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Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (14): "What Would God Accomplish by your Torment, if You Have Given Thanks, and Have Believed?" (Quran 4:147)


Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (14): "What Would God Accomplish by your Torment, if You Have Given Thanks, and Have Believed?" (Quran 4:147)


Published in October 13, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


1- The Holy Epithets of the Lord God in the Quran are summarized and combined in the two words: the Dominant and the Compassionate, found in the phrase: (In the Name of Allah, the Dominant and the Compassionate). The epithet (the Compassionate) includes other epithets like the Pardoner, the Gentle, the Merciful, and the Clement, and the epithet (the Dominant) includes other epithets like the Overseer, the Almighty, the Omnipotent, the Powerful, the Omniscient, and the Omnipresent. We refer readers to our article on the epithet (the Dominant).    

2- The vast majority of people focus on God the Merciful and the Compassionate and commit sins/crimes/injustices and disobey Him in arrogance, while assuming to have His mercy anyway! How utterly wrong they are! They forget the other Holy Epithets of the Dominant Lord God. In contrast, the pious ones fear the Dominant Lord Allah and perform good deeds to save themselves the torment in this world and in the Hereafter.  


Firstly: God does not need to torment people in this world if they are thankful believers:

1- God says in the Quran: "What would God accomplish by your punishment, if you have given thanks, and have believed? God is Appreciative and Cognizant." (4:147). Sadly, few people are thankful to their Lord within sincere gratitude: "...but a few of My servants are appreciative." (34:13).

2- God does NOT accept disbelief/polytheism for human beings and He appreciates our being thankful for His bounties bestowed on us. God has given all human beings the freedom to choose guidance or misguidance, within bearing responsibility of one's choice, as no one carries the burdens of another person, and God the Omnificent knows all our deeds: "If you disbelieve, God is Independent of you, yet He does not approve ingratitude on the part of His servants. And if you are thankful, He will approve that in you. No bearer of burden can bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return; and He will inform you of what you used to do. He is aware of what the hearts contain." (39:7). 

3- It is NOT fair or just to take other deities/gods beside our Lord Allah, as He does not like polytheism/disbelief among human beings. It is the fair/just law of the Lord to punish the criminals, disbelievers, and the unjust ones as per their evil deeds, and they are never excused; even in man-made legislations, there are penalties for criminals. The sharia legislations of the Lord God contain more mercy than man-made laws and legislations, as they stem from His Mercy which is above His Justice: "If God were to punish the people for what they have earned, He would not leave a single living creature on its surface. But He defers them until a stated time. Then, when their time has arrived-God is Observant of His creatures." (35:45); "If God were to hold mankind for their injustices, He would not leave upon it a single creature, but He postpones them until an appointed time. Then, when their time arrives, they will not delay it by one hour, nor will they advance it." (16:61). Thus, God with His Mercy gives human beings the chance to repent during the whole of their lifetimes in order to save themselves from the eternity of torment inside Hell. 


Secondly: proofs in the Quranic story of Jonah and his people:

1- God sent His prophet/messenger Jonah to his people who disbelieved in the celestial message at first, as typically expected; yet, Jonah felt furious and was not patient enough with them, and he left his people in anger. When his people felt afraid lest a torment would be inflicted upon them as done to ancient nations before them, they believed and they were spared the torment, and God granted them bounties during their lifetime instead of the torment: "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). 

2- Jonah made a mistake as he left his people who rejected him at first and he was not patient enough with them; God punished him as people of the imperiled ship he embarked threw him into the sea, and a whale gulped him down. Jonah was surrounded by the darkness of the sea and the inside of the whale in a fearful ordeal. Jonah sought refuge in the Lord God as he kept glorifying Him while confessing his sin, until he was saved by the Mercy of God and was healed/cured and sent back to his people who believed and enjoyed the bounties of the Lord God during their lifetimes: "And Jonah was one of the messengers.  When he fled to the laden boat. He gambled and lost. Then the whale swallowed him, and he was to blame. Had he not been one of those who praised. He would have stayed in its belly until the Day they are raised. Then We threw him into the wilderness, and he was sick. And We made a gourd tree grow over him. Then We sent him to a hundred thousand, or more. And they believed, so We gave them enjoyment for a while." (37:139-148).   

