Table of Contents

Divine Justice (Adl)

وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ {54}

"And they planned and Allah (also) planned, and Allah is the best of planners.”
(Aale ‘Imran, 3:54)

Question 4

Q.4: What is the difference between planning (Makr) of God and the planning (Makr) of a man?

A: Makr of man consists of deceit and cheating to which a fellow resorts with a view to save himself or to overcome others or to fulfill his corrupt wishes.

But the Makr of Almighty Allah is a form of punishment, revenge and anger against man 's evil deed. This chastisement is kept secret from the man. The sinner does not know that he is under God's anger. For example, respiting the infidels and transgressors, so that their disobedience may multiply thereby making them liable to a greater chastisement in the Hereafter:

إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِثْمًا ۚ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ

"We grant them respite only that they may add to their sins ...” (Aale ‘lmran, 3: 178)

Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) said:

"By God, God did not chastise them more severely than by respiting them (so that their sins may increase and so also their punishment consequently)."

Also it is like 'gradual arrest ' (lstidraaj), in which whenever a person indulges in a new sin, Allah grants him a new favor, so that by remaining occupied in that blessing, the sinner may not realize that he is disobedient to Allah and that he may not repent for his sins.

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.): "When a servant is under the kindness and mercy of
Allah and when Allah desires good for him, He puts him into trouble after he has committed a sin so that he may repent and be reminded of Allah and that he may purify himself of that sin. On the other hand, when Allah is enraged with a man, He bestows him a new blessing as a result of which he forgets repentance and continues to sin. This is what the Almighty Allah says:

وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

"We draw them near (to destruction) by degrees from whence they know not. "

(Al Araaf 7: 182)1

As regards calling this kind of divine punishment a Makr it is that the Makr of men, is both selfish and oppressive. This chastisement from Allah is by way of recompense based on justice. It is a similar action, but different in its aim. Moreover, Makr of men, due to weakness and lack of encompassing is mostly a failure, whereas a similar Makr from Allah is perfect in power and effectiveness, which fulfils its aim. That is why He Himself says:

وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

''And Allah is the best of planners." (Aale ’lmran, 3:54)

اللَّهُ أَسْرَعُ مَكْرً

"Allah is quicker to plan ...” (Yunus, l0:21)

وَأُمْلِي لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ

"And I grant them respite; surely My scheme is effective.” (Al A’araaf, 7: 183)

Or since divine punishment is effective against Makr of man it is true to call it as a Makr from Allah. For example:

وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَ

"And the recompense of evil is punishment like it..." (Ash-Shura 42:40)

In fact the compensation of an evil is, in fact, not an evil as it based on justice, but it is all right to call it as such. Just as it is correct to say that the consequence of evil is evil and likewise to say that the recompense of a person's Makr is a Makr against him. However, divine Makr is never condemnable. On the contrary it is justice and that is why the Makr of man is called a bad Makr:

ۚ وَلَا يَحِيقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهْلِهِ ۚ

"..and the evil plans shall not beset any save the authors
of it..."(Al Fatir, 35:42)

We should know that planning (Makr) and excuse (Heela) is in the meaning of a remedy and planning through hidden means for getting a benefit or to avoid harm. It is of two kinds:

The good planning, which is from the Merciful God and bad and devilish planning.

1. The good planning is that which is through permissible means and which is for getting permissible gain, in which one plans correctly and rightly. And it is to save oneself or others from harms and to be protected from oppression. In short, a remedial measure or planning for rightful aims is all right from both the viewpoint of wisdom and as well as Shariat laws. It is both desirable and meritorious.

2. Bad planning (Makr) is that which is done for devilish aims. For example: to plan to make money through unlawful means or to harm others or to obstruct the truth.

This is with regard to Makr of man, but Makr of God, is doubtlessly, the correct planning, which is both right and praiseworthy as it foils the devilish designs of unjust. It returns to them the losses of their Makr. It enables religion and its supporters to win over the enemies.

Another point is that divine planning is by way of retribution and furthermore it is against the designs of sinners and unjust and is a plan against their plans.

To understand the meaning of divine Makr look at the following verses of the Holy Quran:

وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ

"And they planned and Allah (also) planned, and Allah is the best of planners.”
(Aal ‘Imran, 3:54))

It means: Jews and enemies of Christ planned to eliminate him and his law. In other words, they plotted and through devilish means, tried to obstruct the divine call. God also then made a plan against them to save the life of Christ and to protect his Shariat. He took remedial measures and foiled their plans and, of course, God is the best solution for those who inquire.

A person named Yahuda was a companion of His Eminence, Isa Masih (a.s.), but he was a hypocrite and a spy. At night when Isa (a.s.) was alone and none of his companions were with him, Yahuda informed the Jews of his whereabouts.

It was a dark night. The Jews told Yahuda: "Go in and bring out Isa so that we may kill him." When Yahuda arrived, Almighty Allah saved Isa (a.s.) and Yahuda could not see him; so he returned to the Jews while Allah had made his face exactly like that of Isa (a.s.). They apprehended him and when he cried that he is Yahuda and not Isa, they did not pay any heed to him and they finally killed him. Some have said that from the very beginning, Yahuda resembled Isa (a.s.) and that during that night he was apprehended and executed by the Jews.

وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ

"And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners.” (Al Anfaal, 8:30)

It means that the leaders of Quraish gathered in Darun Nadwah to plot about driving away Prophet Muhammad (s.a:w.s.). Abul Bakhtari suggested: "He should be tightly chained and imprisoned in a closed room; and food and water be sent to him daily until he dies therein."

