23. What Ash-Shaykh Abu Ja‘far has mentioned about Divine Justice
Abu Ja‘far says: "The chapter concerning Divine Justice . . ."Abu ‘Abdillah ash-Shaykh al-Mufid adds: "Justice is the recompense of an action as it deserves, and injustice is the prevention of what is due." Allah, the Most High, is the Generous, the Ever-giving, the All-gracious, the Compas- sionate, Who assures the reward for acts and fair indemnity for undeserved sufferings. Moreover, He has promised to bestow His grace in abundance and says:
For those who do good the reward is most fair and abundant [10:26].
Thus, He states that the righteous will be requited with the reward they deserve and with His bounty.
And He says:
He to whom a good deed is accredited shall be recompensed ten-fold; which states that he would be endowed with ten-fold of what he deserves, and – He to whom an evil-deed is accredited shall only be recompensed as it deserves and they shall not be wronged [6:160] –
which implies that he shall only be recompensed with the minimum of what he justly deserves. Also, He assures men of His pardon and promises to them His forgiveness, and He, the Exalted, says:
Thy Lord is forgiving to men, for all their evil-doing [13:6].
And He, the Exalted, says:
Surely, Allah will not forgive that a partner should be ascribed to Him; less than that He forgives to whomsoever He will [4:48].
And He, the Exalted says:
In the bounty of Allah and His mercy, in that let them rejoice [10:58].
Yet, what right the servant might possess is that to which Allah, the Sublime, has entitled him and is what is dictated by His generosity and bounteousness. Since, if He requited him in accordance with justice, he could never lay claim by right to all that with which Allah has endowed him. Since, also, Allah first showed His creation His favours, thereby obliging them to show their gratitude to Him, yet no one of His creatures is able to make an adequate return for the favours which He has showered upon him through his good acts, nor can anyone give thanks to Him without falling short of the gratitude worthy of the favour.
Moreover, the People of the Qiblah (i.e., the Muslim community as a whole) unanimously agreed to stigmatize as an evil-doer him who claims that he has fulfilled all the obligations Allah has imposed upon him, and that he has given good measure in return for the favours with which Allah has endowed him. Also, they agreed unanimously that, however, thankful they were to Allah, they fell short of a worthy gratitude; and that even if their terms should be prolonged to the end of time, they would never fulfil their debts perfectly to Allah, the Exalted.
Thus, the foregoing argument indicates that what He entitled them to claim as a deserved right is so, only because of His generosity, bounty and graciousness. In fact, rationally, there is a different between a thankful worker and one who does not work, and since the precedence and superiority of the worker are recognized over the idle man, then it must rationally be inferred that his praise is, in fact, considered due to him, and it must further be inferred that he is privileged above the idle man, for it would be only just that Allah should requite him with what is his due according to reason. Above all, Allah, the Almighty, commands justice and forbids wrong, and says: Surely,
Allah commands justice and the doing of good [16:90].