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 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))
What is the benefit of believing? What is the use of believing for an individual who is living in comfort without any worry and distress? Why should he believe? How can we make him believe?
- “Believing” means to be convinced for sure of something’s trueness. A person who believes in something which is proved by certain proofs cannot have a luxury of preferring to believe or not. For example, it is impossible for a person to overlook the sun he sees in an unclouded midday; He cannot have a hesitation such as, “should I believe it or not?” Like this, hesitating to believe in an illuminating truth like the sun and which is also seen by the eye of reasoning is a sign of ignorance.
The belief of Islam is based on believing in God and the hereafter. Truly believing in them only comes to fruition by believing in that the prophet Muhammad is the apostle of God and the Qur’an is the true word of God. According to this, the primary resource is the Qur’an because’ the Qur’an is both a book that we can touch and see with our bodily eyes and also a treasure of miracles that we perceive His heavenly, divine identity with the eye of reasoning and heart. In that case, believing in Islam means believing in what the Qur’an says.
- When a student who ignores the importance of studying and the bitter consequences of failing the class, he spends his days with his friends by amusement and entertainment.
Overlooking the truths and forgetting the phases of accounting and torture starting after by death may give temporary pleasures in this transient world. They are like “poisonous honey”.
-The Qur’an informs the following many times in its hundreds of verses with certainty and clearly: if a person who believes in the religion of Islam acts according to his/her belief, he/she will have an immortal happy life in Paradise, which is a realm of the hereafter, and will never die and have any sorrow. On the other hand, he who does not believe in the truths that Islam puts forth will be imprisoned in Hell forever.
Is it possible for a really believing person to overlook these two truths: that is, the result of believing is going to Paradise and the result of disbelief is eternal torture and to say, “I do not care, never mind; these things do not interest me; I enjoy my life; I do not want myself to be disturbed by thinking these things”.
Is it not incredible of a person to fear from a two-day imprisonment and finding it necessary to leave the important pleasures and joys of his soul aside but to remain insensitive in the face of the imprisonment of Hell? Whose reasoning makes it possible for a person to work for this very short life by day and night and meet challenges but not to walk on the way that gains an eternal realm like Paradise?
It is an unchanging principle of human nature to evaluate and perceive events according to the judgment that rule in his heart and mind. For example, a pessimistic individual evaluates and perceives everything from a pessimistic point of view and his life is shaped according to it. On the other hand, an optimistic individual looks at everything from an optimistic point of view and evaluates the life according to it. Red glasses let us see the environment as red; similarly, black glasses also let us see the environment as black.
Since an unbeliever sees the universe as meaningless, null and as a game of coincidence, everything seems gloomy and painful to him. And since a believer knows that everything is meaningful, beneficial and under the control of God’s care and command, everything is seems lovable and peaceful to him.
If there had not been the light of belief brought by Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam, humanity would not have been able to analyze and understand the events take place in the universe. Thus, humanity would have been in extreme darkness and despair.
For example, an individual who has no belief in the hereafter sees the death as nullity and nonexistence. He also sees the grave as pit of nonexistence. On the other hand, an individual who has light of belief sees the death as a beginning of an eternal realm and the grave as an entrance of an eternal happiness. He does not see death as a terrific source of separation but as a means of rejoining with friends and relatives.
An unbeliever sees unpleasant things and poverty, which is valid in the entire universe, like a funeral house where there is mourning and grieving. He perceives everything and every creation as a hostile person and a stranger. The eye of the heart which is illuminated with the light of belief sees the universe not as a grieving and mourning funeral house but a happy soldier of a military post who has completed its duty and returning to his native land. He sees every creation as a soldier of God and an official servant but not as a stranger or a hostile person.
Besides, human is selfless by his nature. That is, human is a social creature who becomes happy with other’s pleasures and suffers by other’s torture. While everyone is in torture, it is impossible for him/her to get pleasure from life.
However, a faithless person sees everything as meaningless and poor things that are doomed to nonexistence; therefore, from his point of view, the universe is like a house of mourning. He sees everybody as crying orphans. In order to be happy in such a psychological mood, it is necessary to silence the mind and the feelings like an animal or to have a cold heart that does not heed the painful people around. Since both cases are impossible, it is not possible to reach real happiness through denial and faithlessness.
A person who feels disturbed by the sparkling lights and colors of the sun and closes his eyes, causes it to be a night only for himself.
- We should not forget that Hazrat Prophet, who could not make Abu Talib, his uncle, be a believer, was warned and consoled by Allah through the following verse: ”It is true thou wilt not be able to guide everyone whom thou lovest: but Allah guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance.” (al-Qasas, 28/56)
It is true that Paradise needs people and Hell also needs people. Paradise is not cheap; Hell is not unnecessary. We will do our best but we should not forget that it is Allah who will give people guidance.