Shaykh Najdi said: "This is a defective suggestion, because Bani Hashim and their supporters would free him."

Hisham bin Amr said: "'Muhammad must be tied to the back of a camel, which should be driven out to the desert, so that he may starve to death."

Shaykh Najdi said: "He would certainly meet Arab tribals on the way and he would attract them; and they will save him. Finally he would join hands with them to fight us."

Abu Jahl said: "In my opinion, we should recruit a person from every clan so that all of them jointly kill him and thus his blood money may be shared by various different clans. In this way, Bani Hashim will not be able to fight all the tribes and consequently be obliged to accept blood money."

Shaykh Najdi said: "This is the best option." Some have said that it was the opinion of Shaykh Najdi from the very beginning and that all had agreed to it later.

So Abu Jahl recruited one person from every family. They resolved that one night all of them should gather outside the house of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and then assassinate him jointly.

Jibraeel (a.s.) informed the Messenger of Allah about the planning of Quraish and told him that it is the command of Allah that he should leave Mecca. So the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) told Amirul Momineen (a.s.): "Remain in my place and sleep in my bed so that the Quraish may not find it vacant and follow me." Then he went out of his house to the cave of Thawr.

The Quraish sent a spy to his house who came back to inform them that Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was in his house; so they surrounded the house that night. At dawn, they finally entered the house fully armed to eliminate the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) but Amirul Momineen (a.s.) arose from the bed and demanded: "'What do you want?"

They replied: "We want Muhammad, where is he?" Ali (a.s.) replied: "I am not a watchman over him." They turned back from there and with the help of an expert tracker reached the cave of Thawr. But by divine command, spiders weaved webs at the mouth of that cave so thickly that, seeing it, the Quraish remarked: "Had Muhammad entered this cave, these webs would have been destroyed. Therefore it is clear that he has not entered it." So they returned from there. Three days later, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) migrated to Medina.

The above incident well explains what the Makr of polytheists of Mecca meant and that it was a devilish and oppressive Makr and that the Makr of Allah was by way of retribution and that it was totally just.

Question 5

Q.5. Kindly explain the following tradition with examples:

‘‘Neither, fatalism nor free will,· it is a matter between the two extremes2

A: No fatalism means there is no force or compulsion, whereby man may, in his good or bad deeds, be absolutely helpless like a mere instrument of the will of God; that he may not have any power or choice. Falseness of belief in fatalism is one of the self-evident truths, because every sensible person, by conscience knows that he is having a free will and that his voluntary deeds are not like trembling etc. which is involuntarily. Therefore Muhaqqiq Qummi in his Kitabe Qawanin writes:

"Even if the fatalists bring thousands of arguments in favor of fatalism, they are proved baseless and false before self-evident things."

Moreover, this fatalism essentially falsifies the theory of reward and punishment in the Hereafter because, one who is helpless in the matter of obedience or disobedience (good or bad deeds), is logically not entitled to any reward or punishment. He does not deserve either to be praised or criticized even in this world. The fact is that if one commits a bad deed, all wise people consider him guilty and liable to criticism and punishment. No one considers him helpless.

Free will is also not possible as it would mean that man is able to do everything he desires; that he has full and total authority and ability to do whatever he wants in every matter. This belief is also false according to conscience, like the falsity of fatalism, because every sane person has experience that in many matters, he desired something, but it was not achieved due to some hindrance between his wish and the deed desired by him. He failed to do what he wanted to. Sometimes he even faces the exact opposite of his wish.

Therefore Amirul Momineen (a.s.) is reported to have said: "I recognized God through the failure of desires and inability to achieve wanted things."3 Is there any sane person who considers himself able to do whatever he wants? He knows very well that:

"Neither his profit nor his loss nor his death nor his life nor his rising is in his control."4

Also, the requisite of this belief of Free will adopted by the Mutazali is that they believe in 'associates' of Allah, because when they believe that man has absolute power to do whatever he desires, they consider themselves to have the rank of the Almighty Allah (Who alone is All-Powerful with absolute authority over everything). Some of the words of the Mutazalieven negate God's power vis a vis man 's.

"'But it is a matter between two matters." Man is neither totally without freedom of choice about what he likes nor does he has absolute power to do everything he desires. On the contrary, in all voluntary affairs, he requires the will of God to be in favor of his desired deed.

Otherwise what he wants to do will not be done. Likewise, he also requires the will of God in every affair. Also in all good deeds, people are in need of the grace of God. Also evil and sinful deeds of disobedience are due to the allowance granted by God. Of course, both the grace and allowance depend on the wish of man. That is why Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said in reply to a person's question about the meaning of: "There is no power or might except by Allah," that:

"There is no power in us in the matter of disobeying God, except under the allowance of God. Likewise we don't have any ability in performing good deeds except with the assistance of Allah."

In another tradition, he said:

“Good is by the grace of God and evil is due to the allowance granted by God."

Question 6

Q.6: Perhaps there are some people in Australia, Africa or America who have never even heard about Islam or about its rules and regulations. What their position will be after death?

A: Indeed such people will not be chastised after their death. They will not be questioned. From the viewpoint of logic and Islamic law they do not attract divine anger and punishment.

