Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Trial & Retribution

Question: Allow me please one more question: how is it balanced with the Day of the Divine Final Sentencing that people die now and some go to Heaven and some to Hell? (I am referring to the "72 virgins" vs. the "fire-created" Satan-helpers torture in Hell).

Answer: I am not too clear on what exactly is the question, but let me share my understanding of trial and retribution, and please feel free to ask again if this does not meet your query. 

This life on Earth is a trial for each human, we each have a unique set of questions, situations, backgrounds, aptitudes, etc, and we all have a potential for good and evil, as well as the free-will to choose and intend. The trial ends with death. Everything that we think, do, believe, wish, hope, desire, imagine, etc., is all being continuously recorded. God is ever-present and witness to everything (including the trials set forth for each one), and never forgets. Further, God has arranged for it all to be recorded, and there are angels recording everything, which will be presented as a scroll, so completely detailed that we ourselves will be able to evaluate ourselves and know whether we belong in Heaven or Hell. 
The operating principle about Divine Judgement is that nobody will be wronged in the least. I think that includes God, since ascribing partners to God is stated as the greatest and most unforgivable wrong. 
Hell is something over which all will have to pass (Quran 19:70, 71). It is imagined as a bridge which each one must cross to make it to Heaven. There are many suggested prayers in the Quran to ask for protection from the fire. However, Heaven is only mentioned as a reward and final destination for those whom God blesses with His Approval. Those who are blessed by God, will be able to pass over the bridge upon Hell, and reach Heaven. Those who have earned Hell will fall therein. Those whose scales are neither titled in favour of Heaven or Hell will be assigned either Heaven or Hell in God's infinite wisdom and knowledge, the operating principle again being that none will be wronged in the least.    
According to a scholar, there are three categories upon death: (1) the large general category who will remain in a state of sleep till resurrection and will then face their deeds. (2) the few who have lived their lives so well that they have earned God's approval and are greeted by angels with the good news of Heaven, and continue to live (in another world veiled from us, not reincarnation here) or dream in a state of bliss till resurrection (3) the few who have earned and incurred divine wrath and will endure torture and suffering from the moment they die till the day of resurrection when they will finally enter Hell 
I do not find the count of 72 virgins in the Quran. Yes, other books do refer to such things and attribute such sayings as explanations from the Prophet. If I may borrow your phrase: 'I dunno' :) What I do know is that the Quran says so many things and gives so many analogies and similitudes of Paradise. It speaks of a magnificent realm, gardens with subterranean rivers, moderate weather and shades, plentiful and delicious fruits and meats, milk and honey, and non-intoxicating drinks in crystalline silver goblets, fine clothing of silk and gold, family, pairs or spouses (soul-mates?), fulfilment of all desires, such peace and serenity that no one would ever desire any change of state, ... and it also mentions 'hurs' or virgins with beautiful eyes, but as I've mentioned in an earlier exchange, the word itself is neuter gender, so again, I dunno. Another thing that is mentioned in the Quran, and which makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the widely differing trials and lifestyles of the haves and have-nots in this world, is that good things in the life of this world are actually for the good people to expect and know what awaits them in a better, more excellent, perfected form in Heaven, and deprivation and suffering is also a preview of a much more intense form of what will be given as punishment in Hell. However, please note that what we enjoy or endure in this life is neither reward nor punishment, it's just our question paper, and the easier it seems, the more sternly will it be judged. We will be questioned about all the good that we are given, including all comforts, conveniences and abilities, and will have to account for how we used them.   
Does the above address your question? 

No comments: