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Below the Zero Point

Part 4 

Below the Zero Point

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 So far our discussion has been of the acceptance and non-acceptance of acts of worship and good and positive deeds of non-Muslims, and in other words the above discussion was about what is above the zero point; the discussion was whether their good deeds cause them to ascend or not.

 Now let us see what is the state of what is below the zero point, that is, what happens to the sins and evil deeds of non-Muslims.  Are they all alike from the aspect of our discussion, or is there a difference?  In addition, in these actions that are evil and bring a person down, is there a difference between Muslims and non-Muslims, and similarly between ShÄ«`as and non-ShÄ«`as?  Does a Muslim, and especially a ShÄ«`a Muslim, have a sort of protection with regard to such actions, or not?

 In the preceding matter, it became clear that God only punishes people when they commit wrong deeds out of culpability (taqŝīr), that is, when they do so deliberately and with knowledge, not out of incapacity (quŝūr).  Previously, we translated and explained the verse of Qur’ān from which Scholars of the principles of jurisprudence derive the rule that says “It is evil to punish one without having explained his or her duty.” Now, to clarify the situation of non-Muslims with respect to actions that fall below the zero point and to study their punishment and retribution for the evil deeds they commit, we have no choice but to broach another issue that is touched upon in Islāmic sciences and is rooted in the Noble Qur’ān; and that is the issue of “incapacity” and “powerlessness” (isti°`āf).  Here, we begin our discussion under this heading.

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