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Carrying their Burdens and the Burdens of their Followers

Carrying their Burdens and the Burdens of their Followers

Published in April 19, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

Introduction:

 We have received this message via email and we quote parts of it followed by our reply.

(... I'm an Egyptian retired university professor, and I'm a bibliophile and addicted to reading; our retirement money are not too much, and I used to feel sad for not able to buy all the books I love, but thanks to the internet, culture and knowledge are provided for free ... I kept reading websites for years to satisfy my curiosity for knowledge, till I've found your writings at arabtimes.com ... Specializing in Arab literature myself, I immensely admire your writings, especially your researches in history, and I'm surprised that some ignorant readers attack you in their comments with verbal abuse and bad language, and how you ignore them totally ... Once you stopped writing at arabtime.com, I've googled you and found you at your website ahl-alquran.com and I read all your writing daily ever since, and I'm now a Quranist like you ... I admire very much your encyclopedic knowledge in Quran, Sufism, Arab literature, history, fiqh, sharia laws, etc. You have dispelled many myths inside my head; I like your writings about the hypocritical poet Al-Mutanabbi in your book titled "Slavery: A Fundamental Historical Overview", and your political criticism about presidents Nasser and Sadat. ... I read with a critical eye, and I'd like you to accept this criticism of your style and some of your ideas: you repeat your fatwas and some of them seem contradictory, but you've written that a true thinker may change his mind in case he's proven wrong in any fatwas ... I like your criticism of the so-called companions whom deify as 'saints' and your undermining of Sufism and the Sunnite religion. ... I like most of the notions your innovative creative thinking brought to us on your website, especially that the testimony of Islam is (There is no God but Allah) without names of prophets or any other mortals added to it ... some ideas you've changed with the passage of time is natural as you make new discoveries upon pondering the Quran to develop unprecedented notions and this does you credit, and you deserve more fame and media attention ... You will certainly get more attention and praise after you die as the penned ideas outlive authors and the coming generations will benefit much from your writings ... I deny all hadiths like you, but let me be frank in disagreeing with you in one topic: I feel you are wrong to refuse the notion/hadith that deeds of dead persons never goes on like charity, useful knowledge given to others, or good progeny imploring for God's forgiveness for the sake of the dead persons. ... You maintain that this hadith contradicts the verse: "And that the human being attains only what he strives for." (53:39) and that one's striving ends by one's death as one's book of deeds is closed forever upon one's death and good deeds are rewarded while he/she was alive; we beg to differ, as you view contradicts this verse: "So let them carry their loads complete on the Day of Resurrection, and some of the loads of those they misguided without knowledge. Evil is what they carry." (16:25). This verse shows to us that corrupt clergy will carry burdens of sins of those who were misguided by them: all famous sheikhs wrote books that continue to misguide people even after the death of their authors; you in my opinion will go on being rewarded after your death as people are guided by your writings ... I'm glad you accept constructive criticism from others; sorry for taking so long of your time; please remember that I no longer believe in hadiths; Islam is only the Quran ... Please try to respond to my view and discuss it in detail, if you please ... Thank you ...)

 We thank very much the sender of this message, and we reply in the following points. 

 

Firstly: pondering 16:25 in light of definitive verses and similar verses:

1- God says in the Quran: "So let them carry their loads complete on the Day of Resurrection, and some of the loads of those they misguided without knowledge. Evil is what they carry." (16:25). We've discussed before the topic of similar and definitive verses in the article titled (in English) "Definitive and Similar Quranic Verses in a Practical Study" found on this link:  

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=16303

We have asserted and explained this topic of the methodology of pondering and researching the Quran as per this verse: "It is He who revealed to you the Book. Some of its verses are definitive; they are the foundation of the Book, and others are similar. As for those in whose hearts is deviation, they follow the similar ones, seeking dissent, and seeking to derive an interpretation. But none knows its interpretation except God and those firmly rooted in knowledge say, "We believe in it; all is from our Lord." But none recollects except those with understanding." (3:7).

2- We have asserted in this article that the only scientific research methodology to be followed to ponder the Quran is indicated in the verse 3:7,and that those deeply rooted in Quranic knowledge believe that the whole of the Quranic text is from God. The way to ponder the Quran is to gather together all verses related and linked to the topic of research at hand and to focus on the local context of each verse (i.e., verses preceding and following it) and on the general context in the Quran at large. The second step is to define terminology in these verses and to indicate what are the definitive verses and the similar ones, as the former type governs the latter, and the latter explains and provide details to the former. This the method of how the Quranic verses explain and clarify one another; meanwhile, researchers must not have prior opinions, whims, or prejudices so as not to manipulate verses and their meanings to serve any notion(s) they have in mind; true researchers must be objective and neutral, with the readiness to discard any inherited notions if found contradictory with findings of Quranic research.   

 

Secondly: we apply the above on the topic at hand:

1- There are two definitive verses here: "And that the human being attains only what he strives for." (53:39); "Losers are those who deny the encounter with God. Then, when the Hour comes upon them suddenly, they will say, "Alas for us, how we have neglected it." And they will carry their burdens on their backs - evil is what they carry." (6:31).

