Will Allah give up punishing?

Details of the Question

According to Maturidi madhhabs, it is stated that Allah can give up punishing. How should we understand it? Based on what was this statement uttered? Is there evidence for it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Do you think something like that can happen?

Wa’d means to promise in general, to promise about a good deed, bad deed, reward and threat, and about anything. As a term used in Creed and Kalam, it means the realization of what Allah promised.

The promises expressing evil or threat are called "Waid".

Paradise is Allah's wa’d and Hell is His waid.

- Scholars have different interpretations regarding the issue.

There are some scholars who think there is no difference between Wa’d and Waid and who say Allah needs to keep His promise regarding both cases.

There are also some scholars who hold the view that Wa’d and Waid are different and who say it is permissible for Allah not the keep His promise regarding Waid so as not to punish His slaves. (see at-Taftazani, Sharhul-Maqasid, 2/225-238)

- It is possible to mention the following evidence in order to support those who say Khulful-Waid (forgiving the punishment) is permissible for Allah:

a) Breaking Wa’d (the promise of giving rewards for good deeds) is something bad. Therefore, it is not possible to think of something like that for Allah. For, it is contrary to the understanding of justice.    

Khulful-Waid (forgiving the punishment) means to pass from justice to grace and grant. It means to pass from punishment to forgiveness. It is something nice and is permissible for Allah. (see Sharhul-Maqasid, ibid, Sheikh al-Usaymini, Majmuul-Fatawa, 8/220-221)

b) The promise of “punishment” mentioned in the Quran is for unbelievers only. The promise of reward is for believers.

Accordingly, those who regard Khulful-Waid (forgiving the punishment) permissible may have meant forgiveness for believers. 

Those who do not regard it permissible may have meant forgiveness for unbelievers.

Thus, it becomes possible to reconcile the views of the scholars in both groups. (see Sharhul-Maqasid, ibid, al-Usaymini, ibid)

c) “Allah forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah.” (an-Nisa, 4/116) It is stated in the verse above that all of the sins except polytheism/unbelief can be forgiven. Major sins are also included in this forgiveness. In that case, a major sin like killing is also included in it.

However, it is stated that the punishment for killing a believer unjustly is remaining in Hell forever. (an-Nisa, 4/93)

This shows that the punishments that the people who die as believers deserve can be forgiven. It means Khulful-Waid is permissible. (see Abu Talib al-Makki, Qutul-Qulub, 1/323)

d) According to a narration, the Prophet said, “Allah definitely keeps His promise of reward about a good deed. If He wishes, He keeps or breaks His promise of punishment about a bad deed.” (AbuYa’la, Musnad, 6/66; Abu Talib al-Makki, Qutul-Qulub, 1/323; Abul-Qasim at-Tabari, al-Lalakai, Sharhu Aqaidi Ahlis-Sunnati wal-Jamaa, 6/ 1154)

It is understood from this hadith that Khulful-Waid is permissible for Allah.

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