“All praise is only for God, the Lord of Universe, the Beneficent, the Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment” (Qur’an, Chapter 1; Verses 2-4)
These are the very first verses of the Qur’an. They present in clear terms the concept of God in Islam: God is Merciful and Just. According to Islam, the Divine Justice is no separate from His Mercy.
The Divine Justice cannot be compared with the justice meted out by the judges in the courts. These judges are only the executors of the law, given to them by others, with little or no authority to condone the culprits. They are bound by the law. They are helpless against the strict implications of law when it demands punishment. They cannot dispense mercy even if the culprit is repenting, even if the circumstances demand mercy. Petitions for mercy are addressed to the head of state, who is the supreme promulgator of law.
But God is not a mere judge. He is the Law-giver and the supreme Authority. Hence an offender can be sure of His merciful pardon if his repentance be genuine.
Islam puts the Mercy of God before His Justice. The very first verse of the Qur’an is “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”. Islam believes that “His Mercy is before His wrath”.
Thus the Muslims have a finely balanced faith, which is inclined neither to this side nor to that. It does not teach us that God is a high handed avenger who does not forgive a single sin or mistake; but it does not present God in the shape of a feeble person who will not punish even the tyrannies and brutalities of head-hunters. The essence of Islamic faith is in the above-mentioned verses, where the Mercy of God has been mentioned side by side with His Justice.
Here we find a real divine religion which encourages man to go nearer to Allah, attracted by His Mercy and Grace; and warns him against trespassing the limits of moral and religious laws, by reminding him that God is just, the Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thus, the two most important instincts of man, i.e., love and fear, are simultaneously utilized to make man a perfect being, a whole being, not wanting in any respect.