By Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari
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Whether the intention is to show off and fulfil one’s selfish instincts or whether the intention is altruistic and unselfish, from a societal point of view a charitable institution has come into being. The ruling of history with regard to people’s actions is always from this aspect and in view of this particular dimension. History has no concern with people’s intentions. ” However, in ascertaining an action’s actor-related goodness, our attention doesn’t go to the societal and external effect of the action.
35 ISLAM AND RELIGIOUS PLURALISM Two Ways of Thinking Normally, those with an intellectual inclination say with certainty that there is no difference between a Muslim and nonMuslim, and even between a monotheist and non-monotheist; whoever performs a good deed, a service like establishing a charitable organization or an invention or something else, deserves recompense from God. They say that God is Just, and a God who is Just does not discriminate among His servants. What difference does it make for God whether His servant recognizes Him or not or believes in Him or not?
If one knows God, one’s action and one’s self will ascend towards God, and if one doesn’t know God one will not ascend. In other words, it makes no difference for God, but it does make a difference for the action. In one case, the action will be a living, ascending action, and in the other case it will be a dead, descending action. They say that God, who is Wise and Just, will certainly not nullify the good deeds of a person on account of not having a relationship of friendship with Him. We too believe that God will not nullify them, but we must see whether a person who doesn’t recognize God actually performs a good deed that is good both in its effect and its relation to its doer, good both from the aspect of the societal order as well as from the doer’s spiritual aspect.