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In the Name of God بسم الله
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(bismillah) (salam) wa rahmatullah wa abarakatu Now, I am going to try and answer a question as I go along in this piece. How is Allah subhantalla fair? How is it that when suffering is going on in this world, that the World can be a fair place . Two names of the most high (of the 100) point this out to us: The Judge (Al-Hakim) The Just (Al-Adil) Now, this is a question which I have been asked my many non muslims, but also something which I have pondered on throughout my life. How is it that God can be fair, whilst there is an immense level of suffering in this world. One basic answer people give to this question, as their answer is that Allah in fact makes sure that he who suffers in this life, has a lesser punishment thatn he who does not suffer in this life. By punishment, I am referring to al barzakh (comparable to Catholic purgatory) whilst also Jahanam, the equivalent of hell. This is an easy answer to this question, however, we must go even further still. Now in Islam, there are 7 heavens. Paradise itself is commonly described in the Qur'an. The highest level of Paradise is Firdaws (فردوس), which is where the prophets, the martyrs and the most truthful and pious people will dwell. In contrast to Jannah, the words Jahannam and Nār are used to refer to the concept of hell. However, some may then go on to say that if two people will qualify for a certain stage of Jannah, how can it be fair if one of these people was more pious, committed fewer sins etc. Some people will then reply to this argument, and go on to say that in fact, it is barzakh which is what leads to people being made equal- I.e. the person who had fewer sins than the other will have a lesser punishment in barzakh, to get them equal on the so called "points scale". So this is a clear answer. However, a slight issue is this, for the purification in barzakh to be the case, we must see that Janna and jahanam or both in stages, so that when one enters any of these stages in either heaven and hell, they are at the same level on this "points scale" (what I am referring to is that punishment and good deeds increase your "goodness", while bad deeds decrease your goodness). However, in Islam, according to hadiths, the punishment in the grave is equal to all. To understand the punishment of the grave in Islam, we must look at the following hadith: Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle said, "When (Allah's) slave is put in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their footsteps, two angels come to him and make him sit and ask, 'What did you use to say about this man (i.e. Muhammad)?' The faithful Believer will say, 'I testify that he is Allah's slave and His Apostle.' Then they will say to him, 'Look at your place in the Hell Fire; Allah has given you a place in Paradise instead of it.' So he will see both his places." (Qatada said, "We were informed that his grave would be made spacious." Then Qatada went back to the narration of Anas who said;) Whereas a hypocrite or a non-believer will be asked, "What did you use to say about this man." He will reply, "I do not know; but I used to say what the people used to say." So they will say to him, "Neither did you know nor did you take the guidance (by reciting the Quran)." Then he will be hit with iron hammers once, that he will send such a cry as everything near to him will hear, except Jinns and human beings What I want to know is how can people be purified in barzakh if it is clear that according to hadiths such as the one underneath that only those who fail these questions will get punished: Al Bara Ibn 'Azib said: "We went out with the Prophet of Allah......Then a crier will call from the heaven: 'He has lied, so spread a bed for him from Hell, clothe him from Hell and open for him a door into Hell. Then some of its heat and pestilential wind will come to him, and his grave will become restricted, so his ribs will be pressed together.' Jarir's version adds: 'One who is blind and dumb will then be placed in charge of him, having a sledge hammer such that if a mountain were struck with it, it would become dust. He will give him a blow with it which will be heard by everything between the east and the west except by men and jinn, and he will become dust. Then his spirit will be restored to him.' Yet again, this is contrary to the idea that those who are not quite good enough for jannah will be punished to purify them for it. Then some people will go on to say that ahh, but only those who are perfectly pure will pass these questions. This is in contrary to the idea that barzakh is pure justice. What I would like to know is that how is it that there are clear punishments in barzakh (as described in the hadiths) which according to the teachings of the prophet (pbuh) happen to all those who fail these questions, whilst it is also clear that in Islam, Allah is all just. How is it possible that the person who is fairly righteous gets the same punishment in barzakh as he who is more righteous, even though they will both end up in the same stage of heaven. Would this mean that these hadiths are incorrect, because they describe the idea that all who are punished in barzakh are punished equally? Would it be that the punishment in barzakh is in fact relative to ones sins, rather than the same fore everyone? Or would it be that the blessing in heaven and the punishments in hell are in fact purely relative to the good deeds one has made (such that if I have done better deeds than another person but we are both in heaven, then I will have a better house than him in heaven)? Therefore at which point is it that the punishments/ blessings are equal- in heaven/ hell; or in barzakh? It must surely be either of them as otherwise it would get rid of the idea that God is all just. Or is it that these hadiths where all who fail the questions get a certain punishment will be purely equal are in fact metaphorical? Please, constructive debate below, Wasallam wa rahmatullah
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