The Qur’an uses the carrot and stick to reinforce behavior.
Throughout the book are vivid descriptions of hell, where sinners and non-Muslims have to drink boiling, stinking water, are thrown face down into a raging fire, and have to be there for eternity, suffering endless torments in agony.There are also vivid descriptions of Paradise.
Concept of Paradise and Hell in Abrahamic Faiths:
Reward for good deeds and punishment for evils is part of almost all the major religions. The form differs. Hindus have the concept of Transmigration of soul or rebirth: An individual Atman [soul] survives death. Perhaps it might be said, one’s Atman passes through a succession of lives. The station assigned in each life depends on one’s past deeds in former lives. One’s station depends on their total Karmic history. Through action, knowledge, devotion a person can improve their lot in the next life. Ideally, there is a “upward” progression of “stations” until Moksha is achieved. The Atman [soul] is what transmigrates.
The concept of paradise for the blessed and hell for the sinners or non believers is part of eschatology in the three Abrahamic faiths. (Qura’n;32:17, 18:29, 65-11). According to Bible: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”(Daniel;12:2).However the time of The Hour (Day of Judgment) is only known to God: Qura’n;7:187, 43:66, 6:31, 40:16-17 & Mark;13:32). Everyone will be judged on the same basis, by the same criterion, and his or her destiny will be known. God may pardon whomever He wills, and He certainly forgives a countless number of people much of their sins. Whoever is so forgiven will end up in Heaven, while those who are not, will end up in Hell. The basic element that earns forgiveness of sins is belief in one God. (Qura’n;4:31,48,116; 39:53, 36:12, 3:133, 136,33:71).
Bible mentions about Hell & Paradise [Eden]: “For a fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with its increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains”[Deuteronomy 32:22]. “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the judgment of hell?”[Matthew 23:33], “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”[Matthew 13:42], “But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, who after he has killed has power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him”[Luke 12:5].“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, Today shall you be with me in paradise”[Luke 23:43]. “You have been in Eden the garden of God;”[Ezekiel 28:13] also Genesis;2:8-17, Revelation;2:7, Ezekiel 28:13,31:9,16.
It is part of divine justice to reward the people for their obedience to God by believing in Him unseen and perform good deeds. Those who disobey God and do not believe in Him, His messengers and books are not equal to the believers, shall suffer punishment in hell fire. He forgives minor sins of believers. Instead of calling it policy of ‘stick and carrot’ the batter is ‘Reward and Punishment ‘or’ ‘Divine Justice’. [Allah knows the best]
Islam provides a huge and inspiring goal.
There is nothing wrong to preach the faith or ideology one considers to be right, as long as the methodology is peaceful. The success and popularity of Islamic faith lies in the truthfulness of its universal fundamentals mentioned above based upon nature, justice, humanity, simplicity devoid of myths and strict monotheism, the cardinal point of Abrahamic faith which has been totally ignored by critics of Islam under the Islamophobia. Just compare the doctrine of Trinity with Islamic monotheism and the implementation of methodology through Law [Shari’a], which the early doctors of Christianity abrogated even against teachings of Prophet Jesus Christ [pbuh], the son of Mary still available at Mathew;5:17-20.
The UN Charter grants individual freedom of faith. The Christian missionaries has been working world over during last 2000 years. The Buddhist monks spread Buddhism to China, Central Asia, Far East up till Japan. What is so alarming if Muslims spread the message of God to humanity? Qur’an instructs the followers to convey the message of God to the humanity:
“O Prophet, surely We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, for the instruction of Mankind. He who follows the Right Way shall follow it for his own good; and he who goes astray shall do so at his own peril. You are not set up as a guardian over them.”(Qur’an;39:41).
At the end of his last sermon during last Hajj (632 C.E) the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “ O’ People, no messengers or prophet will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O’ People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.” This message is to be conveyed to humanity through beautiful preaching, not violence, God says:
“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! thy Lord is best aware of him who strayed from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright.”(Qur’an;16:125).
Qur’an forbids forced conversions as evident form few verses quoted out of many in Qur’an: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from the (way of) error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”(Qur’an;2:256). “An so (O Prophet) exhort them, thy task is only to exhort: Thou canst not compel them to (believe). As for those who turn their backs and disbelieve, Allah will punish them with the mighty punishment.”(Qur’an;88:21-24). “.. You (O Muhammad) are not there to compel them to believe. So admonish with this Qur’an every such person who fears My warning.”(Qur’an;45;50). “So (O’ prophet) exhort them, for your task is only to exhort, you can not compel them (to believe).”(Qur’an;88:21-22). “to you [unbelievers] be your religion (Din), and to me mine.”(Qur’an;109:6). “Notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God’s leave, and (that) it is He who lays the loathsome evil (of disbelief) upon those who will not use their reason? (Qur’an;10:100).
It is great privilege for the Muslims, as inheritor of the last divined scripture [Qur’an;35:32], have been entrusted by God to convey it to the humanity, a great inspiring goal indeed:
“And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way (Ummah Wasat), so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness to it before you. And it is only to the end that We might make a clear distinction between those who follow the Apostle and those who turn about on their heels that We have appointed [for this community] the direction of prayer which thou [O Prophet] hast formerly observed: for this was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided aright. But God will surely not lose sight of your faith – for, behold, God is most compassionate towards man, a dispenser of grace.”[Qur’an: 2:143]
Middlemost Community [Ummah Wasat], is a community that keeps an equitable balance between extremes [as opposed to extremism, followed by some] and is realistic in its appreciation of man’s nature and possibilities, rejecting both licentiousness and exaggerated asceticism. In tune with its oft-repeated call to moderation in every aspect of life, the Qur’an exhorts the believers not to place too great an emphasis on the physical and material aspects of their lives, but postulates, at the same time, that man’s urges and desires relating to this “life of the flesh” are God-willed and, therefore, legitimate. On further analysis, the expression “a community of the middle way” might be said to summarize, as it were, the Islamic attitude towards the problem of man’s existence as such: a denial of the view that there is an inherent conflict between the spirit and the flesh, and a bold affirmation of the natural, God-willed unity in this twofold aspect of human life. This balanced attitude, peculiar to Islam, flows directly from the concept of God’s oneness and, hence, of the unity of purpose underlying all His creation: and thus, the mention of the “community of the middle way” at this place is a fitting introduction to the theme of the Ka’bah, a symbol of God’s oneness. [For detailed comments on Shari’a, please refer to the comments.2 above] [Allah knows the best]
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