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The So-Called Intellectuals

The So-Called Intellectuals

 This group brings two types of proofs for their view: rational and narrational.

 1.  Rational proof.  The rational demonstration that says that good deeds entail their reward no matter who performs them is based on two premises:

The first premise: God has an equal relation to all existent beings.  His relation to all times and places is the same; just as God is in the East, He is in the West, and just as He is above, He is below.  God is in the present, past and future; the past, present, and future have no difference for God, just as above and below and East and West are the same for Him.  Similarly His servants and creation are also the same for Him; He has neither family ties nor a special relationship with anyone.  Thus, God’s showing grace or showing anger towards people is also the same, except when there are differences in the people themselves.[31]

As a result, no one is dear to God without reason, and no one is lowly or outcast without justification.  God has neither ties of kinship nor of nationality with anyone; and no one is the beloved or chosen one of God.

 Since God’s relation to all beings is the same, there remains no reason for a good deed to be accepted from one person and not from another.  If the actions are the same, their reward will also be the same, since the assumption is that God’s relation to all people is the same.  So justice demands that God reward all those who do good – whether Muslims or non-Muslims – in the same way.

 The second premise: The goodness or badness of actions is not based on convention, but on actual reality.  In the terminology of scholars of theology and the science of principles of jurisprudence, the “goodness” or “badness” of actions is innate.  That is, good and bad deeds are differentiated by their essence; good deeds are good by their essence, and bad deeds are bad by their essence.  Honesty, virtue, doing good, helping others, and so forth are good by their essence; and lying, stealing, and oppression are bad by their essence.  The goodness of “honesty” or badness of “lying” is not because God has mandated the former and forbidden the latter.  To the contrary, it is because “honesty” is good that God has obligated it and because “lying” is bad that God has forbidden it.  In short, God’s commanding or forbidding is based on the goodness or badness of actions in their essence, and not the other way around.

 From these two premises, we conclude that since God does not discriminate, and since good deeds are good from all people, whoever does a good deed will definitely and necessarily be rewarded by God.

It is exactly the same way with regard to evil deeds since there is no difference between those who commit them.

 2.  Narrational proof.  The Qur’ān affirms in many verses the principle of non-discrimination among people in rewarding good deeds and punishing evil deeds – which was mentioned in the above rational proof. 

 The Qur’ān strongly opposed the Jews, who believed in such discrimination.  The Jews believed – and still believe – that the Jewish race is chosen by God; they would say, “We are the sons and friends of God.  Supposing God sends us to Hell, it will not be for more than a limited time.”

 a) The Qur’ān calls such ideas wishes and untrue thoughts and has strongly combated them.  The Qur’ān also points out the error of Muslims who have fallen prey to such deception.  Here are some of the verses in this regard:

  ÙˆÙŽÙ‚َالُوا لَنْ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلاَّ أَيَّاماً مَّعْدُودَةً قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِنْدَ اللٌّهِ عَهْدًا فَلَنْ يُخْلِفَ اللٌّهُ عَهْدَهُ أَمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللٌّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ  بَلَى مَنْ كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيـئَتُهُ فَأُوْلٌـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُون وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولٌـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

 “And they said, the Fire shall not touch us except for (a few) numbered days.  Say: have you taken a covenant with God, for God shall not violate His covenant, or do you attribute to God that which you don’t know?  Nay, those who earn evil and whose mistakes have enveloped them are the inhabitants of the Fire; they shall abide therein forever.  And those who believe and do good are the inhabitants of Paradise; they shall abide therein forever.”[32]

  b) In another place, the Qur’ān says in answer to the conjecture of the Jews:

  ÙˆÙŽØºÙŽØ±Ù‘َهُمْ فِي دِينِهِمْ مَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ  فَــكَيْفَ إِذَا جَمَعْنَاهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ لاَّ رَيْبَ فِيهِ وَوُفِّيَتْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ 

 “And their forgeries deceived them in their religion.  So how will they be when We gather them for a day in which there is no doubt and every soul shall be given in full what it has earned; and they shall not be wronged.”[33]

c) In another place, the Christians have been added to the Jews, and together they have been opposed by the Qur’ān:

