Last updateSat, 17 Feb 2018 3pm

Back You are here: Home Library Islam Religious Pluralism Creational Conditions and Conventional Conditions

Creational Conditions and Conventional Conditions

Creational Conditions and Conventional Conditions

 Usually, people compare the Divine rules in creation, reward and punishment, and salvation and perdition to the human societal rules, even though these affairs are in accordance with creational and actual conditions and are a portion of them, whereas social conditions and rules follow conventional, man-made rules.  Social rules can follow conventional conditions, but the rules of creation, and among them Divine reward and punishment, cannot follow these conditions, and instead follow creational conditions.  To clarify the difference between a creational system and a conventional system, we present an example:

 We know that in social systems, every country has its own particular rules and laws.  Social rules, in some issues, differentiate between two people who are equal in physical and creational conditions, but different with respect to conventional conditions.

 For example, when they wish to hire someone in Iran, if an Iranian and an Afghani apply for the job and both are equal in terms of creational conditions, it is possible that the Iranian will be hired rather than the Afghani, simply because he is not an Iranian.  In this case, if the Afghani says that I am completely equal in terms of physical conditions to the Iranian who was hired – if he is healthy, I too am healthy, if he is young, so am I, if he is a specialist in such-and-such a field, so am I – he will be given the answer that administrative rules do not permit us to hire you.

 Based on a conventional and man-made decision, the position of this same Afghani individual can change and become like others; that is, he can apply for and receive Iranian citizenship.  It is obvious that citizenship papers have no effect on his actual personality; but from the view of social rules, he has become another person.  Normally, the observance of conventional conditions is concurrent with a lack of observance of equality in actual and creational conditions.

 But in issues that do not follow social and conventional rules and instead follow only creational conditions, the case is different.

 For example, if – God forbid – an illness or an epidemic comes to Iran, it will not differentiate between a citizen of Iran and that of another country.  If an Iranian and an Afghani are equal with respect to temperamental, environmental, and all other conditions, it is impossible for the bacteria that cause illness to discriminate and say that since the Afghani is not a citizen of Iran, I have nothing to do with him.  Here, the issue is of creation and nature, not society and societal conventions; the issue pertains to creation, not to legislation and rule-making.

 The Divine rules with respect to reward and punishment and salvation and perdition of individuals are subject to actual and creational conditions.  It is not the case that if someone claims, “Since my name is recorded in the register of Islām and I am Muslim by name, I must have special treatment,” it will be accepted of him or her.

 Let there be no confusion; here we are concerned with the discussion of reward and punishment, salvation and perdition, and the conduct of God with His servants; we are not talking about the laws that Islām has legislated in the Muslims’ social life.

 There is no doubt that the laws of Islām, like all other legislations of the world, are a series of conventional laws, and a series of conventional conditions has been observed within them.  And in these laws which are related to their worldly life, human beings, out of necessity, must follow a set of conventional conditions.

 But the actions of God, and the operation of Divine will in the system of creation – including the granting of salvation and leading to perdition of individuals and rewarding and punishing them – do not follow social rules, and instead are of another type altogether.  God, in carrying out His absolute will, does not act on the basis of conventional rules.  Conventional matters which naturally have a major effect on social systems have no role in the creational will of God.

 From the viewpoint of the rules which Islām has legislated that pertain to the social conduct of human beings, whenever a person recites the two testimonies[101], he or she will be recognized as a Muslim and will benefit from the advantages of Islām.  But with regard to the rules of the hereafter and from the viewpoint of God’s conduct, the laws of:

 ÙÙŽÙ…َنْ تَبِعَنِــي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّـي

 “Whoever follows me, is from me…”[102]


 Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللٌّهِ أَتْقٌكُمْ

 “Verily the most honourable of you near God is the most pious of you.”[103]


 The Messenger of God (S) said:

 Ø£ÙŽÙŠÙ‘ُهٌا النٌّاسُ إِنَّ أَبٌاكُمْ وٌاحِدٌ، وَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وٌاحِدٌ، كُلُّكُمْ لآدَمَ وَآدَمُ مِنْ تُرٌابٍ، لاٌ فَخْرَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلى عَجَمِيٍّ إِلاَّ بْالتَّقْوى

 “O people! Verily your father is one, and your Lord is One.  All of you are from Adam, and Adam was from dust.  There is no pride for an Arab over a non-Arab, except through piety.”[104]

 Salmān al-FārisÄ« , who strove to reach truth, reached such a station that the Noble Messenger (S) said of him,

 Ø³ÙŽÙ„ْمٌانُ مِنٌّا أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

 “Salmān is one of us, the People of the House.”