Is denial possible?
“Everybody is ignorant”, Will Rogers says, “Yet they just have different branches.” For example, mining engineering is a branch of ignorance for a doctor, likewise, medicine for a mining engineer. As for religious branches, they constitute a common branch of ignorance for most people today. Unfortunately, most of us are inclined to ignore this fact. That is why the titles in front of some names deceive us and force us to look for crumbs of knowledge and any value in their denial.
As the name itself suggests it, denial means not to recognize, not to know, and to reject. These are the verbs that suggest lack. Lack has no knowledge. Rejection in this respect is the expression and result of ignorance, not of knowledge. Hence, no matter how a person may be knowledgeable in any fields, it is not possible for him to compensate his ignorance, about which he does not know, for his present knowledge; for it is not possible to make judgements in biology with politics.
Denial is easy. A person closes his eyes and says “... does not exist”. In this respect there is no difference between an Aboriginal person and a chairman, between Abu Caheel (The father of ignorance; This is actually the title of one of the toughest polytheists who harshly opposed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived in Mecca at the same time) and Darwin. To compare their knowledge about the things whose existence they deny is as trivial as to compare a number of zeros in order to understand which is bigger than the rest. Even it is impossible to debate over denial for you cannot reach anywhere by using the non-existing elements of something that does not exist. That is why the people of denial resist in the face of so much of evidence. As William G.McAdoo has it, “Nobody can get the better of an ignorant man in an argument.”
As for faith, whatever level it might be, it is the expression and result of knowledge. The power of faith shows a parallel increase to the level of knowledge. What do I believe in? What kind of Person is He in Whom I have faith? What are His Qualities and Attributes? How does He act around us? How does He create? How does He let us live? What does He expect from me? What can I expect from Him? and How can I get my expectations? The knowledge that these and similar questions bring gives shape to the faith. Announcing that in the Qur’an, “Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge” (35/28), it is stated that faith is the result of knowledge; and many verses remind that heavens and earth are full of evidence to show God (SWT) “for those who have reason and knowledge.”
Gerçeğe Doğru, (Towards the Truth) C:3, Zafer Publications
Does asking questions and searching of what we do not know harm our Belief?
Belief is not harmed by asking questions and learning. You can learn anything you want that stick in your mind and bother you. Doubts concerning belief do not harm belief.
Abu Hurayra (RA) narrates: Some companions of the prophet (pbuh) asked him:
Some of us have delusions (waswasa), normally we are sure that uttering these things are considered sin. “The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Are you afraid of this really? Those who were there answered,
“Yes!..” then, He said:
“In fact, this (fear) comes from belief (delusions do not harm)”. (Muslim, Belief 209 (132) Abu Dawud, Adab 118 (5110))
In another narration He said: “Praise to God who turns the trick of Satan into delusion (waswasa)”.
A riwayah of Muslim that was recorded from Ibn Masud is as follows: “They said:
“O apostle of God, some of us have been hearing such inner voices that, instead of uttering them deliberately, we prefer to be burned until the coal ceases or thrown to the earth from skies. (Do these delusions harm us?) The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) answered:
“No, this (fear) is the indicator of pure belief.”
Why is philosophy condemned? Can a Muslim oppose philosophy?
Let us give some brief information about philosophy first:
Philosophy is derived from the Greek word “philosophia”. It consists of two words: “philo” and “sophia”. In Greek,“sophia” means “knowledge and wisdom”. The word sophia was used in Greek literature for thinkers and philosophers up to Pythagoras, one of the philosophers of the First Age. That is, the philosophers before him described themselves as people with knowledge and wisdom.
However, Pythagoras said that the only being with knowledge and wisdom in real sense was God and regarded it impossible for man to have absolute knowledge and wisdom; he added the word "philo" before the word "sophia" stating that man could only be the lover of wisdom or knowledge. “Philo” means lover. Therefore, according to Pythagoras, man cannot have knowledge and wisdom in the real sense; so, he can only be the lover of wisdom.
Then, the word philosophy means love of wisdom and knowledge; a philosopher is a person who wants to be experienced and who loves and cares for knowledge. Wisdom, which is one of the basic principles of “Philosophia”, which was accepted as "love of wisdom and knowledge" in the first ages, includes the meanings of both knowledge and virtue. Accordingly, we can deduce the meanings of knowing what happens and discovering what is good from the word philosophy.
