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Infinite Punishment For Finite Crimes

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How can a God who describes him self as merciful and just condem human's to infinite hell for finite crimes? My only answer is he is just and merciful only to those who believe and only upto a point but this would again contradict him as all merciful if it be limited to conditions.

 

What's merciful about creating a human being to suffer for eternity? especially if that poor human had a miserable life full of pain and suffering i.e suffered from chronic pain or some other such horrible condition only then to throw him into hell for temporal sin's no matter how bad that where committed within a finite period.

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Im not denying there is a need for restitution and or punishment but infinite punishment for finite crimes does not sound like justice.

 

Logically it makes no sense so we are forced to conclude

 

A.) God is a Tyrant.

B.) God is above our logic and reason and sense of what is wrong and right.

 

Neither of which strike me as satisfactory or prompt me to do anything but fear him. Which lead's me to another question how can I love that which I fear?

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Brother,

 

It is absolute justice that a person should receive an infinite punishment for what you call a 'finite crime'. We should not be looking to the length of time it takes to commit a crime, but instead, to the magnitude of the crime. It takes me only a few seconds to kill a man, yet I am justly imprisoned for 25 years for the crime. It might take me only a moment to assault a man, but again, I could be sentenced to 12 months 'community service' to repay my debt to society. In most countries, if I assault a someone like a police officer, the punishment is even harsher than if I had assaulted a common man.

 

Similarly, a person who commits a sin such as denying Allah, in a finite time commits a crime of infinite magnitude. And moreover, he commits this crime against the One who is Most High. Therefore, he deserves an infinite punishment.

 

From the Tenth Word of the Risale-i Nur by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi:

Also let nobody ask: “How can one earn eternal torment in the course of a very brief life?” For unbelief seeks to drag creation, something as valuable and exalted as a letter written by Allah, down to the depths of meaninglessness and purposelessness. It is an insult to all being, since it denies and rejects the manifestations and impresses of Allah's Sacred Names that are visible in all being, and it seeks to negate all the infinite proofs that demonstrate the veracity and truthfulness of Allah Almighty. Hence, unbelief is a crime of infinite proportions, deserving of infinite punishment.

 

See following links for more reading of the Risale-i Nur online:

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetnur(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/en/intro/nurlibrary/m_risale?id=20&page=74"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetnur(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/en/intro/nurlibrary/m_r...=20&page=74[/url]

Edited by wordVision Student

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My only answer is he is just and merciful only to those who believe and only upto a point but this would again contradict him as all merciful if it be limited to conditions

 

I agree. I would not condemn anyone to infinite punishment for any crime, because I am merciful. But Allah is supposed to be Most Merciful, thus more merciful than me, thus would not condemn anyone to infinite punishment.

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I agree. I would not condemn anyone to infinite punishment for any crime, because I am merciful. But Allah is supposed to be Most Merciful, thus more merciful than me, thus would not condemn anyone to infinite punishment.

 

Except that you believe that infinite punishment for a finite crime is unmerciful, which is nothing more than your personal opinion. Therefore, it is presumptuous of you to say that Allah is unmerciful, or that merciful Allah would not do so.

 

I'm pretty sure you and I had this discussion before, especially since I used the analogy of finite worldly crimes (stabbing someone for 5 seconds) and lifelong worldly punishment (life sentence). How unmerciful!

 

Salam.

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Of course it's my personal opinion - just like your post is your personal opinion.

 

I didn't say that infinite punishment was unmerciful (although I think it is), I said that if I would be too merciful to impose infinite punishment for any crime, then a being more merciful than me would not either. If Allah is 'Most Merciful', then by definition Allah is more merciful than me, so Allah would not impose infinite punishment.

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I didn't say that infinite punishment was unmerciful (although I think it is), I said that if I would be too merciful to impose infinite punishment for any crime, then a being more merciful than me would not either.

 

The premise of your argument comes from the opinion that the determination of mercy is rooted in how long someone is punished. Think of it this way. What if I believe that people being punished for murder is unmerciful, and I said that if I had the power to decide, I would absolve people of such a crime; would this make me more merciful than those who would punish such criminals? Is it mercy, or is it blind tolerance - or worse, blatant injustice? Is mercy based on the unrealistic and careless kindness I show toward criminals? Is mercy based on the possibly unrealistic and careless kindness you would show toward transgressors against God? You would say that the latter is not unrealistic or careless, because you believe ultimately that it is more unrealistic to punish someone infinitely. Therefore, your personal beliefs lead your conclusion.

