Lesson 4: Divine Justice, the Second Principle of Shia Belief



In the Name of God


Based on the words of: Masoud Basiti

Collected By: Zahra Moradi

Translated By: Ali Mansouri


Over the course of "Who Are The Shia And What Do They Say?", we will examine the advent of Shi’ism, discuss the foundations of Shia belief, and present authentic Islam.


Lesson 4: Divine Justice, the Second Principle of Shia Belief

In the previous lesson, the first principle of Shia belief, Tawhid, was discussed. Tawhid means God is One, Unique, and had no partners in creating the world. God was neither born, nor had a child. He has no similarities to His Creation. He cannot be described or recognized by the five senses, by reason, by the imagination, with the Aql, or by any other means. If God Himself had not placed His recognition within us by means of Marifat Fitri, and if He had not sent us Messengers to introduce Himself to the people, we would never have recognized Him.

He is the absolute power in the universe. His power is not limited from any action or change, and He can replace a particular destiny for another one at any moment. This important belief is called Bada. As a result of this belief, the Shia know that God is always looking over them and is aware of their thoughts, intentions, actions, and behavior. The Shia understand that God is always able to do anything. Thus, they will be in a constant state of both hope and fear toward Him. Other people will be safe from a Shia person’s thoughts, actions, and words, and expect kindness and goodness from them. Every single step this person takes in life will be in the path of truth and in conformity with the Aql. This person will prefer the satisfaction of God to his or her own desires.

In this lesson, we will analyze the second principle of Shia belief.


The Second Principle in Shia Belief: Divine Justice

The topic of “Divine Justice” has a special place in Shia teachings. Divine Justice is related to both Tawhid and Ma’ad [resurrection]. This topic plays a major influence on a person’s prism of looking at the world and the way that they behave towards their Creator and with creation.

Most people define justice as equality and not violating the rights of others. To them, a just person is one that does violate the rights of others. This definition of justice may be useful within the context of human relations. However, it cannot be used to define “Divine Justice”. God is not a more powerful, wise human. He does not resemble humans, or any other being, in any way. The notions of ‘rights’ and ‘worthiness’ that are used when talking about humans are not applicable to the Almighty.

What rights can we weak and deficient created beings have upon God Almighty, who gave us everything we possess, out of His grace and mercy? Do not forget that we did not exist and were nothing. God did not owe us any right to make us exist. The gift of life from our kind God was only out of His Grace and Mercy. Furthermore, God did not only create us, but sustains us every moment. We have no independent existence from Him. Without His continuous, moment by moment sustenance, we would go back into a state of non-being. He sustains us every moment with blessing after blessing not because we deserve it, but because He is Merciful.

Based on Shia teachings, the basis of creation was the Grace and Favor of God. We are not entitled to existence or being pampered with blessings. The Prophet of Mercy, Mohammad (PBUH), would call upon God as such:

“Oh One who began bestowing blessings when no deserving one existed!”[1]

Thus, no created being is entitled to anything from the Almighty Creator, which He is obligated to fulfill in order to show His justice. We are in absolute debt to the One that has bestowed all Blessings upon us. If God refrains from bestowing a particular blessing upon us, it does not mean that a right of ours has been violated[2]. Given the previous discussion, what is the meaning of Divine Justice?


Justice Means Not Oppressing

Perhaps the most accurate and complete way to understand the meaning of “Divine Justice” is by focusing on the meaning of its polar opposite, “oppression”.

All humans innately understand that “oppression” is bad. No person, not even one who oppresses others, likes to be oppressed. This understanding is based on the Vejdan. Oppression is vile. And such a vile behavior cannot come from God. The Almighty is pure from any oppression. Oppression rises from weakness. It is the pitiful resort of the one that cannot get what they want by other means. However, God has no weakness or need that He would compensate by oppressing others. Imam Sajjad (AS), the fourth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), states this issue in his whispered prayer,

“Truly I know that there is no oppression or cruelty in Your orders . . . and indeed someone that is weak is dependent on oppression, and You, my God, are higher and grader than that [than oppressing out of weakness]”[3].

The Holy Quran rejects the notion that God would even desire to oppress, stating,

“And God does not desire any injustice to the [inhabitants of the] worlds”[4].

“Verily, God does not oppress [even] as much as a particle’s weight”[5].