It is common sense that holding them responsible would be against Divine Justice, as arguments have not been exhausted for them. As regards the divine law, it is mentioned in Quran that:

إِلَّا الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلًا

فَأُولَٰئِكَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا

"Except the weak from among the men and the children who have neither in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape); so these, it may be, Allah will pardon them, and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving. " (An-Nisa, 4:98,99)

It is mentioned in Kifayatul Muwahhideen: The 'weak ' may include men and women who lack intelligence and arguments might not have been presented and exhausted for them.5
Such people might not have known anything about Islam and faith or may not have the means or power to get such information. Perhaps they are silly, mad, deaf or dumb and those who lived in the days of ignorance and died therein. In other words all those are 'weak' for whom arguments have not been exhausted.

Infidels are those, who during their lives, did not cultivate faith in God and Judgment Day and died in a state of disbelief. Transgressors are sinners and oppressors; they are unjust people, who committed evil deeds and who died without repenting. Punishment to them after their death depends upon their defaults. If they were helpless, they will not be chastised and if they were defaulters, their punishment will be in accordance with their faults.

Here helplessness is in the meaning of falling short. For example, a person is only one meter tall and his food or medicine is out of his reach. If he dies, he will not be punished after death. But if one is able to take the food or medicine, but keeps sitting and consequently dies. Such a person is indeed a defaulter and hence responsible; and will be punished for committing suicide.6

Therefore those who, due to lack of intelligence could not get faith in God, the Hereafter and other true beliefs and die in that state of ignorance, are weak and not liable to divine punishment and so also those to whom true beliefs never reached till the end of their lives, or if reached, they could not find a way to obtain them and thus were really disabled. In other words, all those who were truly weak and who did not make a default will not be punished.

Transgressors are those who commit sins whose evil and unlawfulness is known to them through natural human sense like killing someone without a cause and oppressing others or being excessive to others; such people are not weak, on the contrary they are defaulters. Thus, a disbeliever who is weak from the viewpoint of his infidelity - if he kills someone wrongfully - after his death he will not be punished for his infidelity due to his inability to know the truth. But he will, anyhow, be chastised for manslaughter. It is so because with regard to his faith, he can say: I had no way of finding the true faith. But from the viewpoint of manslaughter, he cannot say: I did not know that it was an offence. Though he had not heard the commandments of God and religion, his nature and common sense has exhausted the argument for him.

As regards sins proved from the viewpoint of religion, like missing or giving up of prayers and fasts etc.; if he was really helpless, as mentioned earlier in detail, he will not be questioned and punished.

Question 7

Q.7: It is hard for common sense to understand the verse of the Holy Quran which says:

يُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ

"Thus does Allah make err whom He pleases ...” (Al-Muddaththir, 74:31)

Please explain in detail.

A: This holy verse carries several meanings:

One is regarding knowledge about the Almighty Allah's authority over guidance and misguidance for anyone whom He wishes and that He is able to draw him to good or evil willy-nilly, but since withdrawal of free will is against Divine wisdom, He does not do so, because if He does so, one cannot be either rewarded or punished. Therefore the verse only informs us about God's ability and it does not mean that he really takes this step.

Another reason is that the meaning of guidance in this verse is not showing of the way as the same has already been conveyed to all responsible beings through prophets and Imams (a.s.). Similarly the meaning of guidance here is also not the attaining of the aim without free will or intention of man, because it too negates ones being entitled to reward or punishment.

Hence what is meant by guidance and misguidance in this verse is divine sense (Taufeeq) or abandoning (Khizlaan). Taufeeq means that the Almighty Allah pays special attention to His servant and makes the path of good easy for him thereby making him inclined to good and by increasing his desire to do good. He provides for him the means, which help him succeed and does not withhold from him means which can keep him away from sinning.

The perfect kind of such guidance is that by which God makes His servant taste the sweetness of good and the bitterness of evil. It i s obvious that such guidance, which facilitates the path of success, does not conflict with or does not negate man's free will. Therefore the meaning of this verse is: God sheds His favor on His servant by providing him with all the means of success to whoever He wants and deprives those He wants of His favors and leaving such a person to himself (to do whatever he likes).

But it should be clear that the will of Allah is not random; it is in accordance with the entitlement of man to get guidance or misguidance. Man makes himself eligible of God's favor by following and accepting the call of the divine prophets.

وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْوَاهُمْ

"And (as for) those who follow the right direction, He increases them in guidance and gives them their guarding (against evil).,,” (Muhammad, 47: 17)

Since guidance and good sense (Taufeeq) of God has stages, when God grants His favor and the servant accepts it thankfully, he becomes entitled to a higher rank. Likewise it is also possible that a man by his inclination to evil may make himself eligible for misguidance and deprivation.

Other interpretations of this verse are also there, but for now this should suffice.

Question 8

Q.8: The Satan was a monotheist and now also he is a monotheist How then would this verse not apply to him?

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا

"Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and He forgives what is besides this to whom He pleases ..." (An- Nisa, 4: 1 16)

A: It is true that Satan was not a polytheist in the beginning, because polytheism means to take someone as a partner of God in His creation, obedience or worship. Such polytheism was not there in the devil; but disbelief is worse than polytheism, because it is to give up the obedience of Almighty Allah due to enmity or ego; and according to Quran, Satan was a disbeliever, which is worse than being a polytheist.

