Sunday, January 16, 2011

Divine punishment: Qur'anic teaching

Say: Have you considered [Ara-aytaakum], if the punishment of Allah comes to you [In Ataakum 'Adhaabullaah] unexpectedly or manifestly [Jahratan], will any be destroyed, except the wrongdoing people [Hal Yuhlaku illa Qawmidh-dhaalimeen]?" [Q 6:47]

The context in which this ayah appears speaks of God's authority being rejected by those who are misguided, who have engaged consistently in a pattern of abuse and Dhulm in the world. In fact, we are told that Satan [ Q 6:43] makes their actions seem attractive. Repeatedly, God says, these people should have examined and considered the Ayaaat of Allah [ Subhaanahu wa Ta'alaa] [Q 6:46].

Finally, we come to the verse which is the center of this brief article. Allah Ta'alaa says that ONLY the Dhaalimeen are punished, no one else. This verse refutes such ideas that are found in the religious traditions of others such as original sin, or the notion that God punishes 'seven generations" of descendants for the crimes of a particular society!

If such a notion was true- that God punished the descendants of a criminal, then the son of 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy, the leader of the Madeenan hypocrites, who engaged in many intrigues against the Prophet Muhammad- upon whom be peace and blessings- and the Islamic state- should have been punished by Allah, and indeed by the Prophet himself- who was God's representative on earth. Yet, we know that the son was not punished, and even 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy himself was never tried or punished in this world.

This section of the Qur'an speaks to the important picture, the broad fate of civilizations who have not articulated spiritual values into their conduct or culture.

For those, living both within and outside of a spiritual [or spiritually lacking] environment, who have able to internalize the Divine principles, Allah says:

"... So whoever has Imaan {faith} and reforms, they shall have no fear, and they shall [have no reason to] grieve." { Q 6:48}