 

My point is, your perception of mercy isn't necessarily a reflection of reality. It is based on your sense of right and wrong.

 

Salam.

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Let's think about punishment. The point of punishment in human judicial systems is to both dissuade other people from committing the crime, and making the criminal regret his/her crime (so they won't re-offend on release). If the torments of hell are as bad as they are claimed, there's no need for infinite punishment to dissuade criminals; and a few hours (or a few months or a few decades or a few millenia) would be more than long enough to make criminals regret their crimes.

 

Is Allah's judicial system basically different? Are deterrence and reform not the aims? Presumably not, if there is infinite punishment - presumably it is designed to cause unbearable pain for the sake of causing unbearable pain. No matter what definition of "mercy" you use, there is no mercy if there is infinite torture. Or any torture at all, really.

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Possibly a deterrence, obviously not reform though. The threat of the punishment as a deterrence I mean. Not the actual punishment.

Edited by xocoti

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No matter what definition of "mercy" you use, there is no mercy if there is infinite torture. Or any torture at all, really.

 

You are right there is no mercy in infinite punishment. God is not merciful towards disbelievers in the Final Judgement, He is only merciful towards the believers.

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You are right there is no mercy in infinite punishment. God is not merciful towards disbelievers in the Final Judgement, He is only merciful towards the believers.

 

Yes but he say's he has reserved 99 parts of his mercy till the day of judgement. I have a close friend who is nothing but good however they don't believe in Allah (swt) the thought he would torture them for infinity for a finite crime to me negates the idea or claim of his mercy :sl:

 

I couldn't hate or want to punish the worst of criminals with an eternity in hell. No one is denying there should be restitution for sin but an eternity!?!

 

Hence im left with the conclusion Allah (swt) is not as merciful as me stafallah! or that hell and eternal punishment is not as we think and that Allah (swt) will perhaps forgive us all after a time?

 

Some scholars have put forward this view the most important is Ibn Taymiya, but some dispute that he held the view. The next important is his student Ibn al-Qayyim. His book in which he deals with this extensively is Hadi al-Arwah which sadly I can't find in English :sl:

 

I want to love Allah (swt) with all my heart! but it's hard when I think he will be torturing the people I love :no:

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If the torments of hell are as bad as they are claimed, there's no need for infinite punishment to dissuade criminals; and a few hours (or a few months or a few decades or a few millenia) would be more than long enough to make criminals regret their crimes.

 

The torment of Hell and the torment of eternal Hell do not create the same fear in a person. A person might be less inclined to work hard if they knew that they would only be punished for a short while. Because, regardless of however harsh the punishment is - it would soon come to an end.

 

Infinite punishment dissuades criminals far more effectively.

 

Is Allah's judicial system basically different? Are deterrence and reform not the aims?

 

Deterrence, yes. Reform, no, as Xocoti said. Might I point out something that, you as a non-Muslim who has been on the forum long enough must have heard by now, the life of this world is a test. When this life passes, it's on to the next stage. There are no do-overs. Everyone has plenty of chances to do right in this life.

 

I think brother Younes responded to your conclusion beautifully.

 

Allah is merciful, not blindly and senselessly forgiving to those who do not deserve it.

 

Salam.

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The Spanish Inquisition and other torturers could reduce humans to insane shrieking blobs in a day or so. After that there wasn't any point in continuing - there was no mind left to torture. To continue the torture for a month, let alone 10,000 years would be simply Sadism. That is, the torturer would be doing it for his/her own pleasure, not because of any effect it had on the victim.

 

If I happen to die and wake up in hell, I will instantly believe in Allah, Yaweh, or whichever god is running the place. But I won't believe that 'Most Merciful' is an apt description of them. If I wouldn't believe it then, there's no reason for me to believe it now.

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Hi Redeem,

 

This touches on what we have discussed in the past. Since God would be just to condemn a person to an infinite punishment for a finite crime, how would finite penance suffice God’s justice?

 

God bless,

 

Hello Augustine,

 

If infinite punishment is appropriate for a finite crime, then perhaps infinite forgiveness is appropriate for finite penance. Maybe length of time has less relevance (if at all) than the severity of the crime and the sincerity of the repenter.

 

Salam.

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I can see where you’re coming from, however I don’t see it as simple as that.

 

If God the infinite is insulted by sin how could finite penance undo an infinite offense?

