• If you were to ask: The sin of unbelief persists a short time but its punishment is eternal and unending; how is this conformable with divine justice? And if one does accept this, how is it consistent with pre-eternal wisdom? And if one accepts this even, how does dominical compassion permit it?
You would be told: If one accepts that the penalty is infinite, it is established that unbelief perpetrated in finite time is in six respects a crime of infinite proportions:
Firstly: The person who dies an unbeliever will remain as such even if he lives to all eternity, for he has corrupted the very substance of his spirit. And his corrupted heart has the propensity to commit infinite crimes.
Secondly: Even if unbelief occurs in finite time, it is an infinite crime and gives the lie to infinity, I mean, it denies the whole universe, which testifies to divine unity.
Thirdly: Unbelief is ingratitude for infinite bounties.
Fourthly: Unbelief is a crime against infinity; that is, the divine essence and attributes.
Fifthly: As [indicated by] the Hadith: “The heavens and earth contain me not, yet I am contained in the heart of the believer,”1 the human conscience is in regard to its outer face limited and finite, but by virtue of its reality the roots of its inner face spread and extend to eternity. In this respect therefore it is infinite. Unbelief however sullies it and it dwindles away.
Sixthly: Although opposites stubbornly resist each other, they are similar in many instances. Thus, on the one hand belief yields the fruits of the delights of Paradise, and on the other unbelief produces everlasting suffering and pain.
It may be concluded therefore if one puts these six aspects together that infinite punishment fits the infinite crime and is pure justice.
• If you were to ask: So it is conformable with justice, but what about wisdom, which is exempt from creating evils that result in punishment?
You would be told: As you have heard before, a greater good should not be abandoned due to the interspersion of lesser evil, for that would be a greater evil. This is because divine wisdom necessitates the existence of relative truths, which are far more numerous that actual truths; and their appearance is possible only through the existence of evil; and evil can be
al-‘Ajlūnī, Kashf al-Khafā’, ii, 195. For details, see, Nursi, Ishārāt al-I‘jāz [Iḥ̣sān Qāsim], 86.