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Hell, Mercy, and Time Preference

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^ With different levels of faith, comes the need for different levels of incentive. Majority primarily driven by reward and punishment (as our entire existence on earth is dictated by- speaking strictly irreligiously)- those on a higher spiritual plane can afford to ruminate and be driven by "the Real goal" and it is clear that worship from Love is of a greater weight than worship from fear of punishment or hope for reward (though the latter can suffice in and of themselves).

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It's ihsan isn't it? The pinnacle of eeman, worshipping as though you *see* Allah, though you of course do not. The reason why when Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) was asked why he still seeks forgiveness so many times during the day when he knows he is loved by Allah, he replies "shall I not be a grateful servant?" Hard, hard, hard spiritual training- but not unattainable!

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I agree, but I think most people in the West are attracted much more to the image of a God you can love as opposed to one that should be feared. I posted the poem for Chesthairs sake, to show that obeying God does not have to be about merely fear of punishment. Just the opposite, a more ideal sort of obedience is performed out of love. And while I agree with you that there are different levels, and different things that work for different people, I'd also say that if you sit through enough khutbahs at the right sort of mosque it can be hard to really believe Allah is merciful and what have you.

 

^ With different levels of faith, comes the need for different levels of incentive. Majority primarily driven by reward and punishment (as our entire existence on earth is dictated by- speaking strictly irreligiously)- those on a higher spiritual plane can afford to ruminate and be driven by "the Real goal" and it is clear that worship from Love is of a greater weight than worship from fear of punishment or hope for reward (though the latter can suffice in and of themselves).

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I agree, but I think most people in the West are attracted much more to the image of a God you can love as opposed to one that should be feared. I posted the poem for Chesthairs sake, to show that obeying God does not have to be about merely fear of punishment. Just the opposite, a more ideal sort of obedience is performed out of love. And while I agree with you that there are different levels, and different things that work for different people, I'd also say that if you sit through enough khutbahs at the right sort of mosque it can be hard to really believe Allah is merciful and what have you.

 

 

but yet it's fair to say that the bottom line is: believe and worship in God based on your love of Him, or don't and burn in Hell for eternity?

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but yet it's fair to say that the bottom line is: believe and worship in God based on your love of Him, or don't and burn in Hell for eternity?

 

Is that fair to say? I mean, I don't believe that those who don't worship God are going to burn forever in hell. See your last thread on hell for alternative understandings. There are many Muslims who do believe that as a literal tenet of their faith. There are many who don't. There have been scholars who do not believe in an eternal hell, period. I personally believe there will be a lot of surprises. I believe there are things we don't understand.

 

If God is infinite, and his attributes are infinite, then to understand Him and His plan requires infinite knowledge, which we lack. And God knows best. We can only really grasp very finite matters, of which afterlife is definitely not.

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Is that fair to say? I mean, I don't believe that those who don't worship God are going to burn forever in hell. See your last thread on hell for alternative understandings. There are many Muslims who do believe that as a literal tenet of their faith. There are many who don't. There have been scholars who do not believe in an eternal hell, period. I personally believe there will be a lot of surprises. I believe there are things we don't understand.

 

If God is infinite, and his attributes are infinite, then to understand Him and His plan requires infinite knowledge, which we lack. And God knows best. We can only really grasp very finite matters, of which afterlife is definitely not.

 

Doesn't this mean that religion then is not as definitive as most believe?

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Doesn't this mean that religion then is not as definitive as most believe?

 

I think there is a real, definitive truth. But religion (which is a modern word) is man's attempt to make sense of that truth. That's why "Anything you think of God, God's something else" and "Be certain of God but always question your understanding of God." Even those definite aspects, there are layers.

 

So for example, maybe you see someone chewing something. Your description of the scene: "X is eating." Someone with a little more insight might be able to give some more info: "X is chewing a grape." Someone else might look at it and say: "X is exercising his jaw." And someone else might look at it, needing greater knowledge than all of them (knowing X loves grapes, knowing X is eating a grape, reading his facial expressions) and say: "X is in a temporary state of joy." Which of their interpretations is untrue?

 

Such is true of religious interpretation- the more you learn, the more layers you understand of it. So there are some Sufis who have questioned whether Iblis is truly the Great Rebel or whether, in disobeying God's order to bow to man, he is in fact one of the greatest monotheists and he is passing his test.

 

Can't both be true?

 

So words like "disbeliever" and "hell"... I think there are many layers. Many of the greatest Islamic thinkers have proven this so.

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Such is true of religious interpretation- the more you learn, the more layers you understand of it. So there are some Sufis who have questioned whether Iblis is truly the Great Rebel or whether, in disobeying God's order to bow to man, he is in fact one of the greatest monotheists and he is passing his test.

 

 

But we know that Iblis refused to bow out of arrogance, not because of his Love for Allah. This is something that Allah Himself explains in the Holy Qur'an...so is there any room for debate about this?

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But we know that Iblis refused to bow out of arrogance, not because of his Love for Allah. This is something that Allah Himself explains in the Holy Qur'an...so is there any room for debate about this?

 

I'm not sure, I'm not saying I support it. I'm just showing that even on issues that are very core beliefs, there are people who have thrown twists into it and have taken other, deeper stances. While I agree, the Qur'an does refer to him as a "rejector" and we call him "evil" and all, I'm just pointing out that there are spiritually high people who look for different layers even with something that otherwise seems so clear. I think the message they usually pull out of it is that God should be worshiped out of love, not out of fear (so Iblis was willing to go against and anger God out of love for his oneness). Obviously that's an idea that would be heretical to most.

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I think the message they usually pull out of it is that God should be worshiped out of love, not out of fear (so Iblis was willing to go against and anger God out of love for his oneness). Obviously that's an idea that would be heretical to most.

 

http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?296902-quot-Learn-monotheism-from-Iblis-quot

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The responses to the original post (which are the expected responses today) show how we've been so bombarded by a textual/scriptural approach that all others seem outlandish. I understand that people have a problem with interpretations that go far beyond the text, and especially ones that might be counter-intuitive, but such has always been popular in Muslim societies, and has been transmitted through poetry, and music, and art, and Sufism. Sure, al-Hallaj had harsh critics in his own time (and thus was executed), and Ibn al-Arabi was called both the Great Shaykh and the Greatest Disbeliever, and indeed the likes of Al Ghazali or Ibn Taymiyya had rightful criticisms, but to just dismiss this sort of thinking and these sorts of individuals as "total nonsense" is very telling of the staleness and homogeneity of popular Islam today. It's as though they cannot even engage in something *outside the box*.

 

Obviously their point is not about Iblis - it's about submission.

 

Just my cent.

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Yes I agree with you... Also however this rigidness and inflexibility with uncommon perspectives is borne from a fundamental reserve/fear as a result of ignorance. I don't mean ignorance in a condescending or judgmental way - I mean a very literal ignorance around what legitimately exists outside of the narrow prescriptive lens we've swallowed our whole lives. Many people falsely assume that it's people with little knowledge who veer towards unorthodox interpretations, however its often people who have been on a long journey beforehand which allows them to confidently settle within different views/approaches.

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