On the Justice of God
As promised, here is our rebuttal to Bassam Zawadi's response to our paper on Allah's injustice. Zawadi responds to the hadiths I cited stating that a person will be saved by professing belief in Islamic monotheism irrespective of all the gross sins he or she commits:
Notice the last two lines of the Hadith that Shamoun first quoted and which he does not bother to highlight in bold.
Narrated Abu Dharr:
I came to the Prophet while he was wearing white clothes and sleeping. Then I went back to him again after he had got up from his sleep. He said, "Nobody says: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and then later on he dies while believing in that, except that he will enter Paradise." I said, "Even It he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft." I said, "Even if he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft? He said. "Even If he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft." I said, "Even it he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and thefts." He said, "Even If he had committed Illegal sexual intercourse and theft, in spite of Abu Dharrs dislikeness. Abu Abdullah said, "This is at the time of death or before it if one repents and regrets and says None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, he will be forgiven his sins." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 717)
This is for the man that repents.
Secondly, as for Muslims who did not repent and Allah did not forgive them then they will be punished for their sins in Hell for a temporary amount of time......
Volume 9, Book 93, Number 542:
The Prophet said, "Some people who will be scorched by Hell (Fire) as a punishment for sins they have committed, and then Allah will admit them into Paradise by the grant of His Mercy. These people will be called, 'Al-JahannamiyyLin' (the people of Hell)."
However, ultimately at the very end they will attain paradise. Every Muslim will enter paradise indeed (inshallah), however if there are sins that the Muslim has committed and Allah has not forgiven then he will be 'cleansed' from the sins he or she committed.
There are also other hadith which state that Muslims who have committed sins will be 'cleansed' by having a more painful death experience or having a punishment in the grave and therefore not go to hell.
Notice three points from Zawadi's position. First, in the case of a person being forgiven at death this shows that Allah will forgive an individual's wickedness without demanding that his justice be satisfied or that restitution be made, proving that Allah is unjust and wicked.
Second, the claim that Allah will send Muslims to hell in order to be cleansed for unrepentant sins again proves that Allah is unjust as well as being completely arbitrary. He is unjust since he demands that certain Muslims be punished or "cleansed" for their sins, whereas others will be forgiven for every and any wickedness committed solely because they repented at the time of death. He is arbitrary in his decisions since he will allow certain sinners and immoral persons to enter paradise without needing to be punished, whereas others he sends to hell or punishes in their graves because of their sins! Allah's injustice and arbitrariness is further seen from the following so-called sound narrations:
Abu Huraira reported from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) that his Lord, the Exalted and Glorious, thus said: A servant committed a sin and he said: O Allah, forgive me my sins, and Allah (the Exalted and Glorious) said: My servant commited a sin and then he came to realise that he has a Lord Who forgives the sins and takes to account (the sinner) for the sin. He then again committed a sin and said: My Lord, forgive me my sin, and Allah, the Exalted and High, said: My servant committed a sin and then came to realise that he has a Lord Who would forgive his sin or would take (him) to account for the sin. He again committed a sin and said: My Lord, forgive me for my sin, and Allah (the Exalted and High) said: My servant has committed a sin and then came to realise that he has a Lord Who forgives the sins or takes (him) to account for sin. O servant, do what you like. I have granted you forgiveness.
'Abd al-A'la said: I do not know whether he said thrice or four times to do, " what you desire". The hadith has been narrated on the authority of 'Abd al-A'la b. Hammad with the same chain of transmitters. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6642)
Allah allows a person to sin as much as he wants so long as he simply repents! And:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
The Prophet said, "Amongst the men of Bani Israel there was a man who had murdered ninety-nine persons. Then he set out asking (whether his repentance could be accepted or not). He came upon a monk and asked him if his repentance could be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him. He kept on asking till a man advised to go to such and such village. (So he left for it) but death overtook him on the way. While dying, he turned his chest towards that village (where he had hoped his repentance would be accepted), and so the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment quarrelled amongst themselves regarding him. Allah ordered the village (towards which he was going) to come closer to him, and ordered the village (whence he had come), to go far away, and then He ordered the angels to measure the distances between his body and the two villages. So he was found to be one span closer to the village (he was going to). So he was forgiven." (Sahih al-Bukari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 676)
Here is a man who kills hundred people in cold blood and yet is forgiven because he had a desire to repent! No demand for justice, no demand that retribution be made to the families of the victims, simply repent and Allah will forgive!
These narrations are basically encouraging Muslims to commit gross immorality and to expressly violate the law without any fear of judgment, provided they repent, and shows that Allah absolutely cares less whether his justice is satisfied!
