Ayat no. 63-65
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
This is the hell with which you were threatened. Enter into it this day because you disbelieved. On that day We will set a seal upon their mouths, and their hands shall speak to Us, and their feet shall bear witness of what they earned. (36:63-65)
Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! that you should not serve the Shaitan?
Meaning, O people! Did I not take promise from you that you will not worship Satan?
By this is meant either the ethereal world or it is an oath taken through knowledge and nature. Or it may mean the covenant obtained by God from the prophets and divine books, particularly through the Holy Quran and the last Prophet Muhammad (‘s). Anyone who accepts Quran must know that monotheism or worship of Only One God is the foremost condition.
Muslim is one who has vowed that he will worship Only One God; that he will not worship the desires of his heart or the Satan. He will not obey but the commands of Only One God.
This is the Straight Path, which means monotheism, the worship of none or nothing but Only One God.
And certainly he led astray numerous people from among you.
This is mentioned so that the hearer may hate Satan worship. God says, “By all means and in every way, Satan has misguided many people before you. So will you not take lesson?” Will you not think over it? Will you not look in front of you and observe how many people are led astray by the devil? Remember the fate of the people of Aad, Thamood, Lut, Pharaoh and Nuh.
How many people are there about whom everyone knows that they fell in Satan’s trap and died faithless; who spent their life in sins following their desires and passions and became losers both in this world and in the Hereafter.
Instead of making life long efforts to gather wealth only to leave it behind and then feel ashamed, O man! You should spend your life in worshipping God and in earning virtues and making good use of wealth. O intelligent man! Take lesson.
This is the hell with which you were threatened.
This is the same hell about which you were warned.
According to a narration related from Imam Sadiq (‘a) hell has a hundred thousand ropes and that every rope is in the hands of a hundred thousand angels.1 One hundred thousand angels are pulling hell towards the field of Grand gathering. What a frightening scene! The furious flames leaping out of hell are like mountains. The sight would makes everyone fall on their knees.
And you shall see every nation kneeling down… (45:28)
So much so that all except Prophet Muhammad (‘s) will worry about their own selves. As mentioned in some narrations and in other verses of the Holy Quran, good tidings are given to some who will be protected from this terror.
Whoever brings good, he shall have better than it; and they shall be secure from terror on the day. (27:89)
One who has accepted the guidance and friendship of Aale Muhammad (‘s), if he had earned safety in his lifetime, if he had lived in the governance of his Master; he is now in safety and protection. An announcer would announce, “This is the hell of which you were warned. You were told to be afraid of it. Now you have reached here.”
Enter into it this day because you disbelieved.
Here ‘enter it’ means go inside it or it may also denote ‘taste it’ – enter or taste the chastisement of God’s anger because you were a denier.
Some scholars have mentioned a point about the word ‘enter’, which has occurred many times in Quran. There is a difference between the Arabic ‘Islawhaa’ and ‘Udkhuloohaa’. It is generally understood that ‘Islawhaa’ means entering for good, that is, there will be no exit.
Going into hell is of two kinds. One is such that there is a way for exit after remaining in it for a time. ‘Islawhaa’ means stick in hell from where there is no exit. For all who die in a state of denial it is ‘Islawhaa’ – They do not stick permanently (without an exit) who did not gave a lie to God turning their backs to Him. Those others, who were not disbelievers, will be released from hell one day.
However those who are not deniers and who did not gave a lie to God and His Prophet but who had also done wrong deeds, about them Imam Ali bin Moosa Reza (‘a) is reported to have said2 that they will go to hell but will not remain therein forever. They will come out, at last, by intercession. God is able, due to His Kindness and Mercy to take us up with Faith from this world.
Thus the verse implies that you dwell in the fire from which there is no exit because of your denial.
On that day We will set a seal upon their mouths, and their hands shall speak to Us, and their feet shall bear witness of what they earned.
Today that is the Great Resurrection, O deniers! We seal your mouths and now your hands and feet will testify what you have done using them in the worldly life.
In this Holy verses there is a point relating to: We will seal their mouths. Imam Reza (‘a) says that it is for the disbelievers, that is those who died in a state of disbelief. Their tongue is sealed because the tongue of every denier is not truthful, neither in the world nor in the Hereafter. His tongue always utters falsehood. He denies makes false claims.
Nothing makes a man’s tongue truthful except Faith in heart, in the absence of which man falsely claims to be pious and it is habit for such people. There is a proverb in Persian: No one says that his curd is sour.
The tongue of only that person is truthful whose heart is full of Faith. Prophet Muhammad (‘s) is reported to have said, “By the One in Whose power is my life, the faith of anyone of you does not become good until his tongue is good and the tongue of one does not become good until his heart has become good.”3
So long as the heart is sick, it has pride, it does not have humility and it is unwell. With a diseased soul the tongue too falls sick. Such a tongue can say nothing except make hollow claims of piety. One who is crooked here is crooked in the Hereafter as well, to such an extent that when his scroll of deeds is shown to him he says, “This is not mine.”
In Qiyamat, truth is manifested. It is the Day when secrets are exposed. It is the absolute Truth (Haqqah).
Therefore a tongue, which is false and crooked, will be sealed for the establishment of justice and manifestation of truth. His organs will be made to speak. Hand will say what it did and foot will say where it went. What the eyes saw? The heart will say to what it harbored within itself.
And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that. (17:36)
Everything becomes so much open that by no means they can be denied. The legs will speak out: I had gone to such and such place. So much so that the tongue too will testify against itself.
The Day of Resurrection will be the day of full and complete manifestation of Divine Justice. The good of the tiniest good deed will not be omitted. Organs of body will start speaking for the manifestation of Justice and for the finality of arguments.
In Islam, it is God’s commandment that every fact can be established with the testimony of two just witnesses. This is clear argument of religion. There must be either self-confession or the appearance of two just and selfless witnesses with stipulated conditions. But tomorrow on the Day of Resurrection, notwithstanding that man himself is aware:
…your own self is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day. (17:14)
The fellow does not confess. But then so many testimonies begin to pour from every side that he has to submit willy-nilly. The first witnesses are his physical organs. Can he deny the testimony of his own organs? The second witness is the ground. Every part of earth on which one sinned will speak out. Likewise if he had worshipped God that part of earth will testify to that also.
On that day she shall tell her news… (99:4)
Time too will testify. Qiyamat is the world of gathering. The days of one’s lifespan become a stage of time (existence) and it will testify how and what happened. We recite in the daily supplications of Imam Sajjad (‘a): O day! You have ended and you will testify what I have done.
Among the witnesses are also the two recording angels. The Imam of every age will testify about the deeds of the people of his time. The Holy Quran also says:
And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you; and We did not make that which you would have to be the qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Apostle from him who turns back upon his heels, and this was surely hard except for those whom Allah has guided aright; and Allah was not going to make your faith to be fruitless; most surely Allah is Affectionate, Merciful to the people. (2:143)
Also we recite in the Ziyarat Jamia that martyrs are witnesses of the world. The Imams are the witnesses over the deeds of the people of their respective age. Imam Hujjat Ibnul Hasan (‘a) must be the witness of time and space on the day of Divine Justice. Angles will testify and so also all the organs of sinners.
Woe unto us if we have to stand up when this Divine Court is established. Imam Sadiq (‘a) has given a good tiding. He says, as reported in the chapter of Repentance in Usul Kafi: When a servant indulges in a sin and then he repents over it (special repentance for this particular sin, as said by some) the angels recording the deeds are ordered: As this servant has repented, do not testify against him in the matter of this sin. Likewise the earth or ground is ordered: Do not testify against this person. Thus God prevents witnesses from testifying against the one who has repented for his sin.
If one has made efforts for repentance, the witness is summoned to testify about his repentance. They say, “O Lord! This person was saying, ‘Please pardon me (Al Afw)’; he has appealed for forgiveness.” All the organs testify to his goodness.
…so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (25:70)
However the tongues of the believers are free. Sealing of mouth was the ‘recompense’ of one whose tongue had refrained from saying, “O God”. But in the case of those who used to say all their life, “O Allah! There is no god except Allah, truly, truly we worship You…”, their mouths are open here also.
Above all witnesses is the everlasting Almighty and Unique God. One of its reasons is that though acceptance or rejection (of truth) is voluntary, witnessing is not. The heart accepts or rejects whatever it likes. Mouths are being sealed. The exception is testimony to Truth and factuality. Nothing except truth is required and truth becomes manifest through limbs and organs. The tongue itself confesses the truth…
Some have interpreted saying it means witness of the condition. When one comes in the Qiyamat gathering tomorrow, his appearance and condition testify what kind of a man he was.
The guilty shall be recognized by their marks… (55:41)
For example, fire erupts from his tongue or he is chewing his protruded tongue with his own teeth and blood and pus drip therefrom. All would know he had been a scholar without actions, that is, one who asked others to do good but did not do so himself. This condition shows his falsehood. Or a fellow arrives with a bloated stomach, so big that it is impossible for him to move because of its weight. This man took usury.
Those who swallow down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise. (2:275)
The shapes will show what kind of a fellow one was in the world, and what sins one had committed. Therefore, if his forehead is radiant, it means he was regularly prostrating to God. Bright foreheads are due to prostrations for God. Or the handing over of the scroll of deeds in the right hand indicates that he had done more good deeds.
