century Qur’ān exegete Ibn Kathīr explained that Shakūr means “He appreciates even a little of their good deed”27 according to the Jalālayn commentary, “appreciative of their obedience.”28 Allāh is both al-Shākir (The Recogniser and Rewarder of good) and al-Shakūr. Nineteenth-century Qur’an exegete Al-Saʿdī explains that al-Shakūr is “The one who recognises and rewards the small quantity of actions and the one who forgives the large quantity of sins. He is the one who multiplies the rewards of His sincere servants manifold without measure. He is the one who recognises and rewards those who give thanks to Him and remembers the one who remember Him. whosoever seeks to get closer to Him by doing any righteous action, Allāh draws closer to Him by a greater degree.”29
This verse concludes with two of the beautiful names of Allāh, Ghafur (Forgiving) and Shakūr, (Appreciative). These two names are paired together three times in the Qur’ān, each one a remarkable testament to God’s maximally loving nature. Allāh is both forgiving and appreciative of the works of His creation. He provides in abundance to the little that we do, appreciates the smallest of deeds performed with sincere hearts. The verse explains that He both rewards and multiplies such rewards which demonstrates His loving nature. Everything we do comes from Him alone, our faculties, senses, limbs are all created and sustained by Allāh yet He still, out of His love, rewards the faithful for their intentions and efforts. Ibn Kathir explains: “He who is grateful is met with Allāh’s appreciation, and he whose heart believes in Him will know Him, and He will reward him for that with the greatest reward.”30
[And it will be said], ‘Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated’.31
In the Qur’ānic account, we see the great bounty and benevolence of God. Adam and his wife were both afflicted with sin by eating from the tree forbidden to them, and thereafter, with sincere repentance pleaded with God for forgiveness; and from the honour and generosity of God, both were forgiven. In fact, the encounter between God and His stricken servants is so reflective of the majesty of God that it is He who turns to Adam and inspires him and his wife with words to say to ask for forgiveness. The majesty of God is shown through His closeness to His creation, His being maximally aware, maximally loving and forgiving. The paradigm of seeking forgiveness for human failings was founded at the first instance, and so too was man’s realisation that He has a loving and merciful God.
C.S. Lewis draws on the twelfth-century Anselmian theory of atonement, and because of his belief in it, subsequently becomes entangled in the attempt to explain God’s holiness and goodness in light of human imperfections. He writes: “His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable”32 This thinking stems from Anselm’s argument that humans are in a wicked condition and are unable to pay the price of our sins back to God, and so Jesus – also God – becomes an incarnate and bears a suffering on the cross so that the price of sin is paid back to God and his honour is restored. Anselm, and Lewis hold that the suffering of Christ in turn improves our human condition since we then love him more as a result of that reconciliation. The Qur’an presents a radical change from such notions. As outlined, it figures 1. Adam as a repentant sinner 2. It figures God as close, merciful and forgiving 3. It figures the progeny of Adam as an imperfect creation bound by callings of good and insinuations towards evil 5. Life is thus a test, and mankind will be gathered on the Day of Judgement to answer for their earthly dispositions.
Contrary to Anselm’s atonement theory, In Islam there is nothing that mankind can do to upset God’s holiness. Though Christians might respond by highlighting that it was not God whose holiness was besmirched but rather the human being’s ability to access that holiness, the theories of atonement which predicate salvation on restoring a wrong done to God, on satisfying, on appeasing, seem to indicate this; the concept of God as maximally loving enough to provide support, comfort, a way out, forgiveness, mercy for His fallen servant falls short. We are reminded in an elaborate Prophetic tradition that God said:
“O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My dominion in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My dominion in anything.”33
The piety of the most pious has no effect on God’s majesty and nor does the wickedness of the most wicked have any bearing on the majesty of God. God’s kingdom is complete in all matters, the piety and righteousness of all the inhabitants of the earth does not increase Him in anything since His riches are complete and nothing lacks in His complete perfection. Similarly, if all the people on earth were to gather on immorality, disbelief and transgression that would not detract from anything in His possession, and it would not harm God in the least.
