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Compassion, Justice and Beyond

A pious young Muslim man had this habit of visiting the cemetery often, specially when he felt restless in his being. The solitude and quietness of the place always succeeded in soothing his soul. One day when he went to visit the muslim cemetery at a very early part of the morning, suddenly he saw a very old man walking holding hand to his grandson.

The old man was saying something and at the same time crying. The young man got curious and in order to pay more attention he approached towards the old man quietly. The old man was so absorbed in his special state that he didn't notice the new presence and continued with his walk and supplication.

He was making a supplication to the Almighty which was quite unique. This is a paraphrase of that spontaneous supplication of the heart:

Allah! At this moment if I were granted a power which will enable me to do any action without the need to give answer towards anyone, then I will forgive all the dwellers of this cemetery.

O Allah, You are the Most Powerful and Owner of all Authority. You have Power over all things and You carry out in an instant anything that You Will. Being an insignificant servant of yours, out of compassion for the helpless dwellers of this cemetery, if such mercy flow from me to forgive them all here, then You are their Creator, and You love them infinitely many times over than how a mother loves their child; then why wouldn't You forgive them?

O Allah, all the people of this cemetery and in future all who will arrive here, if You by Your Own Right forgive them, then You have no one else to answer to, for You are Independent of all. O Allah please forgive them all, absolve them of their wrong doings.

The old man couldn't finish the last sentence and he began to weep again. The pious young man felt blessed to join silently in saying ameen to this supplication of the heart that flew from this man with so much compassion and mercy.

The supplication of the old man at the cemetery reminds a similar beautiful prayer  that Jesus Christ used to supplicate to the Almighty and have been preserved in the Final Testament as:

You (O Lord) are a Witness to all things. If You punish them (the sinners), they are Your servants, and if you forgive them, You, only You are the All-Mighty the All-Wise.'  - The Qur'an 5.117-118

Now while this young man shared his experience somewhere, inspiration came suddenly to one of us. In that inspiration someone was given a taste of wisdom which is beyond human comprehension about Divine compassion and justice.

In that inspiration it was shown that a girl was raped and both the raped girl and her rapist was lying in that cemetery. The rapist got away from any legal consequence of his devilish action in his allotted earthly time. Now if Allah, God the Almighty forgave all in the cemetery, which He surely can in His Divine Authority and His Mercy preceedes His Wrath by His Choice, yet if that were the case, the rape victim (or any one who have incurred injustice) would be denied justice and God is never unjust towards any in the creation.

Thus the inspiration shed light on Divine Justice which often remain an enigma for the average human mind. Yer Divine Mercy precedes Divine Wrath, and not to forget all contradictions and paradox dissolves in the Divine Being Who is both Compassionate and Just.

Many ask this question "How come if God is loving, yet He punishes for sin?" If you focus on the keyword 'sin' here, we will be missing the totality of reality here. The keyword here should be 'injustice' which is committed upon a victim, crime being committed by a criminal and unless that victim forgives in this very world, its upon the Just One (al-Adl) to carry out the justice and Allah never fails His promise.

Often we make the mistake that a loving God must forgive everyone, while we don't realize that towards whom great injustice is made, forgiving all in this case means denying justice to the victim. And God is not unjust. His infinite wisdom is beyond our limited mode of comprehension.

There are certain scenario of the afterlife mentioned in the Qur'an were something remarkable is mentioned in terms of justice being carried out against the wrong doers, oppressors, those who mislead people from the path of truth and righteousness.

When a group of criminal people are brought into the Fire (which is the total withdrawal of Divine Mercy and Compassion, Fire is the Opposite Manifestation of Divine Presence of Love) for punishment and their leaders are brought as well, the criminals who ended up here because of the corrupt leaders, those who set up the system for all to fall into the trap of the Satan, will demand that double punishment be given to the leaders who misled them in the first place.

[The inhabitants of Fire will say], "This is a company bursting in with you. No welcome for them. Indeed, they will burn in the Fire.”

(The followers of the misleaders will say): "Nay, you (too)! No welcome for you! It is you (misleaders) who brought this upon us (because you misled us in the world), so evil is this place to stay in!"

They will say: "Our Lord! Whoever brought this upon us, add to him a double torment in the Fire!" (Surah Sad)

And further:

Who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Communication (Ayat/ proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations)? For such their appointed portion (good things of this worldly life and their period of stay therein) will reach them from the Book (of Decrees) until, when Our Messengers (the angel of death) come to them to take their souls, they (the angels) will say: "Where are those whom you used to invoke and worship as Lord besides the One God" they will reply, "They have vanished and deserted us." And they will bear witness against themselves, that they were coverer of truth.

(Allah) will say: "Enter you in the company of nations who passed away before you, of men and others, into the Fire." Every time a new nation enters, it curses its sister nation (that went before), until they will be gathered all together in the Fire. The last of them will say to the first of them: "Our Lord! These misled us, so give them a double torment of the Fire." He will say: "For each one there is double (torment), but you know not."

The first of them will say to the last of them: "You were not better than us, so taste the torment for what you used to earn."

Indeed, those who deny Our verses and are arrogant toward them - the gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Paradise until a camel enters into the eye of a needle. And thus do We recompense the criminals.

They will have from Hell a bed and over them coverings [of fire]. And thus do We recompense the wrongdoers / reward the unjust. (Surat Al-'A`rāf)

So from the vantage point of Divine action, just recompense to wrongdoers and criminals doesn't contradict His forgiveness, mercy and compassion because the very act of carrying out an act of recompense is also out of compassion for the victim of criminal act.

One of the Divine attribute is one Who is Severe in Retribution. Yet just as Divine Mercy has precedence over Retribution or Wrath, similarly God remind us that if someone against whom injustice is committed and he or she forgive the criminal, there is even reward with Allah. Divine Justice recommend that injury or injustice must be met only equally, but forgiveness is a higher station than that. Both Mercy and Justice is the subject matter here and much wisdom is to learn from.

And recompense for an injury /injustice is an equal thereto (in degree): but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation - his reward is [due] from Allah . Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers / unjust / criminals. (42:40)

The reality map is good and evil, the creational contrast of right and wrong is summed up in the following Sign of the Quran:

O children of Adam! if there come to you messengers from among you relating to you My communications, then whoever shall guard (against evil) and reform -- they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. (The Quran 7:35)

Allah / God created good and evil in creation, because this is a world of contrast. Without the lack of goodness (which is called evil), the existence of good become meaningless. Without the lack of light (which is called darkness), the existence of light is not communicated. Thus the Creator made everything in pair (of contrast) and opened up the possibility of accepting right and rejecting wrong, accepting good and rejecting evil, walking towards light and turning away from darkness (and vice versa). That is achieved due to our freewill, something which is bestowed upon human beings not, not to angels.

And those who have understanding - understands that this is the reality map  (the nature of creation) and guarding against one aspect (darkness) and continuously rising towards the other (light) is what being human is all about which helps one recognize God (attain ma'rifa) and finally takes one to the place where one is promised the Bliss of God (Garden / Paradise), the Supreme Achievement of what is made known to us so far. What creational unfolding awaits us beyond that, that is only known to the Lord of all worlds and kingdoms.

// Sadiq M. Alam
   Dhaka, Bangladesh



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Technology of the Heart: Compassion, Justice and Beyond
Compassion, Justice and Beyond
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Technology of the Heart
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