Section 1: Every Soul Shall Be Tried
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا ءَامَنَّا وَهُمْ لاَ يُفْتَنُونَ
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ
1. “Alif ‘A’, Lam ‘L’, Mim ‘M’.”
2. “Do people imagine that they will be left off on saying: ‘We believe’ and they will not be tried?”
3. “And certainly We tried those before them, and assuredly Allah knows those who speak truly, and assuredly He knows the liars.”
Some of the commentators have mentioned a narration according to which the beginning eleven verses of this Surah were revealed in Medina.
These verses are about the Muslims who were in Mecca but, though they expressed Islam they did not agree to migrate to Medina, then they received a letter from their brothers lived in Medina who wrote in it:
Therefore, they decided to migrate and went out from Mecca. A group of pagans pursued them and fought against them. Some of those believers were killed but some others delivered. (Probably some others surrendered and returned to Mecca).
Some other commentators believe that the second verse is about ‘Ammar Yasir and a group of other first Muslims who embraced Islam and were seriously tortured by the enemies of Islam.
Some other commentators have said that the eighth verse of the Surah has been revealed upon the belief of Sa‘d-ibn-’Abi-Waqqas.
But the study of these verses themselves shows that there is no indication in them upon the relation of these verses with emigration. They only point to the pressures that the believers received from the side of the enemies at that time, and even from the side of their parents who were polytheists.
And, also if these verses refer to the hypocrites, it is probable that they point to a group of persons with superficial belief who were among Muslims in Mecca. They were sometimes with Muslims and sometimes with the disbelievers, and whenever each of them were in a better position they turned to them.
However, the flowing and union of the verses of this holy Surah necessitates to consider all of them Meccan; and the abovementioned narrations, which have not any flowing with each other, cannot disturb this union.
Again, at the beginning of this holy Surah, we confront the abbreviated letters (Alif, Lam, Mim) that we have stated their commentaries from different viewpoints. In this regard, for example, you can refer to the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, Surah ’Al-i-‘Imran, No. 3, and Surah Al-’A‘raf, No. 7.
After mentioning the abbreviated letters, one of the most important issues of the man’s life is referred to, i.e. the calamities, pressures and Divine trials.
At first, it says:
Then immediately the verse points to this fact that trial is a permanent way of treatment of Allah. Trial is not allocated to the community of Muslims; it is something that all former nations had, too.
The verse says:
Allah had tried them in violent furnaces of trials, too, and they were also under the pressure of the cruel, ignorant, unaware, and obstinate enemies. The field of examination has always been open and some groups have ever participated in this field.
The Arabic word /fitnah/ means ‘to melt gold in order to separate its impure parts’; and since the real essence of man is recognized in difficulties and calamities from the false mottoes, it is called ‘fitnah’.
It must be so, too, because in the case of claiming Faith everyone can introduce himself the best believer, the best striver, and the best advocator devotee of a group of people. The weight, value and worth of this claim must be estimated by means of examination.
Yes, it is true that:
It is evident that Allah, the Almighty, knows everything, even the things before the creation of mankind. The purpose of knowledge here is the objective manifestation of the affairs and their external existence.
In other words, it is the practical effects and evidences of the deeds. That is, whoever has it in his interior must pour it out externally. This is the meaning of ‘knowledge’ with respect to these aspects when they are used about Allah.
The reason of this issue is also clear, because reward and retribution have no meaning unless the inner intentions and esoteric qualities are practically seen in man’s action.
Trial is for proving the intrinsic intentions and qualities of a person to be true.
In other words, this world is like a ‘university’ or a ‘farm’. In a university the talents open to blow, the competencies grow, and whatever is in the stage of potentiality reaches the stage of actuality.
In this farm the seeds must be planted. The shots and sprouts must come out of their inside. These sprouts come out from the land, grow to be some small plants, and finally become some tall fruitful trees. These things are not possible without experience and examination.
By this course we understand that the Divine trials are not only for knowing persons, but they are for fostering the talents and that they are to open to blow.