3- God has commanded Muhammad and early believers with him to imitate and follow the footsteps of Abraham and those believers who were with him: "You have had an excellent example in Abraham and those with him; when they said to their people, "We are quit of you, and what you worship apart from God. We denounce you. Enmity and hatred has surfaced between us and you, forever, until you believe in God alone." Except for the words of Abraham to his father, "I will ask forgiveness for you, though I have no power from God to do anything for you." "Our Lord, in You we trust, and to You we repent, and to You is the ultimate resort." (60:4). God has commanded Muhammad to be patient with his people and with commands of his Lord so as not to imitate Jonah in his mistake: "So be patient, as the messengers with resolve were patient, and do not be hasty regarding them..." (46:35); "So wait patiently for the Decision of your Lord, and do not be like the Fellow of the Fish who cried out in despair. Were it not for his Lord's favor that reached him, he would have been thrown into the wilderness, fully despised." (68:48-50). 

4- We should learn the useful, invaluable lesson from the story of Jonah and his people, as his people were spared torment by their belief and Jonah was saved from the torment of slow death inside a whale when he repented, and God made him a good, repentant man and gave him and his people bounties during their lifetimes. 

5- In order for all of us to learn this lesson, we are to remember the words of Jonah during his torment/ordeal inside the whale: "And Jonah, when he stormed out in fury, thinking We had no power over him. But then He cried out in the darkness, "There is no God but You! Glory to You! I was one of the unjust ones!" So We answered him, and saved him from the affliction. Thus We save the faithful." (21:87-88). In that fearful ordeal that could never be imagined by any of us to occur to our persons, Jonah did not invoke the Lord God within a long supplication; he only used a short phrase with deep meanings: "..."There is no God but You! Glory to You! I was one of the unjust ones!"..." (21:87). God has saved him from such affliction as his short supplication/prayer was sincere and true from a believer's heart. This is a great and invaluable lesson that God wants us to learn: "...Thus We save the faithful." (21:88). All of us sans exceptions undergo ordeals/calamities and hardships as part of tests of life and some of such afflicted pains are torment in this world for some of those criminals who committed grave sins and injustices, as a kind of retribution and a reminder for them to repent before it is too late. If those criminals repent, atoned for their crimes/sins, made amends, and ask God humbly and piously for pardon, God will remove the torment/ordeal inflicted upon them in this world: "...And whoever fears God in piety - He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he never expected. Whoever relies on God - He will suffice him..." (65:2-3).    


Thirdly: God does not need to torment people in the Hereafter if they are thankful believers:

 The proofs for this is ease and facilitation mentioned in the Quran. the following points are some of them.

1- It is OK for those suffering extreme hunger and might die to eat prohibited food items; only those who transgress and eat then in defiance and make them allowed/permissible items will be punished by God as they violate His Quranic sharia legislations: "And why should you not eat of that over which the Name of God is pronounced, when He has detailed for you what is prohibited for you, unless you are compelled by necessity? Many lead astray with their opinions, through lack of knowledge. Your Lord knows best the transgressors." (6:119); "Say, "In what was revealed to me, I find nothing forbidden to a consumer who eats it, except.....But if someone is compelled by necessity, without being deliberate or malicious-your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful." (6:145).

2- Those women forced by evil persons to commit adultery are NOT punished by God; in our era, this applies to the white-slave trade as women are kidnapped and/or deceived by traveling to work to find out eventually that they are raped and forced to be sex workers. God says in the Quran: "...And 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).

3- God punishes those who intentionally violates His sharia laws and legislations; He does NOT punish those who unintentionally commit sins/mistakes or errors as they forget: "...There is no blame on you if you err therein, barring what your hearts premeditates. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (33:5); "God does not burden any soul beyond its capacity. To its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. "Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not burden us as You have burdened those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with more than we have strength to bear; and pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord and Master, so help us against the disbelieving people."" (2:286).   

4- God repeats in the Quranic text the legislative rule that no soul is burdened beyond its capacity, : "...No soul shall be burdened beyond its capacity..." (2:233); "...We do not burden any soul beyond its capacity..." (6:152); "...We never burden any soul beyond its capacity..." (7:42); "We never burden any soul beyond its capacity. And with Us is a record that tells the truth, and they will not be wronged." (23:62); "...God never burdens a soul beyond what He has given it. God will bring ease after hardship." (65:7). This is in addition to the Quranic legislations for atonement and making amends and to alleviate some acts of worship (prayers and fasting) and to pardon past sins.

5- God never punished persecuted weak believers if they feign (with their tongues) being disbelievers to save themselves being tortured or put to death by the polytheistic aggressors: "Whoever renounces faith in God after having believed-except for someone who is compelled, while his heart rests securely in faith-but whoever willingly opens up his heart to disbelief-upon them falls wrath from God, and for them is a tremendous torment." (16:106). 

6- God will torment those who are persecuted because of their religion and refuse to immigrate though the can afford it; the ones who will NOT tormented are those persecuted ones who are too weak an too poor to immigrate and settle elsewhere: "While the angels are removing the souls of those who have wronged themselves, they will say, "What was the matter with you?" They will say, "We were oppressed in the land." They will say, "Was God's earth not vast enough for you to emigrate in it?" These-their refuge is Hell. What a wretched retreat! Except for the weak among men, and women, and children who have no means to act, and no means to find a way out.These-God may well pardon them. God is Pardoning and Forgiving." (4:97-99).

7- If one lives within an aggressive country that has waged war on a peaceful country, and one is forced to show overt alliance to the aggressive country to avoid being persecuted or killed, while concealing real faith and peace inside one's heart (known only to the Omniscient Lord), God will forgive this person. By the way, hiding one's true beliefs is for self-protection against tyrants who may torture or kill peaceful people, and NOT as means to conspire and commit aggression or spy on peaceful people. God says in the Quran: "Believers are not to take disbelievers for friends instead of believers. Whoever does that has nothing to do with God, unless it is to protect your own selves against them. God warns you to beware of Him. To God is the destiny. Say, "Whether you conceal what is in your hearts, or disclose it, God knows it." He knows everything in the heavens and the earth. God is Powerful over everything." (3:28-29).   

8- God says in the Quran: "For every person We have attached his fate to his neck. And on the Day of Resurrection, We will bring out for him a book which he will find spread open. "Read your book; today there will be none but yourself to call you to account." Whoever is guided-is guided for his own good. And whoever goes astray-goes astray to his detriment. No burdened soul carries the burdens of another, nor do We ever punish until We have sent a messenger." (17:13-15). This means that we see the result and outcome of our deeds on the Last Day, as we are to choose freely either misguidance or guidance, to our detriment or to our salvation, as no one carries the burdens of another person(s), and the main rule here is as follows: "...nor do We ever punish until We have sent a messenger." (17:15). There is no greater narrative than the Quran: the Word of God. May our Lord Allah be Glorified and Exalted!



1- What will one lose by avoiding worshipping and sanctifying mortals, mausoleums, sites, and relics/items/things? What will people lose if they are NOT stingy as they spend money for God's sake? God says in the Quran: "What would they have lost, had they believed in God and the Last Day, and gave out of what God has provided for them? God knows them very well." (4:39).

2- Winners in the Hereafter are those who believe in God only without other partners/deities and perform good deeds for His sake to please and gratify Him: "Say, "I am only a human being like you, being inspired that your Lord is One God. Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and never associate anyone within the worship of his Lord."" (18:110). 

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