Thus, believing in Divine Justice is accepting the belief that God will never oppress anyone.

What actions from the Almighty Creator, who is the Owner of His creation, would be considered oppression? Is He not the possessor of authority over all His creation? Can He not show any behavior He wishes towards His servants, without anyone having the right to hold Him accountable? We read in the Holy Quran:

"لا يُسْئَلُ‏ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ‏ وَ هُمْ يُسْئَلُون‏"

“[God] will not questioned for what He does, but they [the people] will be questioned”[6].

"أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِلْعَبِيد"

“Certainly, God is not an oppressor towards his servants”[7].

This point is critical: Believing God to be Just and Exalted over any oppression is part of Tawhid. Given God’s specific emphasis in the Holy Quran on the point that oppression is vile, and given His orders to stay away from oppressors[8], even imagining that God could be unjust towards His servants is enough to damage belief in Tawhid. Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated:

“The foundations of religion are Tawhid and Justice . . . Justice means that you do not relate that which He has condemned you over [vile deeds like oppression] to Him”[9].


The Problem of Divine Justice and Differences in Creation

If someone is born blind and another seeing, this is not a sign of the injustice in God’s actions;

If someone is born beautiful and another ugly;

If someone is born whole and another malformed;

If someone was born wealthy and another poor;

If someone was born in a believing family and another in a family that are enemies to the truth;

None of these are signs of God’s oppression towards his servants. If God, based on His wisdom and prudence, gives one person a blessing and deprived another from it, no one’s rights have been violated. Whatever was given was a grace. Imam Sajjad (AS), the fourth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated in his Munajat (Whispered Prayers),

“Blessings were poured out from the beginning [when nothing existed to deserve existence] . . . if You do not bestow us with a blessing, it is not injustice”[10].

At the same time, it should be noted that God has promised, out of His Mercy, that He will deal with each person based off his or her abilities,

"لا يُكَلِّفُ‏ اللَّهُ‏ نَفْساً إِلَّا وُسْعَها"[11]

meaning, “God will not burden anyone with duties beyond their ability to bear”.

Whoever enjoys more blessings also has a greater degree of responsibility based on what they possess. People with greater blessing also face higher expectations from God.


Divine Justice in Accounting for the Deeds of His Servants

The Shia believe that all humans will be resurrected after death, during a specific time known as the “Day of Judgement”. On this day, they will be called to answer for all their behavior and actions in a Divine Court. This belief, which is one of the five pillars of faith in the Shia School of Thought, is called “Ma’ad” [this principle will be analyzed in detail in another lesson]. Based on the belief in Divine Justice, the Shia believe that God will not do injustice to anyone on the Day of Judgement. In other words, He will not oppress anyone.

The Holy Quran states that,

“We will put the scales of justice in place on the Day of Judgement; thus, there will be no oppression done to anyone”[12].

“During that Day, no oppression will be done to anyone, and they will not receive any recompense except for what they did”[13].

God Almighty, out of His Grace and Mercy, has promised His servants that anyone that submits to the truth and does good deeds will be rewarded, and that anyone turns to that which God has forbidden by turning away from the truth and Aql will be punished[14]. Due to such a promise, we hope that God the Merciful does not treat those that have worked to satisfy Him the same way that He treats the sinners.

This is why the Chosen Messengers of God were always reminding people of Hope and Fear, and addressed God in such a way:

"يَا مَوْلَاي‏ ... عَدْلُكَ مُهْلِكِي[15] "

meaning, “Oh my Lord . . . Your justice will destroy me”.

This means that if He were to treat me with perfect justice, I would be destroyed. I face that Lord who I have not recognized the way I should and have not worshipped Him in the way He should be worshipped[16]. I have no rights, through [the fulfillment of] which I would deserve being saved and rewarded.

"إِلَهِي إِنْ عَفَوْتَ فَبِفَضْلِكَ وَ إِنْ عَذَّبْتَ فَبِعَدْلِك[17] "

meaning that, “Oh my Lord, if You forgive me it is out of Your Grace, and if You torment me, it is out of Your justice”.

Even if I do nothing but worship for my entire life, and do not forget You even for the blink of an eye, the weight of my worship is nothing in comparison to Your grandeur. How can I be so insolent as to feel entitled to rewards for the good deeds that You gave me the opportunity to do? So, oh my Owner and Possessor of Authority, treat me with Your Grace and Mercy, not out of Your Justice

"اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ رَحْمَتِكَ بِأَوْسَعِهَا ... اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ بِأَفْضَلِه"[18]

Oh my Lord, I ask for Your Mercy by its vastness . . . Oh my Deity, I ask for Your Grace in its greatest amount.


Predestination or Free Will?

One of the topics that is often discussed when looking at Divine Justice is “Predestination or Free Will”. Throughout history, different people and schools of thought have always debated whether people are completely free in all their actions or are all of their actions and behaviors fixed by God’s will? Are humans forced to follow a path that God has already preordained for them? Even outside a strictly religious context, this topic continues to be had within the context of determinism (a similar belief to predestination) and free will. In this case, people wonder whether a person’s actions and personality are a result of their DNA [which was largely fixed before their birth], their environment, or a different factor. The conclusion of this discussion is far reaching because it can be used to imply whether people are culpable for their actions, or are powerless puppets playing out decisions they have no say in.

When we state that all created beings derive all their power and ability from the All Powerful Creator, and that if God does not will it, no one can do anything (لاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ[19]; There is no power other than from God), many people are inclined to believe that they have no say in their destiny. This logic appears even stronger given that God has previous knowledge of what His servants will do and knows the outcome of every decision a person will make (أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ[20]; Verily God knows all things). Consequently, this group believes that human beings have no choice in their actions, but rather are merely puppets acting out a preordained script. This idea is called “predestination”. Followers of predestination believe that the root of all human actions is predestination from God or within a secular context, that the root of all human actions is either their DNA or their environment. Believing this would mean that all of our deeds, whether good or bad, are attributed to God and the notion of punishment or reward for our actions becomes pointless.

In such a world, the fundamental basis of almost all religions would become meaningless. In fact, the entire reasoning behind the creation of humankind would be questionable. The Prophets were all sent to invite the people towards doing things that appeal to the Aql and stay away from deeds in contradiction to it. However, in a world in which everything is predestined, every person’s actions would be predetermined, completely based on God’s Will. There would be no point encouraging or discouraging people from actions they have already been fated to make.

In fact, in such a world, God would be the One responsible for all the oppression and crimes done in history, whereas the people who perpetrated them would be innocent, merely puppets forced to act out a preordained script.

The Shia School of Thought strongly stands against this way of thinking and believes that, as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,

“A person that made God similar to His Creation did not recognize Him. A person that relates Him to the sins of His servants considers Him to be unjust”[21].

The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS) also stated,

“Justice is that you do not accuse God”[22].

The most important reason for rejecting predestination is the Vejdan and our innate knowledge of our deeds. When we look deep within ourselves and pay attention to our actions, it will become clear to us that when we will to do an action, we had the choice of also not committing it. Similarly, when we choose not to do an action, we will find that we had the choice to also do it. Thus, in contrast to what the predestination implies, humans are free in choosing or not choosing to do actions.

It is undoubtedly true that the source of all power and will in the world is God Almighty. However, humans have the free choice to use this God given power in the way of good or evil. There is no doubt that God has the power to prevent a person from doing any actions at any given time. However, God wills that humans have freedom so they can complete the test of this life. God states that,

"إِنَّا هَدَيْناهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شاكِراً وَ إِمَّا كَفُورا"[23]

meaning, “Verily, We guided him to the [right] way; [the choice is with them] if they want they can be thankful or they can cover the truth”.

In addition, God’s knowledge is not the causation behind our actions. This is similar to how a teacher can know in advance that a particular student will do well or bad on a test. The teacher’s knowledge did not cause the student to pass or fail the exam. Similarly, God’s knowledge of our decisions does not force us to do a particular action; rather it is our own choice.


Extreme Free Will vs Extreme Predestination

On the other end of the spectrum from predestination is another worldview called free will. Proponents of free will argue that God has handed over His power and sovereignty to humanity and no longer has control over human choices. Based on this viewpoint, humanity has absolute freedom of will, and God is not able to prevent human actions.