Famous Islamic philosopher, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) defines philosophy as follows: “Philosophy means man's having a grasp of objects and all truths as much as he can and trying to understand their secrets.” Philosophers thought everything about man's life based on the mind; thus, they regarded philosophy as an area that researches everything.
There are various views regarding what knowledge and wisdom are like and how to define philosophy. Therefore, it is very difficult to make one definition of philosophy. However, it will not be wrong to define philosophy as follows by taking into consideration the general properties of philosophy: “Philosophyis the activity of rational, critical, objective, consistent and comprehensive thinking on everything that exists.” Acting upon this definition, we can list the basic properties of philosophical knowledge as follows:
1. Philosophical knowledge occurs as a result of critical thinking based on research and examination.
2. Philosophical knowledge is knowledge in which the issues that are dealt with are interpreted in a system based on reason.
3. Philosophical knowledge is a kind of knowledge that proceeds cumulatively.
4. Philosophical knowledge is uniting and integrating.
5. Philosophical knowledge cannot be proved through experimenting or observation like scientific knowledge. It is nor a kind of knowledge whose trueness can be determined clearly due to its continuity and including new interpretations.
The topics that philosophy deals with are divided into three main parts: They are ontology, (existence), epistemology (knowledge) and axiology (values). Accordingly, ontology deals with the existence of the universe, how it came to being and everything in the universe; epistemology deals with the definition, source, criteria, possibilities, area and scope of knowledge, along with logic and science. Axiology is the activity of thinking on the basic issues like ethics, esthetics, politics and education.
After this brief information, let us answer the question.
It is necessary to mention the importance of something: The philosophy that our religion does not find appropriate is the wrong views of life that are on the agenda in this age rather than the philosophical views of the past. They usually lead people to unbelief and irreligiousness. The word philosophy is used for the "exact sciences", which examine the universe with its "literal meaning", examining the works only, without taking the creator into consideration.
The reason why philosophy in this sense is opposed is that people deal with rational sciences only, think that they themselves and this realm are without an owner and that they only work for this world, without thinking about Allah and the hereafter.
In his work called Munazarat (Debates), Badiuzzaman Said Nursi likens the religious sciences and the exact sciences to two wings and emphasizes that “the success of the student will soar with them.” In his work called Lamaat (Gleams), he likens the religious sciences to the black part of the eye and the exact sciences to the white part of the eye; he draws attention to the fact that the eyes function when they come together but the part that actually sees is the black part. Saying, "the light of the mind comes from the heart", he draws attention to the fact that dealing with the mind only by ignoring the heart, which is the place for belief, will leave man in darkness.
The philosophy that is opposed is the philosophy that is based on the mind only, the philosophy that has only one wing and that has no light. Otherwise, no Muslim opposes exact sciences. For, one of his most distinguished features is to see the universe and the things in it as evidence for the existence and oneness of Allah and for the endlessness of his attributes and to make use of these scientific facts to the utmost in order to explain and prove his cause.
People have moved away from spirituality due to dealing with matter too much; they have seen life as only the life in this world and the purpose of life as "living comfortably in welfare". This has made people move away from the religion, attached them to the world and led them to debauchery.
The mental struggle between the prophets who view events based on revelation and the philosophers who base their views on the mind only has continued throughout history. However, in this age of science and technology, there is not a philosophy in the sense of the philosophy in the past; there is a philosophy that regards the exact sciences, which are a product of the mind, as sufficient regarding all issues. The mental discussions of this age are very different from the philosophical currents Before Christ. In this age, some scientists who have moved away from the religion use nature and matter as a means of denying spirituality and have virtually raged a war against the religion. The philosophers who found it enough to utter their philosophical views and did not interfere with others are very different from the unbelieving scientists of this age. Therefore, the meaning of philosophy in the past is very different from that of this age.
Until recently, the currents of "atheism, evolutionism and materialism" were included in the school textbooks in communist countries; they tried painstakingly to bring up an irreligious youth. In the developed countries, "interest, matter and debauchery" started to dominate the community life as a result of the fast development in technology; consequently, a debauched and irreligious generation was brought up. They all occurred because people "moved away from the revelation and adopted the wrong thoughts produced by their own minds".
Accordingly, a Muslim opposes the philosophy that aims unbelief and irreligiousness; a Muslim does not oppose the philosophy that is in good terms with the religion.
Why is the approval of heart important in belief as medically the heart is controlled by mind?
What we mean by the heart is not the organ resembling a pinecone. It is a property belonging to the spirit. The mind is not the brain; it is another property belonging to the spirit.
The concept heart used in the Quran has two meanings:
Firstly: It is the material heart, whose duty is to pump blood all over the body and which is a roundish organ like a pinecone.
