Justice of God

Does God reject my dua if I eat haram food?


I recently had a nice conversation with a few brothers regarding the topic of haram (forbidden) food and its effects on consumers.

Furthermore, there is hadith which explain that haram food consumption results in deprivation of the acceptance of dua (supplications) for 40 days.

The Prophet (s) said: “The prayers of whoever eats one bite of a forbidden meal shall not be accepted for forty nights and his calls and supplications shall not be recognized for forty days. Flesh grown from a forbidden meal deserves to be burnt in Fire.” – Safinat ul-Bihar, v.1, p.24

However, my question is: how is it possible if a momin (who has full knowledge of haram and halal food and always remains cautious about what he consumes) somehow by pure mistake consumes haram food and due to just that mistake Allah deprives him from the recognition of duas?

How can Allah deprive a momin from his weapon (as in Dua Kumayl) in this wilderness just because of one mistake?

Is this considered Justice?



Such discussions with the brothers are very healthy and God willing shall lead to more Islamic education.

Please consider the following points in answer to your question:

1. That hadith you cited is for those who eat haram food deliberately, not mistakenly or unknowingly.

2. Although sinning does inevitably have such side effects, such narrations are more to deter people – especially believers who care about their Salat and Du’a.

3. When a sin is committed deliberately it should not be regarded minor, rather, we should consider the Great God we have disobeyed. Thus, it is only just that he will be punished greatly for his audacity. A man asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about a mouse that had dropped dead in his big pot of food? The holy Imam Said: He should not consume that food anymore. The man said: That’s too much for a small animal! The Imam replied: Don’t look at the size of the animal, look at the Greatness of your Creator if you disobey Him over a pot of food!

Similarly, the Holy Prophet (s) said to Abudar: ‘O Abudar! Don’t ever look at a minor sin, rather look at the Greatness of the One you disobeyed.” (Al-Amali, Tousi, p.528)

4. There is also a continuation to the Hadith you quoted on the negative effect of haram food, which says: “And whoever eats one morsel of Halal food, the Almighty God will illuminate his heart.”

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

For more Q&As on food and drink in Islam, please see here

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God’s justice & knowledge, free will, & whether God creates us for either hell or heaven?


This issue about free will always arises and feels like it contradicts with God being all-knowing and just. Does God know whether we go to heaven or Hell before he creates us? If so, then how is God just when he creates us even though we will end up in Hell? If not, then how is God all-knowing?


God is aware of the choices we will make in this life. However, He is aware that we will make all these choices through our own free will. Just because God knows what we will choose, this does not detract from our free will. For example, if you are standing on the roof of a high building and you see two cars approaching from different streets and know they are about to crash, and then they do crash, your knowledge of this event does not detract from the free will of the two drivers and it is not your fault that they crashed. Similarly, God knowing what we will choose does not force us to choose one way or another. So our actions are done through our own free will, and therefore we are liable to being punished or rewarded for them, and accordingly God, in His Justice, rewards or punishes us.

God does not create people for Hell, but it is part of a perfect system of creation that free will should exist. It is easy to imagine that a world without free will would be a meaningless world, and so part of the perfection of the system of creation is the presence of free will. Free will then means that some people will choose the wrong path and end up in Hell through their own choices. To not give these people life in the first place would detract from the perfect system of creation, and it would mean God would only create good people who go to heaven, and this again would mean no free will and an imperfect system.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

If someone converts to Islam freely, why do they thank God for an action they did themselves?


A brother questioned me today as to why we say “Thank God I’m Muslim”. Does it imply that Allah made us Muslims? In this case, he made people kafir (disbelievers) aswell. But this violates the idea of Justice and free will. So then if converts choose Islam totally on their own, why do they thank Allah for an action they did all on their own?


As with all our actions, there are multiple causes contributing to one effect. The final cause of our actions is usually our free will and choice. However, there are many other causes along the way, some of them being God giving us the ability to choose, facilitating us to make the right choice through his Divine help, and protecting us from factors that would overwhelmingly influence us to make the wrong choice.