The biggest flaw to [absolute] free will is that it has limited God’s power and sovereignty and given Him the characteristics of weakness and impotence. This is while the Shia School of Thought believes that “إِنَّ اللَّه‏ عَلى‏ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ قَدير[24], meaning that, “Verily, God is able to do anything”. The Shia believe that the power of created beings is under the command of the power of the Creator and that there is no power or will in the universe that is greater than the power of the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. Furthermore, God is purified above any defect or weakness. The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), states that,

“Oh my Lord, Your reign and domination is so big . . . Your power is all pervasive and it is impossible to run away from your rule”[25].

God states that,

“You want and I Want too, but nothing other than that which I Want shall happen!”[26](In other words, if you see that which you have willed has been accomplished, know that it was My Will that your will come into fruition, otherwise you would never be able to accomplish it).

Everyone can think of at least one time in their lives when they decided to do something, completed all the requirements to make it happen, but were not able to do it because of some external factor. On the other hand, everyone can think of at least one time in their lives when they had no hope in something being accomplished, yet, without them taking any actions, that thing happened. All of these, which some people call “good luck” and “bad luck” are signs of God’s supreme Power and Will. They are reminders of the Marifat of the All Powerful Creator for us[27].

Let us deeply contemplate on the words of God, when He stated,

“Oh child of Adam, be aware that is it by My Desire and Providence that you are able to accomplish that which you want for yourself.

And it is by My Will that you can will that which you want for yourself.

And it is through the blessing that I bestowed upon you, that you have the power to disobey Me.

And it is because My protection of you, My forgiveness, and the health that I gave you that you are able to carry out the obligations I have given you”[28].

Another one of the problems with (absolute) free will, is that this view makes humanity’s prayers and requests for help from God meaningless. This is while the Prophets and Divine Messengers were always asking for help from God Almighty and would encourage the people to pray to God.


The Shia Belief: Neither Predestination nor Free Will

As discussed, the Shia School of Thought neither accepts predestination, which negates human will and choice, nor accepts absolute free will, which puts God’s sovereignty and rule under question and assumes humanity to be absolutely free and left alone. Instead, the Shia School of thought believes that:

-    Out of His Grace and Wisdom, God has given humans power and choice.

-    This power and choice is not absolute, and does not negate God’s Power and Will. Rather it is under the command of God’s Power, and surely, the All Powerful Creator is more capable and able than humanity.

-    The power that God gives humanity is given on a moment to moment basis. There is no set amount of power or free will that God blesses His Creations with at the moment of birth that they can use until their death. The blessings He bestows upon them (including existence, knowledge, understanding, power, will, and health) can be taken away at any moment. Momentary basis. God has not given some set amount of power and blessings to his Creations at the moment of birth that they will use until their death (and he does not have the power to take away). At any moment, he may change the blessings someone has, increase them, decrease them, or completely take them away.

-    We are free to use the power that God has given us in a proper or improper manner.

-    The opportunity and tools to do good deeds are provided to us by God. However, if we use God’s power and blessings in ways other than that which He approves us, it is a result of our own shortcomings, and we will be held accountable by God for them[29].

-    God is able to prevent us from taking any action at any time that He wills. However if He does not prevent us from doing something, it does not mean God is responsible for those actions or behaviors.

Imam Reza (AS), the eighth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), has said in this regard,

“If God is obeyed, it is not out of coercion and compulsion [rejection predestination], and if sins are committed, it is not the result of Him being defeated by His servants [rejecting absolute free will]. He has not left His servants alone in His dominion, but rather is the Possessor of everything that He has left to their will, and is Able over everything that He has given them power over. If the servants wish to obey Him, God will not prevent their obedience, and if they wish to disobey Him, He can prevent them. But if He does not prevent a sin, and they commit [the sin], it is not He who put them in this path”[30].

An example that can help us understand this situation is if my father gives me $1,000 to spend on my education. Once he has given me the money, I am free to spend it however, I will. I could potentially spend the money on gambling or spend it on my educational expenses. Similarly, God has given us power and will, and showed us the way we should spend His blessings. After this, He has left us free to use or misuse these gifts as we choose.

Naturally, my father has the power and authority to, whenever he determines it necessary, to take his money back. Similarly, our possession of the gifts God has given us is not absolute. God is the ultimate possessor of all things, including our power and will, and can take them back whenever He wills.

My father will naturally hold me accountable for how I spent the money that he gave me, and whether I listened to him or not (just like we will be held accountable for our deeds on the Day of Judgement).

While spending the money on the same thing that he asked for may be a fulfillment of my duty, it is not an extraordinary accomplishment. I used the tools that he gave me for my own good. If my father then decides to give me another gift for doing my responsibility, it is not out of justice, but out of his kindness. Similarly, God rewards us for using the gifts that He gave us in the way that He showed us, not because of justice, but rather out of His grace.

If on the other hand, I had spent the money on gambling, it is natural that he will be upset and hold me accountable for wasting the money that he gave me for my own advancement on something that harms me.

Would it not be the height of folly and absurdity for me to tell my father that he is the person responsible for me misusing the money he gave me? This is similar to how determinists hold God responsible for their sins.

If, once I had decided to spend the money on gambling, my father had figured out what I wanted to do, but let me proceed, he would not be the one at fault, even if he had the power to stop me.

At the end of the day, if I spent the money in the right way, I should be thankful that my father, out of his kindness, gave me that money, so that I can advance myself. However, if I misuse the money, instead of rudely blaming my father for not stopping me, I should apologize, and promise not to repeat my mistake.

Hopefully this example clarifies some of the errors with the determinist and absolute free will worldviews.

Based on Shia teachings, belief in either predestination or absolute free will shall lead a person astray. Instead, a true believer is someone that believes God has given each person certain duties (based on their ability), and then given them the will to perform that duty by choice. Thus, when they are successful in doing a good deed, they will thank God, and if they commit a sin, they will ask him for forgiveness[31].


The Result of Believing in Divine Justice

The belief in Divine Justice, as defined by the Shia school of thought, will result in a person being thankful of their Creator under all circumstances, because:

-    God does not owe us anything. All that exists, and everything that we have been given, is a result of God’s Grace and Kindness.

-    If they do a good deed that results in a Divine Reward, they will be thankful, because the opportunity and ability to perform that deed were all from God.[32]

Under such conditions, a person will take refuge in the Creator, and say,

"إِلَهِي وَ رَبِّي مَنْ لِي غَيْرُك[33] "

Oh my Deity and Lord, who do I have but You?

"فَارْحَمْ عَبْدَكَ الضَّعِيف[34]"

So have mercy on this weak servant.

The Shia know that all of their power, will, and blessings are given to them on a moment to moment basis, and at any time that their true Owner desires, He can take them all back. Therefore, they know the value of every moment, and strive to use the power and blessings given to them by their kind Lord in the way of His satisfaction, not in the way of sin.

The belief in Divine Justice causes the Shia to be particularly careful about their intentions and actions and for other people to be safe from their thoughts, words, and actions.


Main Points of This Lesson

-    The topic of Divine Justice is connected to both Tawhid and Ma’ad. Thus, it has an outsized impact on a person’s ideology and way of dealing with both other people and their Creator.

-    Normally justice is defined as fulfilling other people’s rights but this definition is not suitable for Divine Justice.

-    Belief in Divine Justice is the acceptance of the belief that God will never deal with someone unjustly.

-    Considering God to be Just and pure from all oppression is one of the levels of Tawhid

-    God has created us and bestowed us with endless blessings.

-    Differences in creation are not considered injustice or oppression towards anyone. For no one is entitled towards anything from God. This means that differences in the amount of blessings in creation are not a violation of anyone’s rights. Furthermore, anyone that is given more blessings has more responsibility towards what they possess.

-    Since all power comes from God, and nothing is hidden from His knowledge, a group of people wrongly believes that humans are puppets in the hands of God and have no will of their own. These people are called “determinists”.

-    The biggest error of the determinists is that they relate all of humanity’s sins and mistakes to God.

-    The most compelling reason to reject predestination is every person’s innate knowledge and understanding towards their own states and actions.

-    God’s knowledge about the actions of His servants does not mean that they are forced to take those actions.

-    On the other end of the spectrum, there is another group of people that believe in absolute free will. This group believes that God has given up all of His power and dominion to people, and has no more control over human actions.

-    The biggest error of the people that believe in absolute free will is that they consider God’s power and dominion to be limited, and believe God to be weak and impotent. This is in contrast to Shia teachings that consider the power of created beings to be under the command of the power of the Creator. The Shia believes there is no power that is higher than the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and that God is purified above any weakness or defect.

-    Either belief in predestination or belief in absolute free will result in misguidance. The Shia school of thought stands against both worldviews.

-    The power that has been given to human beings is not absolute or eternal. God has granted a degree of ownership to each person based on how much He deems fit. Whenever God wills, He can take away this power to whatever extent He wishes.

-    We are free to use the power that God has given us for both good deeds and evil.

-    Both the opportunity and tools to perform good deeds are granted from God. If a human being chooses to use the power and blessings given to them, by God in a way that displeases Him, it is an error on the part of the human being, and one day they will be held accountable for it.

-    If God wills, He can prevent a person from doing any action. If He chooses not to prevent them from doing something, it does not mean God is responsible for that action.

-    The result of believing in Divine Justice is that the Shia will always be in a state of hope and fear. A Shia individual will be particularly careful about their intentions, behaviors, and actions. Other people will be completely safe from their thoughts, words, and deeds.


Main Source: Mohammad Foundation




"يَا مُبْتَدِئاً بِالنِّعَمِ قَبْلَ اسْتِحْقَاقِهَا"

Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 92, Page 282.

Imam Hussain (AS), the third successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) professed the following about his Lord,

"اِبْتَدَاْتَنى بِنِعْمَتِكَ قَبْلَ اَنْ اَكُونَ شَيْئاً مَذْكُورا"

meaning that, “You began my existence with blessings, before I was a creature that could be mentioned”. An excerpt from Dua Arafa, Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 95, Page 216.

[2] Imam Sajjad (AS), the fourth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), prayed to God as such,

"مِنَّتُكَ ابْتِدَاءٌ ... وَ إِنْ مَنَعْتَ لَمْ يَكُنْ مَنْعُكَ تَعَدِّياً"

meaning that, “Your blessings were gushed forth from the beginning [when I had no merit of coming into being] . . . and if You do not bestow me with a blessing, it is not oppression”. Supplication 45 of Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, Page 192.


"قَدْ عَلِمْتُ‏ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ فِي حُكْمِكَ ظُلْمٌ ... وَ إِنَّمَا يَحْتَاجُ‏ إِلَى‏ الظُّلْمِ‏ الضَّعِيفُ‏، وَ قَدْ تَعَالَيْتَ- يَا إِلَهِي- عَنْ ذَلِكَ عُلُوّاً كَبِيرا"

Supplication 48 from Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, Page 240.


"وَ مَا اللَّهُ يُريدُ ظُلْماً لِلْعالَمين"

The Holy Quran, Surah Ali ‘Imran (3:108).


"إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقالَ ذَرَّة"

The Holy Quran, Surah An-Nisa (4:40).

[6] The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Anbya (21:23).

[7] The Holy Quran, Surah Ali ‘Imran (3:182); Surah Al-Anfal (8:51); Surah Al-Hajj (22:10).

[8] For example, we read the following in the Holy Quran,

"لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الظَّالِمِين"

meaning, “God’s curses on the oppressors”. The Holy Quran, Surah Al-A’raf (7:44).

"وَ اللَّهُ لا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِين"

meaning, “God does not like the oppressors”. The Holy Quran, Surah Ali ‘Imran (3:57).

"إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذابٌ أَلِيم"

meaning, “Verily there is a painful torment for the oppressors”. The Holy Quran, Surah ash-Shuraa (42:21).


"إِنَّ أَسَاسَ الدِّينِ التَّوْحِيدُ وَ الْعَدْلُ ... أَمَّا التَّوْحِيدُ فَأَنْ لَا تُجَوِّزَ عَلَى رَبِّكَ مَا جَازَ عَلَيْكَ وَ أَمَّا الْعَدْلُ فَأَنْ لَا تَنْسُبَ إِلَى خَالِقِكَ مَا لَامَكَ عَلَيْهِ"

Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 96.

[10] Refer to footnote 2.

[11] The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqara (2:296).


"وَ نَضَعُ الْمَوازينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيامَةِ فَلا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئاً وَ إِنْ كانَ مِثْقالَ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنا بِها وَ كَفى‏ بِنا حاسِبينَ"

The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Anbya (21:47).


"فَالْيَوْمَ لا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئاً وَ لا تُجْزَوْنَ إِلاَّ ما كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ"

The Holy Quran, Surah Ya Sin (36:54).

[14] For example, we read the following in the Holy Quran,

"وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَ عَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ..."

meaning, “Give glad tidings to those that believe and perform righteous deeds that gardens [have been placed for them in Heaven] under which rivers flow”. The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqara (2:25).

"مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَ أَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيَتُهُ فَأُوْلَئكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّار ..."

meaning, “Anyone that performs a bad deed, and is encompassed by their sin, will be an inhabitant of the Fire”. The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqara (2:81).

"مَن جَاءَ بِالحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَ مَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يیُجْزَى إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَ هُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُوا"

meaning, “Whoever performs a good deed, will receive a reward ten times it [from God], and whoever commits a bad deed will be punished the same amount as their deed, and they will not be oppressed”. Surah Al-An’am (6:160).

[15] Imam Hussain (AS), the third successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), as stated in Arafa Dua, Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 95, Page 222.

[16] The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated in his prayers to God,

"مَا عَبَدْنَاكَ حَقَّ عِبَادَتِكَ وَ مَا عَرَفْنَاكَ حَقَّ مَعْرِفَتِك"

meaning, “I did not worship You in the way that You deserved to be worshipped, and did not recognize You in the way You deserved to be recognized”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 78, Page 23.

[17] Imam Ali (AS), Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 91, Page 107.

[18] Imam Baqir (AS), the fifth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 94, Page 370.

[19] The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Kahf (18:39).

[20] The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqara (2:231).


"ما عَرَفَ اللّه َ مَن شَبَّهَهُ بِخَلقِهِ و لا وَصَفَهُ بِالعَدلِ مَن نَسَبَ إلَيهِ ذُنوبَ عِبادِهِ"

Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 47.


"التَّوْحِيدُ أَنْ لَا تَتَوَهَّمَهُ وَ الْعَدْلُ أَنْ لَا تَتَّهِمَه‏"

Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 5, Page 52.

[23] The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Insan (76:3).

There are about 300 other verses in the Holy Quran that emphasize humans are responsible for their own actions. Furthermore, there are about 80 verses, which state that sins are a result of people’s own decisions, and have stated that oppression is far from God. For example, the Holy Quran states that,

"وَ ما ظَلَمَهُمُ‏ اللَّهُ‏ وَ لكِنْ كانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ‏ *‏ فَأَصابَهُمْ سَيِّئاتُ ما عَمِلُوا"

meaning that, “God did not oppress them, but rather they oppressed themselves. Thus, the bad consequences of their deeds reached them”. Surah An-Nahl (16:33-34).

[24] The Holy Quran, Surah al-Baqara (2:20,109,148); Surah Ali ‘Imran (3:165); Surah An-Nahl (16:77); Surah an-Nur (24:45); Surah Al-‘Ankabut (29:20); Surah Fatir (35:1); Surah at-Talaq (65:12).

[25] An except, from Dua Kumayl,

"اللَّهُمَّ عَظُمَ سُلْطَانُكَ وَ عَلَا مَكَانُكَ، وَ خَفِيَ مَكْرُكَ وَ ظَهَرَ أَمْرُكَ، وَ غَلَبَ قَهْرُكَ وَ جَرَتْ قُدْرَتُكَ، وَ لَا يُمْكِنُ‏ الْفِرَارُ مِنْ‏ حُكُومَتِك"

Zad al-Ma’ad, Page 61.


"تُرِيدُ وَ أُرِيدُ وَ لَا يَكُونُ إِلَّا مَا أُرِيد"

As narrated by Imam Ali (AS), Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 337.

[27] Imam Ali (AS) has stated,

"عَرَفْتُ اللَّهَ سُبْحَانَهُ بِفَسْخِ الْعَزَائِمِ وَ حَلِّ الْعُقُودِ"

meaning, “I recognized God through the breaking up of wills and opening of knots”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 5, Page 197.