 

God bless,

 

Allah is neither harmed nor affected by the sins of His creation. They do not decrease His dominion when they sin, nor do they increase it when they repent. They do not taint His Majesty or Dignity. The sinners do nothing but wrong their own souls.

 

Allah says in the Qur'an:

 

Say [O Muhammad], O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins [for those who repent and correct themselves]. Indeed, it is He Who is the Oft-forgiving, the Most Merciful. And turn [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped. [39:53-54]

 

The doors of forgiveness are open to everyone for as long as they live in this world. Allah knows that His slaves are capable of falling into sin and that they are also capable of feeling true remorse for their wrongdoings. He does not withold His mercy from those who deserve it.

 

For repentence to be accepted:

 

1) A person must have remorse for their act.

3) He must turn to God with a sincere desire for forgiveness.

3) He must promise sincerely that he won't ever repeat it.

 

We believe, for example, that Adam and Eve were forgiven for their disobedience toward God because they repented.

 

The prayer of Adam and Eve: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost! [7:23]

 

Allah created life and death to test us, to see which ones are the best in deed. And the ones who repent sincerely after they have disobeyed Allah are among the best of people, the ones who have an attachment to Allah. They are the ones that Allah loves because they were able to return from their sins, and they recognized their errors.

 

Salam.

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But every time we repent, it is the infinite who has been magnified by our heartfelt remorse. We praise God and humble ourselves before Him in penance, signaling that He is worthy of our worship. Perhaps He in turn will decide that we are worthy of His forgiveness.

 

I don't believe we'll see eye to eye on this one, Augustine. :sl:

 

Salam.

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Agreed on that one; we both believe God is merciful. On the other hand we both believe God is just. He cannot exercise one of his attributes (mercy) while ignoring His other attribute (justice) otherwise He would be lying to Himself and of course God cannot lie.

 

Exactly. But whereas you believe that He cannot be Just and forgive people directly, I believe that He cannot be Just if He does not forgive people directly. I guess it's all about perception.

 

It was nice talking with you, as always.

 

Salam.

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Salam brother :

 

I don't think that the punishment will be infinite I strongly believe that there is possibility that it's finite because of this verse :

 

"Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, EXCEPT as your Lord please; surely your Lord is the mighty doer of what He intends." 11:107

 

I believe Allah is Just so we don't have to worry or doubt his justice .

 

Peace .

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Let me give you an example. If I spit on a rock does it change the rock? Of course not, but nevertheless I have spat on the rock.

 

Would you agree that every time we sin it is God whom is disrespected by our sins thus the infinite has been disrespected?

 

I don't understand. If, as you say, your god is not affected or diminished by sin, then what is the problem with disrespect? If there is no adverse affect on your god by anything humans do, why does your god classify some human acts as 'bad'? I personally have been known to spit on rocks and worse, and because of the lack of effect on the rocks I do not think I have done anything 'bad'.

Edited by wattle

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Yes but he say's he has reserved 99 parts of his mercy till the day of judgement. I have a close friend who is nothing but good however they don't believe in Allah (swt) the thought he would torture them for infinity for a finite crime to me negates the idea or claim of his mercy :sl:

 

I couldn't hate or want to punish the worst of criminals with an eternity in hell. No one is denying there should be restitution for sin but an eternity!?!

 

Hence im left with the conclusion Allah (swt) is not as merciful as me stafallah! or that hell and eternal punishment is not as we think and that Allah (swt) will perhaps forgive us all after a time?

 

 

Some scholars have put forward this view the most important is Ibn Taymiya, but some dispute that he held the view. The next important is his student Ibn al-Qayyim. His book in which he deals with this extensively is Hadi al-Arwah which sadly I can't find in English :sl:

 

I want to love Allah (swt) with all my heart! but it's hard when I think he will be torturing the people I love :no:

 

My valuable brother,

 

You should be commended for your desire to love Allah, as this is the purpose of all our lives. It seems to me that your difficulty here lies in underestimating the seriousness of 'not believing in Allah'. You say for example that your friend does good, apart from disbelieving in Allah. Brother, know that there can be no greater transgression than this. If a person, for example, commits murder and rape, but then does nice deeds like giving charity, can the person be considered good? Obviously not. Well, denying the existence of Allah is an infinitely greater transgression than a murder. You should not downplay this. I'll quote again from the Risale-i Nur on this matter:

 

A Question

 

How can incarceration in Hell for an infinite duration in return for unbelief for a short duration be justice?

