Today’s Qur’an passage brings us the revolting idea that the supreme being created people solely in order to torture them for all eternity:
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. (Qur’an 7:179)
These unbelievers are entirely bestial, “like livestock.” And they are indeed created in order to drink molten lead and suffer the other tortures of hell: the Qadaris of early Islamic history held that mankind had free will, and was thus capable of choosing to do good or evil. Their opponents maintained that Allah determined everything. While both sides had abundant Qur’anic citations to support their views, eventually Muslim authorities condemned Qadarism as a heresy, as it restricted Allah’s absolute sovereignty over all things. Thus those who reject faith do so because Allah wills it, as per this verse, not because they have free choice. Says the Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir: “Whomever Allah has written to be miserable, they shall never find anyone to guide them to happiness, and whomever Allah directs to misguidance, he shall never find anyone to guide him.” (A good brief overview of the Qadari controversy can be found in the renowned Islamic scholar Ignaz Goldziher’s Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law.)
Incidentally, the passage that Hamas-linked CAIR recently featured on deceptive subway and bus ads follows not long after this: “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant” (Qur’an 7:199) — or, as the Sahih International translation has it, “Take what is given freely, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” It is noteworthy that according to one early Muslim authority, Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, “Allah commanded [Prophet Muhammad ] to show forgiveness and turn away from the idolators for ten years. Afterwards Allah ordered him to be harsh with them.”
As we shall soon see.