"Allah may delay the penalty of oppression but He will never ignore it." Will you explain this statement?

Details of the Question

- So many imperialistic and capitalistic rulers committed so much oppression. Why were they not punished in this world?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"Allah raises up the prayer (supplication) of the oppressed above the clouds, and the gates of Heaven are opened up for it; and Allah the Exalted says: I shall surely accept your prayer even if after a time'" (Tirmidhi, Jannah 2)

Allah Almighty promises that He will answer prayers. The Prophet (pbuh) informed us about it. However, neither the Quran nor the hadiths say " immediately or in the same way". For, Allah Almighty does everything based on a reason and wisdom.  Thus, there is a reason and wisdom that He uses when He accepts prayers. He may accept prayers immediately, or ten, twenty or forty years later; He gives respite but He does not ignore. In that case, the meaning is as follows:

"O oppressed person! I will not lose your violated right. I will not reject your supplication even if a long time passes. For, I am Halim (the Lenient). I do not hurry up to punish My slaves. I give them respite in case they repent and give the oppressed one their rights and ask forgiveness from them in case they give up committing oppression and sins."

Thus, the hadith indicates that Allah may give respite to the oppressor but that He will never ignore him.

The wisdoms behind Allah’s giving respite to unbelievers are explained in the Quran. One of them is giving opportunity to them to believe. As a matter of fact, the following verses explain this issue:

"(Respite will be granted) until, when the messengers give up hope (of their people) and (come to) think that they were treated as liars, there reaches them Our help, and those whom We will are delivered into safety. But never will be warded off our punishment from those who are in sin." (Yusuf, 12/110)

"Mocked were (many) messengers before thee: but I granted respite to the unbelievers, and finally I punished them: Then how (terrible) was my requital." (ar-Ra'd, 13/32)

The verses above show clearly that unbelievers are granted respite in case they will believe and hence that they are not punished immediately.

It is necessary to evaluate the issue mentioned in verse 178 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran together with the previous verses. First, it is stated that what the unbelievers do should not grieve the Prophet (pbuh) and the believers. After that, it is stated that the believers should not think that the delaying of their penalty is good for them. The believers are consoled by the statement that it will increase their penalty. From this viewpoint, it is necessary to evaluate every verse in its own context:

"Let not those grieve thee who rush headlong into Unbelief: Not the least harm will they do to Allah: Allah´s plan is that He will give them no portion in the Hereafter, but a severe punishment. Those who purchase Unbelief at the price of faith,- not the least harm will they do to Allah, but they will have a grievous punishment. Let not the Unbelievers think that our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: But they will have a shameful punishment." (Aal-i Imran, 3/176-178)

From this viewpoint, there is more than one wisdom behind giving respite to unbelievers. That is one of them.

The sins committed by unbelievers and oppressors are big; therefore, the misfortunes in this world are not enough for their penalty and their penalty is left to the hereafter. Even in this world, the penalty for minor crimes is given in small courts but the penalty for major crimes is given in big courts.  

The penalty of a person who wrongs millions of people in this world will definitely not be given in this world. Only Hell can be fair penalty for their crimes.

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