 

T h e A n s w e r : Reckoning a year to be three hundred and sixty-five days, the law of justice requires for a one-minute murder seven million eight hundred and eighty-four thousand minutes imprisonment. So, since one minute’s unbelief is like a thousand murders, according to the law of human justice, someone who lives a life of twenty years in unbelief and dies in that state deserves imprisonment for fifty-seven billion, two hundred and one thousand two hundred million years. It may be understood from this how conformable with Divine justice is the verse,

 

They will dwell therein for ever.(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetnur(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/en/intro/nurlibrary/m_risale?id=22&page=374#NOTE1"] 1[/url]

 

The reason for the connection between these two numbers, so far from one another, is this: since murder and unbelief are destruction and aggression, they have an effect on others. A murder which takes one minute negates on average at least fifteen years of the victim’s life, so the murderer is imprisoned in their place. While since one minute of unbelief denies a thousand and one Divine Names and denigrates their inscriptions, violates the rights of the universe and denies its perfections, and gives the lie to innumerable evidences of Divine Unity and rejects their testimony, the unbeliever is cast down to the lowest of the low for more than a thousand years, and “dwells†in imprisonment.

 

S a i d N u r s i

 

 

 

Brother, the only way you can cure yourself of this vesvese you are experiencing is to read. Read and come to know your Lord. Then you will, inshallah, see His Majesty and understand what it means to deny Him.

 

I wish you every success in your studies.

 

Selam aleykum.

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Salam brother :

 

I don't think that the punishment will be infinite I strongly believe that there is possibility that it's finite because of this verse :

 

"Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, EXCEPT as your Lord please; surely your Lord is the mighty doer of what He intends." 11:107

 

I believe Allah is Just so we don't have to worry or doubt his justice .

 

Peace .

 

:sl:

 

The words "so long as the heavens and earth endure" is a saying that the Arabs had that meant "forever". They also used to say "until the night and day separate" or "as long as talkers at night continue to chat". Kind of like how we say "until the fat lady sings". Allah was addressing them in a way that was familiar to them.

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_tafsir(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/default.asp?sid=11&tid=24272"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_tafsir(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/default.asp?sid=11&tid=24272[/url]

 

There are plenty of verses that use the word "forever" to refer to Hellfire.

“Verily, those who disbelieve and did wrong [by concealing the truth about Prophet Muhammad and his message of true Islamic Monotheism written in the Tawraatt (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) with them]; Allaah will not forgive them, nor will He guide them to any way. Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever†[4:168-169]

 

“Verily, Allah has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming Fire (Hell) Wherein they will abide for ever†[33:64]

 

“and whosoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, then verily, for him is the fire of Hell, he shall dwell therein foreverâ€[72:23]

 

“But those who disbelieved (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islamic Monotheism) and denied Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they will be the dwellers of the Fire, to dwell therein forever. And worst indeed is that destination"[64:10]

 

And those who followed will say: ‘If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we would disown (declare ourselves as innocent from) them as they have disowned (declared themselves as innocent from) us.’ Thus Allah will show them their deeds as regrets for them. And they will never get out of the Fire†[2:165]

 

Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do.†(Allaah will reply:) “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there is no helper†[35:36]

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But you didn't address the "except". And by the way, the "except" means that the vrses you quoted are contradicting this verse.

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Dear Brother Word Vision,

 

Thank you for your kind word's and your attempt to help me, may Allah (swt) reward you for the good :sl:

 

While I agree that disbelief is a SERIOUS crime and one that is carried out either in ignorance and or pride the idea of infinite punishment for it sits heavily with me. Allah (swt) is beyond the need for us to believe in him so I can't fathom why he would punish his creation for ever for something that can neither hurt nor help him? He is also described as al-Rahman al-Rahim. One hadith even mention's that Allah divided His Mercy into seventy parts, and distributed one of those parts in the creation around us. Let us think of all the love in this world; be it between a mother and child, a husband and wife, a brother and sister, be it between animals and their young, be it between friends. All the love amongst these people and in this world comprises just one part out of seventy of Allah’s Mercy. Now if my father was a disbeliever or murderer my love for him is that I would not want him to be punished forever. So how can Allah (swt) whose love and mercy is "100x" greater than mine seek to punish his stupid, weak, fallible insignificant creation with an eternity in hell?

 

:sl:

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