If Allaah Seals Hearts Then Why Are People Punished

QIf Allaah seals the hearts of people or puts barriers around them so that they cannot see, as He says in Soorah Yaseen, then why will people be punished?

AAllaah SWT is the creator of Nature and the Laws of Nature. He designed those laws the way he wanted the world to operate. As every law of nature is operating exactly as Allaah wanted it to operate and the only reason it is operating that way is because He let it operate that way, Allaah usually attributes the results of their operation to Himself. Instead of saying such and such happened because of the natural results of the laws I had implemented, He just says, ‘I did such and such’. For example:
  • We all know how the rain falls: water vaporizes, rises, forms clouds, condenses and falls down. But, it happens so because Allaah SWT created water with these properties and created the laws of nature that make it possible. Hence, in the Qur-aan, Allaah always attributes rainfall phenomenon to Himself saying, “He sends down rain”.
  • We know how plants and trees grow from seeds when they sprout with the help of the right amount of moisture and temperature, but the Qur-aan says, “It is Allaah who causes seed grain and date stone to split and sprout.” Al-An’aam 6:95
  • We get milk from cattle to drink, but Allaah says, “We give you drink from what is in their bellies … pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” An-Nahl 16:66

Allaah has granted human beings freedom to choose their response to a stimulus. A person can choose to adopt good or bad behaviour at every step of the way in life. He has also made human nature such that whatever path one chooses to follow, that path becomes easy for him. A person’s aptitude grows and intensifies in whatever direction he wants to take it. If a person keeps on doing good things and making the right choices, his personality develops in that direction and good behaviour becomes easier for him. On the other hand, if a person insists on doing wrong, he gets more deeply entrenched in his wrong attitude. Whatever path a person chooses to stays on, that path becomes his natural way. That is how we form habits and become conditioned to certain patterns of behaviour. Also, that is why the more time and effort we spend on a certain hobby, project or activity, the more interesting and enjoyable it becomes for us.

Now, if a person closes his mind because of his own biases, prejudices, jealousies, and other negative emotions, he cannot understand a different point of view regardless of how true and reasonable that point is. On top of that, if the person starts defending his own stance and arguing and fighting for it, he becomes more and more fixated on his position. In his insistence on his opinion and in his efforts to justify it, a point comes when he does not accept the other point of view even if it is clearly evident and proven without doubt. That is a stage when you can say that the heart and mind of the person is sealed.

Although it is a person’s own negative and closed-minded attitude towards Truth that causes this condition, Allaah attributes it to Himself just as He does with the outcomes of other laws of nature.
The benefit of using this style of description is to show the Majesty of Allaah as the Creator of the nature which we are all bound by. Also, it is to underscore the deprival they should feel for losing touch with reality. It is to show that insisting on the wrong is not something they should be proud of. It is a curse of Allaah that they have imposed upon themselves.

This clarification helps in providing the answer for the question: Why are people punished? People are punished for making the wrong choices i.e., instead of forming opinions or making decisions on the basis of principles, they base them on motives such as biases, self interest, jealousy, etc.; as well as for insisting on the wrong; not thinking openly; not looking at all the sides of the issue; justifying their mistakes; digging their heels in; and, making all those mistakes that harden them on their wrong positions.


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