How can man be responsible for his action eternally?

The Details of the Question

I do not understand how Allah can hold man responsible eternally for the choices he/she makes during a short lifetime? Could you please explain why this is so.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

ANSWER 1

Q: In what way is denying Allah regarded a boundless murder?

A: All of the beings in the universe witness Allah’s existence and oneness. A person who denies them is regarded to have committed as many murders as the number of beings. Besides, it is regarded as a boundless murder because it is disrespect shown to the rights of those beings. 

As you know, the origin of the diamond and coal is the same: carbon. However, one of them becomes diamond and the other becomes coal because of the difference in their formation. Something that became coal cannot be diamond by any means now. The origin of man is the same, too. His father is Adam (pbuh) and his structure is earth. However, due to the difference in the formation, one becomes like diamond and another one becomes like coal. A person who prefers to be an unbeliever and dies loses the property of being a diamond, that is, being a believer, no matter how long he lives because he is rotten to the core. Therefore, if he had lived forever, he would have lived as an unbeliever. That is, the murder committed by the unbeliever is endless.

Allah gave man endless bounties. For instance, one of them is the feeling of eternity. This feeling was given to us so that we would understand Allah, who is eternal, and the existence of the realm of the hereafter, where we will live forever. To deny such an eternal feeling and not to thank this bounty enough is a boundless murder.

A very small piece of fire, though it may seem small, can burn down a building and even a city if it is not extinguished. A very small amount of poison can kill a man. It is important to take into consideration their destruction, not their material appearance, and take measures accordingly.

Similarly, man may be weak, thin, faulty and small materially. However, the destruction and oppression he causes and the damage he does is endless

Thus, denying Allah is a boundless murder. Therefore, a person who denies Allah is regarded to have committed a boundless murder; and the punishment for it should be boundless.

- Allah is endless, pre-eternal and post-eternal. Denying the eternal one is an eternal murder.

- The evidence of Allah’s existence and oneness is endless. Denying so much evidence is a boundless murder.

- Allah’s personality, attributes and names are endless.Denying an endless being and His attributes is an endless murder. 

- Allah’s bounties are also endless.  If "a person who has been bestowed so many bounties from his organs to his cells, from his spirit to his feelings, from the world on which he travels to the air that cleans his blood through each breath he takes, from the night to the day, from the sun to the moon, from the vegetables to the fruits and from milk to honey" revolts against Allah as if he is denying all those bounties, he will have shown ingratitude against them and committed a boundless murder.   

- Both the organs that function in our body and the beings that surround us and help us are very valuable works. Ignoring these miracles, the wisdom behind them and the meanings they have and thinking that they are not worth considering is a boundless murder.  

- The reality of every being is based on one or more names of Allah. The realm of beings is full of the manifestations of divine names. Ignoring these beings means ignoring the divine names manifest on them. This means a revolt against the endless majesty of Allah Almighty and a boundless murder.

- The most important one among those beings is man himself. If man, who is a mirror for all of the names of Allah, who is his guest, who has been honored by being invited to Paradise and who is the vicegerent on earth due to the loftiness of the abilities he has, uses this superior nature and ability in the way of unbelief and disobedience, he will use all of the manifestations of the nouns manifest on him in the way of evil and disobedience; thus, he will show great disrespect to those great names, which is a big and boundless murder on its own.  

- The sin and murder of the denier is in a limited period of time but the murder of the endless evidence and witnesses of oneness is a boundless murder. This necessitates endless punishment.   

- The denial of the divine names by unbelief is a boundless murder against Allah, whom these names define.

- This murder is boundless because man damps down the abilities like the mind, heart and consciousness related to eternity and misuses them in a way to deserve Hell by destroying them; it necessitates boundless punishment.  

It is fair and just to endlessly punish a person who commits endless murders like that. It is Allah's grant and grace when He does not eliminate such a person and transforms his punishment into life imprisonment.  