أَبَىٰ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ

"…He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers." (Al Baqarah, 2:34)

And in Al-Kafi it is narrated from Zurarah that Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: By Allah, disbelief is older than polytheism and so also dirtier and more serious. Then the Imam recalled the disbelief of lblis when Allah ordered him to prostrate before Adam, but he disobeyed.7Thus infidelity is graver than polytheism.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) was asked which of the two: disbelief and polytheism is older? He replied that disbelief is older, because Iblis was the first to become a disbeliever and his disbelief was not like polytheism, because he did not invite others to worship anyone other than God and, in fact, thereafter he extended such an invitation and became a polytheist.8

It is clear from the tradition that Satan is both a disbeliever as well as a polytheist, but his disbelief is due to the fact that he disobeyed God's command and in other words denied the Lordship, divinity and His right to be obeyed and worshipped. In a tradition of Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) such disbelief is named as ultimate disbelief.

But the cursed one's being a polytheist is because he became damned and engaged himself in misguiding human beings. He called to polytheism; and things like idol-worship etc. are his inventions only. It is obvious that invention of polytheism and trapping people into it is a thousand times worse than his personal polytheism so the cursed one is the first disbeliever and the chief of the polytheists.

This summary of this question is that the Almighty Allah has said in Quran that Allah would not forgive one who associates others with Him and, excepting the sin of polytheism, He would forgive the sins of whomsoever He wishes.

Therefore, since Satan, in the beginning, only refused to prostrate for Adam, he had not associated anyone with God, that is, he had not committed polytheism; his sin is worth forgiveness.

The gist of the reply is that Satan was a disbeliever from the beginning and thereafter led man to disbelief and he also became a polytheist and encouraged people to various kinds of polytheism. From the very beginning till now, he has no faith in Allah. If it is said that Satan had accepted God and had believed in the Creator of the universe and that he only refused to obey His Commandment, then we reply that only to testify that there is a creator of the world of existence is not faith in Allah.

Faith in God means one must accept Allah as the creator, nourisher and upbringer of oneself and of every particle in the universe and also one must believe that he and all the things of the world are due to Allah only, and he should not consider himself and others as existing by themselves. He must also regard only Allah as worthy of worship. Thus he should surrender before only one God and to fear Him and to humble before Him. Only such a person is a believer in Allah.

Thus one who considers himself independent, like lblis, crosses the limits of being His servant and shows his own opinion, rather who considers his own opinion higher than the command of God and thus shows pride against God, has doubtlessly become a denier of God's Godship and Lordship and of His being the only deity worth worship. Such a person will not get a place except in Hell.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ {60}

"...surely those who are too proud for My service shall soon enter Hell abased. "
(Al- Ghafir, 40:60)

Question 9

Q.9: It is said that in Ethereal Sphere (Aalame Zarr)9 the souls chose either righteousness or wretchedness. Now if it was forced, it is injustice and if it was volluntary, and if they possessed intelligence, how did they choose it? But if they had no sense, it would be improper to hold them accountable and to punish them. Please describe the circumstances in Ethereal Sphere (Aalame Zarr).

A: Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) has, in volume 3 of Biharul Anwar , quoted many narrations related to inborn human disposition (Teenat). Aalame Zarr and about taking of the covenant. It can be summarized as follows:

The Almighty created from the loins of His Eminence, Adam, the father of humanity, his progeny so that He may bring them out on Judgment Day in the form of particles as small as tiny ants. So in the beginning also they were like tiny ants. Thereafter the Almighty Allah connected their souls to their bodies. At that time also they possessed perfect wisdom and intelligence. They also had a perfectly free will.

Then, after taking covenant from them about His being only Allah One God and about His messengers and Imams (a.s.) He asked: “Am I not your Lord?" A number of them who were the right-siders, said obediently and enthusiastically: ''Yes of course," and thus they confessed and testified to the truth. The remaining, who were left-siders, hesitatingly and with disinclination said, 'Yes'. Then God took their test by bringing before them a fire. He ordered them to enter it. The former entered and the fire became cool for them. The remaining did not obey and did not enter and this test was taken thrice.

As regards the research and meaning of Teenat, Aalame Zarr and covenant, scholars of religion have three opinions:

The first is the school of traditionists who say that these traditions are ambiguous and to understand them is beyond us and it is enough to have faith in them and we should understand that the Imams (a.s.) know their meanings.

Another school of thought is that of Shaykh Mufeed, Sayyid Murtaza and Tabarsi, author of Majmaul Bayan and other commentators of Quran and their followers. They are of the opinion that traditions about Teenat and verses and narrations relating to covenant taking are figurative, allegoric and metaphoric with reference to the details mentioned in Sharh Kafi and Bihar; especially with regard to Aalame Zar, Shaykh Mufid (r.a.) says:

"The correct report is that the Almighty Allah brought out from the loins of Adam, his progeny like tiny ants and filled up the horizon therewith. Then He divided it into three pans. Some had effulgence (Noor) without darkness (Zulmat) and they were the selected ones who were pure of sins. Some were all darkness without light and they were the infidels who never did obey. Some others had a combination of both. They are those who obey and also disobey, among the believers.

The reason behind bringing out the progeny of Adam in this manner was that the Almighty Allah intended to introduce the numerosity of Adam's progeny to him and also to show His Might and Kingdom; to amaze him by His creation and to make him understand what was to happen after him. As regards the traditional reports containing the Almighty Allah's Words:
“am I not your lord...till the end”, its reply is that they are only solitary traditions and hence not quite reliable. On the contrary he says that they are forged.

