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If God is Impartial…
Author/Source: Junaid Hassan  Posted by: Junaid Hasan
Hits: 2469 Rating: 7 (2 votes) Comments: 2 Added On: Wednesday, October 03, 2007 Rate this article

  

Then this claim that anyone is advantageous to be a Muslim by birth, in its root, is incorrect. Like that of the Muslims today, the Jews of the Prophet Muhammad’s (may peace be upon him) time had a number of “pipe dreams”, for example, the Hellfire would not touch them; no one would enter in Paradise except the Jews and the Christians and that these two nations were the beloved sons of God etc[1]. Allah heavily criticized such beliefs in the Qur’an in the following words:

 

“And they say: ‘The fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days’; Say: ‘Have ye taken a promise from Allah, for He never breaks His promise? Or is it that ye say of Allah what ye do not know?’ Nay those who seek gain in Evil, and are girt round by their sins - they are Companions of the Fire. Therein shall they abide (for ever). But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are Companions of the Garden therein shall they abide (for ever).” (Al-Baqarah: 80-81; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

Regarding the reward of the Hereafter, Allah says:

 

“Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah: 62; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

Regarding the punishment of the Hell, Allah warns:

 

"Say (Prophet), ‘The earliest and latest generations will all be gathered on a predetermined Day and you who have gone astray and denied the truth will eat from the bitter tree of Zaqqum, filling your bellies with it, and drinking scalding water, lapping it like thirsty camels.’ This will be their welcome on the Day of Judgment.” (Al-Waqia: 51-56; M. A. S. Abdel Haleem’s Translation)

 

Like many other verses of the Qur’an, the above clearly show that Allah is unbiased and judges everyone on the criterion that He has set forth for the whole mankind, i.e., reward for those who welcome the truth and lead righteous lives and punishment for those who knowingly reject the truth or lead lives full of sin and hypocrisy. Even the exalted Messenger (may peace be upon him) himself has not been held separate from this criterion. Thus, the Qur’an says:

 

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘It is not for me to change it on my own accord; I only follow that which is revealed unto me. Verily, I fear the torment of the Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) if I were to disobey my Lord.’” (Yunus: 15; Dr. Mohsin Khan’s Translation)

 

Where Jews believed that their exalted ancestors {like Prophet Moses and Abraham (may peace be upon them)} would intercede with Allah for them on the Judgment Day, the Arabian Polytheists believed that their false deities would do the same for them[2]. The Qur’an repeatedly warned all such people of their false hopes making it very clear that there will be no such intercession and everyone will be judged impartially without any undue favour. Thus, in Surah-e-Ghafir, Allah says:

 

“Warn them of the Day that is (ever) drawing near, when the hearts will (come) right up to the throats to choke (them); no intimate friend nor intercessor will the wrong-doers have, who could be listened to.” (Al-Ghafir 18; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

This is a great warning for those Muslims also who believe that despite of how sinful life they may lead, the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) would intercede for them and save them from the punishment of the Hereafter. It is evident from the Qur’an that even those whom Allah will allow to intercede will not say anything unjust or unreasonable that may save a grave criminal from the due punishment[3].

 

In my opinion, no matter if one is born in any part of the world or any cult, either Muslim, Hindu, Darwinist or Buddhist  etc., at the end, one has to face different scenarios in this life that test one’s attitude according to which one will be judged by Allah in the Hereafter. The beauty of this judgment is that it will be individual meaning that everyone will be judged separately for what one has done according to one’s ability and circumstances in this world. Allah says:

 

“That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day, for Allah is Swift in taking account.” (Al-Ghafir: 17; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

People whom the prophetic teachings reached but they deliberately denied them will have a twofold blame on them. Whereas, those whom these teachings have not reached, they will be questioned by Allah according to the basic sense of good and evil innate within each human being[4] (See the Qur’an: 91:7-8, 76:2-3, 90:8-10, 30:30, 75:2,5,13-15 for the innate good and evil).

 

It is evident from the Qur’an that if man has not done a wrong deed or made a wrongful decision “intentionally” (i.e., after being aware of its wrongfulness), he will not be held accountable or punished for that. Examine the following verses, for example:

 

“Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths…” (Al-Maida: 89; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)  

 

“…But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is Allah, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them).” (An-Nur: 33; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

“If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.(At-Tawba: 6; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

The last verse, if read in its context, exempts some “non-believers” from the punishment given to the Polytheists of the Prophet Muhammad’s (may peace be upon him) time who knowingly rejected the truth by being stubborn and haughty[5]. These exemptions were those non-believers who wanted to take some time and learn about the truth, that the Prophet brought, rather than wittingly rejecting it. This gives a notion that not every ‘non-Muslim’ will be punished by Allah until and unless he or she “knowingly” prefers the falsehood over the truth or leads a “deliberate” sinful life.