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi dealt with the issue through different aspects and made explanations that would persuade the mind and satisfy the heart. An unbeliever commits endless murders through his denial.   

For, responding to all of the evidences of Divine Unity with unbelief, and to all of the bounties with ingratitude, accusing all creatures of being valueless, insulting them in an unbelieving manner, anddenying all of the manifestations of the Divine Names are all boundless murders.

- Belief makes a believer gain endless bliss since it is the source of all kinds of beauty, happiness and flavors. Denial is just the opposite of it. Denial naturally makes an unbeliever gain endless troubles, disasters and torture. (see Nursi, İşaratu’l-İ’caz, p. 80–81)

Muhyiddin al-Arabi and some Islamic scholars hold the view that after those who deny Allah serve their sentence in Hell due to their bad deeds in the world, they will get used to the fire as a result of divine mercy, will be punished less severely and they will be rewarded for their good deeds in the world.  

- Badiuzzaman Said Nursi says: “After unbelievers serve their sentence in Hell due to their bad deeds in the world, they will get used to the fire as a result of divine mercy and will be punished less severely. There is a sign in a hadith thatthey will be rewarded for their good deeds in the world as a result of divine mercy.” (İşaratu’l-İ’câz, 81–82)
 

ANSWER 2

Q: Why is the punishment of unbelieving in Allah is staying in Hell forever? Isn't that unjust for a person to stay in hell forever who has no belief in Allah?

A: The word unbelief is the opposite of faith.The world of the unbeliever is full of darkness. Because unbelief severs man’s connection with Allah. A person severing his relation with Allah lives in the darkness both in his heart, in his spirit and also in his mind. The Qur’an describes the world of the unbeliever as follows:

“Or (the Unbelievers' state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it!” (the Qur’an, The Light (An-Nur); 40 (24: 40))

Unbelief is an insult towards all being things because every living thing worships Allah. Every one of them is a dominical letter, a mirror to the glory of Allah and a servant of Allah. Since unbelief veils those aspects and reduces them to the level of futility and being the playthings of chance, it is an infinite crime and it necessitates an infinite punishment.

The faculties and attributes existing in man make Allah known either by themselves or by their opposites. For example, man has been given the attribute of seeing and hearing. So, by that attribute it is comprehended that Allah is the One who sees and hears everything. However, His hearing is not like ours. By those attributes existing in us, we know that Allah sees and hears. However, we cannot comprehend the essence of that seeing and hearing. By their limited minds, human beings are very far away from comprehending in the strict sense the Divine attributes, which have infinite perfect.on. It is of course impossible for man who has infinite impotence to comprehend an infinite power. Mind can only approve the existence of that power and marvels at its actions.

Although man, who watches the manifestations of the infinite power with wonder, should have the same attitude towards the infinite knowledge and wisdom, it is observed that most people cannot succeed it. Soul, feelings, lack of knowledge and infirmity of mind interfere. And man may choose the way of objection and rebellion instead of submission and resignation before the Divine actions whose wisdom he cannot comprehend.

Allah has given man a faculty of will and has set him free in the way he wishes to go. Our will is a very important wealth for us in order to know Allah’s attribute of will and believe in him.

Almighty Allah, who is the Maker of the universe and the beings in it, has created that universe for very serious purposes. The Qur’an declares it as follows:

“Not for (idle) sport did we Create the heavens and the earth and all that is between!” (the Qur’an, The Prophets (Al-Anbiya); 16 (21: 16))

“And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in vain.” (the Qur’an, Sa’d; 27 (38: 27))

All living things glorify and benedict Allah through their particular tongues. They fulfill the tasks assigned to them with great pleasure and enthusiasm. For example, the sun continues its way in the orbit appointed to it without lagging even one minute. The rivers flow into seas with an exuberance. Animals put under humans’ order serve them with perfect obedience.

Human beings and jinn have a different state among those living things fulfilling the Divine orders. Indeed, as required by the verse “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.” (the Qur’an, The Winds That Scatter (Az-Zariyat); 56 (51: 56)), they are also responsible for worshipping. However, they are free to do it or not.

That different state of human beings and jinn arise from the will given to them. They can prefer the belief or the unbelief, the good or the bad, the favorable or the unfavorable, the obedience or the disobedience… by that will.

Almighty Allah states it as follows:

“Say, the truth is from your Lord: let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it).” (the Qur’an, The Cave (Al-Kahf); 29 (18: 29))

“We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” (the Qur’an, Man (Al-Insan); 3 (76: 3))

Major or minor, every deed of man, who is the vicegerent of Allah on the earth, is recorded by the appointed angles. The Qur’an states it as follows:

“And most surely there are keepers over you, kind and honorable, writing down (your deeds): They know what you do.”(the Qur’an, The Cleaving (Al-Infitar); 10-12 (76: 10-12))

“It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. When the two Receivers receive (him), seated on the right hand and on the left, Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it).”(the Qur’an, Qaf; 16-18 (50: 16-18))

The important rank of man and the fact that he will see the returns of the deeds he has performed in the world necessitate such a recording. As you see, members of the media do not go around with ordinary persons but follow a person who has a high rank like the Prime Minister like a shadow; they notice everything he does and record every word he recites; likewise, every act of man, who is the vicegerent of Allah on the earth, is written down by the angles and his every word is recorded.

Man, who realizes that everything he does on the stage of the world is recorded by the angels, says: “I am not free and independent; I am a traveler with duties.” (Said Nursi, The Risale-i Nur Collection, The Rays, The Eleventh Ray) and he tries to adopt good poses. And he always remembers those Divine reminders:

“Does Man think that he will be left uncontrolled, (without purpose)?” (the Qur’an, The Resurrection (Al-Qiyamah); 36 (75: 36))

“What! Did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?” (the Qur’an, The Believers (Al-Mu’minun); 115 (23: 115))


Belief is an Indivisible Whole

“The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His Messengers “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His Messengers.” (al-Baqara, 285).

Belief in Allah and the hereafter makes it necessary to eliminate the darkness of unbelief like a sun. Why doesn’t acceptance of only some of these fundamentals of belief free a person from absolute unbelief?

The six fundamentals of belief are belief in Allah, the Prophets, the Angels, the Revealed Books, the resurrection after death and destiny. They are an indivisible whole. Therefore a person who does not accept any one of them does not become a Muslim.

Each of the truths of belief proves the other fundamentals of belief with the evidences that prove itself. That is, the six fundamentals of belief become both evidences and results for one another. For instance, belief in Allah proves both belief in the hereafter and the other fundamentals of belief with its own evidences.

There is no sultanate that has no reward for obedient people and no punishment for disobedient people. So, Allah, who is the owner of this universe, will have an eternal reward place for those who obey Him and a permanent punishment place for those who disobey Him. Since such punishment is not given fully in this world, it will be given in the hereafter. Therefore belief in the existence of Allah necessitates belief in the hereafter.

The meaning of the each being in this universe, which is written like a book, needs to be explained. This can only be done by prophets sent by the owner of the universe. The most important issue of the humanity is to find answers to the questions like what the duty of man is, where he came from, why he was sent to this world, who sent him, where he will go from here. The people to give the true answers to these questions are prophets. So belief in Allah necessitates belief in prophets.

The Creator of this universe, who makes all of His creatures speak to one another through thousands of languages and who hears and knows their speech will definitely speak to man. Since He will speak to man, He will also speak to prophets, who are the spiritual leaders of human beings that are the result of the universe and caliphs on the earth and the commanders of many creatures. He will send them His books and pages. Therefore belief in Allah necessitates belief in His Books.