Therefore, when we examine something, it is for finding out an unknown thing in it, but when Allah examines, it is not for finding out an unknown thing, because His knowledge encompasses everything, but it is for fostering the talents and causing the potentialities to reach to actualities.
The statement of the generality of trial for all nations and communities had a very considerable effect on the Muslims of Mecca, who were in a severe minority at that time, and attending to this fact made them steadfast and patient in front of the enemies of Islam.
Yet, this was not allocated to the believers of Mecca, but every group and nation is somehow involved in this Allah’s way of treatment, and the trials of Allah come to meet them in different sorts.
Some people may be in some environments which are polluted from any point of view, and the temptations of making mischief surround them from all sides. Their great trial is that, in such an atmosphere and in such conditions, they do not tend to the pollutions of the environment and protect their own nobility and purity.
A group may involve in the pressure of deprivations, while they see that if they agree to exchange the capitals of their noble selves, their poverty and deprivation will quickly disappear, but this is for the price of losing their Faith, piety, freedom, nobility, and honour; and this very thing is their trial.
On the contrary, another group may be enjoyed of affluence and different kinds of bounties when material possibilities can be at their reach. Do they try to fulfil the duty of thanksgiving in this circumstance? Or will they be drowned in negligence, haughtiness, self-conceit, egotism, lusts, etc. with alienation unto the society and their own selves both?
Another group encounter some countries that have enjoyed a glaring material civilization and a considerable social welfare while they have no virtue and mortality and are far from Allah.
Here a strong and mysterious attraction drags them toward this kind of life for them and their own society which provides it with them for the price of neglecting all the principles which they believe in, and for the price of accepting the disgrace of dependence. This is also a kind of trial.
Afflictions, pains and toils, wars and conflicts, dearth and scarcity, tyrannical governments which invite people to their own slavery and captivity and call them to submit their own tyrannical programs, and, finally, the strong waves of sensual desire and lust, all of them are a few means of trial in the way of the servants of Allah.
It is in the same events that Faith, personality, piety, purity, trust, and nobility of persons are recognized.
But for gaining victory in these hard trials, there is no way but having continuous effort and endeavour and relying on the particular grace of Allah.
It is interesting that some commentators have narrated a tradition in ’Usul-i-Kafi from Immaculate Imam who upon the commentary of the above verse said:
Then he said:
“They will be purified the like that gold is purified (under the pressure of fire).”1
However, those who think that by mere claim of expression of faith they will be in the row of believers and will be admitted in Paradise with the prophets, truthful ones, and martyrs are seriously in err.
Imam Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as) said:
“By Allah, Who sent the Prophet with Faith and truth, you will be severely subverted, bitterly shaken as in sieving and fully mixed as by spooning in a cooking pot till your low persons become high and high ones become low…”2
He (as) said this statement just after that people had paid allegiance to him and were waiting to see how Ali (as) treated with division of the Treasury of the Muslims and ranks and positions. They wanted to see whether it was treated with the former criterions or upon the bitter criterion of Islamic Justice.
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيّـِئَاتِ أَن يَسْبِقُونَا سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
مَن كَانَ يَرْجُواْ لِقَآءَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ أَجَلَ اللَّهِ لأَتٍ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
4. “Or do those who practise evil imagine that they will outstrip Us? Evil is it that they judge!”
5. “Whoever hopes to meet Allah, (knows that) the term (appointed) by Allah is surely coming; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.”
Imam Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as) said:
“The purpose of /liqa’allah/ is the Hereafter Day”.3
We must cure our delusions with the remembrance of death and Resurrection. Both the believers, who are in the course of examination, and the disbelievers must know that opportunities are not durable, and mercy and punishment of Allah will encompass them.
The former verses spoke of the general examination of the believers, and here the first verse under discussion is a severe threat against the disbelievers and sinful ones, so that they should not think that if they put the believers under pressure and the Divine punishments does not promptly seize them, it is because Allah is neglectful of them or He has not the power of punishing them.