 

The following verse of the Qur’an explicitly clarifies it in a crystal clear manner that the criminal eligible for the Hellfire[6] is the one who opposes the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) and his agreed-upon Sunnah[7] after being fully aware of its truthfulness:

 

“And whoso opposeth the messenger after the guidance (of Allah) hath been manifested unto him, and followeth other than the believer's way, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned, and expose him unto hell - a hapless journey's end!” (An-Nisa: 115; Pickthal Translation)

 

Similarly, Allah makes it clear that neither He punishes people in this world nor in the Hereafter without warning them. The basic sense of right and wrong, as mentioned earlier, is innate within each human being. It is through this sense that our soul accuses us when we do something wrong. However, this innate sense and the warning of the accusing soul are primitive in their nature. It is through sending His prophets (may peace be upon them all) that Allah builds upon these primitive sources and:

 

a)   Makes it absolutely clear what is right and what is wrong - leaving no room for any doubt in the very matter[8].

 

b)   Gives the most consequential and clear warning to people i.e., punishment for their wrongdoings in the Hereafter[9] and, in some special cases, in this world as well.

 

Allah also explicates that it is good or bad deeds of people because of which they will have different ranks in the Hereafter rather than their inclusion in any cult or relationship with any prophet etc. After declaring the Hell as the final destination of the deserving wrongdoers, Allah says:

 

“O ye assembly of Jinns and men! came there not unto you messengers from amongst you setting forth unto you My Signs, and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours?" They will say: "We bear witness against ourselves." It was the life of this world that deceived them. So against themselves will they bear witness that they rejected Faith. (The messengers were sent) thus, for thy Lord would not destroy, for their wrong-doing men's habitations whilst their occupants were unwarned.  To all are degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds: for thy Lord is not unmindful of anything that they do. Thy Lord is Self-sufficient full, of Mercy…” (Al-Anaam: 131-3; Yusuf Ali’s Translation)

 

To summarize, it is very clear as per the Holy Qur’an that Allah is impartial and will judge everyone justly and impartially. It, indeed, is a blasphemy to think of a Wise and Just God to do otherwise.

 

“Lo! for those who keep from evil are gardens of bliss with their Lord. Shall We then treat those who have surrendered as We treat the guilty? What aileth you? How foolishly ye judge!” (Al-Qalam: 34-36; Pickthal’s Translation)

 

 

 

 


[1] See the explanation of 2:78 in “Tadabbur-e-Qur’an” (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1993) by Mawlana Amin Ehsan Islahi

[2] See the explanation of 53:19-32 in ibid.

[3] See the explanation of 19:87 in ibid.

[4] Falsafay kay Bunyadi Masa’il” (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 2004), P.135 by Mawlana Amin Ehsan Islahi

[5] See: “The Islamic Shari’ah of Jihad” (Lahore: Al-Mawrid, 2006) by Allama Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

[6] i.e., after the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him)

[7] The tradition of Prophet Abraham’s (may peace be upon him) religion which the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) (on the Almighty’s order; see 16:123) instituted among his followers as religion after reviving and reforming it and after making certain additions to.” The examples of Sunan (pl. of Sunnah) include the method of salah, remembering Allah’s name before eating or/and drinking, shaving pubic hair, bathing the dead before burial, greeting one another with ‘assalamo’alaikum’ and responding with ‘wa’alaikumassalam’, slaughtering the animals in the prescribed manner of ‘tadhkiyah’ by taking Allah’s name etc. {“Meezan” (Lahore: Al-Mawrid, 2008), P. 14-15 by Allama Javed Ahmad Ghamidi}

[8] Technically, this is known as “itmam-e-hujjah”.

[9] The opposite of it is the glad tidings of rewards in the Hereafter, which the prophets disseminate, for good deeds of the faithful. The primitive form of it is the encouragement that we feel from within our souls when we do something good (For details see: “Meezan”, P. 157-59).


Comments
najeeb351 The Quran, concentrates on the line of prophets with Hazrat Ibrahim as the source. Most of pre-Islam Quranic references and narration concedntrate on the prophets that were sent in the Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. That left a very large part of humanity outside the purview of Divine Guidance. However the reference to the following verse from Quran has clarifies that matter: “That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day, for Allah is Swift in taking account.” (Al-Ghafir: 17; Yusuf Ali’s Translation). I am relieved to see this reference, as Quran's focus on this region, to the exclusion of others had created a degree of imbalance. Thanks to Junaid Hasan for bringing it up.
yajoudeh this is an interesting topic. regarding the comment about those outside the middle east being excluded from divine guidance, this is not correct. the islamic concept is that revelation was sent 'to every nation.' however, we only know the stories of those mentioned in the Quran, as Allah chose to teach us through those particular narratives. Thus, we do not know who may have been sent to other nations in the past. I have seen commentaries speculating on the possibilities of certain figures in other religions being prophets in Islam with those prophets' ideas subsequently being distorted over time. However, we do not have proof of these things, so one can only speculate. Allahu 'Aalim.
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