Secondly: It is a spiritual divine faculty that includes the functions of the mind, spirit and brain.
As a matter of fact, while explaining the concept of basirah (foresight/prudence) within the framework of sixth sense, Imam Ghazali states that the words like the heart, spiritual light, mind can be used interchangeably and that it is groundless to discuss about determining and identifying them. (see Ihya, 4/289)
The concept heart used by the Quran has a wide scope that includes the spiritual heart called the divine faculty along with the mind and the spirit, which is the center of lofty feelings. As a matter of fact, the word "mind" (aql) is not used in the Quran except in the form of verb. It means the word heart also expresses it.
The definition of the word heart is not given in the Quran but Islamic scholars expressed different views about the place of the mind and the heart, and the relationship between the mind and the heart in the light of verses of the Quran and hadiths.
- According to some scholars including Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, the mind is in the heart. That is, the heart is a spiritual mechanism that also includes the mind. Some of the evidences shown by those scholars are as follows:
a. The word heart in the following verse is used in the sense of the mind: "Verily in this is a Message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth)." (Qaf, 50/37) According to Ibn Hajar, most of the tafsir scholars interpret the word heart in the verse above as the mind. (As examples, see Tabari, Mawardi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Jalalayn, Ibn Ashur, the interpretation of the verse mentioned above)
This statement of the Quran's shows that the mind settles in the heart and that it originates from the heart. (see Ibn Hajar, 1/129)
- According to a narration, Ibn Abbas explained the word heart as the mind. Farra, a famous philologist, supported this view of Ibn Abbas and said heart is used in the sense of mind in Arabic. (see Farra, Baghawi, the interpretation of the verse mentioned above)
b. Another evidence that those who claim that the mind is not in the brain but in the heart is uses is the following hadith also mentioned in the question: "There is a piece of flesh in the human body; if it is good, the whole body becomes good; if it goes bad, the whole body goes bad. Know it very well that it is the heart." (Bukhari, Iman, 39; Muslim, Musakat, 107)
According to the scholars who hold this view, the expressions in the hadith above show that the mind is in the heart. (see Nawawi, the explanation of the hadith mentioned above)
We should say that what is first understood from the apparent meaning of the hadith is the piece of flesh located in the left side of the body pumping blood. For, this heart is described clearly in this hadith. It is a piece of flesh but the healthy operation of the body/biological structure depends on its healthy operation. All of the organs are dependent on the heart. Even death takes place when the heart stops operating. In a sense, the death of the brain takes place as a result of the death of the heart. There is a close positive or negative relation between the heart and the other organs. In general, the heart is like the sultan of the biological structure. Its orders are valid. This function of the heart's is pointed to in the hadiths. (Mirqatu'l-Mafatih)
According to some scholars like Abu Hanifa, the mind is not in the heart but in the brain. (Nawawi, ibid)
In fact, faculty is the general name given to the spiritual and subtle feelings of man. It is like the opposite of the term device. We can say that it is the general name of all of man's spiritual feelings whose nature he knows or does not know.Heart, spirit, conscience can be given as examples.
Man's material body has a map; similarly, if we liken his spirituality to a body, it also has a spiritual map. It is difficult to exactly match this spiritual map with the material map but there are some who match them due to their importance.
For instance, the place of the heart in the material body in terms of importance and function is equal to the heart in the spiritual body. Similarly, the place of the brain in the material body is the same as the place of the mind in the spiritual body.
Therefore, in the hadith, spiritual beings like the mind and spirit are attributed to the heart and brain, which are pieces of flesh. The brain and the heart are the most important organs and sultans of the material body; similarly, the mind and the spirit are like the sultans of the spiritual body.
In terms of representation, the heart represents the spiritual heart and the material body. The brain represents the mind. There is a spiritual connection between them; there might also be a fine material connection that we cannot perceive between them.
After all, what a person who believes in Allah and the Quran needs to do is as follows:
Whatever Allah, His Messenger and the Quran say is true. If the apparent meanings of some verses and hadiths contradict with the data of the exact sciences, there is definitely something wrong with the interpretations of the Islamic scholars or the scientists. For, the Quran comes from Allah's attribute of speech and the universe comes from Allah's attributes of power and will. The topics of these two books do not contradict by any means. No accurate scientific discovery contradicts with the realities that are put forward by the Quran and that are understood correctly. If there is something wrong, it is because of people's insufficient viewpoints, tiny minds and little knowledge.
In fact, woe to us if we have doubts that will harm our belief due to something that we do not know. It does not comply with belief to believe in the word of a materialistic scientist without any hesitation but to doubt the words of Allah and His Messenger.
May Allah make us have real and investigative belief. Amin.