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Dr. Mansour, Would you accept that someone would flog your Offspring?

Dr. Mansour, Would you accept that someone would flog your Offspring?

 Published in Arabic in August, 15, 2016

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 Under this title above, we have received this email message:

(… I have recently read your article titled "Repentance and Marrying One's Girlfriend", and I will quote an excerpt from it below:

He said: You conclude then that the only punishment for male and female fornicators is to be flogged 100 lashes?

I said: That is not all; the other punishment for fornicators is not to marry, as per 24:3.

He said: But does this make sinners despair of acceptance of their repentance by God? Such loss of hope of getting married might be regarded as encouragement of more fornication, right?!

I said: On the contrary, this legislation encourages repentance and urges sinners to begin a chaste life, and it prevents the application of flogging as a punishment.

He said: How is that?!

I said: All punishments mentioned in the Quran are not applied once sinners declare their repentance in public. We read the following about the crimes of fornication and slandering others with sexual infidelity: "Except for those who repent afterwards, and reform; for God is Forgiving and Merciful." (24:5), accordingly, those fornicators who declare their repentance and their intention to reform themselves are not to be flogged and are not to be prevented from getting married.

He said: Why has God ordered in the first place that male and female fornicators are to be flogged 100 lashes?

I said: This is referring to fornicators who never repents and continue to commit this sin of adultery (fornication or illicit sex), and those who do not repent deserve this punishment.

He said: Is there a punishment in the Quran for those forced to being raped?

I said: Of course not.

He said: Does this apply to both women and men?

I said: Certainly; a woman can force a man to have sex with her, and therefore, such a man cannot be punished for fornication; the opposite happens more frequently: when a man rapes a woman, and such victim is not to be punished for fornication of course. Punishment is linked directly to intentional sinning, whether such punishment is exacted in this life of in the Hereafter: "…There is no blame on you if you err therein, barring what your hearts premeditates. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (33:5). "…Do not compel your girls to prostitution, seeking the materials of this life, if they desire to remain chaste. Should anyone compel them-after their compulsion, God is Forgiving and Merciful." (24:33).

He said: Do punishments get annulled or revoked concerning other crimes or sins apart from fornication?

I said: Certainly.

He said: Give me examples, if you please.

I said: The worst type of punishments mentioned in the Quran is for highwaymen and their likes, but it cannot be applied in cases when such sinners/criminals repent: "The punishment for those who fight God and His Messenger, and strive to spread corruption on earth, is that they be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be banished from the land. That is to disgrace them in this life; and in the Hereafter they will have a terrible punishment. Except for those who repent before you apprehend them. So know that God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:33-34).

He said: What is the point behind all this?!

I said: Punishments in Islam, mentioned in the Quran alone, do not aim at retribution or revenge; rather, they aim for reform in this life before the advent of the Last Day, so that sinners would avoid eternal suffering in Hell by repentance in this world before they die. Thus, such punishments aim to encourage repentance and to start a pious life, and we discern this from the following verse: "O you who believe! Be conscious of God, and seek the means of approach to Him, and strive in His cause, so that you may succeed." (5:35). That is why the very next verses remind readers of eternal suffering in Hell whose dwellers will never get out of it: "As for those who disbelieve, even if they owned everything on earth, and the like of it with it, and they offered it to ransom themselves from the torment of the Day of Resurrection, it will not be accepted from them. For them is a painful punishment. They will want to leave the Fire, but they will not leave it. For them is a lasting punishment." (5:36-37). Within the same context, we see corporeal punishment for thieves by having their hands cut off, unless sinners/thieves repent and declare their being reformed: "As for the thief, whether male or female, cut their hands as a penalty for what they have reaped-a deterrent from God. God is Mighty and Wise. But whoever repents after his crime, and reforms, God will accept his repentance. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:38-39).

 What I find hard to accept is as follows: why God gives to human beings the right to flog another human being who had sex with another human being?! How come that the Great Creator of the universe commands our minds – that discover the universe and its miracles – to accept flogging of another human being?! Why should that be?! You, Dr. Mansour, have asserted in the previous article that such punishment is not for revenge or retribution but for the sake of reform. Yet, what self-reform is to be expected when someone is flogged though he/she harmed no one, and who would be the executioner to perform such flogging? Would this executioner be deemed as the hand of God on earth?! I will pose my question in a different manner: How God, the Creator of human beings who knows their souls, strengths, weaknesses, and desires, would impose corporeal punishments exacted by other human beings who might have their own sins as well, and should not have the right to punish those who did not harm anyone? Of course, I do understand that murderers, killers, thieves, terrorists, etc. must be punished; otherwise, one is supporting terror crimes and massacres. But what about the innocent persons who fornicate, and even many of them do not believe in God's existence, and yet ISIS terrorists kill them? … Please, Dr. Mansour, I need a definite answer; you always write that Muslims are peaceful ones who live in peace and seek reform on earth, never harming anyone, but would not flogging be a savage act that incite harming others in an evil manner? Could you explain this to me? …)

 

This is our reply below.

Firstly:  

1- God has created this universe in order to test all human beings: "It is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days-and His Throne was upon the waters-in order to test you-which of you is best in conduct…" (11:7). God has created life and death within the frame of this test: "He who created death and life-to test you-as to which of you is better in conduct. He is the Almighty, the Forgiving." (67:2). Thus, each human soul has its test in this life, once it is born in flesh as a person and live for a certain period decided for it beforehand by God, and then this person will die, and the soul will return to its original place, called Barsakh in the Quran, while carrying its good and bad deeds. When the life tests ends for all human beings, the universe will be destroyed; the Last Day will come and people will meet with God: "On the Day when the earth is changed into another earth, and the heavens, and they will emerge before God, the One, the Irresistible." (14:48).

2- We know this very well about events of the Last Day: "No – when the earth is leveled, pounded, and crushed. And your Lord comes, with angels, row after row. And on that Day, Hell is brought forward. On that Day, man will remember, but how will remembrance avail him? He will say, "If only I had forwarded for my life."" (89:21-24). Thus, the first day is the short one of the transient world, and it will be replaced with the Last Day for eternity, as people after Judgment will live forever, some in Hell and some in Paradise: "And the earth will shine with the Light of its Lord; and the Book will be put in place; and the prophets and the witnesses will be brought in; and Judgment will be passed among them equitably, and they will not be wronged. And every soul will be fully compensated for what it had done. He is well aware of what they do." (39:69-70). Everyone will be judged individually: "There is none in the heavens and the earth but will come to the Most Merciful as a servant. He has enumerated them, and counted them one by one.And each one of them will come to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone." (19:93-95). No one could possibly evade being judged: "And they will not be absent from it." (82:16). After being judged, eternity is for all people, some in Hell and some in Paradise: "Those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, "Did not messengers from among you come to you, reciting to you the revelations of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say, "Yes, but the verdict of punishment is justified against the disbelievers." It will be said, "Enter the gates of Hell, to abide therein eternally." How wretched is the destination of the arrogant. And those who feared their Lord will be led to Paradise in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, "Peace be upon you, you have been good, so enter it, to abide therein eternally."" (39:71-73).

3- In this transient-life test, God has given us guidance in His sharia in the Quran, and we read in it that human beings are free to believe or disbelieve and to obey or disobey, with different results in the Hereafter for eternity: "And say, "The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wills-let him believe. And whoever wills-let him disbelieve". We have prepared for the unjust a Fire, whose curtains will hem them in. And when they cry for relief, they will be relieved with water like molten brass, which scalds the faces. What a miserable drink, and what a terrible place. As for those who believe and lead a righteous life-We will not waste the reward of those who work righteousness. These will have the Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow. Reclining on comfortable furnishings, they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and will wear green garments of silk and brocade. What a wonderful reward, and what an excellent resting-place." (18:29-31).

4- In the sharia of the Dominant, Almighty God, corporeal punishments are not for the sake of revenge but for the sake of repentance, self-reform, and purifying oneself from sin. We are always to remember that declared overt repentance prevents punishments from being applied; whereas real, faithful, accepted repentance in one's heart is the one that ensures one's escape from entering Hell for eternity. All physical and mental pains in this transient world to be afflicted on someone all their life is nothing compared to a second in Eternal Hell, whose dwellers will never get out of it and their torment will never cease or get alleviated, lessened, postponed, or changed. Likewise, if all pleasures of this transient world in all eras and locations would be confiscated by one person all their life, this is nothing in comparison to a second of sheer bliss in Eternal Paradise.

 

Secondly:

The problems of disobedient sinners are as follows.

1- Sinners never contemplate reasons of creating the universe, especially related to testing human beings. In contrast, obedient believers must contemplate this all the time, as we read in the following verse: " Those who remember God while standing, and sitting, and on their sides; and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You did not create this in vain, glory to You, so protect us from the punishment of the Eternal Fire."" (3:191). Ordinary people feel awed when they read and watch programs about Earth, nature, oceans, outer space, etc., especially when they know that this universe consists of two blocs moving in opposite directions within a curved orbit, and when both blocs will meet at one point, the universe will explode and be destroyed, and the Last Day will come. And such two blocs of the universe are referred to in the Quran by the phrase ''the heavens and the earth, and what is between them'' to be contemplated: "Do they not reflect within themselves? God did not create the heavens and the earth, and what is between them, except with reason, and for a specific duration. But most people, regarding meeting their Lord, are disbelievers." (30:8) "God is He who created the heavens and the earth and everything between them…" (32:4). The seven levels of earth and seven heavens overlap, and within such feelings of awe, most people forget the Creator of all these wonders in the universe and forget that all human beings are born in this world to be tested; only real believers know this and use their reason to make sure they do good deeds and acts of worship to prepare for the eternal life and for the Last Day; they want to avoid being among those in Hell to whom God will say: "Did you think that We created you in vain, and that to Us you will not be returned?"" (23:115).

2- Sinners do not esteem God and in the Day of Resurrection, they will be utterly surprised by His realm and dominance: "They have not esteemed God as He ought to be esteemed. The entire earth will be in His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right. Immaculate is He, and Transcendent He is beyond the associations they make. And the Trumpet will be sounded, whereupon everyone in the heavens and the earth will be stunned, except whomever God wills. Then it will be sounded another time, whereupon they will rise up, looking on. And the earth will shine with the Light of its Lord; and the Book will be put in place; and the prophets and the witnesses will be brought in; and Judgment will be passed among them equitably, and they will not be wronged.And every soul will be fully compensated for what it had done. He is well aware of what they do." (39:67-70).

3- Sinners deride and mock God's prophets, warnings, and verses, and we quote these verses to remind those who do not believe in them to repent as soon as possible: "That is their requital-Hell-on account of their disbelief, and their taking My revelations and My messengers in mockery." (18:106). "This is a proclamation for mankind, that they may be warned thereby, and know that He is One God, and that people of understanding may remember." (14:52). "We send the messengers only as deliverers of good news and warners. Those who disbelieve argue with false argument, in order to defeat the truth thereby. They take My Verses, and the warnings, for a joke." (18:56).

4- Sinners use their freedom to disobey and disbelieve yet feel the heaviness of being responsible for their choices. They tend to forget that as this big space of freedom is granted for them they have equal big room for responsibility, whose enormity is shown in the Quranic fact that God has created the universe to test human beings. Sinners tend to forget such enormous responsibility heaped on their shoulders and the vital importance in their being created on Earth, and thus they lose and fail the test of life given to them.

5- Sinners in their complete focus on aspects of this transient life tend to forget the fact of death; their belief in this life, with its glittering temptations and scramble for possessions and luxuries, leads them to deny the Hereafter: both the eternal suffering and torment in Hell for those who deserve it and the eternal pleasure in Paradise for those who deserve it.

6- Sinners are too preoccupied solely by the transient world to remember this undeniable fact: they cannot possibly escape God in the Hereafter and in this life. They fall ill, they surely will die, and in spite of themselves, they will be resurrected and judged and enter Hell if they deserve it. those who mock and deny such facts must be warned by the undeniable fact of inescapable death of all mortals; as sinners can never evade death, they cannot avoid being judged by God in the Hereafter.

7- Sinners do not know that God alone is the One never to be asked about His doings: "He will not be questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned." (21:23). Thus, such sinners fear to be judged and questioned by tyrant mortals and could not dare to question tyrant rulers; yet, they have the nerve and the arrogance to question their Creator, and they will never anticipate what lies in store for them in the Hereafter if they die without repentance: "If those who did wrong owned everything on earth, and the like of it with it, they would redeem themselves with it from the terrible suffering on the Day of Resurrection. But there will appear to them from God what they never anticipated." (39:47).

8- Hence, God is both the Merciful and the Punisher: "The sending down of the Scripture is from God the Almighty, the Omniscient. Forgiver of sins, Accepter of repentance, Severe in punishment, Bountiful in bounty. There is no God but He. To Him is the ultimate return. " (40:2-3). "Know that God is severe in retribution, and that God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:98). "…Your Lord is Quick in retribution, and He is Forgiving and Merciful." (6:165). "…Your Lord is swift in retribution, yet He is Forgiving and Merciful." (7:167). "…Your Lord is full of forgiveness towards the people for their wrongdoings, yet your Lord is severe in retribution." (13:6). Hence, Our Just God will grant mercy in Paradise to those who deserve it and will torment in Hell those who deserve it: "We will set up the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so that no soul will suffer the least injustice. And even if it be the weight of a mustard-seed, We will bring it up. Sufficient are We as Reckoners." (21:47).  "God does not commit an atom's weight of injustice; and if there is a good deed, He doubles it, and gives from His Presence a sublime compensation." (4:40). Those avoiding grave sins will have their small sins and mistakes pardoned by God to enter Paradise: "If you avoid the worst of what you are forbidden, We will remit your sins, and admit you by a Gate of Honor." (4:31). Those who committed grave, big sins must repent sincerely to have their sins replaced by good deeds and rewards: "And those who do not implore besides God any other god/deity, and do not kill the soul which God has made sacred-except in the pursuit of justice-and do not commit adultery. Whoever does that will face penalties. The punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will dwell therein in humiliation forever. Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These-God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful." (25:68-70). God judge intended acts of people and not unintentional errors, mishaps, or mistakes: "…There is no blame on you if you err therein, barring what your hearts premeditates. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (33:5).

 

Lastly: Yes, we accept:

1- Yes, we accept the flogging punishment of fornication of 100 lashes to each sinner.

2- Yes, we accept that if we or one of our offspring would commit fornication, we or he must be flogged 100 lashes; this is much better that eternal suffering in Hell. Repentance is the solution. Death is near and inevitable; all humanity is condemned to be mortals and each of us will surely die sooner or later, we are like persons sentenced to death. The moment of dying will make sinners know the truth, wishing they would be returned to life to repent and do good deeds: "Until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back.That I may do right in what I have neglected." By no means! It is just a word that he utters. And behind them is a barrier (Barsakh), until the Day they are resurrected." (23:99-100). "And give from what We have provided for you, before death approaches one of you, and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a short while, so that I may be charitable, and be one of the righteous."But God will not delay a soul when its time has come. God is Informed of what you do." (63:10-11).

3- All believers wait for death and so do all sinners: "…Say, "Wait, we too are waiting."" (6:158). "And say to those who do not believe, "Act according to your ability; and so will we." "And wait; we too are waiting."" (11:121-122). God says nothing but the Truth.   


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