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

The Details of the Question

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

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The word unbelief is the opposite of faith.The world of the unbeliever is full of darkness. Because unbelief severs man’s connection with God. A person severing his relation with God 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 God. Every one of them is a dominical letter, a mirror to the glory of God and a servant of God. 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 God 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 God is the One who sees and hears everything. However, His hearing is not like ours. By those attributes existing in us, we know that God 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.

God 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 God’s attribute of will and believe in him.

Almighty God, 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 God 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 God 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 God 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))

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