15 Nov Questions on Destiny and Human Free Will.Part2
Now we will answer the question.
Intention. Our intention is critical. The Messenger of God, upon him be peace and blessings, says: “Actions are judged according to intentions. Whatever you intend to do, you get the reward thereof. So, whoever emigrates for God and His Messenger has emigrated for God and His Messenger; whoever emigrates to acquire something worldly or to marry a woman emigrates to what is intended.”
Intention is the spirit of our actions and determines how we will be rewarded (or punished). If you do not eat or drink during the day, but made no intention to fast, you are not counted as having fasted. If you fasts without intending to obtain God’s good pleasure, you receive no reward. If you are killed fighting to exalt or strengthen the Word of God, you die as a martyr and go, by God’s will, to Paradise. If you are killed while fighting for any other cause, such as fame or wealth, you are not considered a martyr and most probably will not be admitted to Paradise. So, you are rewarded (or punished) according to your intention.
If you have a firm belief in God and the pillars of faith, and intend to believe in them [as if you were to live eternally], you will be rewarded with eternal happiness in Paradise. If you have removed your inborn tendency to believe, and thus intend not to believe even if you were to live forever, you will cause your own eternal punishment. In the case of people whose unbelief is deeply ingrained and who have lost the capacity to believe, the Qur’an says:
As for the unbelievers, it is the same whether you warn them or warn them not. They will not believe. God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a covering (2:6-7)
Punishment for Unbelief. A given punishment is determined by the nature and result of the crime and the person’s intention, not to how long it took commit the act.
Murder, which takes only a couple of minutes or even seconds to commit, is often punished by many years—even life—in jail or the death sentence. Unbelief is infinitely more serious than murder. If you accuse truthful and innocent people of lying and deception, they will be very angry with you. Unbelief also means the following:
• Denying the true testimony of innumerable creatures, from atoms to huge galaxies, to their Creator’s existence and Unity, and accusing them of lying or giving false testimony.
• Denying God, the Unique Creator, Sustainer, and Administrator of the existence, and degrading His innumerable works of art.
• Accusing more than 100,000 Prophets of the most abased form of lying, deception, and trickery. And this despite the fact that according to the testimony of history and the people to whom they were sent, they are the most truthful of all humanity.
• Accusing believers of following the greatest tricksters of human history. Such a view also insults and accuses innumerable believers from the time of Adam of deception and deviation.
For these and other similar reasons, it is pure justice to condemn unbelief to the eternal punishment of Hell.
However insignificant our free will appears, and however slight a sin unbelief may seem to be at first sight, unbelief is a denial and negation and therefore destructive. Remember that we likened free will to flicking a switch to illuminate a room. Flicking a switch off can throw a whole city into darkness. A lit match can destory a huge, magnificent palace in a couple of minutes, even though it took hundreds of workers several years to build it. More immediate, remember that it a single bullet fired by a Serbian ignited the First World War and led to massive death and destruction.
Also, suppose there is a garden containing all kids of flowers and trees in which birds sing and animals live. These plants and animals need the water reaching them thorugh the canals if they are to survive. Someone is responsible for opening those canals so that water can flow through them. If that person, for whatever reason, did not allow the water to flow and thus killed everything in the garden, what would be an appropriate punishment? The act of unbelief is equivalent to such an act, but on the scale of the creation as a whole.
Unbelief is an unforgivable ingratitude. How can you deny Him Who brought you into existence from non-existence, gave you so many faculties (e.g., reason, intellect, heart, memory, and insight, and inner and outer senses), and nourishes you with numerous varieties of food and drink? Such people prepare their own doom, and their punishment must be equal to their action (of denial).