2- The verse 53:39 applies to all human beings: their responsibility in the test of life is confined to their lifetimes: when they are alive on earth, whether their deeds are good or bad, and they never get rewarded for good deeds unless done during their lifetimes, not done after their deaths using their money etc.     

3- In the very next verse we read the following: "And that his efforts will be witnessed." (53:40). This means that all deeds of a human being are recorded to be viewed on the Last Day: all words, movements, sentiments, whispers, deeds, etc. during his/her lifetimes. On the Last Day, all of us will see one another's deeds and every nation (or group of people who used to live contemporary to one another) will see the book recoding its deeds: "On that Day, the people will emerge in droves, to be shown their works. Whoever has done an atom's weight of good will see it. And whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will see it." (99:6-8). Thus, sinners and hypocrites who feared people and never feared God will feel utter disgrace, as they forgot that angels record their deeds; we read the following about the book of every nation: "You will see every community on its knees; every community will be called to its Book: "Today you are being repaid for what you used to do. This Book of Ours speaks about you in truth. We have been transcribing what you have been doing."" (45:28-29). Sinners will be surprised for recording even the slightest items and deeds: "And the book will be placed, and you will see the sinners fearful of its contents. And they will say, "Woe to us! What is with this book that leaves nothing, small or big, but it has enumerated it?" They will find everything they had done present. Your Lord does not wrong anyone." (18:49). All our deeds, movements, and sentiments, etc. alone or with others ''fly'' into the realm of Barsakh and are recorded into books recording our deeds as per this verse: "For every person We have attached his bird to his neck. And on the Day of Resurrection, We will bring out for him a book which he will find spread open. "Read your book; today there will be none but yourself to call you to account."" (17:13-14). We read the very next verse: "Whoever is guided-is guided for his own good. And whoever goes astray-goes astray to his detriment. No burdened soul carries the burdens of another, nor do We ever punish until We have sent a messenger." (17:15), and this means that each individual will be responsible for his/her own deeds during their lifetimes only, as per 53:39.    

4- Another definitive verse is 6:31, about Hell dwellers, as all of them denied the Day of Resurrection and accordingly will carry on the Last Day sins and bad deeds committed during their lifetimes.  

5- These sins and bad deeds committed during their lifetimes include what they did themselves and what are incited and instigated by them; e.g., a murderer or a suicide bomber will carry this grave sin on the Last Day, but there are those who incited the murderer, and these inciters and instigators will carry the grave sin of incitement on the Last Day, and the same applies to those who helped the murderers and suicide bombers with weapons, money, and tools; they will carry additional burdens of sins (of incitement) beside their own sins committed by them.   

6- Within the definitive verse 6:31 that applies to all Hell dwellers, we understand in its light the details of the similar verse like the one about misguiding ones who misguide their followers who will carry additional burdens accordingly: "So let them carry their loads complete on the Day of Resurrection, and some of the loads of those they misguided without knowledge. Evil is what they carry." (16:25).

7- The similar verse 16:25, about sinners who misguide others, does NOT refer to those who those who wrote misguiding books and their books continued to influence others after the death of the authors; rather, it refers to the sin of misguiding others (through books and other means) during the lifetimes of the authors. The verse 16:25 is in the present tense in Arabic, and this refers to interaction between the misguiding people and the misguided ones who are contemporaries to  one another; the misguiding persons are misguided sinners who spread their misguidance to others thus carry double sins; the sinful deeds are thus committed during their lifetime as per 53:39. That the misguidance outlives the sinners who misguided others does not matter here.  

8- Let us explain this further by examples from daily life; the existence of books of guidance by any authors does not necessarily mean that these authors will go one guiding others after their deaths. The Quran itself, as God's Word, will continue to exist since Muhammad's death and until the end of days; yet, once Muhammad died, the so-called companions rejected the Quran and committed the crime of Arab conquest among other atrocities within such a horrendous crime. During the time in which the Quran was revealed, some of the Arabs had increased their disbelief by it: "...Certainly, what was revealed to your from your Lord will increase many of them in disbelief and blasphemy..." (5:64); "...But what is revealed to you from your Lord will increase many of them in rebellion and disbelief..." (5:68). For instance, the terrorist MB group claim that the Quran is their constitution, but they disbelieve in it for sure; terrorism theorists and criminals quote the Quran and misinterpret its verses to incite hatred, terrorism, violence, and strife. Books of Muhammadans authored in the Middle-Ages eras might not go on misguiding some persons; we, and many Quranists, have read them and rejected them. Guidance and misguidance is an individual responsibility; those who write misguiding books get the sins at the time they wrote them, when they succeed at misguiding others, until they carry sins and sins of those misguided by them on the Last Day. The verse 53:39 includes also those who guide others into the path of righteousness and perform acts of charity, as their good deeds and words will make them safe during the Last Day and enter Paradise.          


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