Allah’s respite must not cause them to be proud, because this is also an examination for them as well as a chance for repentance and their return.
Some commentators have taken this verse as referring to the sinful believers, but this belief is never consistent with the context of the verses, and the frame of references testify that the purpose is polytheists and pagans.
Then, in the next verse, the Qur’an says:
Yes, this promise of Allah is certain and it is a way which must finally be paved.
Moreover, Allah hears all the words and is aware of all deeds and intentions, as the verse continues:
According to the above traditions from Ali (as), the purpose of /liqa’allah/ (to meet Allah) is the Hereafter Day. It is for being quickened and reaching the recompense from the side of Allah by reckoning the deeds on the Day of Hereafter.
It should be said that the meeting Allah on the Hereafter Day is not a sensible meeting, but it is a spiritual meeting and a kind of inner intuition, because in that place the thick curtains of the world of matter will be removed from before the eye of man’s soul and man will get into an intuition.
As ‘Allamah Tabataba’i has cited in Al-Mizan, the objective of /liqa’allah/ is that the servants of Allah will be set in a state that there will be no curtain between them and their Lord, because the nature of the Hereafter Day is the manifestation of the facts as the Qur’an says:
وَمَن جَاهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَاهِدُ لِنَفْسِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
6. “And whoever strives hard, he strives only for his own self, verily Allah is self sufficient, above (need of) the Worlds”.
The purpose of ‘strive’ in this verse is not only to struggle with sword against the enemies, but the purpose is effort and endeavour. This effort is in the way of self-improvement and striving against one’s self both, or struggling against the temptations of Satan or against the foreign enemies.
This verse implies that whoever strives with effort and endeavour and tolerates the afflictions and difficulties, indeed, he has strived for himself, because Allah is self-sufficient above all the beings of the worlds.
The verse says:
The Divine trial is the man’s struggle against low desire, and strive against severe enemies for protecting his faith, purity and piety, else Allah is an unlimited Essence, and He has no need which can be removed by worship or obedience of the servants. He has no deficiency that others give it to Him, but whatever others possess is from Him and they have nothing from themselves.
This statement makes it clear that the Qur’anic word /jihad/ (strive) here does not necessarily mean struggle with weapon against the enemy, but it has its own main lexicographical meaning which envelops any kind of effort and endeavour for protecting Faith and piety and suffering all sorts of calamities and local struggles against the obstinate enemy.
Shortly speaking, all the benefits of this struggle return back to the self of the striver, and it is he who obtains the goodness of this world and the next world under the light of his struggle; and even if the society enjoys the blessings of the struggle it will be in the second stage. Therefore, if anyone succeeds to have this struggle, he must thank Allah for this great bounty.
وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُكَفّـِرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيّـِئَاتِهِمْ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَحْسَنَ الَّذِي كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
7. “And those who believe, and do righteous deeds, We shall certainly acquit them of their evil deeds, and shall recompense them the best of what they were doing.”
Among the best examples of struggle that we studied in the previous holy verse are faith and righteous deed which are mentioned in this verse.
For receiving the Divine rewards, a person needs faith and righteous deeds both.
The Divine reward is not only forgiving the past sins, but it contains the best reward, too. However, this holy verse is an explanation and a complementary meaning for what was said closely in the previous verse under the title of ‘strive’.
Here, the reality of struggle is explicitly explained, where it says:
Thus, the first benefit of this great struggle (both Faith and righteous deed) is the concealment of sins which man gains, in the same manners that reward reaches him, too; as it is mentioned at the end of this verse:
The Arabic word /nukaffirann/ is derived from /takfir/ which originally means: ‘To conceal’, and the objective of it here is ‘the Divine forgiveness’.
Though Allah compensates all of good deeds whether they are ‘good’ or ‘better’ and ‘best’, the application of the phrase: ‘The best of what they were doing’ in this verse may point to this fact that Allah reckons all their good deeds as their best deeds.
That is, if some of their deeds are excellent, some are good and some are medium, Allah counts all of them as excellent, and this is the meaning of ‘Allah’s grace’ which is also mentioned in other verses of the Qur’an, such as Surah An-Nur, No. 24, verse 38, which says:
وَوَصَّيْنَا الإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْناً وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلاَ تُطِعْهُمَآ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَاُنَبّـِئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
8. “And We have enjoined on man goodness unto his parents; and if they strive with you that you should associate (others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them, unto Me is your return, and I will inform you of what you were doing.”
There are cited different narrations upon the occasion of revelation of the above verse that the extract of all of them is the same, and its explanation is as follows:
Some persons, who were in Mecca, embraced Islam and when their mothers were informed of the subject they decided not to eat food and not to drink water until their sons would apostatize from Islam, though none of these mothers kept her promise and all of them ate food.
Then the abovementioned verse was revealed and showed a clear way to all for the conduct with their parents concerning belief and disbelief.
To do goodness to parents is a humane matter, not a mere creedal subject, and it has no condition either, irrespective of being racial, age, regional, scientific, social, political, economical, and creedal.
Children must do them favour even when they are pagan or polytheist. However, one of the most important trials is the subject of contradiction in the line of faith and piety with the sympathetic and relational links. The Qur’an has clearly stated the duty of the Muslims in this regard.
At first, as a general law, which originates from the roots of affections and gratitude, it says:
This subject is a divine religious ordinance, but before it is a religious binding, it has been settled in the nature of all humankind as a law.
The application of the word ‘man’, in particular, here attracts the attention, because this law is not only for the believers, but everyone who is eligible to be called under the title of ‘human’ must be gratitude before his parents, and he does not forget honour, kindness and benevolence to them throughout his lifetime, though he can never pay his debt to them by these acts.
Then, in order that no one imagine that the emotional link with parents can overcome the link of man with Allah and Faith, it makes clear the matter with an explicit exception in this regard.
The application of the Qur’anic term /jahadaka/, in the verse, means that they use their most effort and endeavour with persistence.
And, the applications of the phrase ‘of which you have no knowledge’ refers to the fact that polytheism is not a logical thing, since if polytheism were really correct, there would exist an evidence for it. In other words, where man has not knowledge to a thing he must not follow it, let alone that he has knowledge to its falseness.
Following such a thing is following one’s ignorance. If parents make you follow ignorance, you should not obey them. In principle, blindly imitation is wrong, even when it is about Faith, let alone polytheism and paganism.
This very disobedience in regard to parents is also mentioned in Surah Luqman, with this addition that while you must not accept their invitation to polytheism you ought to help them in worldly affairs and have kindness in social intercourse with them, lest no one imagine that opposition with parents concerning their invitation to polytheism is an evidence unto having ill-treatment toward them; where it says:
And this proves the utmost emphasis of Islam on respecting the parents.
Thus, a general principle is understood here that nothing can prevail the relation of man with Allah, because this relation is before all things, even the relation of the parents which is the closest emotional relations.
The famous tradition narrated from Ali (as) who said:
“There should be no obedience for anyone in disobeying Allah”6
gives a clear criterion.
And, at the end of the verse, the Holy Qur’an adds that Allah will give you entirely the reward and retribution of what you used to do:
This sentence, in fact, is a threat against those who pave the way of polytheism as well as those who invite others to this way, because the verse clearly indicates that Allah keeps the account of all their deeds and deliver them to them at the appropriate time.
It is not the first time that the Holy Qur’an points to this important issue of man. Formerly it was referred to in Surah Al-’Asra’, No. 17, verse 23, and later this important matter will be pointed out in Surah Luqman, No. 31, verses 14 and 15 and also in Surah Al-Ahqaf, No. 46, verse 15.
In fact, Islam considers the highest respect for these two, father and matter, in a manner that even when they are polytheists and they invite to polytheism, which is the most shunned acts in the view of Islam, yet it enjoins the protection of their respect, with disobedience in regard to their invitation to polytheism.
This is, in fact, one of the great Divine trials which has been referred to at the beginning of this Surah; for parents are sometimes so old that keeping and hearing them are difficult. It is at this time, indeed, that the children must take their own examination in the field of gratitude and obeying the command of Allah, and keep protection from their parents in the best form.
A tradition from the Prophet (S) indicates that once someone came to him and said:
“Whom should I do goodness to?”
He (S) answered:
“To your mother.”
Again the man asked:
“Next to her?”
He (S) said:
“To your mother.”
For the third time he asked:
“Next to her?”
Again he (S) said:
“To your mother.”
And in the fourth time, he (S) recommended him to do goodness to his father and then to other relatives according to their nearness to the man.7
In another tradition, which has been mentioned in many Islamic books, the Prophet (S) said:
“Paradise is under the feet of the mothers.”
And it is only by the way of humility and veneration in front of them that a person can enter Paradise.
1- The holy Prophet (S) said:
“Whoever obeys the command of Allah concerning parents, two doors of Paradise will be opened to him, and if he fulfils the command of Allah unto one of them, then one door will be opened.”8
2- The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“The servant who is obedient to his parents and to his Lord: (on the Hereafter Day) he will be in the highest rank (in Paradise).”9
3- The Messenger of Allah (S) once said:
“He who performs pilgrimage rite for his parents, or pays their debt, on Resurrection Day Allah will rouse him with the righteous.”10
4- The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“He who likes to have a long lifetime and his sustenance increases, he should do good to his parents and visit his kim.”11
5- Imam Sadiq (as) said:
“The best deeds are prayer at its (proper) time, doing kindness to the parents, and struggle on the way of Allah.”12
6- The Messenger of Allah said:
“Do good to your parents so that your children do good to you; renounce the women of people so that your women be chaste (and others renounce your women).”13
7- The Prophet of Allah said:
“The affectionate look of the progeny to his parents is worship.”14
8- Imam Sadiq (as) said:
“What hinders a person among you that he does good to his parents when they are alive or dead by praying for them, giving alms for them, doing pilgrimage rites for them, and observing the fast for them, because if he does such, the parents will be rewarded, and he, too, will be rewarded the same amount.
Moreover, Allah (Almighty, and Glorious) gives him much goodness for his goodness and his prayer (Salat).”15
9- The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“Whoever visits the graves of his parents or one of them once every Friday Allah forgives him and writes him among the righteous.”16
وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ فِي الصَّالِحِينَ
9. “And those who believe, and do righteous deeds, certainly We shall admit them among the righteous.”
The fact that formerly was stated about those who have Faith and righteous deed is repeated and emphasized again in this verse.
Upon the purpose of the repetition of this meaning, some commentators have said: former verses pointed to those who pave the path of the truth, and this verse points to those who are the guides of this path and are as signs to the way of Monotheism, since the application of /salihin/ (righteous) is mentioned about many of the prophets, those who asked Allah to join them to the righteous ones.
This is also probable that in former verses the words were about the forgiveness of sins and good reward for this group of believers, but here their high rank is referred to, which itself is another reward for them. They will be set in the row of both the righteous, and the Divine prophets, and truthful ones, and the martyrs, and they will keep company with them.
By the way, some commentators, such as the author of Tafsir-i-Al-Mizan, say that the purpose of ‘believers’ mentioned in this verse, regarding the previous verse, means the children who, under the command of parents, are invited to polytheism that if they persist and, for protection of their Faith, become vagrant from their house and region, though being far from parents is difficult for them, on the Hereafter Day Allah will admit them among the righteous.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ فَإِذَآ اُوذِيَ فِي اللَّهِ جَعَلَ فِتْنَةَ النَّاسِ كَعَذَابِ اللَّهِ وَلَئِن جَآءَ نَصْرٌ مّـِن رَّبّـِكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّا كُنَّا مَعَكُمْ أَوَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِاَعْلَمَ بِمَا فِي صُدُورِ الْعَالَمِينَ
10. “And among the people there are those who say: ‘We believe in Allah,’ and when they are hurt in Allah’s cause, they think the persecution of men as it were Allah’s chastisement, and if help comes from your Lord, they would certainly say: ‘Verily we were with you’. What! Is not Allah the Best-Knower of what is in the breasts of mankind?”