Generally, once a person begins to make good choices that will bring them close to God, Allah (swt) will facilitate for them to continue coming closer to Him through the above factors. This is why we thank God or praise Him for being Muslims, because even though it is ultimately our choice, Allah (swt) facilitated that process of choosing Islam for us through His Divine Assistance. This is what is often called ‘tawfiq’, as this ‘tawfiq’ from God is essential for all our good choices.

“and my success (tawfiq) is not except by Allah” (The Holy Qur’an, 11:88)

So God does not make people Muslim or kafir, but he helps them along a path of good if they make good choices, and leaves them on a path to evil if they repeatedly reject Him, are stubborn, and make wrong choices based on desire.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What does Islam say about free will and determinism/predestination?


What does Islam say about free will and determinism/predestination? Is there a contradiction?


Shi’a theologians following the teachings of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) reject both the dogma of absolute determinism as well as absolute free will. They believe in a matter in between. That means man has a free will in the matter of his actions although his free will is by divine decree. Because God is the ultimate and independent cause of all causes it is correct to relate all that exists to God (monotheism in acts). Similarly, because God has granted man free will in his actions, it is also correct to relate the actions of man to his own choice. For instance, God states in the Quran that He is Sustainer of all that is in the earth (11:6) and at the same time holds man responsible for the sustanence of his family (2:233).

Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “Whatever that you could blame man for it, is his action and whatever you could not blame him for it, is the act of God. God blames man for drinking alcohol, committing adultery etc. Thus, these are the acts of man. However, God does not blame man why he is sick or why his skin colour is black or fair. Thus, these are the acts of God.” [Beharul-Anwaar vol.5 p.58].

The Imam was also asked about the meaning of ‘a matter in between’. His reply was: “The example of it is, if you see a man committing a sin and you advise him to refrain from it, yet he does not pay any heed to your advice. Surely, just because he didn’t listen to you, it cannot be said that you forced him to sin.” [Ibid, p.83]

Imam Hadi (a.s) quoting from Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “People with regards to ‘destiny’ are of three categories: The first is the one who assumes that Allah has given full authority to him. This (person) has weakened God in His kingdom, thus, he is perished. The second is the one who assumes that God has forced people to sin and He has held them responsible over things that they have no power over. This (person) is unfair to God in His judgment, thus he is perished. The third is the one who assumes God has held people responsible for what they do and does not hold them responsible for what they have no power over. Then when he does something good, he praises God and when he does something evil, he seeks God’s forgiveness. This (person) is a mature Muslim.”

A Muslim should also believe that the decree of God on the matters that are beyond one’s choice, is always eventually beneficial for a believer. The Prophet of Islam (P) once so smiled that his blessed molar teeth were shown. The Messenger of God was asked for his smile. He replied: “I wonder about the affairs of a Muslim that there is no divine decree about him but eventually it will be to his benefit.”

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What is the concept of evil according to the Quran and hadiths, does it exist or not?


What is the concept of evil, does it exist or not? I have read the book ‘Divine Justice’ by Shaheed Mutahari, and in it he gives a logical answer, saying  that evil is the absence of good, but do we have any Ayaat or hadiths to back this up?


The Almighty Allah in Surat Ar-Ra’d Ayah 16 states: و الله خالق کل شیء, which means that He is the Creator of everything. Also, God says: الذی احسن کل شیء خلقه (Sajda, Ayah 7): He who made everything He has created good. The conclusion is that all that exists is good. Thus, if we say something is evil, it is the lack of a good. For instance, ailment is the lack of health, etc.

The term ‘evil’ in the Quran and the Ahadith is usually used to refer to wrong belief or practice. So, they are not meant in their philosophical sense as Shahid Motahari refers to.

Consider the following examples:

1. و من شر ما خلق : which means I seek refuge with Allah from the evil acts of His creatures, such as gossiping, murdering etc, that are the evil acts of humans.

