27. The belief concerning reckoning and balance (Al-Hisab wa 'l-Mizan)

*ash-Shaykh Abu Ja‘far Reckoning is that it is true".says:*1, "Our belief concerning ash-Shaykh al-Mufid, may Allah have mercy upon him, adds that: Reckoning is the balancing of actions and the requital, the examination of the servant on what he has done inadver- tently, and recompensing him for his evil actions and praising him for good actions; and treating him in accordance with what he deserves.

It cannot mean what the Orthodox (lit. the common folk – al-‘Ammah) maintain; that it is the setting of good actions against the base ones, and striking a balance between them in accordance with what reward or punishment each deserves, since tahahut2 (the mutual cancellation of good and evil deeds) is absurd; and the doctrine of the Mu‘tazilah in this respect is invalid and unconfirmed. Claim as to its meaning are irrational.

Also, the Hashwiyyahal-Mawazin is the equating, "ta‘dil", of the reward to its due place, and to ensure that each one receives what is his due. Then it is self-evident that the meaning of this is far from what the Hashwiyyah maintain, that on the Day of Resurrection there will be scales like the scales of this world, each with two pans into which works will be put, since actions are accidents, and accidents cannot be measured exactly, but can only be described as heavy or light, metaphorically, which means that the heavy is what is abundant and deserves a high reward, and the light is what is of little worth and does not deserve a good reward.

The traditions which relate that the Commander of the Believers and the Imams of his progeny, peace be upon them, are the scales, signify that they are the ones who will evaluate (men's) works and their due, and that they are the ones who will give judgment on them in justice and right. We say, "so-and-so for me is the worth (fi mizan) of so-and-so", which means that he is equal to him. And we say, "the speech of so-and-so is (awzan) than the speech of so-and-so", which means it is more excellent and held in greater esteem.

What Allah, the Sublime, says on Reckoning and the fear resulting from it, is that it is a man's confrontation with, and questioning on, his deeds, since he who is confronted with what he has done cannot escape from the consequences, and he whom Allah, the Sublime, pardons will attain salvation.

Then he, whose scales are heavy (with the great worth of his reward), they are the prosperous, and he whose scales are light, (because his acts of obedience were few), they have lost their souls, abiding for ever in Hell [23:102-3].

Moreover, the Qur’an has been revealed in the language of the Arabs, whether in the real sense of the words, or in their metaphorical meaning, and has not been revealed in the vulgar tongue (and cannot be interpreted) according to the limited perception of vain minds.

  • 1. * * Not found in N.
  • 2. For the meaning of tahabut, see Ibn Manzur, Lisanu 'l-‘Arab, vol.6, p.270;ar-Razi, at-Tafsir, vol.2, p.220; al-Jurjani, Sharhu 'l-mawaqif, vol.2, p.488.