 There are some who have come under the influence of satanic whisperings and have contented themselves with the thought: “Our name is among the names of `AlÄ« Ibn AbÄ« Ťalib’s (as) friends.  However we may be, we are considered his subjects.  Or we will make a will that a large sum out of the money that we have acquired through wrong means or that we should have spent in our lifetime in good causes – but didn’t – should be given to the caretakers of one of the holy shrines in order for us to be buried near the graves of God’s saints, so that the Angels don’t dare punish us.”

 Such people should know that they have been blinded and the curtain of negligence has covered their eyes.  Their eyes will open when they will find themselves drowned in Divine punishment and they will suffer from such regret that if it were possible to die, they would do so a thousand times.  So let them awake from the slumber of carelessness today, repent, and make up for what has passed.

 ÙˆÙŽ أَنْذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْحَسْرَةِ إِذْ قَضى الأَمْرُ ÙˆÙŽ هُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ ÙˆÙŽ هُمْ لاٌ يُؤْمِنُونَ

 “And warn them (of) the day of regret, when the affair will be decided while they are negligent and don’t believe.”[105]

 From the point of view of the Qur’ān and the Islāmic traditions, it is definite that the sinner, even if Muslim, will be punished by God.  True, since he or she has faith, he or she will in the end achieve salvation and liberty from Hell, but it may be that this salvation will only come after years of hardship and punishment. 

 Some people’s account of sins will be cleansed by the hardships of dying; another group will pay the penalty for their sins in the grave and barzakh (intermediary realm between this world and the next); another group will get their retribution in the horrors of Resurrection and difficulties of accounting for their deeds; and yet others will go to Hell and linger there for years in punishment.  It has been narrated from the sixth Imām, Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) that the verse:

 Ù„ٌبِثِينَ فِيهٌــآ أَحْقٌاباً

 “…lingering therein for ages…”[106]

 pertains to those who will attain salvation from Hell.[107]

 Here we mention some examples of traditions which talk of the punishments of the time of death and after death so that they may help us take notice, awaken, and prepare ourselves for the daunting and dangerous stations which we have ahead of us.

 1.    Shaykh KulaynÄ«narrates from Imām Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) that `AlÄ« Ibn AbÄ« Ťalib (as) was once suffering from pain in the eye.  The Prophet Muhammad (S) went to visit him at a time when he was crying out from the pain.  He said, “Is this cry from impatience, or because of the severity of pain?” AmÄ«rul Mo’minÄ«n `AlÄ« Ibn AbÄ« Ťalib (as) replied, “O Messenger of God, I have not suffered any pain like this until today.” The Prophet (S) began to narrate the terrifying account of what happens to unbelievers when they die.  Upon hearing this, `AlÄ« (as) sat up and said, “Messenger of God, please repeat this account for me, for it made me forget my pain.” Then he (as) said, “O Messenger of God! Will anyone from your community face such a death?” He replied, “Yes: a ruler who oppresses, one who usurps the property of an orphan, and one who bears false witness.”[108]

 2.     Shaykh ÅœadÅ«q  narrates in the book ‘Man Lā Yah°uruhu al-FaqÄ«h’ that when Dharr, the son of AbÅ« Dharr al-GhifārÄ« , died, Abu Dharr  stood by his grave, put his hand on the grave, and said: “God have mercy on you; I swear by God that you were good to me and now that you have left me I am pleased with you.  I swear by God that I am not worried because of your leaving; nothing has been diminished from me, and I am in need of none but God.  And were it not for the fear of the time of notification, I would wish that I had gone in your place.  But now I wish to compensate for what has passed and prepare for the next world, and verily my grief for your sake has prevented my grief over you.  [That is, I am absorbed in thinking about doing something that could benefit you, and so I have no time to grieve at being separated from you.] I swear by God that I have not wept on account of your separation, but I have cried thinking about how you are and what you have gone through.  I wish I knew what you said and what was said to you! O God! I have forgiven the rights that You had made obligatory on my son for me, so You too forgive him Your rights over him, for magnanimity and generosity are more befitting of You.”[109]

 3.     Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) narrates from his noble ancestors that the Prophet Muhammad (S) said, “The squeezing in the grave for a believer is an atonement for the shortcomings he or she has committed.”[110]

 4.    `AlÄ« Ibn IbrāhÄ«m  narrates from Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) regarding the verse:

 ÙˆÙŽ مِنْ وَرٌآئِهِمْ بَرْزَخٌ إِلـى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ

 “…and beyond them is a barrier until the day they shall be resurrected.”[111]

    that he said:

 ÙˆÙŽØ§Ù„لٌّهِ مٌا أَخٌافُ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلاَّ الْبَرْزَخَ فَأَمٌّا أِذٌا صٌارَ الأَمْرُ إِلَيْنٌا فَنَحْنُ أَوْلـى بِكُمْ

 “I swear by God, I fear nothing for you except barzakh; as for when the affair is committed to us, we are more worthy of you.”[112]

 That is, our intercession is related to after barzakh; there is no intercession in barzakh.

 In general, there are so many Qur’ānic verses and clear traditions regarding the punishment for sins such as lying, backbiting, false accusation, treachery, oppression, usurping other’s property, drinking, gambling, tale-bearing, defaming, abandoning prayer, abandoning fasting, abandoning pilgrimage, abandoning Jihād, and so forth that it is beyond reckoning; none of them are exclusive to the unbelievers or non-ShÄ«`as.

  In the tradition of the Mi`rāj (Prophetic ascent to Heaven), we find many examples where the Prophet Muhammad (S) says: “I saw various groups of my community, men and women, in different forms of punishment, who were being punished on account of various sins.”


[94] Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, Volume 1, Page 24

[95] al-Kāfī, Volume 2, Page 464

[96] Bihārul Anwār, Volume 12 (Kumpānī print)

[97] Ibid., Volume 11, Page 25, “Chapter on the Noble Morals of the Fourth Imām”

[98] Bihārul Anwār (Ākhūndī print), Volume 21, Page 111, from Attributes of the Shī`a by Shaykh Ŝadūq.

[99] Sharh (Commentary) of Nahjul Balāgha by ibn Abil Ĥadīd, Volume 2, Page 863

[100] Bihārul Anwār (old print), Volume 10, Page 65

[101] Meaning that the person bears witness that there is no creature or entity worthy of worship except for Allāh and that MuÄ¥ammad is His Prophet and Messenger.  (Tr.)

[102] Al-Qur'ān, Sūrat Ibrāhīm (14), Verse 36

[103] Al-Qur'ān, Sūratul Ĥujurāt (49), Verse 13

[104] Tārīkh al-Ya`qūbī, Volume 2, Page 110

[105] Al-Qur'ān, Sūrat Mariam (19), Verse 39

[106] Al-Qur'ān, Sūratul Nabā' (78), Verse 23

[107] Bihārul Anwār (Kumpānī print), Volume 3, Page 376-7

[108] Shaykh `Abbās Qummī , Manāzilul Ākhirah (Islāmiyya print), Page 5-6

[109] Ibid., Page 24-25

[110] Bihārul Anwār (Kumpānī print), Volume 3, Page 153, from Thawābul A`māl and al-Amālī of Shaykh Sadūq

[111] Al-Qur'ān, Sūratul Mu'minūn (23), Verse 100

[112] Bihārul Anwār (Kumpānī print), Volume 3, Page 151, from Tafsīr `Alī ibn Ibrāhīm


Add comment

Security code

Find us on Facebook