Thereafter Shaykh Mufeed referred to the holy verse:

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا ۛ أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَٰذَا غَافِلِينَ

"And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness again.d their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! we bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were heedless of this.” (Al A’raaf, 7: 172)

Shaykh Mufeed said that this divine covenant was taken from the progeny of Adam whereby they admitted that Allah is the Creator of everything and that He is the Lord nourisher of everything and everyone and that He is the Only One God.

This truth, which all of them accepted was not merely a verbal covenant and it did not relate only to the time of Adam, the father of mankind. Rather it is a covenant, which is divinely created and which has remained with every human being along with his creation. In other words, the feeling of finding and knowing God and a capability to and readiness to accept the truth of God 's oneness and uniqueness is present in the soul of everyone right from their creation and this feeling about God 's existence is there in the mind of everyone as a self-understood matter. It is a divinely created instinct.

In this way, all human beings have the spirit of belief in only one God and a natural demand to worship only Him is made in the language of creation. Likewise, the answer to this question has also been in the same language. The summary of this question and answer and the covenant is a natural agreement, the signs of which are found by everyone even today in his or her heart.

So much so that modern psychologists too have found in their latest researches that religious awareness is innate in man which every human being finds in himself automatically. It is the same natural sense that has guided people to God throughout the ages. Every intelligent man who pays attention to his divinely bestowed instinct understands that he is a creation of a Creator and he is nourished by a nourisher and sustainer.

If you put something before a three or four-year-old child, he too, before extending h is hand, looks at the one who has placed that thing before him and as a result of his natural understanding follows that everything is brought by someone. There are many things in the Holy Quran and other texts which deal with questions and answers about man's natural faculties and abilities, which are omitted here due to exigency.

The third school of thought followed by many earlier and later day scholars says that all narrations about Teenat, Aalame Zarr and covenant are correct and their apparent meanings are also correct and there is no inconsistency between them and any logic or religious rules and principles.

If someone says that as a consequent of these narrations, one can say that there is compulsion in religion, because, in Aalame Zarr whatever a man accepted was involuntary, without an alternative, we reply that:

Firstly, whatever everyone confessed in that world was by his or her choice and understanding as said earlier. Rather some have even said that the wisdom of everyone in that world was greater than it is today.

Secondly, the tenor of the reports in this regard is that matters accepted in that world were never forced whereby in this facsimile world, everything must be accepted and acted upon. Rather it is possible that there may be a change as mentioned in a tradition in which Amirul Momineen (a.s.) is reported to have said:

"The Lord of the worlds stipulated change in destiny (Bada) in the left-sided folks."

That is, those who, in that world, willingly revolted and disobeyed became the left-sided folks. If they repent and obey the messengers of God, the Lord changes their destiny and places them among the right-sided folks as such a change is very much possible. That is why it is mentioned in the supplication of the holy month of Ramadan:

"If I am to be thrown into calamities, cancel my encounter with such misfortunes and write my name in the list of those who have been blessed to be fortunate, because You have said in Your Book:

يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ ۖ وَعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ

"Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases, and with Him is the basis of' the Book." (Ar- Ra’ad, 13:39)

As regards the question about their being intelligent and how they preferred to put themselves in a loss? We say that such exclamation is out of place, because it is often seen that many wise and intelligent people, in several matters, knowingly and voluntarily do things which harm them and thereafter repent for their misdeeds. Likewise, the accursed Satan knowingly and intentionally disobeyed God's command and refused to prostrate before Adam (a.s.).

Question 10: Where is the avenger of the martyrs of Kerbala?

Where is the avenger of the martyrs of Kerbala?10

Q.10: Mukhtar punished the killers of Imam Husain (a.s.) and their chastisement in the Hereafter is at the discretion of Allah. Would they become alive during the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and bepunished for a second time?

A: According to the sayings of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), Imam Mahdi (a.s.) would kill those from the progeny of killers of His Eminence, Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (a.s.), who are pleased by the said killing and who pride upon the oppression committed by their forefathers and thus, are participants intentionally, verbally and actively. As regards the killers of the Imam (a.s.), we have not received solid proofs that they will be enlivened and taken revenge from, although it is mentioned in a number of traditions that during the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), the Almighty Allah will enliven many disbelievers so that they may observe the kingdom of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) and that revenge may be taken from them.

It is possible that the killers of Imam Husain (a.s.) may also be among them. As regards the statement that Mukhtar has punished them, firstly, it is not certain that Mukhtar punished all of them. Maybe those who were not killed by Mukhtar may be killed by Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Secondly, we may say that there is no hindrance in the matter of making a dead one alive and then killing him in this world at the hands of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), because, it cannot be called sufficient even if the killers of a prophet or an Imam are killed a thousand times. As for the rule that a murder is punishable only by killing the murderer once it is so only because killing anyone a second time is not practicable in this world and not because he should be killed only once.

Hence there is no doubt that those killed by Mukhtar would again be killed by Imam Mahdi (a.s.) by the command of Allah and it will be perfect justice, but the actual point is that it is not quite certain and agreed upon, as mentioned earlier. For further details, please refer to Tafsir Burhan under the interpretation of the following verse:

وَمَنْ قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا فَلَا يُسْرِفْ فِي الْقَتْلِ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مَنْصُورًا

"...and whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority so let him not exceed the just limits in slaying; surely he is aided.” (Al Isra 17:33)

Question 11

Q.11: Please explain 'change of destiny' (Bada) in a convincing manner.

A: Change of destiny (Bada) in the created world is like the cancellation of decrees in the legal sense. Thus canceJlation of a legal command means withdrawal of the earlier order and establishment of another due to a change in divine strategy.

