Punishment

Punishment is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a particular action or behaviour that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable. The reasoning may be to condition a child to avoid self-endangerment, to impose social conformity (in particular, in the contexts of compulsory education or military discipline), to defend norms, to protect against future harms (in particular, those from violent crime), and to maintain the law—and respect for rule of law—under which the social group is governed.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 3 days ago

It isn't appropriate to say whether the corona virus is man-made or not without clear evidence.

However, one can also consider a third option - namely, not all acts of God are punishment, even if they involve destruction. We learn from the Qur'an, such as the story of Khidr (A), that sometimes things that seem evil are actually for the greater good. Also, it is good to remember that there have been plagues throughout most of human history, so it isn't something new; it is only because we have become accustomed to modern medicine, and because of globalization, that it seems unusual.

That being said, from a theological angle, the Qur'an and hadith indicate that there are metaphysical laws for societies that go beyond material cause and effect. That is, acts of evil or injustice may bring about a negative consequence for that society even if the material chain of cause and effect is not readily apparent. (This should not be taken to mean that countries with high levels of infection currently are suffering from their own injustices; it is just a general principle.)

Our world is rife with injustice and imbalance, including warfare, sanctions, overconsumption, economic injustice, and environmental destruction. It is reasonable to look at the coronavirus situation in that light (and by "situation" I mean not only the virus but the sociopolitical response), and to consider that, in addition to material factors relating to the spread of the virus (such as airplanes and urbanization), it may be (a) an act of God designed to give us the opportunity to bring out and fix some of those problems, or (b) a natural consequence as part of metaphysical laws of cause and effect.

(Of course, all of these things often work together. In fact, even if it did transpire that it was manmade, things still happen with the permission of God; as the Qur'an says, they plan, and Allah plans, and Allah is the best of planners.)

In any case, regardless of the origins of the virus, our responses to it are manmade (even if we have little control as individuals). This includes positive responses, such as helping others, and negative responses, such as taking advantage of it for political and national gain, or hoarding. 

When individuals get sick, there is no one answer as to why - everyone's circumstances are different. One person can get sick simply as part of the natural chain of cause and effect and the spread of infection. Another can get sick as a divine test, divine trial, or to adjust their lives due to the divine decree (for instance, to stop them from moving to another country). A third person might get sick because it is their time to die, and Allah has hidden death in various causes. So, it is not possible to give one answer for what happens to individuals, although we can often get a sense of what is happening with ourselves through self-reflection. 
 
It is also a good time for prayer. Here is a prayer attributed to Imam Rida (A) in the book Tibb al-A'immah for times of plague:

In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful

There is no strength or might except in Allah, the exalted, the mighty.

Nothing is of benefit without the permission of Allah. I have placed my trust in Allah. Healing can only happen through Allah. Whatever Allah wills happens, and none can dispel evil but Allah. I am sufficed by Allah who created me and therefore guides me, who grants me food and drink, and heals me when I am ill. And we have sent down from the Qur'an healing and mercy for the believers. 

O Allah, grant us well-being, and do not separate between ourselves and well-being, O creator of well-being, O most merciful of the merciful.
 

Sayyed Muhammad Husaini Ragheb, Sayyed Muhammad Husaini Ragheb has a BA in Law from Guilan University, Iran and has also undertaken Hawzah studies in Qom. He is a Cultural Affairs director of Ethics Group of Al-Mustafa Open... Answered 4 days ago

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Sayyed Muhammad Husaini Ragheb, Sayyed Muhammad Husaini Ragheb has a BA in Law from Guilan University, Iran and has also undertaken Hawzah studies in Qom. He is a Cultural Affairs director of Ethics Group of Al-Mustafa Open... Answered 4 days ago

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 3 weeks ago

Every human being who has basic intellectual faculty believes that his
existence in this life is the most valuable. That is why you find
that everyone including small children try to avoid any danger on
life and they do whatever they can to save this life. Those who have
mental or psychological problems feel sometimes that they wish they
were not born. This feeling goes against the basic instinctive
knowledge of all human beings and cannot be taken as normal feeling
but it needs to be dealt with as a mental and psychological problem.
Hence it needs to be treated through specialist health experts and
other ways of treatment. No doubt the best treatment for mental and
psychological conditions is remembering Allah (SWT). Remembering Allah
(SWT) is the source of peace of mind and tranquility.

