on that account be at all happy, for it is not the punishment but the sin which causes misery. On the contrary, like
a son whose father always passes over his faults and wickednesses, man would in that case grow worse and more miserable.
Therefore, even from the standpoint of love and mercy, it is necessary that God's wrath should fall upon sinners. In
short it is quite clear from what has been said that the fancy that God will not punish sin but will at once pardon it
is quite false, devoid of foundation, and opposed to God's justice and holiness and to His law and commandments, besides
being confuted by our own experience and by all the misery, disease, pain, sorrow and death, which in this world are
among the baneful results and the natural consequences of sin. Hence such a wrong opinion will commend itself to those
people only who are totally devoid of all true knowledge of what a heinous thing sin really is in itself, and who are
equally far from all realization of God's justice and holiness. Such men, deeming sin a trifling thing and of no
importance, fancy that God is feeble and imperfect like man and, therefore, does not hate and punish it.
Since it has now been clearly proved that God, even on account of His mercy, will not forgive sin, nay rather that,
in accordance with His justice, he will inflict on the sinner proper and condign punishment, therefore the man who is in
search of salvation will possibly be led by reason to the supposition that perhaps God will accept an expiation
for sin, as men do, and will on account of it dispense with inflicting punishment on the sinner and will pardon him.
Accordingly, on this supposition, the question arises, 'What expiation
(كفارة) is there or can there be, such that the just
and holy God will accept it, and on account of it will forgive all sin? Where is such an expiation to be found?' Man is
absolutely confounded by this question and unable to answer it, nor does his reason help him in the matter. Reason makes
only this much clear, that the offering of money, of property, or of animal sacrifices, and such things as these, cannot
in God's sight be an expiation for sin; for what value will God attach to them, and how will these things form an
equivalent or a satisfaction for sin in the eyes of His infinite justice? Even some ancient philosophers admitted that
their intellect was too feeble and defective to solve the problem, and said that they could not tell what expiation
would please God, though some of them made certain suggestions in accordance with their own opinion and fancy. In fact,
in regard to this important subject his reason leads man to the supposition that perchance repentance and good works may
be a requital and expiation for sin, and that on account of these things God may forgive sin and once more accept the
sinner into favour. But no one can, on the ground of reason, affirm even this much with certainty.