2. The Prophet (P) said: انما الخیر ما ارید به وجه الله و عُمل علی ما امره الله، و اما ما ارید به الریاء و السمعۀ هو الشر الخالص. ) الاحتجاح 1:45):”Good is that by which God’s pleasure is sought, and which is done according to the commands of God. As for that which is done to show off or gain reputation, this is pure evil” (Al-Ihtijaj, 1:45).

3. In the famous Hadith of the host of intellect and ignorance, Kofr, oppression, and sins are referred to as evil such as:اسرع الشر عقوبۀ البغی, “The evil which is punished most quickly is oppression”.

Evil is also used in the Quran and Ahadith to refer to what we assume is evil. That is similar to what philosophers say that evil is a relative concept, not an absolute one. For example, the biting of a snake is good and a defence mechanism for itself, but for the one who is bitten, it is regarded as evil. Or we regard something evil due to its immediate discomfort, although on the long run, it provides us a lot of comfort and hence will be good. The same applies to so-called good.

The Almighty Allah states:

و عسی أن تکرهوا شیئا و هو خیر لکم وعسی ان تحبوا شیئا و هو شر لکم و الله یعلم و انتم لاتعلمون, “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know”(Surat al-Baqarah, 216).Also Imam Ali (a.s.) in his final will to his son says: و ما خییر بخیر بعده النار و ما شر بشر بعده الجنۀ. “There is no good in a ‘good’ thing whose consequence is Hell, and there is no evil in an ‘evil’ whose consequence is Heaven”.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Is it true that Islam says that all non-Muslims are going to hell?


People have told me that it is unfair how Islam says that non-Muslims are all going to hell, regardless of whether or not they have done good deeds in this world. Why is this fair? Shouldn’t they be rewarded for their good deeds, and how are they supposed to know about Islam if they were born and raised in a non-Muslim family?


In short, according to the Holy Quran and the principles of Islam, only the following people will end up in hell:

– People who deny the existence of God and thus do not worship Him, are denying the most obvious truth, and so there is no place for them in paradise.

– People who learn the truth about Islam but reject it because of worldly desires, arrogance, or whims.

As for people who believe in other divine religions and are good people, and who never learnt the truth about Islam, they will be rewarded for their good deeds and can end up in heaven.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

For more information, you can refer to the lectures of Sheikh Mansour Leghaei, one of the prominent panelists on this website, who has dealt with this issue in length in his series titled ‘Journey to the Unseen World’ Vol.1 lessons 17 to 20.

Given all the problems and evils in the world, how can we say that God is Just?!


There are various types of unpleasant events happening in the world. As a result of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and so forth, hundreds and thousands of people die every year. A variety of diseases, calamities, plagues, droughts etc. kill many human beings as well as animals and plants. Many deformed children are born every day who will suffer throughout their entire life. Many criminals are freely committing different types of crimes and no-one stops them. Millions of innocent people were killed during the 1st and the 2nd World Wars, as they are still being killed in different parts of the world.

The question now is, how can the knowledgeable and Merciful God let all these disasters happen? Given all these and many such catastrophes of life, how can we assert that God is Just?!


Among all of God’s Attributes of Action, the divine Attribute of Justice (al-Adl) is given special attention by theologians to the extent that Shiite Muslims have considered it as part of their fundamental beliefs. The issue of the Justice of God is related to so many other Islamic issues such as believing in God, monotheism or dualism, types of rewards or punishments in the hereafter, free will or determinism and philosophy of religious rites, etc. Thus, believing in or denying the Justice of God will determine one’s perspective of the world.

Important Points to Consider:

1. Man’s limited knowledge:

God is All-wise, and behind every seemingly evil there are goodly benefits, although man with his limited knowledge may not be able to discover them. Thus, he should accuse his knowledge, not his Creator. “And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.” [17:85]. The best example of this limited knowledge is described in the story of Prophet Moses (P) and the learned man (Kedhr) [The Quran 18:65-82].