"یَا ابْنَ آدَمَ بِمَشِیَّتِی کُنْتَ أَنْتَ الَّذِی تَشَاءُ لِنَفْسِکَ مَا تَشَاءُ وَ بِإِرَادَتِی کُنْتَ أَنْتَ الَّذِی تُرِیدُ لِنَفْسِکَ مَا تُرِیدُ وَ بِفَضْلِ نِعْمَتِی عَلَیْکَ قَوِیتَ عَلَی مَعْصِیَتِی وَ بِعِصْمَتِی وَ عَفْوِی وَ عَافِیَتِی أَدَّیْتَ إِلَیَّ فَرَائِضِی"

As narrated by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 340.

[29] God Almighty has stated to humanity that,

"ما أَصابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ وَ ما أَصابَكَ مِنْ سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِک"

meaning, “Whatever good reaches you, is from God and whatever bad reaches you, is from yourself”. The Holy Quran, Surah An-Nisa (4:79).

He also states,

"ذلِكَ بِما قَدَّمَتْ أَيْديكُمْ وَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلاَّمٍ لِلْعَبيدِ"

meaning, “This [torment that will happen on the Day of Judgement] is a result of your own actions, otherwise God surely will not oppress His servants”. The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Anfal (8:51) and Surah Ali ‘Imran (3:182).


"إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ لَمْ يُطَعْ بِإِكْرَاهٍ وَ لَمْ يُعْصَ بِغَلَبَةٍ وَ لَمْ يُهْمِلِ الْعِبَادَ فِي مُلْكِهِ هُوَ الْمَالِكُ لِمَا مَلَّكَهُمْ وَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَى مَا أَقْدَرَهُمْ عَلَيْهِ فَإِنِ ائْتَمَرَ الْعِبَادُ بِطَاعَتِهِ لَمْ يَكُنِ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا صَادّاً وَ لَا مِنْهَا مَانِعاً وَ إِنِ ائْتَمَرُوا بِمَعْصِيَتِهِ فَشَاءَ أَنْ يَحُولَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ فَعَلَ وَ إِنْ لَمْ يَحُلْ وَ فَعَلُوهُ فَلَيْسَ هُوَ الَّذِي أَدْخَلَهُمْ فِيهِ"

Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 361.

[31] Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

"النَّاسُ فِي الْقَدَرِ عَلَى ثَلَاثَةِ أَوْجُهٍ رَجُلٍ زَعَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ أَجْبَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَى الْمَعَاصِي فَهَذَا قَدْ ظَلَّمَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فِي حُكْمِهِ وَ هُوَ كَافِرٌ وَ رَجُلٍ يَزْعُمُ أَنَّ الْأَمْرَ مُفَوَّضٌ إِلَيْهِمْ فَهَذَا وَهَّنَ اللَّهَ فِي سُلْطَانِهِ فَهُوَ كَافِرٌ وَ رَجُلٍ يَقُولُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ كَلَّفَ الْعِبَادَ مَا يُطِيقُونَ وَ لَمْ يُكَلِّفْهُمْ مَا لَا يُطِيقُونَ فَإِذَا أَحْسَنَ حَمِدَ اللَّهَ وَ إِذَا أَسَاءَ اسْتَغْفَرَ اللَّهَ فَهَذَا مُسْلِمٌ بَالِغ"

meaning, “People are divided into three groups regarding fate. [The first group:] The one that believes God has forced people to sin. Such a person has been unjust to God and is a disbeliever. [The second group:] The person that believes that God has left all things to the people. Such a person has insulted God’s sovereignty and is disbeliever. [The third group:] The person that believes that God has burdened his servants according to their ability, not more than they are capable of handling. When they do a good deed, they thank God, and when they sin, they repent to God. Such a person is a complete Muslim”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 360-361.

[32] God states that,

"یَا ابْنَ آدَمَ ... بِعِصْمَتِی وَ عَفْوِی وَ عَافِیَتِی أَدَّیْتَ إِلَیَّ فَرَائِضِی"

meaning, “Oh child of Adam . . . it is because My protection of you, My forgiveness, and the health that I gave you that you are able to carry out the obligations I have given you”. As stated by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 340.

God also states,

"ما أَصابَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ وَ ما أَصابَكَ مِنْ َيِّئَةٍ فَمِنْ نَفْسِک"

meaning “Whatever good reaches you, is from God and whatever bad reaches you, is from yourself”. The Holy Quran, Surah An-Nisa (4:79).

[33] Imam Ali (AS), Zad al-Ma’ad, Page 60.

[34] Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 95, Page 265.

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