Third, the hadiths contradict the Quran since the latter says that at the moment of death a person's repentance will not be accepted:
Repentance with Allah is only for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn (to Allah) soon, so these it is to whom Allah turns (mercifully), and Allah is ever Knowing, Wise. And repentance is not for those who go on doing evil deeds, until when death comes to one of them, he says: Surely now I repent; nor (for) those who die while they are unbelievers. These are they for whom We have prepared a painful chastisement. S. 4:17-18 Shakir
In fact, here is what supposedly happened to unbelievers when they repented at the face of disaster:
So when they saw Our punishment, they said: "We believe in Allah Alone and reject (all) that we used to associate with Him as (His) partners. Then their Faith (in Islamic Monotheism) could not avail them when they saw Our punishment. (Like) this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His slaves. And there the disbelievers lost utterly (when Our Torment covered them). S. 40:84-85 Hilali-Khan
Allah refused to accept their profession of faith! Hence, the above texts clearly say that a person (especially one who professes faith) that continues to live wickedly and decides to repent at the face of death will not be forgiven, a blatant contradiction with the so-called sound hadiths which teach otherwise.
Zawadi seeks to address Allah sending Jews and Christians in hell in place of Muslims by quoting the following:
And the meaning of this hadith came in the hadith of Abu Hurayrah Everyone has a house in paradise and a house in hell. So when the believer enters paradise behind him is a disbeliever who enters the hell fire earning it for his disbelief.
It is also said that the reason this statement was said was in order to ensure and relieve the Muslims that the house that they have in hell is now filled. This psychologically relieves the Muslim so that he won't think that he would need to have the house filled. However, God filled it with a Christian or a Jew. He did not put them there unjustly but justly because of their disbelief. (Source: http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Display.asp?Doc=1&Rec=6396)
The problem with this logic is that if every person has a place in hell and heaven this means that there will be empty houses in both places. After all, for every person that enters hell there will be an empty house in paradise, and vice-versa. So who will be occupying all those homes in heaven left empty by all those Jews and Christians in hell?
To put it another way, if the Jews and Christians will occupy the place of Muslims in hell then who will occupy the places assigned to the former while there? After all, even Jews and Christian have their own homes in hell so how can they occupy their assigned places and the places left vacant by Muslims? Does this mean that each Jew and Christian will take up two spaces in hell? Likewise, does this mean that Muslims will occupy two places in heaven, that of their own as well as of the Jews and Christian who didn't make it?
Finally, saying that Jews and Christians go to hell because of their unbelief doesn't explain why they are being punished in place of Muslims. How can Allah ransom Muslims from hell by replacing them with Jews and Christians if in fact these Jews and Christians are going to hell because of their own sins? Are they being punished for their sins or for the sins of Muslims? Or are they being punished for their sins AND for the sins of these Muslims, which would be both unjust and cruel?
Zawadi then says near the end:
Lets read the commentary of these hadith....
Commentary of Hadith 415:
Imam At-Taibi says that the honesty of heart means firmness of faith and arrangement of actions which will provide evidence of Tauhid and Risalah (Oneness and Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) ). Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar states that Imam at-Taibi has made this elaboration to remove the ambiguity which arises from the wording of the Hadith because it is generally held by Ahadith that one who bears witness to Tauhid and Risalah will not go to Hell, while Ahlus-Sunnah hold that it stands proved by concrete arguments that sinful Muslims will be consigned to Hell and then brought out by intercession. It shows that for the determination of real meanings of this Hadith we shall have to keep in view other related arguments as well. These meanings are riveted with good deeds. In other words, one who bears witness to Tauhid and Risalah and fulfills Islamic injunctions and obligations and requirements of Faith and fear of Allah, will not be consigned to Hell. Some scholars re of the opinion that this Hadith refers to such people who truly repented and renounced Kufr (disbelief) and Shirk (polytheism) wholeheartedly professed Tauhid and Risalah but died soon after that and thus did not get an opportunity to do good deeds(the author made a mistake and he meant to say bad deeds). Such people will certainly go to Jannah (paradise).
The Hadith leads to the conclusion that ordinary people should not be told things the true meanings of which they find difficult to grasp and accomplish evil deeds relying on such glad tidings.
Commentary of Hadith 426:
This hadith tells us that ordinary people , who are generally unable to understand the meanings of things in their context, will think that mere verbal profession of Tauhid and Risalah is sufficient to attain forgiveness, and it is not necessary to do what this profession entails. With this notion, they become unmindful of the obligations. Verbal profession does give them the security that they would not abide in Hell forever for ultimately they will go to Jannah (paradise). Our people are generally under the impression that all sinful Muslims, like the perfect Muslims, will go to Jannah in the very first instance. According to proofs furnished by other injunctions of Shariah, this is not so. This point has been already discussed at length earlier. In any case, the point made here is that no Muslim will go to Hell means that no Muslim will abide in Hell forever. It does not mean that however a sinful Muslim may be, he will not be sent to Hell or suffer its torments.