The expression of Faith by some people is only oral and it is not said by heart. The true faith will often be made manifest at the time of afflictions.
Imam Ali (as) said:
“The reality (and essence) of man will be known in the change of circumstances.”17
In view of the fact that there were mentioned some explicit statements about the ‘righteous believers’ and ‘polytheists’ in the former verses, in this verse the words are about the third group, viz.: ‘hypocrites’.
The Arabic word /’amanna/ (we believe), is used in the verse in plural form, while the next phrase is in singular and it may be for the reason that this group of hypocrites want to be counted among the group of believers then they say /’amanna/ (we believe) and they mean that they have believed like other people.
The application of ‘they are hurt in Allah’s cause’ is in the sense of ‘they are hurt in the way of Allah’, that is, they sometimes are hurt in the way of Allah and Faith by their enemy.
It is interesting that when speaking about the punishment of Allah, the Qur’anic word /‘aŏab/ is used, but when it speaks about people’s hurts it uses /fitnah/ (trial) indicating that people’s hurts are not in fact ‘punishment’ but they are trials in order to complete man.
In this way it teaches them that they might not compare these two with each other, and by the pretext that the opponents hurt and torture them they leave out their Faith, because this is a part of total program of trial in this world.
There arises a question here that which victory had Allah bestowed on the Muslims in Mecca that hypocrites demanded share in it?
The answer of it is that the above sentence is a conditional sentence, and we know that a conditional sentence is not an evidence for the existence of condition, but its concept is that if there will be some victories for the Muslims in future, these feeble-faith hypocrites will demand share in them.
Moreover, the Muslims gained some victories against enemies in Mecca, although they were not martial and they were some victories in the fields of propagation, penetration in public thoughts, and the development of Islam amongst the different levels of people.
Besides, the application of the word ‘hurt’ fits with the environment of Mecca, else in the environment of Medina such a thing rarely happened.
However, this point was also made clear that the term ‘hypocrites’ is not only used for those who have never Faith inwardly and do not express Faith, but those feeble-Faith persons who, under the pressure of this and that individuals soon change their belief are counted among hypocrites, and the holy verse under discussion apparently speaks of this kind of hypocrites and announces that Allah (s.w.t.) is aware of their intentions.
وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ
11. “And certainly Allah knows those who believe, and certainly He knows the hypocrites.”
Belief in the knowledge of Allah is the factor of abandoning hypocrisy.
It is only Allah Who knows the true and false believers, and therefore in this verse the Qur’an says:
If some simple-minded people think that they can be far from the dominance of the knowledge of Allah by concealing the facts, they are in a manifest err.
Again we repeat that the application of the word hypocrites here is not the evidence upon thinking that these verses were revealed in Medina.
It is true that the subject of hypocrisy usually appears after the victory of a group and forming government when the opponents change their features and form hidden organizations, but, as it was said before, hypocrisy has a vast scope of meaning and it envelops the persons of weak belief who change their faith by a little pressure.
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اتَّبِعُوا سَبِيلَنَا وَلْنَحْمِلْ خَطَايَاكُمْ وَمَا هُم بِحَامِلِينَ مِنْ خَطَايَاهُم مِن شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ
12. “And those who disbelieve say unto those who believe: ‘Follow our path and we will certainly bear (the burden of) your sins.’ And they shall not be bearers of any thing of their sins. Verily they are liars.”
In order to invite and encourage others to do mischief and wrong, the deviated persons often say: if it has any sin we carry the burden of that sin, while no one can undertake the sin of another one.
This verse points to one example of the weak and haughty logics of the polytheists which exists among a vast group, too, even just now.
Today, we see many seductive persons that at the time of invitation to a wrong action say if it has any sin they bear its sin, but we know that none can bear the burden of any one’s sin.
In principle, this thing is not rational, because Allah is just and He does not punish anyone for the crime of another one. Besides, with these baseless words, the responsibility of a person for his deeds does not go away, and against that which some short-minded persons imagine these meanings do not decrease aught from the man’s punishment.
That is why no court heeds this kind of words that so and so has undertaken its sin. It is right that this person who has encouraged the other has a share in his sin, but this participation does not decrease his responsibility at all.
Therefore, in the next sentence of the verse, the Qur’an explicitly says:
وَلَيَحْمِلُنَّ أَثْقَالَهُمْ وَأَثْقَالاً مَعَ أَثْقَالِهِمْ وَلَيُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ
13. “And certainly they shall carry their own burdens, and (other) burdens with their own burdens, and certainly they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection as to what they were forging.”
The deviators carry the burden of those who have been deviated, too.
In order that there would not come an imagination that these inviters to paganism, polytheism, idolatry, and injustice will not have any chastisement for their action, this noble verse says:
This burden is the burden of the sin of misguidance, seduction, and encouraging others to sin.
This is the burden of establishing a bad tradition about which the Prophet (S) said:
“Whoever establishes a bad tradition, the sin of that tradition and the sin of those who commit it are upon him without that anything can be decreased from the sin of the person who performs it.”18
The important thing is that they also share the sin of all those who commit it while these sinners have their own sin without decreasing anything of it, and we know that whoever is effective in the preparation of an action, he has a share of that action, though the preparation is simple.
The evidence for this statement is the tradition narrated from the Prophet of Islam (S). Once the Prophet (S) was accompanied with some of his companions when a beggar came and asked for help, but no one gave him anything. Then a man took the lead and helped him something. Others were encouraged thereby and helped him, too.
Here the holy Prophet (S) said:
“Whoever establishes a good tradition and others follow him there will be for him his own reward and from the reward of those who follow him without that their rewards be decreased anything, and whoever establishes an evil tradition and others follow him, there will be for him his own sin and from the sins of those who follow him without that their sins be decreased anything.”
Similar to this meaning, with some different statements, there has been mentioned in the tradition sources of both great sects of Islam: Sunnites and Shi‘ites; and this is a known tradition.
However, at the end of the verse, the Qur’an says:
But, there arises another question here that what is the purpose of this calumny, mentioned in the verse that they have to answer its question?
Answer: It may refer to the falsehoods they forged to Allah and said that Allah (s.w.t.) had said that they should worship those idols.
Or it may refer to their words that they implicitly said every person could bear the responsibility of another’s sin. But this statement is also a lie and a calumny, because everybody is responsible of his own deeds.
Finally, the Arabic word /iql/ is often used for the house furniture, and its plural form is /’aqal/.
It has also been used in the famous tradition of the Prophet (S) who said:
“Verily I leave behind me two weighty (very worthy and important) things: the Book of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an) and my progeny, my Ahl-ul-Bayt. Never, never will these two get separated from each other until they meet me at the Haud of Kauthar (the Pond of Abundance)…”
Besides the Shi‘ah, this tradition is accepted by the consensus of the Sunnite and it has been mentioned in all their history, tradition and commentary authentic books narrated from the Prophet (S) with different statements.
Its secret is that after the event of Qadir-i-Khum and appointing Amir-ul-Mu’minin ‘Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib (as) to the rank of caliphate and government after his death, the Prophet (S) recommended about Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib (as) and his progeny in different occasions and many times he (S) uttered of these kinds of words.