Lewis’ reflection of pain is brazenly emotive in its description, and speaks of an honest reflection on the human codes of recognisability that connect us all: “When I think of pain — of anxiety that gnaws like fire and loneliness that spreads out like a desert, and the heart-breaking routine of monotonous misery, or again of dull aches that blacken our whole landscape or sudden nauseating pains that knock a man’s heart out at one blow, of pains that seem already intolerable and then are suddenly increased, of infuriating scorpion-stinging pains that startle into maniacal movement a man who seemed half dead with his previous tortures — it “quite o’ercrows my spirit”. If I knew any way of escape I would crawl through sewers to find it. but what is the good of telling you about my feelings? you know them already: they are the same as yours. I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. That is what the word means. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine of being made “perfect through suffering” is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design.”34> In Islam, God’s love is a reflection of His care for our welfare and improvement. His holiness and goodliness is shown through the ease by which His creation can turn back to Him. That path is a personal one, and God is the judge of a person’s true sincerity and devotion. Instead of demanding perfection, He expects righteousness – not for His sake so that the ‘blemish’ of sin is removed from Him as in Anselm’s formula and C.S. Lewis’ outlook – God is Holier than that and no human violation has any bearing on Him. Instead, the blemish is on humans for their transgression, but God supremely exalted is He, is not affected by human sin. He is full of all praise without any of His creation and is not made more because of His creation.
And Moses said, “If you should disbelieve, you and whoever is on the earth entirely – indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.”35
“If you disbelieve – indeed, Allah is Free from need of you. And He does not approve for His servants’ disbelief. And if you are grateful, He approves it for you; and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you about what you used to do. Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.”36
Adam must now experience distance from God to understand what nearness was and, while this might lie at the root of human suffering, it is also a route to human development. In fact, some Muslim thinkers saw a positive ray in the first human act of disobedience.
Islam encourages the notion of being completely in God’s hands, that is to feel a complete sense of dependence and neediness before Him. It might be bliss and pleasure that brings on that state, as reflected in the Prophetic teaching to recite at moments of assuredness in one’s movement to and fro in life – during eating, drinking, dressing, the Prophet would acknowledge a state of thankfulness to Allah:
“All Praise is for Allah who has clothed me with this garment and provided it for me, with no power nor might from myself.”37
Such moments of neediness are effected through the acts of appreciations but perhaps more palpably during moments of suffering and pain. It is this area that C.S. Lewis focuses his attention on in The Problem of Pain. It is his attempt to understand the purpose of pain theologically in the grand scheme of things and of course most of his thoughts emanate from a series of personal tragedies in his life. The Qur’an reminds its readers that all happenings in life, the triumphs and failures, the joys and sorrows, serve a profound teleological purpose: “We tested them with prosperity and adversity, so perhaps they would return.”38
This notion of ‘returning to God’ is quite absent from both of Lewis’ books. The Christian position he espoused is centred on accepting of Jesus as the sacrificial payment for man’s sins and inadequacies, yet this still leaves some unanswered questions for Lewis: “The sacrifice of Christ is repeated, or re-echoed, among His followers in varying degrees, from the cruellest martyrdom down to a self-submission…The causes of this distribution I do not know”39
A Grief Observed is a more evocative reflection of Lewis’ feelings, a reflection of his bereavement following the death of his wife. In one of his contemplations, Lewis struggles with his faith, not from the perspectives that enabled him to try and make sense of the Adamic conundrum of sin, purpose of man, God’s expectations on man and redemption through Jesus Christ in The Problem of Pain, but from the perspective of attempting to understand death and the temporality of all life. He questions,
“Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble? I tried to put some of these thoughts to C. this afternoon. He reminded me that the same thing seems to have happened to Christ: ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’ I know. Does that make it easier to understand? Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’40
There are undoubtedly important experiential learnings that arise from pain and suffering. This can be observed, felt, witnessed at many levels, and there are many events and happenings one can point to in their own individual lives as well as in prominent examples from human history. The Qur’an points to the two characteristics of patience and gratitude as embodying experiential learning through sufferings and pleasures in life, but there are also others that stem from patience and gratitude such as newfound strength, courage, empathy and mercy. Fulfilment and thankfulness too, therefore, require critical reflection since a having when not having could have also been a possibility, or to know what not experiencing pain is – the state of earthly āfiyah (preservation) – when having experienced pain the first time, will undoubtedly produce feelings of thankfulness. In this light, when believers enter into heaven, a caller will cry out:
“’You will be healthy and will never fall sick; you will live and will never die; you will remain young and will never grow old; you will feel ease and will never be miserable.’”41
All that was experienced and preserved in life will means so much more in the next life. The losses, disabilities, ailments that we carry in this life will not be so in the next life. For every affliction in life, every trouble and pain, the reward from Allah, out of His love and appreciation, is to expiate those who suffer with forgiveness and recompense: “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”42 Those who had suffered in this life, once they experience heavenly bliss will not remember their previous suffering:
Then, the most miserable people in the world among the people of Paradise will come on the Day of Resurrection to be dipped in Paradise, then it will be said: O son of Adam, did you see any hardship? Did you have any distress? He will say: No, by Allah, my Lord! I did not once see hardship or distress.”43
In summation, though Lewis’ work is not an academic work of theology, it is a work of theology in that it attempts to study the divine through the frame of death. Lewis’ remark in the aforementioned quote, “The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like”, is telling of his Christianity influenced outlook of life and death. It should be repeated here that we need of course be careful and tread carefully and with empathic bearing since it is Lewis’ bereavement at the passing of his wife that is the rationale behind his book, the Prophetic tradition: ““None of you should die unless he expects good from Allah”44 provides the faithful with much consolation.
