God’s love is manifest in beings brought into existence, whether believer or disbeliever, to enjoy life, if only for a brief moment. It is also realized in the creation of paradise for those who choose righteousness over evil. God states in the final revelation that He loves those who do good (Quran 5:13), those who are just (Quran 5:42), those who are pious (Quran 9:4), those who are patient (Quran 3:146), those who put their trust in Him (Quran 3:159), those who frequently turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves (Quran 2:222). However, it is He who has defined for human beings through the scriptures and the prophets what is good, just and pious. Consequently, those who follow the prophets are most beloved to God. In the Quran, God instructed Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, to say the following to the believers:
“If you really love God, follow me and God will love you and forgive your sins…” (Quran 3:31)
The prophets should be followed not only in the compulsory acts ordained by God, but also in their eagerness to do acts of voluntary worship.
The love of God is also manifest in His mercy and blessings which He grants to those who deserve them as well as those who do not. But, it is particularly manifest in His willingness to forgive the sins of whomsoever turns to Him in sincere repentance. From the creation of Adam and Eve, repentance was granted to them to erase their sins as an example to all human beings who would follow them into this world. No matter how great human sins may become, the door for sincere repentance remains open until the last day of this world. Anas quoted God’s Messenger, as saying:
“God, the Almighty, has said: O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me and ask of Me, I will forgive what you have done, and I do not mind. O son of Adam, even if your sins reached the clouds and you asked My forgiveness, I will forgive you. O son of Adam, if you came to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and you met Me without giving Me partners, I will give you a similar amount of forgiveness.”
As for those in paradise, they will not enter it solely based on their good deeds. It is the grace of God which will ultimately carry them there. The final Prophet of God, said in this regard:
“Try your best to do right, and be happy. For none will enter paradise only because of his deeds.” His companions said, “O Messenger of God! Not even you?” He replied, “Not even I, unless God envelops me in His mercy and grace. And bear in mind that the deed most loved by God is one done constantly, even though it is small.”
However, God’s grace is not arbitrary. It is based on both correct faith and righteous deeds. In the Quran, God says:
“Whoever brings a good deed, will have [the value of] ten like it, and whoever brings an evil deed will only be punished with one like it, and they will not be wronged.” (Quran 6:160)
Were God to hold humankind to account strictly, no one’s good deeds would outweigh their evil deeds. However, God has manifested His grace by multiplying the value of good deeds, while keeping evil deeds at their face value. It is by the grace of God that the true believers enter Paradise. This does not mean that deeds have no role. Deeds have a major role, but they are not the deciding factor. God’s grace outweighs them.
Consequently, the creation of human beings, the errors that they make and the good that they do are all circumstances for the manifestation of God’s attributes of mercy and forgiveness, His attribute of justice and His attribute of grace.
Humankind should not question why God chose to manifest His attributes in this way. It can only be assumed that this was the best way, because God describes Himself as being the Most Wise and the Most Knowledgeable. Humans can only understand what God chooses to reveal to them.
“…They will only encompass of His knowledge what He wishes…” (Quran 2:255)
Thus, they should not try to equate themselves with God. If He has told humankind why He decided to do something, it is not for them to question why He decided to decide. Such questions are without end and thus beyond human scope. It is they who will be questioned on the Day of Judgment about their actions and intentions and not He. In the Quran, God addresses this point:
“He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” (Quran 25:23)
In this regard Prophet Muhammad, was reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas to have said:
“Reflect on the creation of God but do not reflect on God.”
To reflect on the reality of God is to reflect on the infinite. And, as the mind boggles when it reflects on the limits of the finite universe and the galaxies and stars within it, it will be more confounded when it attempts to understand the uncreated. The Prophet, warned that the satanic forces would seek to introduce doubts in the hearts of the believers by raising unanswerable questions about God. Aboo Hurayrah related that God’s Messenger, said:
“Satan will come to everyone of you and ask: Who created this and that? - until he questions: Who created your Lord? When he comes to that, one should seek refuge in God [say: I affirm my faith in God and His prophets] and avoid [such thoughts].”
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