2. Difference not discrimination:

Among the creation of God there are differences, but there is no discrimination. Discrimination is to differentiate between two people who are in the same situation, and the same condition. For instance, to give them the same job under the same condition, but with a different payment. What we have in the universe is difference, not discrimination. In fact, the world we live in is an amazing collection of different beings, species, talents, sexes, desires, etc. to fulfil different purposes. “We have created all things with measure.” [54:49], “Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.”[20:50].

3. Self- Made Problems:

Many catastrophes are taking place in our lives, of which we are their cause. Nevertheless, in order for us to exonerate ourselves, we turn around and blame God!

4. Divine Punishment:

Some of the catastrophes in our lives are, in fact, the effect of our own evil deeds. “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.” [42:30]. It is also narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Those who die because of their sins are more than those who die because their lives ended, and those who live because of their good deeds are more than those who live because of their natural lives.” [Behar 5:140].

5. Awakening Catastrophes:

Some of the bitter experiences aim to awaken people. Pride and egoism is the cause for many crimes. Man ought to acknowledge that he is weak and needy, or else he will corrupt enormously. “And indeed We punished the people of Pharaoh with years of drought and shortness of fruits, that they might take heed.” [7:130].

6. Testing:

Divine trials are one of the purposes of man’s creation. In the furnace of trials people demonstrate their potentials and present their skills. It is only then that the patient from the impatient, and the sincere from the hypocrites, and thankful from the thankless people will be separated. “If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you.” [5:48].

7. Acknowledging the Blessings:

In general, man forgets the blessings of God when in a state of constant happiness. The blessing of health wouldn’t be so much appreciated if there were no sickness at all. The blessing of living in such a peaceful planet, despite its high speed rotation, wouldn’t be acknowledged if there were no earth tremors at all.

8. Purification of sins:

Catastrophes of life are also the means of purification for the sinful believers. It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Sickness for a believer is a (means of) purification and mercy, and punishment and cursing for a disbeliever. Surely, an illness stays with a believer until there is no more sin on him.” [Thawabul-A’mal, p.429].

9. God Compensates:

Difficulties and catastrophes are part of the nature of this world. However, the Almighty God will surely compensate those who were patient and grateful with His abundant blessings in Paradise. Imam Sadiq (a.s) said about those who were afflicted with calamities yet were thankful and patient: “God will compensate them so much that if they were given the opportunity to come back to this world to experience those difficulties again, they would prefer to come to gain more rewards.” [Behar 3:71].

10. What is Good and what is Evil?

Something may be good for a person, and evil for another. Something can be good for humans and evil for animals and so forth. The sting of insects and the venom of poisonous animals and plants are their defence mechanism and tools of catching food. Besides, many of their poisons also have some medical benefits for humans, such as antibiotics. Nevertheless, their poison may kill some other species. We need to remember that it’s their world too. But their lives disrupted, their space invaded, their safety threatened and their world is usurped by man and yet we consider them evil! Thus, evils are relative, not real.

Volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and such natural disasters, are given the name ‘disasters’ whilst ignoring their beneficial aspects. From a geological point of view, all are beneficial and vital in providing life on the surface of the planet Earth. This means that without them occurring, no living creatures would be able to live on the surface of the Earth.

Moreover, these so called natural disasters have yielded economic resources for humans too. Zinc, copper, lead and many other metals are found as a result of volcanic activities, to the extent that volcanic areas have nowadays become important sources of geothermal energy, as in New Zealand. Thus, we ought to look at the bigger picture.

Questioning the Justice of God, in fact, rises up as a result of the pride of man, that he wants to put himself in the centre of the universe while ignoring other beings, or as a result of the non-intellectual approach to events, assuming that perfection of life means gaining without facing any difficulties, which is an unrealistic way of thinking.

In the community of faithful people, existence is equal to good, as non-existence is evil. God worshippers, therefore, are the most optimistic people and hence they enjoy the blessing of life.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei