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... Answered 1 week ago

This is a good question, and one that has received a lot of attention in the contemporary era.

Classically, many Muslims held that death is generally the punishment for apostasy (with some exceptions and conditions). Some Muslims today see this more in line with a modern treason law. That is, today, while killing someone for apostasy is considered a violation of human rights, killing someone for treason against their own nation is considered acceptable. This is because, in the past, religion was a primary marker of public identity and deliniation of the state; whereas, in the modern world, religion is considered a private matter and a matter of personal belief, and national identity is considered primary. 

Also, this law is based on hadith. Some people have challenged the authenticity of hadith that say this, because it seems to go against the Qur'anic view that there should be no compulsion in religion; it also seems unusually harsh, since the Prophet had a merciful and lenient character. Other people hold that it may have been appropriate in the time of the Prophet (where leaving the Muslim community would generally mean militarily aiding the enemy) but it is no longer valid today.

So, basically, one can say that, yes, this is a classical view; but it is still a subject of much discussion.

Also, note that even if the classical law is correct, it is not acceptable for a person to go around killing people because he or she thinks they are apostates. 

There are a number of pieces on this on al-Islam.org, which you can read by going to Google and typing "apostasy al-islam.org". 
 

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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. The issue of punishment can be understood in a number of ways. According to one understanding, which is perhaps the most prevalent, God would punish a person for not believing as that is the consequence of their bad use of free will. He has endowed humans with the ability to know Him, and has given them the bounties of this life, but with a responsibility to choose the correct way. As such misusing those bounties and choosing the wrong way results in punishment.

Another way to visualize punishment is to understand that God doesn't punish humans for their actions, but rather the real manifestation of the actions of a human in the next world is in line with the reality of that action. Bad actions manifest as punishment and good actions manifest as reward. With this view, God warns us of our own punishment of ourselves through the witnessing of the reality of our bad actions in the next world and that is truly what we have earnt.

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... Answer updated 1 month ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. Masturbating is a sin related to animalistic desires and so its punishment in the hereafter would be linked to that, as all sins have consequences and punishments that are suitable for them. Masturbation is a sin punishable in this world as well, and it is narrated that Imam Ali (as) punished a man for it by hitting his hand until it became red, and then got him married, paying for the marriage out of the treasury.

As for stopping, masturbation is a habit and like any other habit, stopping is a process, which requires determination and persistence. As a starting point a person should get rid of all aids, such as photos, movies, being on the wrong social media groups etc.
 

It is helpful if they can get married, or if not that they take up fasting on a regular basis. There are communities of people who are giving up frapping (another word for masturbation) so seeking support from such groups may be helpful for some. The most important thing is not to get discouraged if you slip, but to make sure that slips are as irregular as possible and to know that masturbation has a number of negative consequences, especially for a person's sex life later on. With determination many people have found their way out of frapping with a positive result on their lives and spirituality. 

May you always be successful.

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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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 months 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