  ÙˆÙŽÙ‚َـالُوا لَنْ يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلاَّ مَنْ كَـانَ هُوداً أَوْ نَصَارَى تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّـهُمْ قُلْ هَـاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُم إِنْ كُنْــتُمْ صَادِقِينَ  بَلَى مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلٌّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ عِنْدَ رَبِّـهِ وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَـيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُـمْ يَحْزَنُونَ 

 “And they said, None shall enter Paradise except those who are Jews or Christians; this is their fancy.  Say: bring your proof, if you are truthful.  Rather, those who submit themselves to God and do good shall have their reward with their Lord; and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.”[34]

  d) In SÅ«ratul Nisā, the Muslims too, have been added to the Jews and Christians. The Qur’ān demolishes discriminatory thinking no matter who it is from.  It is as though the Muslims had come under the effect of the thinking of the People of the Book, and in the face of they who without reason considered themselves superior, adopted such an opinion about themselves.  The Qur’ān says, refuting these immature fancies:

  Ù„َّيْسَ بِأَمَانِيِّكُمْ وَلاَ أَمَانِيِّ أَهْلِ الْكِـتَابِ مَنْ يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ وَلاَ يَجِدْ لَهُ مِـنْ دُونِ اللٌّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلاَ نَصِيرًا  وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُوْلٌـئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلاَ يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيـرًا 

 “(This) shall not be in accordance with your vain desires nor in accordance with the vain desires of the followers of the Book.  Whoever does evil, he shall be requited with it.  He will find for himself neither a guardian nor a helper other than God.  And whoever does good deeds whether male or female and he (or she) is a believer, it is these who shall enter paradise and they will not be wronged (so much as) the speck on a date stone.”[35]

 e) Leaving aside the verses that condemn baseless suppositions of honour and nearness to God, there are other verses that say that God does not waste the reward of any good deed.

These verses have also been taken as proof of the acceptance of the good deeds of all people, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.  In SÅ«ratul Zilzāl, we read:

  ÙÙŽÙ€Ù…َنْ يَّعْمَلْ مِثْقٌالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْراً يَرَهُ ÙˆÙŽ مَنْ يَّعْمَلْ مِثْقٌالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرّاً يَرَهُ

 “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.”[36]

 Elsewhere, God says:

  Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽ اللٌّهَ لاٌ يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

 “Verily God does not waste the reward of those who do good.”[37]

 And in another place, He says:

  Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ٌا لاٌ نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلاً

 “Verily We do not waste the reward of those who do good.”[38]

 The wording of these verses makes them universal statements that are not given to exceptions.

The scholars of the discipline of the principles of jurisprudence (Uŝūlul Fiqh) say that certain universal statements do not accept exceptions; that is, the wording and tone of the universal statement is such that it resists any exceptions.  When it is said, “We don’t waste the reward of the doer of good,” it means that God’s divinity demands that He preserve good deeds; thus it is impossible for God to disregard His divinity in one instance and waste a good deed.

 f) There is another verse which is frequently referred to in this discussion, and it is said that it clearly points to the assertion of this group:

  Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هٌادُوا وَالصٌّابِؤُونَ وَالنَّصٌارَى مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللٌّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وعَمِلَ صٌالِحًا فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاٌ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

 “Indeed the faithful, the Jews, the Sabaeans, and the Christians—those who have faith in God and the Last Day and act righteously—they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.”[39]

 In this verse, three conditions have been mentioned for salvation and safety from God’s punishment: belief in God, belief in the Day of Judgement, and good deeds; no other condition is mentioned.

Some who are apparently intellectuals have gone one step further and said that the aim of the Prophets was to call towards justice and goodness, and in accordance with the rule “Comply with the spirit and not the letter of the law” we should say that justice and goodness are accepted even from those who don’t believe in God and the Day of Judgement.  Thus, those who don’t believe in God and the Day of Judgement but have made great cultural, medical, economical, or political contributions to humanity shall have a great reward.

Of course, these people can argue on the basis of verses like:

 Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ٌا لاٌ نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلاً

  “We don’t waste the reward of one who does good,” and:

  ÙÙŽÙ…َنْ يَّعْمَلْ مِثْقٌالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْراً يَرَهُ

 “So whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it,”

but verses like the one above contradict their assertion.Below we take a look at the proofs of the other group.

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