In how many courts is a person tried for his/her acts?

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Because the issue of life after death and the great trial of the Resurrection seems to be a new point for a human being who is imprisoned in this limited world, God gives a small example of that Trial in this very world, which is called the sense of conscience. But recall that we have said that this is but a small example of the real thing. Let us express this issue in more clear terms: A human being is tried in several courts for the sins that he or she commits. The first Court is that very normal one of humanity, including all of its deficiencies and ineffectiveness. Even if the existence of this normal court has a striking effect in the reducing of the punishment, but the basis of this court is such that it never can be expected that complete justice be given. The reason for this is that if incorrect laws and unrighteous judges find their way into them, the result is obvious - bribery, collusion, special relations, political games and thousands of other problems to make it so ineffective that it must be said its nonexistence is better than its being because its existence allows for the evil goals of the interested parties. If its laws are just and its judges are aware and with piety, there are still many things which can cause the ineffectiveness because they are very skilled at hiding themselves. Or else so fix the file and pages in the court that the hands of the judge are tied and the law is then made effective. The second court, which is more precise and exact, is the Court of Retribution of Deeds. Our deeds have an effect which, over a short period of time, or in the long run, will take hold of us. Even though this may not be a general rule, it is true for most people. We have seen political rules which are based oppression; they did whatever they wanted to do, but, finally they fell into that very trap which they had made for themselves. The reaction to their deeds took hold of them. They were destroyed and only curses remain for them. Because the retribution for deeds is the very relation between cause and effect and objective-subjective ties, there are few people who can flee from it by trying to cover over their deeds. The only ineffectiveness of this court is that it is not universal, complete and common to all and because of this, it does not make us needless of the Great Judgment of the Resurrection. The third court which is more precise and exact is the court of the conscience. In truth, just as the constellations and the planets have such a wondrous sense of order, on a much smaller scale, it is summarized in the heart of an atom, we can say that the Court of Judgment also has a small model in our inner being. Within the being of the human being, there is a mystery which the philosophers call the ‘practical intellects the Holy Quran calls the ‘nafs lawwamah’, the reproaching soul and today we interpret as meaning the conscience. Just as good or evil deeds may be performed by a human being, this court is quickly called to order, without any commotion, but very serious and based in principle. It begins the trial and the results of the trial are in the form of punishments or rewards which are psychological. Sometimes they so punish the criminal with a whip and torture his spirit that he openly welcomes death and he prefers it to life. He writes in his will, “I have attempted suicide to be freed from the pressure of my conscience.” Sometimes, before a good deed, a person is so encouraged that he or she senses a greater degree of calm and peace within the self, a peace which is indescribable and cannot be expressed in any words. This court has certain particularities: 1. In this court, the judge, the witnesses and the executor of the ruling, as well as the spectators, are all one person. It is that very energy of the conscience which bears witness, judges and then rolls up its sleeves and carries out the ruling. 2. As opposed to the normal courts which are full of chaos and commotion, and sometimes take several years to end, the trial of this court is like lightening and does not require a great deal of normal time. Of course, sometimes, in order to prove a document, there is the necessity for time for the crime and the curtains of negligence to be removed from the eyes of the heart, but after presenting the documents, the ruling is immediate and cannot be changed. 3. The ruling of this court is one phase. There is normally not any higher court to turn to. 4. This court does not just give punishments but it also gives rewards to those who know what their duty is. Thus it is a court in which both the good and the bad are tried and they receive punishment or rewards in accordance with their deeds. 5. The punishments of this court are not in the least bit similar to the punishments of other courts. In the outside, it would appear that there is no prison, no whip, no noose, not fire but sometimes they burn from within and are put in prison in the world in such a way that they prefer death to living in it. It is narrower than a solitary confinement cell in a prison. At any rate, this court is not like the courts of this world but is similar to the Court of the Day of Judgment. The greatness of this court is so great that the Quran swears by it and is placed beside the Court of the Day of Judgment. It says,﴿لااُقْسِمُ بِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ * وَلا أُقْسِمُ بِالنَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ * أَيَحْسَبُ الانسانُ أَلَّن نَجْمَعَ عِظامَهُ * بَلى قَادِرِينَ عَلى أَن نُّسوِّىَ بَنَانَهُ﴾“By the Resurrection Day and by the self-reproaching soul. Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers.” (75:1-4) Of course, in spite of all of the conditions of this Court, because it is a court of this world, it does not make us needless of the Court of the Day of Judgment because: 1. The realm of all consciences is not the same and it depends upon the realms of thought and discernment of each individual. 2. It can happen that a skilled, deceitful person can even fool his or her conscience. 3. Sometimes the cry of the conscience of sinners grows so weak that it cannot be heard. It is because of this that the need for the Court on the Day of Judgment becomes clear.


Ref: Fifty Lessons of Principles of Belief for Youths; Ayt. Makarem Shirazi; Translated by: Bahador Shirazian; Published by: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly

The opinions expressed in this text do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher

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