The commentaries are clear enough and requires no further elaborations.
As for Hadith no. 432, I already explained this earlier.
It is amazing how Zawadi thinks that these commentaries actually provide clarification, when all they show is that Muslims were confused and perplexed regarding how to reconcile all these statements. Basically, Zawadi's quotes only confuse matters and further compound the problems. Moreover, notice that even his own sources admit that Muslims who die professing faith in Islamic monotheism and Muhammad's apostleship will go to paradise despite how wicked they may have been on earth! For instance, here is what the last quote says:
... With this notion, they become unmindful of the obligations. Verbal profession DOES GIVE THEM THE SECURITY THAT THEY WOULD NOT ABIDE IN HELL FOREVER FOR ULTIMATELY THEY WILL GO TO JANNAH (paradise). Our people are generally under the impression that all sinful Muslims, like the perfect Muslims, will go to Jannah in the very first instance. According to proofs furnished by other injunctions of Shariah, this is not so...
Thus, his sources are not denying that even the most wicked and vile Muslims will enter heaven. They only deny that they will enter paradise right away since they will need to go to hell for a period of time in order to cleansed. But this leads to even more problems. If Muslims are sent to hell in order to be "cleansed" then what need is there of punishing Jews and Christians in their place? This either means that their stay in hell wasn't long enough to purify them or to satisfy Allah's justice, thereby requiring a substitute. Or, even though their stay was sufficient to purify them, Allah still decides to throw Jews and Christians in hell in place of these Muslims because of his extreme hatred and pure cruelty.
Zawadi now focuses his attention on the Holy Bible:
Ironically it is the God of the Bible that seems to be unjust in this matter.
Matthew 5:17-2017"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
So the Bible teaches that even if you break the commandments and teach others to do so, you will still go to heaven but in a lesser position and level than those who do abide by them. So the punishment of those who break the commandments is for example 'besides getting a castle, you would only get a small mansion' There is no indication that they would even be punished for their sins.
In order to understand Jesus' point we need to quote both the immediate and overall contexts of this particular sermon:
"For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20
"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-27
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
From the foregoing we see that Jesus was seeking to warn his disciples about breaking the least of his commandments, since such an attitude would lead to a demotion in the kingdom. The desire of every true believer should be to honor God by obeying all of Christ's commandments, seeking to refrain from violating any of them:
"Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great." Luke 6:46-49
"'If you love me, you will keep my commandments... He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.' ... Jesus answered him, 'If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.'" John 14:15, 21, 23-24
The Bible expressly teaches that all who are saved by the grace of God will obey the Lord since obedience is the necessary fruit of salvation. In other words, those whom God saves and transforms will live obedient lives since this is the result of salvation:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10
"For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:11-14
Yet Zawadi is correct in one respect. A believer who fails to exhort others, as well as himself, to obey even the least of the commands will not go to hell, and there is a reason why he will not. The Holy Bible says that a person's salvation is dependant upon the perfect work and death of the Lord Jesus:
"she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21
"Jesus said to him, 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'" Matthew 19:21
It is the perfect righteousness of Christ which surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, which merits eternal life for all those who by faith receive him as Lord and Savior:
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:14-18
"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.'" John 11:25-27
"Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous." Romans 5:18-19
"because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The scripture says, 'No one who believes in him will be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, 'every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.'" Romans 10:9-13
Moreover, Christ willfully took upon himself the punishment of the sins committed against God in order to satisfy God's perfect holiness and justice:
"My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2
"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10
In so doing, God maintains his justice and holiness in perfect balance with his love and mercy since, unlike what we find in Islam, God has a basis for allowing a person who fails to perform all of Christ's commandments into his glorious presence. The punishment and price for such a failure has been fully paid and met in the life, death and resurrection of Christ for all those who believe and repent:
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an atoning sacrifice by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law." Romans 3:21-28
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation." Romans 5:8-11
Zawadi also seeks to address my comments regarding Islam's real Shahadah, an issue which I have already responded to here:
So no need to address it at this point.
In light of the forgoing we see that Allah is anything but just since Muslims can pervert themselves and still be allowed into Allah's paradise, since their ransom will be Jews and Christians. This means that Allah will punish people not only for their sins but for the sins of wicked Muslims. The Holy Bible, on the other hand, presents an infinitely holy and just God, one who is also perfectly loving and merciful.
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