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Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (2): The Meaning of Torture/Torment

Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (2): The Meaning of Torture/Torment

Published in September 10, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy



NOTE:  In this article, we trace the verses containing the notion of torment/torture (as both words have the same word in Arabic and Quranic tongues), within a Quranist viewpoint.


Firstly: torment meaning financial and material loss: 

1- We read in the Quran that God has punished the miserly men who owned a garden but decided not to give the poor ones their due from its fruits, and God burned their garden: "We tested them, as We tested the owners of the garden, when they vowed to harvest it in the morning. Without reserving some to the poor. But a calamity from your Lord went around it while they slept. And in the morning it was destroyed. In the morning, they called to one another. "Go early to your plantation, if you are going to harvest." So off they went, murmuring to one another. "No poor person is to enter it upon you today." And early they went, resolved in intent. But when they saw it, they said, "We were wrong. We are now deprived." The most reasonable of them said, "Did I not say to you, 'if only you would glorify?'" They said, "Glory to our Lord - We were indeed in the wrong." Then they turned to one another, blaming one another. They said, "Woe to us - we were indeed tyrannical. Perhaps our Lord will give us a better substitute for it. We are turning to our Lord."" (68:17-32). God has named this kind of divine punishment (i.e., burning their garden) as "torment", and that the torture/torment in Hell is bigger: "Such is the torment; but the torment of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew." (68:33).   

2- This is divine penalty or torment in this this life – a topic that will be tackled in a separate coming article – and those who have suffered this torment in life might repent and be spared the torment of the Hereafter on the Last Day; hence, we conclude from 68:17-33 that the owners of the garden had repented and admitted that they have committed a sin; the verse 68:33 does NOT imply necessarily that they will enter into Hell, but it shows that torment/torture of Hell is bigger than any torment/penalty in this life.   

3- The Quranic story or parable in 68:17-33 is, of course, a divine warning addressed to the stingy people; God warns them against torment in this life and in the next world in case of their never repenting, as we infer from these verses: "Here you are, being called to spend in the cause of God. Among you are those who withhold; but whoever withholds is withholding against his own soul. God is the Rich, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you." (47:38); "Those who withhold what God has given them of his bounty should not assume that is good for them. In fact, it is bad for them. They will be encircled by their hoardings on the Day of Resurrection. To God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, and God is well acquainted with what you do." (3:180).


Secondly: torment meaning flogging as penalty for fornication:

1- Flogging – and NEVER  stoning to death – is mentioned in the Quran as the penalty for (married and unmarried, male or female) fornicators (adulterers and adulteresses) whose sin is proven and they insist on never to publicly declare their repentance. If they do repent, they are described as repentant ones, but those who insist on committing this sin of fornication over and over and desire not to repent at all are described as fornicators. These ones deserve to be flogged in public as per this verse: "The adulteress and the adulterer - whip each one of them a hundred lashes, and let no pity towards them overcome you regarding God's Law, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their torment." (24:2).

2- We notice that in 24:2, this penalty of flogging is described as ''torment'' and NEVER as death; and this refutes beforehand the injustice of Sunnite polytheists who are allies of Satan who fabricated hadiths commanding to stone to death married male and female fornicators (i.e., adulterers and adulteresses)

2/1: As for female slaves freed and married to free men, if they commit adultery, they are to be whipped a 50 lashes (half the penalty of free women), and this is because female slaves were used to have many sexual partners before they married: "...When they are married, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half that of free women..." (4:25).  

2/2: If any of the wives of Muhammad might have committed the same sin, the torment would have been doubled: "O wives of the prophet! Whoever of you commits a proven immorality, the torment for her will be doubled..." (33:30).

2/3: God says the following about any wife whose husband accuses her (without witnesses) of being unfaithful to him by committing adultery: "But torment shall be averted from her, if she swears four times by God, that he is a liar." (24:8). This means that adulteresses (i.e., married female fornicators) are never to be put to death by stoning.

3- Thus, flogging is a penalty/torment that may be avoided, doubled, or halved, whereas this is stoning to death cannot be halved or doubled at all; there is no stoning in the Quranic sharia legislations  at all.

4- Flogging as the penalty for fornicators includes that sinners are to be publicly shamed as a gathering of people must witness the exacting of this punishment: "...And let a group of believers witness their torment." (24:2). This is to give the sinners the feeling of humiliation and insult, and this is a punishment within the psychological level beside the corporal punishment to their bodies by flogging.


Thirdly: torment meaning humiliation and shame to the body and soul of sinners in this transient life:

1- It is a painful torment to feel that one is humiliated, disgraced, and shamed in public, and this is what Lot had felt when some men of his people wanted to rape his guests (who were angels taking a human form), as Lot said to these male sinners: ""And fear God, and do not disgrace me."" (15:69); this is verse containing the same station in more detail: "And his people came rushing towards him - they were in the habit of committing sins. He said, "O my people, these are my daughters; they are purer for you. So fear God, and do not embarrass me before my guests. Is there not one reasonable man among you?"" (11:78).

2- And there is the torment of being publicly disgraced and humiliated that will be exacted on the following types of people.

2/1: All clergymen of any types who control mosques (or all houses of worship) as they are the unjust ones because they spread polytheism and wrong notions; they will be tormented in this world and the next one on the Last Day: "Who is more unjust than him who forbids the remembrance of God's name in places of worship, and contributes to their ruin? These ought not to enter them except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world, and for them is terrible torment in the Hereafter." (2:114).

