This fact is expressed in the following verse:
“And man prays for evil as he ought to pray for good and man is ever hasty.” (17:11)
Therefore if one wants to be patient, he will have to train himself.
Man shows total reliance on Almighty Allah, the Omnipotentonly when he is in trouble and difficulty When men's difficulties disappear their reliance also diminishes. They think they have become self-sufficient. This fact is expressed in the following verse:
“And when affliction touches a man, he calls on Us, whether tying on his side or sitting or standing but when We remove his affliction from him, he passes on as though he had never called on Us on account of an affliction that touched him.” (10:12)
For example, before examinations students observe all the religious rituals and try to be close to Almighty Allah, but once the examinations are over, the feeling of being close to the Lord, the Creator, wanes.
This fact is expressed in the following verse:
“Say: if you controlled the treasures of the mercy of my Lord, then you would withhold (them) from fear of spending, and man is niggardly.” (17:100)
The fact is expressed in the following verse:
“Surely man is created of a greedy temperament; being greatly grieved when evil afflicts him, and niggardly when good befalls him, except those who pray, those who...” (70:19)
He is interested in discussing and arguing about everything more than needed. The Scripture presents such an idea:
“And certainly We have explained in this Qur'an every kind of example; and man is most of all given to contention.” (1&54)
Up to now we have discussed nine bad attributes of human beings (although there are more). According to the Glorious Qur'an a human being is a responsible being and has the capability of either following right path or going astray. A man is able to choose either of these qualities, grow them, nurture them and strengthen them in his being.
The bad attributes or vices are not such that they can prevent a human being from reaching perfection, because the vices are of three kinds:
Some are necessary implications of his creation and he can not prevent them. For example, he is weak and has many limitations in his existence and actions. Allah, the Glorious and Most High, says: “And man is created weak” (4:28)
This kind of attribute will not be questioned or punished. Allah just explains them to make us aware of our weakness and to prevent us from taking pride in ourselves. Some are implications of his creation but are not necessary. It means that his nature only inclines toward vice, but it can be resisted. To explain this point philosophically, we should say that his nature is not the sufficient condition or complete cause (al-illah al-tdmmah) of moral vice. It is just the incomplete or partial cause (al-illah al-ndqisah). It is lip to human beings to submit themselves to their nature or to resist. For example, growing up in a bad family tends to result in vice, but this is only an incomplete cause. Returning to our own discussion, the human being has a greedy temperament but he can control and direct his temperament to any direction he wants. He can even use it to acquire infinite perfection.
Some vices are caused by the human being himself, i.e., by his free will and are not due to human or individual nature. For example, if a human being is a liar, this is because he himself has chosen that.
Thus, we understood that the vices of human beings cannot prevent us from perfection and that Allah, the Most Merciful and Forgiving, will never punish us for those nature-given attributes. Man possesses of capabilities and potentialities as well as freewill. It is up to him to decide what to do or obtain. In the Glorious Qur'an Allah says:
“Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.” (103:2,3)
According to the above verses all human beings are in a state of loss, because they are losing their lives and their bodily and mental powers. The only exceptions are those who believe, do good and invite each other towards truth and patience. These people spend their lives or powers or properties to get divine pleasure and salvation. So what they get or obtain is more than what they spend or lose.
“Certainty We created man in the best make. Then We Tendered him the lowest of the low. Except those who believe and do good, so they shall have a reward never to be cut off “(95:4-6)
Again the same fact is seen. Allah has created man in the best way. Then it is up to him to be the lowest of the low or to be higher than other creatures, even angels.
It is obvious that not everybody known to be a human being is precious. Human beings are not at the same level. Therefore they should not be treated equally. For example, those people who create world-wars and perform many crimes are not to be respected at all. Really, they are not human beings (in spite of their shape or body).
God-willing there will be an appendix on Islamic punishments. We will shed some light on this matter to meet objections against the Islamic system of punishment suggested by some Westerners who consider it incompatible.