Allahu ta’âlâ imposes punishment in this world as well

Question: A friend of mine asserts, “Allah is free from punishing His slaves on account of their misdeeds. He is not the One who imposes punishment, but the One who is compassionate. Or else which one of us could have respite for a moment from torment?” Therefore, does Allah not punish humans in this world? Does He punish them only after death?
ANSWER
He punishes them in this world, too, and this fact has been communicated in the Qur’ân al-karîm. The âyât (verses) about Hisadhâb (torment, punishment) are more than the âyât about His compassion. Disbelievers said to Hadrat Nûh, “Seeing that Allah imposes punishment, then let He punish us” (Sûrat-u Hûd, 32). In the verses to follow, it has been stated that the Believers boarded the Ship whereas Allah drowned the disbelievers in the water.

(I will punish those disbelievers with the severest torment both in this world and the world to come.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân, 56]

(When they forgot the warnings that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade the doing of evil and inflicted a severe torment on the zâlims because of their disobedience to Allah.) [Sûrat-ul-A’râf, 165]

(The angels said: “O Lût! We are the messengers of your Rabb. They cannot touch you. Set out with your family in the night.” When Our command of torment came, We turned that place upside down and rained stones on them.) [Sûrat-u Hûd, 81-82]

(Has there not come to them the news of those who were before them, of the tribe of Nûh, ‘Âd, and Thamûd, of the tribe of Ibrâhîm, of the dwellers of Madian, and of the subverted cities?)[Sûrat-ut-Tawba, 70]

(If they consider you a liar, know that before them the people of Nûh and ‘Âd and Thamûd and Ibrâhîm and Lût and the dwellers of Madian considered their prophets liars; and Mûsâ was denied, too. But initially I granted respite to the disbelievers, and then I seized them. Let them see how it is to deny Me! We annihilated the dwellers of many a city while they were doing injustice, so that their roofs fell down; their wells were destroyed; their palaces were altogether empty.)
[Sûrat-ul-Hajj, 42-45]

(We razed to the ground ‘Âd, Thamûd, the dwellers of Rass, and many other disbelievers.) [Sûrat-ul-Furqân, 38]

(The dwellers of Aikah and the tribe of Tubba, too, denied their messengers, so My torment befell them.) [Sûrat-u Qaf, 14]

(It is He who annihilated the people of ‘Âd and Thamûd first; who destroyed the tribe of Nûh, who were very deprave; who made the cities of the people of Lût sink deep in earth.)
[Sûrat-un-Najm, 50-53]

(Your Rabb afflicted them with the scourge of torment. For Your Rabb is ever on the watch.) [Sûrat-ul-Fajr, 13-14]

(You know those among you who exceed the limit [by violating the prohibition though they are prohibited from fishing] on Saturday. We said to them “Be despicable apes!” [those who were transformed into apes died after three days.] in order to make it an exemplary punishment for their contemporaries and for succeeding generations and a lesson for those who avoid disobeying Allah.)[Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 65-66]

(We afflicted the family of Pharaoh with years of drought and shortages of crops so that they took a lesson.) [Sûrat-ul-A’râf, 130]

Although those who rejected other prophets ended up with various disasters in this world, the punishment for the rejecters of our master the Prophet is generally delayed until the Hereafter because he is a compassion for the whole creation. For the sake of him this Ummah(community of Believers) is not punished immediately in this world. The purport of an âyah is as follows:
(I do not inflict torment on those disbelievers while you are among them.) [Sûrat-ul-Anfâl, 33]

The disbelievers were making fun of the Messenger of Allah by saying, “Tell your Rabb to immediately inflict His torment upon us.” Because Allahu ta’âlâ predestined, decreed in eternal past that he would create Believers from disbelievers, He declared, “I do not inflict torment on those disbelievers.” For the 33rd âyah of the Anfâl Sûra which purports, “Allah does not inflict torment on them because they beg for forgiveness,” the Islamic scholars say that it means, “I do not inflict torment on them because children who will beg for forgiveness will come from them.” This Ummah is selected. As a matter of fact, the purport of an âyah (verse) is as follows:
(You are the best Ummah that has been brought forth for the good of humankind.)
[Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân, 110]

Also, some ahâdîth relate:
(Do not be oblivious of Allahu ta’âlâ! If it were not for youngsters who are full of khushû’, old people bending for ruku’, grazing animals, suckling babies, then torment upon torment would pour on you.) [Bayhaqî, Tabarânî]

(My Ummah has attained
[Allah’s] mercy. There will be no torment for them in the Hereafter. Earthquakes, disasters, fitnas(instigation, mischief, discord) in this world are counted as atonement for their sins.) [Hâkim]

(If Allahu ta’âlâ has not sent an Ummah the torment [it deserves]yet, then the prices of foodstuffs go up; their life spans decrease; their merchants cannot trade; there is a decline in rainfall; and they are pestered by the evil ones among them.) [Daylamî]

(Allahu ta’âlâ does not send a wholesale torment in return for the misdeeds of a certain group of people. But if the society disregards them though it has power [to prevent their misdeeds],then He punishes all of them. ) [Tabarânî]

(Earthquakes will occur; ten thousand or twenty thousand or thirty thousand people will die. Allahu ta’âlâ makes these deaths compassion for the Believers, torment for the disbelievers.) [Ibn ‘Asâkir]

When our master the Prophet stated, “When my Ummah commit sins, Allahu ta’âlâ sends torment on all of them, he is asked, “Will there not be pious people among them?” Our Prophet answered:
(Yes, there will be; the torment will strike all of them. But the pious ones will attain Allahu ta’âlâ’s forgiveness and approval.)[Imâm-i Ahmad]

(When Allahu ta’âlâ wills a disaster for His slaves, children die; women do not give birth. If there is no one among them worthy of compassion, the disaster strikes them.)
[Shirâzî]

(Disasters keep falling on a Believer himself, his child, and his property until he is purged from all his sins. This state continues until he meets Allah
[until he dies].) [Tirmudhî]

(If a slave cannot reach with his good deeds the grade which was foreordained for him, then Allahu ta’âlâ sends disasters on his self, his family, or his property. He also grants him the patience and endurance in the face of these disasters, so that he can reach the grade Allah foreordained for him in eternal past.)[Bukhârî]

(As they examine the doubtful gold by means of fire, so people are tested by means of disasters.) [Tabarânî]

Disasters and troubles come upon the sinless as well. The higher the grade of a person in the sight of Allah is, the severer his or her afflictions are. The purport of a hadîth-i sharîf:
(The severest disasters come upon prophets. Next they come upon their followers in proportion to their superiority. A person undergoes disasters in proportion to his piety. If he is firm in his religion, the disasters he will undergo will be severe. If he is slack in his religion, his disasters will be in accord with it. A disaster sticks to a slave so much so that it does not abandon him as long as he has sins left.) [Tirmudhî]

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