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"…I did not do it of my own accord …" (Quran 18:82)

"…I did not do it of my own accord …" (Quran 18:82)

Was published in Arabic in December, 27, 2015

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

 This question has been sent to us several times. We will answer it in this article. The query is as follows. (…We find in the Quran: "Then they set out. Until, when they encountered a boy, he killed him. He said, "Did you kill a pure soul, who killed no one? You have done something terrible."" (18:74) and "As for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared he would overwhelm them with oppression and disbelief." (18:80). Can a punishment be due and necessary before committing a crime? Could you explain further? Thank you in advance…).

Our reply:

1- Sharia laws are not to be deducted or drawn from stories found in the Quran. Quranic stories of the ancient history is existing for the purpose of taking heed of certain lessons of faith and to assert that omnipotence and omnipresence of God as well as to affirm the the eternal fact that there is no God but Allah. Accordingly, the methodology of the Quranic stories is not to mention details or to focus on them regarding temporal and spatial dimensions as well as names of people. In contrast, the methodology of the Quranic narrative/discourse concerning legislation and sharia laws is more detailed and complicated.

2- In the Quranic sharia, punishment follows the actual committing of the crime. As for crimes, we find in the Quran: "Whoever commits evil, or wrongs his soul, then implores God for forgiveness, will find God Forgiving and Merciful. And whoever earns a sin, earns it against himself. God is Aware and Wise. And whoever commits a mistake, or a sin, and then blames it on an innocent person, has taken a slander and a clear sin." (4:110-112). We see in these verses that atonement and imploring God for forgiveness result in forgiveness of human beings by God. A criminal must bear alone the consequences of the crime, and the sin aggravates if the criminal accuses someone else of the crime. Punishment doubles in that case, in the afterlife, in case of not offering remedy, atonement, and repentance. This is as far as God is concerned. As for crimes against human beings, such as adultery, fornication, false accusation of women of committing adultery, theft, robbery, and murder, punishments follow committing the crimes unless the sinner repents and offers remedy for wronged ones. Let us remember the Quranic verses concerning these issues: "The adulteress and the adulterer-whip each one of them a hundred lashes, and let no pity towards them overcome you regarding God's Law, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment." (24:2), ''Those who accuse chaste women, then cannot bring four witnesses, whip them eighty lashes, and do not ever accept their testimony. For these are the immoral. Except for those who repent afterwards, and reform; for God is Forgiving and Merciful.'' (24:4-5), "The punishment for those who fight God and His Messenger, and strive to spread corruption on earth, is that they be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be banished from the land. That is to disgrace them in this life; and in the Hereafter they will have a terrible punishment. Except for those who repent before you apprehend them. So know that God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:33-34), "As for the thief, whether male or female, cut their hands as a penalty for what they have reaped-a deterrent from God. God is Mighty and Wise. But whoever repents after his crime, and reforms, God will accept his repentance. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:38-39), and "O you who believe! Retaliation for the murdered is ordained upon you: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female. But if he is forgiven by his kin, then grant any reasonable demand, and pay with good will. This is a concession from your Lord, and a mercy. But whoever commits aggression after that, a painful torment awaits him." (2:178).

3- Even in laws made by humans in any given democratic regime, a punishment cannot precede a virtual crime that has not taken place. Punishments precede supposed crimes in tyrannical regimes that have legislations replete with loopholes and vague law articles that apply to anyone at hand and at the command and desire of the powerful. This is mostly done to allay the fears and doubts of tyrants. The imam of tyrants is Moses' Pharaoh: he used to kill the male progeny of the Israelites and his first punishment was to bring up Moses, his enemy, in the palace. He could not surmise that Moses will be the means of destruction of Pharaoh, his kingdom, and his people.

4- Any human being is born as an innocent child, and later on is influenced and changed by the surrounding society and its conditions, with the result of losing innocence to gain experience. A child might grow up to be a reformist and charitable person like Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, etc. a child might grow up to be a gangster or a monstrous tyrant on top of a country or a gang of revolting thieves. All this is based on the upbringing of the human being and one's response to surrounding conditions. One chooses freely between the evil path and the righteous path. An orphan is generally more sensitive to the lack of care and tenderness and the feeling of being oppressed. Some orphans grow up bent on taking revenge against the whole society. Such orphans are tyrants in the making: like Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Some orphans crush their sufferings and become charitable good people who serve their societies. That is why God commands us in the Quran several times to care tenderly for all orphans. In general, the real Islamic society which is based on higher values of liberty, justice, human rights, dignity, etc. and not controlled by clergymen, who are corrupt by nature, children are brought up on the best level of best conditions. Societies based on oppression, tyranny, and injustice beget children whose innocence is soon lost by the dominant current of bad and corrupt morals, which touch on immorality, hypocrisy, lies, tolerating injustice, disregarding the Quran, and double standard. Such evils make children lose innocence and might choose to go with, not against, the evil way of the mortal transient world. Those who excel in corruption and evil ways might draw nearer to the retinue of a tyrant ruler, and they become as monstrous as this tyrant. Sometimes, this corrupt monster becomes the tyrant ruler. This applies to those killers, who murdered millions of people in horrible massacres. Let us remember that Hulago, Tamerlane, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, Abdel-Aziz Al-Saud, Mao Zedong, Abdel-Nasser, Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, Mubarak, Omar Al-Bashir, Ben Ali, etc. among leaders and tyrants were all innocent children once. The list is endless. If, for example, the founder of Wahabism, M. Abdul-Wahab, died in his childhood, millions would have been spared the epidemic of terrorist Wahabism. If Saddam, Mao Zedong, and Hitler died in childhood, millions of lives would have been spared in Europe, China, and Iraq. Yet, who would know that an innocent child or baby would grow up to be Saddam, Mao Zedong, Hitler, etc.?

5- God alone is the Only One who is omnipotent. God sometimes show some knowledge to some prophets: "…Nor will God inform you of the future, but God elects from among His messengers whom He wills …" (3:179). Some prophets knew little about the future like Joseph in the Egyptian prison: "He said, "No food is served to you, but I have informed you about it before you have received it. That is some of what my Lord has taught me. I have forsaken the tradition of people who do not believe in God; and regarding the Hereafter, they are deniers."" (12:37) and another example is Jesus in the following verse, when he said to his people: "…And I inform you concerning what you eat, and what you store in your homes. In that is a sign for you, if you are believers." (3:49). Some prophets did not know the future like Noah: ""I do not say to you that I possess the treasures of God, nor do I know the future, nor do I say that I am an angel… "(11:31) and Abraham and Lot did not know at first the identity of angels in human form; see (11:83-96). Prophet Muhammad, like Noah, never knew the future and told his people this fact: "Say, "I do not say to you that I possess the treasuries of God, nor do I know the future, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is inspired to me." Say, "Are the blind and the seeing alike? Do you not think?"" (6:50). Muhammad never knew the future concerning the Last Day: "Say, "I do not know whether what you are promised is near, or whether my Lord will extend it for a period." The Knower of the Invisible; He does not disclose His Invisible to anyone. Except to a Messenger of His choosing. He then dispatches guards before him and behind him." (72:25-27), "Say, "I have no control over any benefit or harm to myself, except as God wills. Had I known the future, I would have acquired much good, and no harm would have touched me. I am only a warner, and a herald of good news to a people who believe."" (7:188), "Say, "I am not different from the other messengers; and I do not know what will be done with me, or with you. I only follow what is inspired in me, and I am only a clear warner."" (46:9). Hence, ordinary people among us never would dare to say they know the future. Accordingly, one cannot say based on one's own knowledge that a child will grow up to be a criminal/sinner. No one can predict the future. Such claim might make others, especially tyrants in the Middle East, sanction the killing of millions of innocents. In our age, such tyrants follow the footsteps of Moses' Pharaoh.   

6- Concerning the story of Moses and the good man in Chapter 18 in the Quran, the good man whom Moses met is a prophet given some knowledge of the future by God. This good man acted by the divine commands and revelation. Moses was sent by God to this good man to learn from him not to be impetuous in his actions. Moses was brought up in the Pharaoh's palace in fear; he used to see his people persecuted and treated harshly and unjustly by Pharaoh. Moses used to be apprehensive toward dangers and to be controlled by anger, as we know from the Quran. Moses needed to learn patience from this good man whom we think to be another prophet, unnamed in the Quran. Sufi creeds invented a name for this unnamed prophet and deified him actually. Details of this are found in our books on Sufism in the Mameluke era in Egypt. We have registered two videos here on our website and Youtube website about debunking such myths found in the tomes of Bokhari and others. What is important to us here in this article is the phrase said by this prophet to Moses: "… I did not do it of my own accord. This is the interpretation of what you were unable to endure. " (12:82). Hence, God ordered this prophet to kill such a child as mercy for others. Every human being is to die anyway in a certain date and time and locality predetermined by God when one is born. Dying during the stage of innocence was better for the child in Chapter 18. At any rate, one's death is among the determinisms by God alone, even if tyrants object to that!         

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