The following questions may come off as slightly misplaced, especially considering that I am a believer in the mercy of God. I like to remind myself of the Qur’an’s directive to count the favors of God, which we would never be able to number. And I feel that He has poured His grace and benevolence on me, even though I do not deserve any of it. Truly, all praise and thanks belong to Allah (SWT).
However, there remains in my mind a question mark – not necessarily one that has deflated my faith – but one that puzzles me nonetheless. Why does God have to be wrathful? I mean I understand that human wickedness and transgression anger Him, but must they anger Him so much that He has to roast sinners for an eternity in fire? I sometimes wonder what I would do if I were angry with, say, someone who murdered one of my family members (God forbid). I would certainly like to see the perpetrator brought to justice, and I might even want him to experience pain and torture, but for all the punishment I could put him through, I wouldn’t make it eternal. I think my anger at some point — certainly after hearing the person scream and seeing him bleed — would diminish and I would forgive the person. Why does wrath not diminish with God, who is omnimerciful and omnibenevolent?
I know the Qur’an accords a certain amount of praise for those who “when they are angry, even then forgive.” Why would He prescribe such temperance for us and not for Himself in the Hereafter? I know my questions are daring, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on this.
Thank you and God bless,
My dear brother, for a person who has been wronged, no one can be more merciful than him who can grant him justice. Consider the emotion of a rightful person, who knocks at a court of justice only to be awarded a decree of ‘Mercy’ for the criminal. ‘Justice’, in such a situation, is, in fact, the requirement of ‘Mercy’ for the wrongfully deprived. However, if seen from the perspective of the criminal, this ‘Justice’ can be seen as being ‘wrathful’.
In the life of this world, God’s mercy is available to all. In the hereafter too, God shall be merciful for all, except those, who refuse to enter into the folds of His mercy.
As for God’s directive to humans to forgive others, even when they are angry, it relates to the fact that humans can lose their balance in anger. God, on the other hand, never loses His balance. Even when wrathful, God would not subject anyone to a punishment, which is more than what he actually deserved.
I hope this helps.
September 28, 2001