Right from the early days of human beings on this planet earth, Allah SWT has sent His Prophets among them so that they could live their lives according to the prescribed teachings of morality and righteousness. Many nations of the past Apostles of the Almighty Lord were caught up in His reprimand because of their transgression from His commandments. Those who read and learn Quran on daily basis would know that it tells the stories of previous people like those of Prophets Nuh, Hud, A`ad, Musa, Luth and Shu`ayb all committed wrongdoings. They were penalized by God, the Exalted severely and were destroyed completely because of their actions. Regarding the punishment of the Absolute Ruler, our Holy Prophet ﷺ said:
“If Allah afflicts punishment upon a nation, it befalls the whole population indiscriminately and then they will be resurrected and judged according to their deeds.” (Muslim)
It means that the nature of the chastisement of the Creator of the universe upon any nation does not distinguish between the right and the wrong people, rather all suffer from it equally. For example, when earthquake comes, destruction of assets and loss of lives occur on a wider scale irrespective of what belonged to whom. This is because those who were virtuous could stop the evil doers from committing disobedience of Allah`s Instructions and could guide them towards ways of attaining uprightness and goodness. But they will be given their due return in the hereafter for their good deeds. It could also lead to their increase in status near the Gracios God and eventually take them near to attaining the higher ranks of Jannah (Paradise) which would otherwise be hard for them to reach. Another perspective of sentencing all could be that the righteous ones could be forgiven their minor sins considering the fact that life in this world is itself a living place of trials and confirmation of faith of the believers.
Now let us discuss the above mentioned Hadith of the Messenger ﷺ of Allah SWT in detail in order to know about its greater implications:
Severe Punishment Of Allah For Wrongdoers
There is no doubt in the penalty of the Almighty Lord for those who transgress from His commandments and spread evil openly.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated the Messenger ﷺ of Allah saying as:
“Verily, Allah gives respite to the oppressor. But when He seizes him, He does not let him escape.” Then he (PBUH)) recited, “Such is the Seizure of your Rubb when He seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His Seizure is painful (and) severe”. (11:102). (Bukhari)
It shows that the tormenters will be caught up in the stern sentence from God after giving them break for some time but when the punishment of Allah SWT comes, they will not be able to find any help to save them. It also shows that they are the ones who are actual reason of the punishment that comes from Allah SWT.
Preventing Others From Committing Wrong
The punishment of the Greatest One for the offenders of the Islamic convictions is understandable but one would think that it might be unfair to the upright people who only spent their time in worship yet they came under the penalty. It is because of their avoidance of one of the many responsibilities of the believers is that they also have to counsel others around them and guide them towards decency.
Hazrat Anas (R.A) recounted that Rasulullah ﷺ said to him:
“Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed”. A man enquired: “O Messenger of Allah! I help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?” He PBUH) said, “You can keep him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him”. (Bukhari)
This saying of Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ clearly explains the basic duty of a true Muslim which is to make others around it known about the actual belief of the Islamic directions in every walk of life. They should not take themselves exempt from the Almighty Lord`s retribution which when comes on any nation takes them also in its effects along with immoral ones. Therefore, it is their responsibility to observe their surroundings and rectify any kind of mischief when they can.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported by Hazrat Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (R.A) to have said:
I heard the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)
It means that every disciple of the Religion of Peace should try its best to stop others from doing erroneous act or causing trouble to others. The last state which is not coming forward to stop the wrongdoing but considering it bad in one`s heart is actually the matter under consideration here. Such believers also get themselves eligible for the punishment of Allah SWT because they do not perform their Islamic obligation in the true manner.
Raising Of Status Of The Believers
Coming under the combined aftermaths of chastisement of the Most Powerful, it is very much possible that it eventually results in pardoning of the past sins and rise in the standing of the devotees. Since they are the ones who stood firm on their Islamic faith, their good actions will not be put in vain rather suffering from punishment in this world will lead to their pardoning in the hereafter and attainment of the greatest place ever, i.e. Jannah (Heaven).
Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (R.A) related Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ saying as:
“If you all depend on Allah with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives it to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full belly at dusk”. (Tirmidhi)
The above mentioned Hadith sheds light on the ultimate provision from Allah SWT that He will give His true followers in the hereafter.
Earth Being Place of Trials
Every believer knows that the worldly life is nothing but a temporary place to live under Islamic commandments and to die among the righteous ones.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (R.A) reported that the Apostle ﷺ of Allah said:
“The world is the believer’s prison and the infidel’s Jannah”. [Muslim]
The fact that true Muslims will also have to undergo the daunting effects of the reprimand from Allah SWT which was because of the mass transgression from His Instructions, it is because the world itself is a place of testing. It will lead to purification of their souls and will definitely cause them to gain the ultimate benefits and bounties in on the Day of Judgment because of their good deeds.
In short, actual repercussions of the indiscriminate punishment of the Almighty Lord are based on justice as the righteous ones who suffer during this course will eventually get their rewards in the afterlife. May Allah SWT give us all strength and desire to act upon the Islamic convictions in the true manner and save us from all kinds of chastisements in both worlds, Aameen!