Likewise, Bada means change made by God in the affairs of His servants through change in strategy like removal of a calamity as a result of supplication or charity extension in lifespan because of good behavior with relatives etc. For example, the calamity which had befallen the community of Prophet Yunus (a.s.) was removed due to its earnest supplications.

According to a narration in Biharul Anwar, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Verily a person behaves nicely with his relatives as a result of which the Almighty Allah makes the remainder of three years in his lifespan into thirty years. It also so happens that a person behaves badly with his relations and as a result, the Almighty Allah turns the remainder of thirty years of his life into only three years. Then he (s.a.w.s.) said:

يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ

"Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases ...” (Ar-Ra’ad, 13:39)

It is also mentioned in Biharul Anwar, Vol. 17, that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: The number of death due to abundance of sins are more than deaths due to the arrival of the appointed day and the number of persons living as a result of good deeds is more than the lives reaching their destined lifespans.11 Making changes in the destiny of man due to his deeds is one of the honors of the Almighty Allah, concerning His Lordship and sovereignty. It also leads people to turn earnestly to Him and to perform good deeds. Therefore, the Holy Imams (a.s.) have accorded much importance to it.

Imam Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that God has not been worshipped through anything like belief in Bada ; that is, they have considered trust in Bada a great belief. It is also said in another narration that God has not considered anything greater than belief in Bada.

It is mentioned in Al-Kafi that Imam Baqir (a.s.) said that God did not appoint any messenger unless and until He took covenant from him on three matters:

1. His worship

2. Belief in His oneness and uniqueness

3. Belief that He advances whatever He wishes and delays whatever He likes.12

It is also mentioned in Al-Kafi that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

"If people knew how much reward is there in the belief in Bada, they would not tire talking about it."13

As regards the reason of naming it as Bada, it denotes manifestation of a thing after its remaining hidden. It does not mean that the Almighty Allah changed the destiny because He was wrong the first time (God forbid!) So whenever He makes a change in affairs of any of His servants, it is said: Bada has occurred; that is, what was hidden has now become manifest.

In other words, God made manifest what was hidden to people because of absence of information about the causes. This is also the aim of Imam Sadiq 's (a.s.) saying:

“Allah has not manifested anything as He manifested in the case of Ismail, (who was son of the Imam)."

This is a hint to another tradition which says: It was decreed for Ismail to be killed twice. Then I requested the Lord to remove the calamity and He removed his assassination."

Question 12

Q.12: Blackness and whiteness, blindness and sight, ugliness and beauty, wisdom and lunacy; these things show lack of justice. The ugly one and the blind is deprived of many bounties of this world and such persons can perform fewer good deeds. Will they be compensated in the Hereafter? Would they be punished if they die as infidels? Should they be losers in both the worlds?

A: Difference in the creation of men, like deformity and beauty, perfection in stature and defects therein as well as all other drawbacks like poverty and wealth, health and illness etc. All these things carry wisdom and strategies behind them. Here we shall mention some of them:

Firstly: Things are known by their opposite. If there is no ugliness, how will one understand beauty? If there is no perfection, defectiveness will never be recognized and so on.

Secondly: Such differences are there so that the overall might of God may be manifested: that He is powerful over everything. In certain cases, this difference is to show God 's kindness or anger.

Thirdly: For some persons, their benefit lies in ugliness or blindness or, for instance, poverty and illness etc. If they really come to know the truth behind everything, they would prefer what Allah has destined for them.

It is narrated that one of the prophets was walking near the banks of a river when he observed some children; among whom was a blind child and other children were harassing him. Sometimes they also forced the blind child's head in water. That prophet was moved and he prayed to the Almighty Allah to bestow sight to that blind boy. His prayer was answered and the blind boy was given sight. But after that he began to drown the other children right away. The prophet exclaimed: "My Lord, You know the best! Please return him to his earlier condition." There are many examples testifying to this truth.

Fourthly: Differences between people are for their test and for manifestation of their righteousness and wickedness, because the afflicted are being tested in the matter of patience and submission to the will of God and thereby they are raised to the status of patient ones and those who are given bounties and abilities are tested in the matter of thankfulness and obedience to God with regard to their behavior with the disabled. It is, therefore, said:

وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ

"...and We have made some of you a trial for others; will you bear patiently?' "
(Al Furqan, 25:20)

As regards compensation of depravities, there is no doubt that such compensation will be made fully and in a nice way. One of the beautiful names of God is Jabbar, meaning: The Compensator. It is an established principle in religious philosophy that Almighty Allah compensates for every trouble, hardship, calamity and deprivation in proportion to the person’s contentment with divine will. But of course, this applies only to things, which are only from Allah, having no interference of anyone else.

It is narrated in Al- Kafi under the chapter of "Distress of the faithful" that lbne Abi Ya'fur once complained to Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the pains, which he was suffering continuously. Imam (a.s.) replied:

··o Abdullah, if a believer comes to know the quantum of reward for a pain and calamity, he would wish to be shredded into pieces. "14

It is mentioned volume 11 of Biharul Anwar that Abu Basir, a visually challenged gentleman, once came to Imam Baqir (a.s.) and asked: "Is it true that you can enliven the dead and cure a leper?" The Imam replied: "Yes, by the command of Allah." Abu Basir asked the Imam to cure his blindness.

Imam (a.s.) said: Come near me. Then he passed his holy hand over Abu Basir's eyes and the latter was able to see. He said: "Now I can see everything."

