Will a person who suffered the penalty given by Islam be punished again in the hereafter for the same crime?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to the majority of the scholars, the penalties given in the world on behalf of Allah will be atonement for the sins in the hereafter. If a person serves his sentence willingly, it is regarded as an accepted repentance.

As a matter of fact, according to what Muslim narrates in his Sahih, when Maiz confessed that he had committed fornication and wanted to be cleaned by being punished, he was stoned to death and the Prophet said to his friends, “Pray for Maiz so that he will be forgiven.” They all prayed by saying, “May Allah forgive Maiz!” Then, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“I swear by Allah he made such a repentance that if that were to be divided among an ummah, it would be enough for all of them.” (see Muslim, Hudud, 22)

The Prophet (pbuh) performed the janazah prayer of a woman who confessed that she had committed fornication and who was stoned to death. Hz. Umar said, “O Messenger of Allah! Do you perform the janazah prayer of a woman who committed fornication? Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“I swear by Allah she made such a repentance that if it were to be divided among seventy men of Madinah, it would be enough. Can you find any repentance better than that of this woman who sacrificed her life for Allah?” (Muslim, Hudud,  24)

Accordingly, those who suffer the religious penalty of a sin in this world will be saved from its penalty in the hereafter. If a person commits a sin in this world and suffers willingly the penalty given by Allah, He will definitely not punish him again in the hereafter.  

As for those who committed a major sin and did not suffer the penalty in the world, Allah will decide about them. Based on the repentance, regret and lifestyle of that person, Allah will forgive him if He wishes or will punish him if He wishes.

According to what Ubada b. Samit narrates, the Prophet addressed the Companions around him as follows:  

“Swear allegiance to me that you will not associate anything with Allah, that you will not steal, that you will not commit fornication, that you will not kill your children based on the fear of hunger and that you will not oppose me related to the issues ordered by the religion. If you keep your promise, Allah will reward you. If any of you commits any such thing and is punished for it in the world, his matter rests with Allah. He may forgive him if He wishes, and He may punish him if He wishes.” (Muslim, Hudud: 10; Darimi, Siyar: 17)

Allah is the Forgiver and the Merciful; His door of forgiveness and mercy is open for those who did not suffer the penalty of the sin they committed in the world. It is hoped that he who repents truly will be forgiven by Him.

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