DARS-UL QUR’AN: TRANSITION TO ETERNAL LIFE IN RELATION TO SURAH AN-NISA [4:41]

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In the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful

{إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا } (النساء 41)

“Surely Allah wrongs not anyone by the weight of an atom. And if there be a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.

Hazrat Musleh Maod (ra) said in relation to this verse that, “No good deed, done even by a disbeliever, goes unrewarded. If the good deeds of disbelievers do not make them deserving of salvation, they at least serve to mitigate the severity and lessen the duration of their punishment. In fact, wherever the Quran says that the deeds of disbelievers will not avail them, it means either that they will not succeed in their efforts against the truth or that their deeds will be of no help to them in securing for them admission into Heaven. The reward promised in this verse is of two kinds: firstly, the direct result of one’s good acts; and secondly, their indirect consequence in the form of God’s pleasure.

The Promised Messiah (as) said with regards to the subject under discussion that, ‘One of the effects of the practical ordinances of the law is that a person who follows the true law progressively recognizes the rights of his fellow beings and exercises his faculties of equity, and benevolence, and true sympathy, on their proper occasions. Such a one shares with his fellow beings, according to their respective ranks, the bounties with which God has favored him, like knowledge, understanding, wealth and means of comfort. He sheds his light like the sun upon the whole of mankind, and like the moon, acquiring light from God conveys it to others. Being illumined like the day he shows the paths of virtue and goodness to others, and like the night he covers up their weaknesses and provides comfort for those who are weary. Like the sky, he provides shelter under his shade for everyone who is in need and pours down the rain of grace at its proper time. Like the earth, out of utter humility, he becomes like a floor for everyone’s comfort and gathers them close to afford them security, and offers them diverse types of spiritual fruits. Thus, he who adheres to the perfect law discharges his obligations to God and to his fellow-creatures to the utmost. He loses himself in God and becomes a true servant of His creatures.

This is the effect of the practical ordinances of the law on his life here. Their effect in the hereafter is that a person who adheres to them will observe his spiritual relationship with God as manifest reality. The service that he rendered to God’s creatures out of his love for God, which was stimulated by his faith, and his yearning for righteous action, will be manifested to him as the trees and rivers of paradise.

While explaining the condition of the man with regards to the reward and punishment in relation to our deeds in this life transcending to the life after, Allah says;

{وَكُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَائِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كِتَابًا يَلْقَاهُ مَنْشُورًا (14) اقْرَأْ كِتَابَكَ كَفَى بِنَفْسِكَ الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ حَسِيبًا } (الإسراء 14-15)

And every man’s works have We fastened to his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open.

‘Read thy book. Sufficient is thy own soul this day as a reckoner against thee.

With regards to this verse Hazrat Musleh Maod (ra) expounds;

The words, every man’s works have We fastened to his neck, meaning that no work of man goes in vain; every action of his must bear some fruit, good or bad. The fastening of the work to the neck of a man denotes that his actions will stick to him permanently and their effects will cling to him as long as he lives. The word طائر (lit. bird) has been very appropriately used here for the actions of man in order to denote that just as a bird flies away and becomes hidden from the eye, so does a man very often seem to forget his actions, but they remain fastened to his neck with a cord-like a bird which is secured from flying away by a string tied around its neck; and therefore, even if they seem to fly away and become hidden from his view, man’s connection with them never ceases and one day he has to reap the fruits thereof. The word طائر has also been used to draw attention to the fact that if a long string were tied to the leg of a bird and it was let off to fly away, it can fly to the extreme length of the string. The same is the case with the actions of man. Sometimes they appear to be of little significance, yet their effects are far-reaching and permanent. The verse warns man to be very careful about his actions. He is reminded that since a deed once done cannot be undone and has far-reaching effects and, even if hidden from the human eye, still remains attached to the doer’s neck, it is clear that it is impossible to obliterate it. We should, therefore, be on our guard against hasty and careless actions because sooner or later we are bound to reap their consequences. The Quran says, Whoso does good an atom’s weight will see it, and whoso does evil an atom’s weight will also see it (99:8, 9). These verses, however, should not be understood to mean that repentance is denied to man. The door of repentance is always open but man’s moral and spiritual lapses, even though they may be forgiven, leave a more or less lasting imprint on his spiritual progress. He lags behind those who are not guilty of such lapses unless he makes a special effort to make up the deficiency. The effects of sins must linger on. The discovery of ethereal waves has confirmed the great truth enunciated about 1,400 years ago by Islam that even the smallest motion causes a stir in the air which goes on enlarging and widening. So we should be very careful about our actions because every deed like a seed grows into a big tree without our knowing it. The verse may also be taken to mean that man augurs good or evil from outside things while his good or bad augury is inseparably linked to his own neck. The words, fastened to his neck, have been used deliberately and with a purpose. When a man does a good deed, he raises his head with pride while with the commission of an evil one he hangs his head in shame. So the word ‘neck’ has been used here to bring home to him the fact that he himself is his own judge. If he feels that he can raise his head with pride before his associates and friends, he should conclude that he is on the right path but if his head hangs in shame, he must know that he is going to rack and ruin. The words, which he will find wide open, mean that the effect of man’s deeds will begin to manifest itself. It will not remain only like a seed but will grow and develop into a big tree and later bear fruit.

The expression, Read thy book, used figuratively means, “take thy punishment”. The words, Sufficient is thy own soul this day as a reckoner against thee, clearly show that punishment is not something that comes from outside but it takes its birth within man himself. In fact, the punishments and rewards of Heaven and Hell will only be so many embodiments and representations of the deeds, good or bad, of man. Thus in this life man is the architect of his own destiny and in the next, he will be his own rewarder or punisher.

Finally, I will end this dars with hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw) giving an incited on how to have a good ending. It was narrated Hazrat Hudhaifa (ra) that Allah’s Messenger (saw) said to us, “Al-Amanah (the trust or the moral responsibility or honesty, and all the duties which Allah has ordained) descended from the heavens and settled in the roots of the hearts of men (faithful believers), and then the Qur’an was revealed and the people read the Qur’an, (and learnt it from it) and also learnt it from the  Sunna  (Practices of the Holy Prophet (saw) ) [Both the Qur’an and As-Sunnah strengthened their (the faithful believers’) Al-A mãnah.” So let us hold to the Injunction of the Holy Quran, Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw) explanation of the ardent lover of the Holy Prophet (saw) to find solace and happiness in the hereafter. May Allah make it easy for every one of us. Amen