Imam (a.s.) asked: "Would you like to remain like this (and get worldly benefits) and be Iikc others (bearing pains and hardshi s of Hereafter) or you would wish to return to your earlier condition and enter Paradise without accounting for anything?"

Abu Basir replied: "I prefer blindness," and the Imam returned him to his earlier state.

This tradition shows that in lieu of the trouble of blindness in this world, one will be spared hardships of accounting of life­ long deeds in the Hereafter.

It is also mentioned in many narrations that on Judgment Day, the Most Merciful God will show sympathy to those who suffered in the world and whose prayers were not answered due to some strategy and He would tell them: "'Today, I will give you whatever you ask for." The compensation will be so generous that everyone would wish that none of his wishes had been fulfilled in the world.

As regards the fate of those who were deprived due to general strategy of the world or for some special strategy, and who also died in a state of infideli ty; that can they be called as losers in both the world?

Our reply is: Since deprivation of such persons from divine compensation in the other world is because of their voluntary disbelief, this matter is out of question as a disbeliever has no share in the Hereafter.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا وَلَٰكِنَّ النَّاسَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

"Surely Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves. "
(Surah Yunus, I 0:44)

Question 13

Q.13: Two righteous people live in this world, one for 30 years and another for 60. The first objects to God: Why could I not remain alive longer like my brother in order to worship more and earn more reward...? What is the answer?

A: More or less of deeds is from the viewpoint of either quantity: such as one remains awake for a year engaging oneself in ritual prayer, recitations and also fasts during days and utilizes his wealth to fulfill only his genuine needs and donates the rest to charity; or it is from the viewpoint of quality.

For example, one only offers the obligatory evening and night prayer with full concentration, humility, fear and respect, and then he goes to sleep. Such prayer is of course better than one that does not have these qualities though one may remain engaged in prayer all night. It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:

"Two units of ritual prayer offered with sincerity are better than a whole night of worship."15

Moreover, the deed of one who has more piety is higher in quality; and more likely to be granted a greater reward. There are many examples of this.

After this preface, we can say that it is possible that one who had a lifespan of only thirty years, but he spent his life in worship; he may have got more good sense whereby his deeds might have become better than one who lived for sixty years. Therefore, there is no scope of such a doubt.

Second reply: It is possible that one lives and worships for thirty years and then God makes him die in such conditions that had he lived longer, he would have faced such trials and hardships and changes in life, whereby it would not have been possible for him to perform more good deeds; on the contrary he would have been likely to lose whatever good he had earned and, finally, on Judgment Day he might have realized that his death at that time was a great and special mercy of God on him. Thus there is no scope to ask why he did not get a longer life.

Third reply: It is also possible that one, who was to live more, used his freedom badly and committed evil deeds like cruelty with relatives or false witnessing etc., thereby inviting a cut in his destined age. Likewise, it is also possible that one who got a sixty-year life earned that extension because of good deeds which cause a longer lifespan. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is responded to have said: "Those who die due to sins are more than those who die because of destined death. Likewise those who live because of good deeds are more than those who live due to destined life."16

On Judgment Day, all realities would become evident and then there will be no scope for such questions.

Question 14

Q.14: After being driven out how did Satan enter Paradise and misguide Adam? If he could enter Paradise, he was not accursed and if he entered in the form of a snake or through any other trick, then God did not drive him away.

A: The garden wherein Adam and Hawwa stayed and where Satan misguided Adam was not the everlasting Paradise (Jannat-e- Khuld), which is promised to the obedient servants of God. So it is useless to ask how the devil entered it. Shaykh Kulaini and Shaykh Sadooq have narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the garden in which Adam and Hawwa lived was a garden of this world where sun and moon rose and set. Had it been the Paradise of the Hereafter or had it been the promised Paradise, Adam would not have been driven out of it.

As regards what is said about the arrival of Satan in the form of serpent or in the mouth of a snake, it is incorrect and such rumors are worth less although some have considered them allegorical. For more detail s refer to Tafsir al-Mizan

Question 15

Q.15: ls the present Satan the very first original Satan or he has progeny and descendents? If he has, why God created other satans from the one which was already condemned?

A: Yes, Satan is the same original Satan who is named Iblis and who is to survive till Judgment Day.

قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنْظَرِينَ

إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ

“ He said: So surely you are of the respited ones. Till the period of the time made known.”
(Al Hijr, 15:37-38)

Also he has very many children and progeny as mentioned in the Holy Quran:

أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ

"...would you then take him and his offspring for friends ...” (Al Kahf, 1 8:49)

And He also says:

إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ ۗ

"...he surely sees you, he as well as his host from whence you cannot see them ...”

(Al- A’raaf 7:27)

As for the reason of creation of satans and infidels, it is the goodness of creation and imminent invention. On the contrary to refrain from it is stopping of grace and hence undesirable in every condition. What is ready and worthy of coming into existence, Allah would bring it into existence. But the wicked aspects, which arise from some creations like satans and infidels is due to their wrongful choice and, therefore, the condemnation is related to them and not to their Creator.

In other words He created satans and infidels and gave them freedom of choice and also made them responsible, informing them of the things, which would benefit them, but they disobeyed Him and made themselves deprived of good and became sources of mischieves. Thus, whatever is from Allah is all good and nice and whatever is condemnable is from the creatures themselves.

