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Chapter 8: Islam A Challenge to Religion

The Law of Requital works unerringly. There is a necessary connection between acts and their effects. Good actions are necessarily rewarded and wrong actions are invariably punished. In social life, however, the connection between a socially approved act and its reward is external and contingent. Let us illustrate this point. A man undertakes to perform a job on the understanding that he will be paid an agreed sum of money on its completion. He may do the work but may not get the reward. His employer may die, become insolvent or prove faithless. On the other hand, the connection between moral actions and their effects is internal and necessary. The effect is on the personality of the doer. If the effect is good, the doer is carried forward towards his goal of self-realisation; if it is bad he is necessarily thrown back. Every moral act works consequential changes in the human personality. These changes may be in the direction of greater integration or of disruption. They may or may not be conducive to "spiritual" health. The requirements of "spiritual" health are different from those of physical health. Suppose a man somehow finds himself in possession of a sum of money and spends it to buy butter and eggs. His health will improve on this nourishing diet. Whether he had honestly earned the money or had stolen it, makes no difference to the effect on his health. But his "spiritual" health is a different matter. It will suffer if the money had been stolen, even if he has put it to a good use. We have, therefore, to distinguish between the physical effects of our actions and their moral effects. The Law of Requital, in the moral sphere, refers exclusively to the moral effects, to the enhancement or deterioration of the human personality. ---  Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parwez