2/2: This applies also to those who misguide people and repel them away from God's Path (i.e., the Quran) by distorting meanings of Quranic verses and undermining them by arguing against them: "And among the people is he who argues about God without knowledge, or guidance, or an Enlightening Book. Turning aside in contempt, to lead away from the path of God, and he will have humiliation in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the torment of burning." (22:8-9).

3- Moses' Pharaoh had tormented and humiliated the Israelites too much; he combined humiliating them with massacring them: "And We delivered the Israelites from the humiliating persecution." (44:30). 

4- In the cases when God had smitten and tormented ancient people, their physical annihilation is linked with disgrace and humiliation, as we see in the points below. 

4/1: God has said the following about all such people: "Those before them also denied the Truth, so the torment came upon them from where they did not perceive. God made them taste disgrace in the present life, but the torment of the Hereafter is worse, if they only knew." (39:25-26). Thus, God has called their annihilation or torment as disgrace, but the bigger torment/torture is waiting for them in Hell in the Hereafter. 

4/2: Noah's people used to mock him while he was building the ship before the deluge/flood: "As he was building the ark, whenever some of his people passed by him, they ridiculed him..." (11:38); Noah has told them the following: "...He said, "If you ridicule us, we will ridicule you, just as you ridicule. "You will surely know upon whom will come a torment that will disgrace him, and upon whom will fall a lasting torment."" (11:38-39). This means that the deluge was coming to bring them torment and disgrace as they drown, and they will suffer lasting torment within the Barsakh.

4/3: The people of Aad had rejected the divine message conveyed to them by a prophet named Hood; we read the following verse about how they were smitten, disgraced, and tormented by God in this world, while eternal suffering in Hell is waiting for them in the Hereafter: "So We unleashed upon them a screaming wind, for a few miserable days, to make them taste the torment of shame in this life; but the torment of the Hereafter is more shameful; and they will not be saved." (41:16).

4/4: The people of Thamood had rejected the divine message conveyed to them by a prophet named Saleh; we read the following verse about how they were smitten, disgraced, and tormented by God in this world, while eternal suffering in Hell is waiting for them in the Hereafter: "Then, when Our command came, We saved Saleh and those who believed with him, by a mercy from Us, from the disgrace of that day..." (11:66).

4/5: This is repeated within the story of the prophet named Shueib and his people of Madian, and he had warned them by saying the following: ""O my people, do as you may, and so will I. You will know to whom will come a torment that will shame him, and who is a liar. So look out; I am on the lookout with you."" (11:93).

4/6: Among the peoples who were spared torment and being smitten or annihilated were the people of Jonah who readily believed in the divine message conveyed by him when they saw early signs of torment, removed by God when they believed in Him: "If only there was one town that believed and benefited by its belief. Except for the people of Jonah. When they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the worldly life, and We gave them comfort for a while." (10:98).

5- Disgrace or humiliation is a punishment to the soul within the psychological level; it is found within penalties exacted on terrorists or highwaymen who massacre the innocent ones to rob them (like the ISIS terrorists recently). God says in the Quran: "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 torment." (5:33). We see here the corporeal punishment and putting them to death beside their humiliated, and torment in Hell for eternity is waiting for them in the Hereafter.  


Fourthly: disgrace/humiliation beside eternal torment/torture inside Hell:

1- God describes the torment/torture of disbelievers for eternity in Hell on the Day of Resurrection as disgracing to their souls and painful to their bodies: "...And there is a humiliating torment for the disbelievers." (2:90); "...The disbelievers will have a painful torment." (2:104).

2- Hell-dwellers will feel eternal humiliation and disgrace; and real believers implore God to be spared such torment: ""Our Lord, whomever You commit to the Fire, You have disgraced. The wrongdoers will have no helpers."" (3:192); ""Our Lord, and give us what You have promised us through Your messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Surely You never break a promise."" (3:194). Some people ridicule and mock God's verses and they will be shamed and disgraced on the Last Day in Hell: "Do they not know that whoever opposes God and His messenger, will have the Hell-Fire, abiding in it forever? That is the supreme disgrace." (9:63).

3- God will make the disbelievers feel the biggest disgrace on the Last Day when they will stand before Him: "Then, on the Day of Resurrection, He will disgrace them, and say, "Where are My associates for whose sake you used to dispute?" Those who were given knowledge will say, "Today shame and misery are upon the disbelievers."" (16:27).

4- This is why God has commanded Muhammad to say to the disbelievers to remain as they are and he will remain as he is until they will know the Truth on the Last Day about who will enter into Hell to be tormented and humiliated: "Say: "O my people, work according to your ability; and so will I. Then you will know. Who will receive a humiliating punishment, and on whom will fall a lasting torment."" (39:39-40).

5- Those who will be spared such disgrace and torment on the Last Day are Muhammad and all repentant believers who will be surrounded by the lights of guidance and mercy of God; God says the following to call believers to repent sincerely: "O you who believe! Repent to God with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remit your sins, and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the Day when God will not disappoint the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light streaming before them, and to their right, they will say, "Our Lord, complete our light for us, and forgive us; You are capable of all things."" (66:8).

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