Even those whose claim that they wish that they were not born are not
sure about their feelings and that is why you find them if they face
any danger then they try to avoid it and save their lives. So their
feeling itself is not firm.

Islam teaches us to appreciate the bounties which we have been granted
and one of the greatest bounties is that Allah (SWT), the Most
Merciful, the Most Compassionate has granted us life after we were not
existing as Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an : Has there not been
one moment in time when he was not existing (Surah al-Insan : verse
1).

Such people need to be looked after with more sympathy and should be
morally and medically supported. They should be advised to remember
the source of peace of mind and keep on remembering Allah (SWT). That
will make them feel the taste of life and enjoy it and thank the
Creator Allah (SWT)

Wassalam.

Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 3 weeks ago

It sounds like this person is going through a tough time.

Life has easy and difficult times, sometimes very difficult times. It is good to have faith that there is light at the end of the tunnel and to contemplate on the verses of the Qur'an about Allah's mercy. Nothing stays the same forever and things often change in ways we could never imagine. Until then, however, it is sometimes necessary to walk in the darkness until reaching the light. The good thing about darkness, however, is sometimes it makes the light clearer. 

Existence is not a choice, since a person who dies continues to exist. However, it is good to have faith that Allah has a plan and does not create anything in vain; just because we do not understand why we, individually, were created does not mean that we do not have our own specific reason for being.

Some might argue that Qur'an 7:172 which speaks of human beings testifying to the existence and lordship of Allah (in the realm of pre-existence, or in some other way) implies that we gave a sort of agreement to existing, even if we do not remember it now. Some might also argue that Qur'an 33:72 implies a sort of willingness to exist and accept the risks/consequences of free will, even if we currently do not want it - God knows best. 

If this person is also dealing with depression or a psychological condition (either as a condition by itself or as a response to challenging circumstances), they could also look into psychological/psychiatric interventions and see if they are useful and appropriate at the moment to help get more zest for life. 

If it is more of a spiritual or existential crisis (and all of the above can go hand in hand), more study and reflection of the Qur'an and theology and the big questions of life may help. In the end, while Muslims, like others, offer answers to questions such as "why do we exist?", it is one of those big questions that people have pondered for millenia, and although religions can provide answers, I think it is also something people often need to find answers for inside themselves. 

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 3 weeks ago

Bismillah 

Thank you for your question. It is God who decides who exists and that is not the choice of an individual. What is in their choice is what they do with the life they are given, and not wanting life, reward or punishment is not something that absolves them from that responsibility.

May you always be successful 

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 1 month ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. There are a number of responses to this question as the question is usually raised with a number of presuppositions. The Justice of God is not measured by the benchmark mentioned in the question as what it means for God to be Just is that He accords everything and everyone their rightful place. Justice is not an issue of time in punishment, as otherwise it may be asked that why should someone, who in a short moment in their life did something awful, like killing a child, for example, face a lifetime in prison.

As such, one responses is that the time in which humans are tested within a corpreal plane is enough for them to make a decision about their actions. There are only certain people that will face everlasting punishment and they are the type of people that are not repentant for their wrongful actions and as such would continue performing them into perpetuity. They are therefore deserving of everlasting punishment as given the opportunity they would oppress in such a manner too. Everlasting punishment is, therefore, the correct place for them. 

May you always be successful

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First of all, we need to agree on the standards which rule our life and existence.

1. If you believe in Allah (SWT) then you should never think about killing or harming yourself no matter how much difficulties you feel that you have. You need to  listen to Allah (SWT) and see that He is The Most Merciful. No problem can be bigger than His Mercy. His Mercy has included every thing. In Quran, Allah says (And My Mercy has included every thing) (7:156).

If you do not believe in Allah (SWT), God Forbid, you can not deny believing in Reason and intellect. You should never think about killing or harming yourself because because it goes against reason and intellect.

The way out of suicidal thoughts is to remember Allah (SWT) and His countless bounties if you are believer in Allah (SWT) or to remember your intellect and reason to see that suicidal thoughts are completely wrong and will never bring any relief of termination to your problems.

We are not allowed to kill or harm an animal, so, how can you think about killing or harming yourself?

Keep on repeating (YA ARHAM ARRAHIMEEN) (O THE MOST MERCIFUL).

Wassalam.

Bismillah

Thank you for your question and for reaching out. From what the scholars have understood,  a person doesn't have the right to decide whether to continue living or not no matter how extreme the difficulty. For a Muslim there is only one way out of depression and that is to keep searching for a solution until something works. I know it may seem like the only solution is to end it and sometimes it may seem like an attractive option, but the guidance that all Islamic scholars will give to not take that way. In the modern world depression is more and more common, but at the same time there is a growing community of people that have found their way out of bleak depression, and others that have a relationship with depression, sometimes being ok and sometimes falling back into it. Seek out help from these communities and people who are going through the same kinds of things you are, and with Allah's help, maybe you will start to see things differently.

May you always be successful 

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 1 month ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. There is no level

of certainty in which anyone can judge God's mind, but God doesn't punish believers unless that is better for them to face something hard in this world rather than the next. In that sense it is better to treat the issue as a trial when the factors effecting your situation are not in your hands, because when facing something difficult with the mindset of it being a trial, the important thing is to concentrate on your response. And that response is putting your hope in God, being patient and trying to reconcile and strengthen your faith. God only puts a believer in the best situation for them, and while it may not be easy or possible to see that in the moment, the wisdom of Gods actions will reveal themselves in time. If the situation is a result of your own actions, it still holds true that what you should focus on is your response to the situation at hand, as it is through the cultivation of these traits that life will inevitably improve. Difficulties affect people in two ways broadly speaking. Some are crushed by them and can never quite recover. Others are forced to dig deep and emerge stronger.

May Allah grant you every success in this world and the next.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 1 month ago

Allah (SWT) has created us not to get from us any benefit for Him but
only to shower upon us His unlimited bounties and to grant us from His
Grace and Mercy. Life is one of the biggest bounties from Allah (SWT)
on us. In the Holy Qur’an Allah (SWT) says : “Those on whom your Lord
has bestowed His Mercy and for that He created them” (Surah 11 : verse
19).

Allah (SWT) has given every human being the ability to do good with His
help or to do bad if he wants to. Allah (SWT) did not want to punish
any human being but those who insist on doing wrong and harming others
and denying the main facts of life must be distinguished from the good
people. That’s why punishment is the realistic result of insisting on
doing wrong. Without punishment on insisting the wrong-doers it will
be an injustice on the victims on one side,  and the people who do good on another side.

Wasaalaam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 2 months ago

Financial security is one of the most important concerns of human beings every where and every time. Theft is a real danger which endangers human beings wealth and property. Human societies over the history till now, tried many ways to tackle and counter theft and robbery but no real success was achieved. Till today millions of innocent people suffer from those who steal their money in different ways. Those who steal do that because they do not fear real punishment, hence they steal whenever they find a chance.

Islam deals with this burning issue with inner treatment as well as outer action.

1. Inner treatment: is to warn that theft is a major sin and it leads the thief to hellfire. This will make good Muslims away from this sinful act.

2. Outer action: Those who do not care for religious teaching and insist on committing theft, must be punished in public to show them and others the miserable results of this crime and to protect people from similar crimes. 

Cutting the hand of the thief has conditions which insure that he deserves this type of punishment for the security of the people and society. Thief who was instigated by hunger is excluded from such punishment.

Cutting the hand of the thief (with all the conditions) does not mean cutting more than the fingers of one hand only. He will still be able to work and earn in lawful way.

Allah , The Most Merciful, Has ordained this punishment on the dangerous thief to provide the people financial security. It is a fact hat no other punishment could work all over the history to stop theft crime like this punishment. Where ever this punishment was applied in proper way with all its conditions, people enjoyed security on their wealth and property. Theft crime rates dropped to near zero in Muslim societies after proper implementation of the rules of Allah (SWT) which provide peace and justice to all and prevent evil doers to violate he rights of others.

Allah (SWT) says in Sura Al-Baqara, Verse 179 : AND THERE IS REAL LIFE FOR YOU IN APPLYING THE PROPER PUNISHMENT, O PEOPLE OF INTELLECT, SO  THAT YOU BECOME PIOUS).

After all, we believe that the Mercy and Wisdom of Allah is the best in all situations and for all human beings. Punishing one thief who deserves punishment is the real justice because it provides security to millions and saves their basic rights on their wealth and property.

Those millions of victims who suffer from theft, they suffer because of the failure of the non Muslim legal system to stop or counter the crime, and they  pay for that failure of the system to  protect them. Quran is very clear that proper life will be achieved by applying proper punishment, which means that with out applying the proper punishments, there will be no real life of security, peace and justice. 

Wassalam.