The major themes of this book – on who God is, on the place of sin in relation to God’s Majesty – has a bearing on two fronts: one, in relation to what the sin generates in human relationship with the divine and the second in relation to who it is that forgives our sins and on account of these what impression we are to have of God Himself. The Qur’ān questions its readers about human salvation in relation to what the human impression of the divine is. The Qur’an questions, “Then what is your thought about the Lord of the worlds?”45
“Forgiver of sins and Accepter of repentance, severe in punishment, infinite in bounty. There is no god but Him; to Him is the ultimate return.”46
1 Rhyne Putman, BOOK REVIEW: C.S. LEWIS’ A GRIEF OBSERVED: A Paper Submitted to Dr. Rhyne Putman of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of the Course The Problem of Evil: PHIL6503 in the Division of Theological and Historical Studies, p. 2.
2 C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (London: Faber & Faber, 1964), p. 14.
3 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 8.
4 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), pp. 41-42.
5 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), pp. 41-42.
6 Anselm of Canterbury. Cur Deus Homo St. Anselm (Preface and Book). Retrieved January 8, 2022 from
7 Anselm of Canterbury. Cur Deus Homo St. Anselm (Preface and Book). Retrieved January 8, 2022 from
8 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 49
9 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 51.
10 Qureishi, N. [Zondervan]. (2016, July 20). Are Allāh and the God of Christianity the Same? Nabeel Qureshi
Answers [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0jDTFyHluw
11 Langford, J.S.D. (1983). Some Principles of Christian Mission to Muslims. Loma Linda University Electronic
Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 643. Retrieved January 9, 2022 from https://scholarsrepository.llu.edu/etd/643
12 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), pp. 51-52.
13 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 76.
14 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 4, verse 147.
15 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 79.
16 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2658 d.
17 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 14, verse 10.
18 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 30, verse 30.
19 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 3, verse 182.
20 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 8, verse 51.
21Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 22, verse 10.
22 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 41, verse 46.
23 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 50, verse 29.
24 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 20, verse 82.
25 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 22, verse 37.
26 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 35, verse 30.
<27 Ibn Kathīr. (2003). Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-ʿAẓīm. Dar al-Maʿrifa, p. 1314; 1317.
28 Al-Mahalli & al-Suyuti. (1992). Tafsīr al-Jalālayn. Dar al-Ikhaa, p. 437.
29 Al-Saʿdī. (2008). Explanation to the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allāh (trans. Abū Rumaysah). Al-Sunnah
Publishers, p. 89.
30 Ibn Kathīr. (2003). Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-ʿAẓīm. Dar al-Maʿrifa, p. 436.
31 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 76, verse 22.
32 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 26.
33 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2577
34 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), pp. 65-66.
35 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 14, verse 8.
36 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 39, verse 7.
37 Abū Dāwūd 4023
38 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 7, verse 168.
39 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Québec, Samizdat University Press), p. 65
40 C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (London: Faber & Faber, 1964), p. 3.
41 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2827.
42 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5461
43 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2807.
44 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2877
45 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 37, verse 87.
46 Al-Qur’ān. Chapter 40, verse 3.