Allah records everything that a tree and a grass experiences throughout their lives in their seeds. Similarly He perfectly has everything that a being with a consciousness experiences during his life recorded in his memory as tiny as a mustard seed. So He has everything man does recorded. He has man’s deeds recorded for punishment and reward and has his bad and good deeds recorded in the tablets of destiny. So, belief in Allah necessitates belief in destiny.

The limited sight of man does not suffice to recognize the Creator, who filled this universe with endless works of wonderful art. This necessitates the existence of angels who carry out the duty of glorification of Allah properly. So, belief in Allah necessitates belief in angels.

As the sun shows the day and the day shows the sun, the fundamentals of belief prove one another. Each one proves and necessitates the existence of the others. The truths of belief are an indivisible whole.
 

ANSWER 3

The reason behind the big threat by the Quran against man, who is weak

Man is weak enough to be defeated by a microbe that is invisible to the eye; and he is poor; the capital he has is partial freedom and partial freewill. However, his needs and desires are endless. In order to understand the wisdom behind the severe complaints big threats and intimidationby the Quran against man, who is so weak and poor, consider the following two comparisons:   

First Comparison:

For example, there was a royal garden in which were innumerable fruits and flowers. Many servants were appointed to attend to it. They all had different duties. The duty of one of the servants was only to open the water canal so that the water could spread throughout the garden and the plants, trees and other inhabitants of the garden would benefit from it. Otherwise, they would die of thirst.

If the servant was lazy and did not open the canal and the garden dried up, would all of the other servants not have the right to complain about this lazy servant? They definitely would. For, he dried the garden by not letting the water and destroyed all of the service and work of the other servants; he harmed them.

Second Comparison:

For example, hundreds of people worked in a big ship belonging to the king. They all had different duties.  The duty of one of the men was to shift the helm. If that man abandoned this duty, which seemed simple but was very important, and the ship was overturned by hitting a rock or ran aground, would the owner of the ship not complain against the man on behalf of the other sailors? Could the man have the right to say, "I am an ordinary man; I have been reprimanded severely due to unimportant negligence." Definitely not. For, he harmed the rights of the other sailors on the ship by abandoning his duty. He caused so much harm only through neglect.

The world is like the great garden and the big ship in the example. Unbelief, blasphemy, transgression and rebellion are a big murder violating the rights of others. 

For, the essence of them is denial and rejection, abandoning and not accepting. Therefore, it harms the deeds of other beings and they block the beautiful manifestations of divine names. It reduces the value of beings from one thousand to one.  It denies their duties and accuses their glorification of absurdity.

For instance, the sun is a mirror to Allah's names. 

It has the duty of being a mirror to Allah's names Khaliq (Creator) and Mujid (Inventor) with its existence,

to Allah's name Nur (Light) with its light,

to Allah's names Azim (Magnificent), Kabir (Greatest), Mutakabbir (Majestic), Ali (Supreme) and Aziz (Mighty) with its magnificence,

 to Allah's names Rahim (Compassionate), Karim (Generous), Rahman (Merciful) with its light and heat,

and to Allah's other names and attributes.

As a matter of fact, those who do not accept Allah by denying or ignoring reject the duty of being a mirror of the names of Allah by the sun.

The sun will definitely sue the unbeliever who accuses it of not having a duty and of meaninglessness and who thinks it is unattended and at large. It will complain to Allah about him. 

As it is expressed by the rule “the work of art is valuable due to its artist", the sun becomes valuable because it is an art of Allah; however, it is reduced from the level of an antique work to the level of a mean and worthless ball of fire by the denier.  Its lawsuit against the unbeliever who reduces its level from one thousand to one is right and fair.

Though the sun glorifies Allah by uttering Allah’s one thousand and one names, denial accuses it of not having a duty.

The sun and all of the other beings will definitely complain to Allah about the unbeliever due to this transgression.

And Allah will definitely intimidate the unbeliever severely and threaten him repeatedly in order to protect the rights of the beings. This threat is wisdom and justice.  

That rebellious man deserves severe threats and horrible intimidation.

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