In brief, some have said that the meaning of “speaking of organs” means testimony through condition or appearance as testified by the above verse (Surah Rehman 55:41).
However it seems that more correct is what most of the commentators have said and it is besides the witness through conditions, the apparent meaning of the Holy verse is that limbs and organs will speak out. Still clearer is the Holy verse:
And they shall say to their skins: Why have you borne witness against us? They shall say: Allah Who makes everything speak has made us speak… (41:21)
So, after the testimony of his limbs and organs, the poor fellow complains to his organs, “Why did you testify against me?” The organs reply, “God made us speak out (This is the meaning of another part of the same verse explaining that the God Who gave the faculty of speaking to all, made us also speak out).”
The reason why some have interpreted in another way is because they thought that talking is only possible with the tongue, and so how can hands and feet talk? Hence they have interpreted that the witnessing will be by way of condition or appearance. The explanation is that speaking is not due to and only through tongue; it is only a lump of flesh.
But God Almighty, with His subduing and overwhelming power decided that words should be heard by the moving of the human tongue at a particular place in the mouth, aided by the windpipe. It is only the Will of God and His making. No cause and effect is in question. Otherwise tongue of a cow and a donkey are bigger.
Thus it is known that talking or speaking is merely the Will of God for man. This distinction is granted by God only to man. This is one of the innumerable honors given to man by God, the greatness of which can be appreciated by intelligence. Then the tongue becomes a translator of his thoughts, saying words like “Allah is the Greatest”, “Glory be to Allah”. An animal has no such sense and intelligence, so it cannot appreciate in this way.
Every intelligent person understands that the original faculty of speech is not restricted to the tongue. Rather it is a special gift from God to man. The Almighty Lord of the Worlds Who made His Might manifest in this manner will make your fingers talk on the Day of Judgment. What difference is there between this part of the body and that?
Do you remember that with this very finger you had pointed to such and such person to humiliate him? Or what you wrote, holding a pen by these fingers. You had misused these fingers to slap a believer. It is narrated that even the hair on one’s body will begin to speak and testify.
Another proof is also mentioned in the Holy Quran in the verse referred above. Objection will be taken to these organs, “Why did you testify against us?” They will reply, “The Almighty God Who made all others speak made us also speak.”
The ability to speak is common to all in this universe. All the particles of the existing universe, which in our eyes are dumb, from the view of the unseen world they are capable of speech.
The seven heavens declare His glory and the earth (too), and those who are in them; and there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise… (17:44)
After death, man goes to the ethereal world. If now you understand, you can hear the voice in the cosmos. Walls and doors are saying, “Glory be to God”. The organs of your own body also are glorifying God. Of course this glorification is beyond the comprehension of matter and hence man does not understand it.
…but you do not understand their glorification… (17:44)
Tomorrow, on the Day of Judgment, the same God Who has made all the particles of the universe speak in the spiritual plane, will make them speak and order them to confess what they had done in the world.
Even the tiniest deed will not be omitted and in that Grand Witness Box in the Supreme Court, witnesses will not be able to lie. They will testify absolutely truthfully. However they will not testify to sins for which man had sincerely repented, as mentioned in some narrations.
There is a narration in the Tafsir Ruhul Bayan the summary of which is that the Holy Prophet (‘s) told some women, “Say, ‘Glory be to Allah’ very often.” In another tradition it is mentioned that, “During the ascension, I saw an angel busy making a palace. He was placing a gold brick and then a silver one. Then he stopped for a while.” I asked him, ‘Why do you stop working?’
He replied, ‘Whenever a believer glorifies God, we build a house for him here. When he stops, we also halt the construction.’” So the Prophet said, “Count the glorifications on your fingertips. Tomorrow these fingertips will give witness for you.”
In the days of early Islam, there were no rosaries like we have today. People used to count recitations on their finger digits. Every finger has three digits. Ten fingers can count upto thirty.
These fingers will testify, “O Lord! This servant of yours had recited Your glory with these fingers.”
Let us see about the Tasbih. The first to prepare a Tasbih was Fatima (s.a.). She took up some soil from the grave of Hamzah, the leader of martyrs in Uhad and made a rosary for remembering Allah constantly and frequently.
In the days of Imam Sadiq (‘a), he recommended, “Take benefit of the soil of Kerbala for making rosaries. If such a rosary is made of the earth of the grave of Husain (‘a), it will fetch rewards even without recitation.”
Since the particles of the soil of the grave of Husain in Kerbala themselves are busy glorifying God, the one holding its rosary will benefit even when he does not recite anything. Shaykh Shustari (a.r.) says, “This glorification is not like all other glorifications made by everything in the world. This one is extraordinary as it belongs to a part of paradise.” A tradition says, “O Jabir! Visit the grave of Husain (‘a). Verily Kerbala is a part of paradise.”