This question pertains to the following ayat:

And it is He who has made you successors upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.
Qur'an 6:165

And [mention] when your Lord declared that He would surely [continue to] send upon them until the Day of Resurrection those who would afflict them with the worst torment. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.
Qur'an 7:167

There may be other similar ayat that I haven't cited.

If I understand correctly, the first ayah above is in the context of the Prophet Muhammad, and generally applies to all people. The second ayah is in the context of the people of Prophet Moses, some of whom were transformed into apes as a punishment (Qur'an 7:166), where indeed the penalty was immediate (i.e., prior to the the Day of Judgment).

I'm not clear on what it means to be "swift in penalty" here. For Allah, notions of time (and thus what it means to be "swift") may be radically different to human notions of time. Also, after becoming deceased, we may not experience time at all.

Question: What does Allah being "swift in penalty" mean to today's Muslims?

  • I was leaving my house in a rush. My father parked his car in front of our house. I was late. I didn't stop to say "Salam father". Before leaving the alley, I ran into another car. <-- 'swift in penalty'. I think you're thinking too much of this. Swift means swift. It can happen the very next second or next day. Generally speaking in this world others would know you got what you deserved. It won't be postponed to afterlife ie there won't be any ambiguity. Can you clarify how you're looking for a different answer. It's not clear to me
    – Thaqalain
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:25


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