|The Laws of Requital|
The system of life in the Quran gives us permanent values. The works, which are carried out according to these permanent values, are righteous deeds and the works, which are against these values, are evil deeds.
Before we can say what the permanent values divinely revealed to the Prophet Mohammad and decreed in the Quran are, it is highly important to understand one other thing; the Laws of Requital.
You are of the course aware that we have traffic laws. When are red light shows, you must stop your vehicle. However, if you observe the traffic situation on a quiet night or even on some busy days you will see the cars, buses, lorries and other vehicles passing by. Sometimes you will see an occasional car not slowing demand stopping at a red light but speeding and going straight through.
If the driver is not seen by a traffic police officer, he will escape without the least worry of getting caught. This means that the driver of the vehicle has done something wrong but has escaped prosecution. Even if he does get caught and meets a dishonest policeman who accepts his 20 pounds and lets him go, the driver still escapes his deserved punishment.
If he is charged and the magistrate also turns out to be corrupt, then again the driver does not receive his due punishment.
This is a simple illustration but can apply equally to other violations of laws such as speeding, illegal parking, dangerous driving and other much more serious crimes.
Just think how many people break the law and despite this they are not punished and in their hearts they are happy and proud that, even after having transgressed, not a hair on their body has been harmed.
This is one aspect of breaking the law and going against the established rules. Now look at another aspect.
A man in my neighborhood had diabetes. A doctor examined him, prescribed medicine, and advised him that he should not take sugar. “If you do so then your condition will become more serious,” he said. This was his professional advice for this sweet-toothed person.
The doctor took great care in the treatment of his patient. But instead of improving, the patient’s condition deteriorated.
The doctor asked his patient if he had been taking sugar. With apparent conviction, the patient replied that he had not. The doctor could not understand why, if this were so, his patient was not getting better!
One day in the kitchen, the patient’s wife saw him secretly eating chocolate when he thought no one was looking. She quickly went up to him and asked “What are you doing?” “No doctor can see me now; I do this every day!” he said this without any sense of guilt.
Did you notice? The driver of the vehicle broke the law and the patient did too breached an order. If no one saw the driver then he can escape without being punished, but this diabetic patient cannot avoid the consequences of going against his doctor’s advice. He disobeyed the doctor’s orders and kept enjoying the sweets and the punishment was that his health declined. It made no difference whether or not someone saw what he did or whether the doctor was present or not.
Suppose someone did see him eating sweets and he offered 10 pounds and pleaded with that person not to tell the doctor. Even then he could not escape the penalty. The sugar would still take effect and his illness would still become aggravated. It is apparent that, for this violation, no bribe or mediation can save him. The person who commits this type of transgression must bear the misery, which results from it. No power in the world can save him from this punishment.
Here is another narrative.
This patient’s neighbor was very healthy. He used to say with pride: “Look, over a year ago my doctor said if I did not stop taking sugar, I would die. I eat all the sweet things I like and nothing bad has happened to me!”
Later, I learned that he went to bed one evening feeling normal but during the night he had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital, and the doctors told his family that there was very little chance of his surviving. The sugar had not helped the diabetic condition, which was now threatening his life.
Do you understand what this means?
It means that the sugar was having its effect but he could not sense it. The effect was increasing all the time and reached such a stage that his health deteriorated irreparably and now his very life was in danger.
In fact, he was suffering the consequences of disobeying the doctor’s orders all the time, but could not feel it – that is, until the time his illness had an overwhelming effect. It means that some transgressions are such that they have suffered no harm but this is their mistake. The torment begins to surface slowly from within.
Here is another example.
A hard-working person buys from his honestly earned wages some good nourishing food. Not the commercialized things we have today but the fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, which have the natural vitamins, our bodies need. With these he feeds himself to maintain his health.
Another fellow is a pickpocket who is always able to avoid being caught. From his ill-gotten gains he too buys the natural food he needs for the upkeep of his well-being – the food, which gives the genuine vitality, and energy our bodies need.
The one earns his wage honorably while the other steals his money. Both these men earn their money in two totally different ways and both can buy the same food, which serves the same purpose of giving them the vital sustenance they need.
Where our bodies are concerned food has the same effect – whether it has been brought with money earned in a lawful way or obtained through stealing.
It may appear that the person who bought his food with stolen money has been saved from the punishment of his crime. He was not caught by the police and therefore escaped being punished by the courts. It seems that all the good, nourishing food has been benefited him, like the diabetic who did not feel the effects of eating sweets.
From this, people believe that if a person does not get caught or is not punished by the courts then he escapes the retribution he deserves.
The Quran says this belief is wrong.
Eating stolen food does not have any physical effect on a person. But the human being has something other than his body, which is called his Personality or the Self.
Eating food honestly gives strength to the Self; eating something wrongly obtained affects the Self adversely. No one can save the human being from this influence. He can escape being arrested by the police; he can escape being punished from courts, through bribery, legal loopholes, or by employing clever lawyers, but he will most certainly receive retribution for the crime he has committed. This punishment is not perceived by his body but his personality or the self is affected. From this no one can save him.
The question is this: who metes this out punishment?
Allah has decreed that He has established such a law: those people who lead their lives according to the Permanent Values will receive satisfaction and fulfillment. And those who go against these values will suffer as a result of their actions. This law from God is so decisive and tenacious that NO ONE can avoid its consequence.
It is true that, “The grip of you Lord is severe.” (Quran 85:12)
This law, which rewards or punishes according to a persons deeds is called the Law of Requital: in other words the effect, or result o human actions. You can escape from the police but not from the Law determined by God. The One Who is fully aware of all that we do openly and that which we conceal in our hearts has made the Law of Requital. This law does not take immediate effect after the crime has been committed but begins to take a grip even when the very thought of the intended crime is born in our minds.
God knows the whispers which occur in our hearts, and why should He not know? He is closer to the human being than his jugular vein. (Quran 50:16)
God has established his scale of justice according to His Law of Requital where person’s deeds, thoughts and intentions are continuously being weighed. Any atom of good comes before a person, and any atom of evil also confronts him, (99:7-8). No person can escape the punishment of his crimes and no person can help another person. No intercession or recompense can be accepted and such people can receive no assistance. (2:48). This is Gods Law of Requital.
A Muslim, that is one who submits to God, is the one who is certain of Gods Law of Requital. This is faith or conviction.
Remember this: the person who when violating the law thinks that no one is looking or thinks that he can bribe his way out or use some other method to sway judgment and escape punishment, does not believe in Gods Law of Requital and is a disbeliever in God.
An Islamic government can only be established to implement Gods Law and under such a government no criminal can escape his punishment. No bribe or mediation will help, no influence or pressure can be used to persuade the law in anyone’s favor. He or she who goes against the law must receive punishment and the one who respects the law receives honor and protection. This is the law which does not change and which no one can change. It is immutable, that is UNHANGEABLE, FIXED, ETERNAL!