If it is said: What is the wisdom of accepting this origin and what is the benefit in creation of satans? We may reply: One of the wisdoms behind it, is the coming out of some righteous and faithful persons from their progeny like Haam bin Heern. It is obvious that even if only one true believer is born, it is enough to achieve the aim of creation.

It is mentioned in Al-Kafi that if not more than one single believer person is there on the earth, it is sufficient. One of the wisdoms behind the creation of satans is the huge benefit which the believers get by not paying attention to deceptions and doubts raised by them. First ly: satans are means, through which you can differentiate between a righteous and a corrupt character. It is said:

وَمَا كَانَ لَهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِالْآخِرَةِ مِمَّنْ هُوَ مِنْهَا فِي شَكٍّ

"And he has no authority over them, but that We may distinguish him who. believes in the hereafter from him who is in doubt concerning it..." (As-Saba, 34:21)

Secondly, deceptions of satans cause the believer to earn divine grace and salvation if he opposes them. On the contrary, such a person attains a rank higher than that of angels.

Question 16

Q.16: Kindly explain the difference between the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mahfooz) and the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) and also between destiny (Taqdeer) and free will (Tadbeer). Are supplications and devotions effective in destined matters?

A: Scholars have made deep studies in the matter of the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Ma/ooz) and the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat). One of them, Allamah Tabarsi (a.r.) says in Sharhe Usul Kafi: Verses of Quran and traditions prove that the Almighty Allah has created two tablets and recorded in them whatever takes place.

The first is the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mafooz) wherein there is no change under any circumstances and it is according to the knowledge of the Almighty Allah. Another tablet is the Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) wherein He records one thing and then erases it through many exigencies and strategies which are not concealed from the wise.

For example, He records in it the age of Zaid as 50 years, that is, it is according to strategy that he should live for fifty years, provided he does not do anything which increases or decreases one's lifespan. Then if he behaves nicely with his relatives, Allah erases '50' and writes '60' and if he disregards the rights of his blood relatives '50' is turned to '40'. But in the Protected Tablet (Lauhe Mahfooz) it is mentioned what has to happen. For instance, if Zaid or Hasan behaves nicely with his relatives, which cause increase in lifespan, from the very beginning, what is recorded in lauhe Mahfooz is 60. And he willfully behaves badly with relatives, the figure of 40 is there already fixed in lauhe Mahfooz.

Summarily speaking, there never occurs any change in Lauhe Mahfooz; on the contrary what is going to happen, is from the very beginning recorded in it. Of course, changes are possible in lauhe Mahwo Athhaat question, which is called as modified destiny (Bada) (This was discussed in the related question).

If it is asked what is the use of Tablet of erasing and writing (Lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) if whatever is to happen, is already recorded in Protected Tablet (lauhe Mahfooz)?

We reply: There are many things of wisdom. Allamah Majlisi has written some of them incling the one that there are angels who write the tablets. Those who come to know about that tablet by the Grace of Almighty Allah Lord concerning His servant after the Messengers and Imams know about them, they inform God 's servants about the same saying that your good deeds have such effects and also that their misdeeds also can cause harm to you. Certainly such information make the believers attend good deeds and refrain from bad ones.

Among the deeds which can change the things destined in Tablet of erasing and writing (lauhe Mahwo Athbaat) are charities and supplications. That is why much emphasis is put on these two things in related traditions and verses. Here we suffice with only one tradition of Al- Kaji under the Chapter of supplication wards off calamities and death".

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said:

"Verily supplication erases destiny and breaks it into pieces just as a rope is broken into pieces after it was wound tightly."17

It means that a thing which had been firmly fixed in destiny is erased through supplication, just as in the case of the people of Prophet Yunus (a.s.) a calamity which had came very near to them was deferred due to the earnest prayers and collective supplications offered sincerely by that community.

  • 1. Usul Kafi , Vol. 2 , Pg. 452; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 73, Pg. 387
  • 2. Usul Kafi, Vol.1 pg.160, Tr.13
  • 3. Nahjul Balagha, Subhi Salih, Saying no. 250, Pg. 511
  • 4. Mafatihul Jinan, Post Prayer Recitation of Asr Prayer
  • 5. Further details about the ‘weak’ are given in reply to question 34 which may be referred to
  • 6. Further details about the 'weak ' are given in reply to question 34 which may be referred to.
  • 7. Usul Kafi , Vol. 4, Pg. 93-94
  • 8. Usul Kafi , Vol. 4, Pg. 97
  • 9. Initial stage of creation; in which human beings existed only as spirits. (Aalam=world, Zar=particle)
  • 10. Mafatihul Jinan, Dua Nudbah
  • 11. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 78, Pg 83
  • 12. Al-Kafi, Vol. I , Pg. l 46 [Allah is not worshipped as much as He is worshipped through the beli ef i n Bada ] J n the same source it is mentioned that the Al mighty A llah is not exalted by anything as much as He is exalted through belief in Boda.
    And in Biharul Anwar, Vol. 27, Pg. 286 i t is narrated from Imam Muham mad Baq ir (a.s.) that he said: A11ah did not send any prophet except that he made the people swear to three points: Belief in Allah, in His oneness and belief that He post pones and advances whatever He likes.
  • 13. Al- Kafi. Vol. I, Pg. 148
  • 14. Al-Kafi, Vol. 3, Pg. 354
  • 15. Biharul Anwar. Vol. 84, Pg. 264
  • 16. Biharul Anwar , Vo l. 83, Pg. 354
  • 17. Al- Kafi , Vol. 4, Pg. 2 15