Hakim-i-Neyshabury has narrated the abovementioned tradition in the book: Mustadrak, part 3, Page 48. In another tradition its similar Meaning is cited by Tarmathi. He narrated from Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Vol. 1, P. 44, from the Messenger of Allah (S) who said:
“I leave behind me among you what that if you attach yourselves to it, never, never shall you get astray, the Book of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an) which is a stretched string from the heaven to the earth, and my progeny, my Ahl-ul-Bayt, for verily Allah, the Merciful, the Aware, informed me that never, never will these two get separated from each other until they meet me at the Houd of Kauthar (the Pond of Abundance).
Therefore, be careful and contemplate on how you will treat them (after me).”
This tradition very well shows the awareness of the Prophet (S) from the future of his Ummah. It seems that the Prophet (S) could see the deviations of the people after his own death that would take place by the authority of a group of ambitious persons, and in order to attract the attention of people more, he said of this kind of statements abundantly.
It was specially only a few months after the historical event of Qadir-i-Khum that at the time of his death with the purpose of confirming the caliphate of Ali (as) the Prophet (S) wanted to write it down on the paper but, according to Shaykh Mufid, the sentence which was uttered by one of the companions and created discord, the Prophet (S) avoided writing anything to hinder the discord, but he recommended it orally.
In this regard you can refer to the history texts of Shi‘ah and the authentic books of tradition and commentary of the Sunnite, including the book entitled: As-Sawa‘iq by Ibn Hajar ‘Aqlani, P. 135 – (Kanz-ul-‘Ummal) Hindi, Vol. 1, chapter ’Al-’I‘tisam Bil-Kitab Wal-Sunnah – The book: Al-Mustadrak by Hakim-i-Neyshaburi, Part 3, P. 148 – The Book: Al-Musnad, by Imam Ahmad Hanbal, Vol. 3, PP. 17, 26, 29 – Al-Muraji‘at, by Sayyid Sharaf-ud-Din ‘Amili – The epistle: Fi Hadith-ith-Thaqalayn, by Qawam-ud-Din Washnuwi, and…
According to the citation of Ibn-i-Hajar, who is one of the notables of the Sunnite in the book As-Sawa‘iq, this tradition has been narrated by more than twenty persons from the companions of the Prophet.
Some of them are as follows:
1- Imam-ul-Muttaqin ‘Ali-Ibn-Abi-Talib (as)
2- Imam Hassan (as)
3- Salman Farsi
4- ’Abuthar Qafari
5- Ibn ‘Abbas
6- Abu Sa‘id
7- Jabir-ibn-‘Abdillah ’Ansari
8- Abu Hashim-ibn-Tihan
9- Hathifah Yamani
10- Abu-Rafi’Maula Rassulillah the Messenger of Allah (S)
11- Hathifat-ibn ’Asbad Qafari
The famous tradition of Thaqalayn, with abovementioned documents is one of the proofs of Shi‘ah about immediate Imamate and caliphate of ‘Ali-ibn-Abi-Talib and his progeny, and Shi‘ah has other proofs in this regard, too, including the explicit text of the Qur’an, that for shortness we do not mention them here.
- 1. ’Usul-i-Kafi, according to narration of Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, Vol. 4, P. 148
- 2. Hahj-ul-Balaqah, sermon 16
- 3. Tafsir-i-Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, and Tauhid-i-Saduq, P. 267
- 4. Surah An-Nur, No. 24, verse 25
- 5. Surah Luqman, No. 31, verse 15
- 6. Nahj-ul-Balaqah, saying: No. 165
- 7. Bihar, Vol. 74, P. 49 and Majma‘-ul-Bayan following the verse
- 8. Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Vol. 166, P. 467
- 9. Ibid
- 10. Ibid, P. 468
- 11. Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Vol. 16, P. 475
- 12. Bihar, Vol. 74, P. 85
- 13. Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Vol. 16, P. 466
- 14. Bihar, Vol. 74, P. 80
- 15. Ibid, P. 46
- 16. Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, Vol. 16, P. 468
- 17. Nahj-ul-Balaqahm, saying No. 217
- 18. The commentary by Fakhr-i-Razi, Vol. 25, P. 40