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Carrying Your Own Sins On Judgment Day: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #22

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On today’s episode of IOK’s Ramadan Reflections Series, I will be discussing verse number 18 from Sūrah Fāṭir (35). It is a verse where Allah reminds us that on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah, there will be no one to carry our burden for us or with us. It is only we who will carry what we have done, and it is only we who will be standing in front of Allah. We have people who are willing to take the fall for us in this world, who are willing to hold our burden with us, but on the Day of Judgment that will not be possible. 

Allah says: “No soul burdened with sin will bear the burden of another. If a burdened soul cries for help with its burden, none of it will be carried even by a close relative. You, [O Prophet], can only warn those who stand in fear of their Lord without seeing Him and who established the prayer. Whoever purifies themselves, they do so only for their own good, and to Allah is the final return.” (35:18)

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There are many parts of this verse that can enable us to understand the reality of the Day of Judgment and how to prepare for it. Allah says that even if you were to call out to somebody who you relied upon in this world, somebody who was very close to you, somebody who perhaps had sacrificed a lot for you in this world, that if you were to call out to them on the Day of Judgment to help carry some of your burden, they would not be able to do so even if they were willing, because on the Day of Judgment everybody will be preoccupied with what they will be presenting in front of Allah. Allah reminds us that you must prepare to stand in front of Allah, and you must make sure that your actions allow you to ask for the mercy of Allah. On the Day of Judgment, you will not be able to get the help of anyone else. You will not be able to have someone intercede on your behalf unless Allah gives them the permission to do so.

The Prophet [SAW] is then reminded of the people who will benefit from this warning about the Day of Judgment. If we have those same characteristics, then we will also benefit from this warning. But if we do not have those characteristics, we will not. Allah informs the Prophet [SAW] that he can only warn those who are in fear of Allah, who are standing in awe of Him and fear disappointing Him. Everything that we believe in is through our Fiṭra. It is part of the innate nature that Allah has created within us. We have never witnessed Allah. We did not live in the time of the Prophet [SAW]. We never witnessed the revelation of the Qur’ān. We never saw Jannah nor Jahannum. All we have are the words of Allah given through His Messenger [SAW], and our conviction upon these words enable us to live according to the will of Allah. We live our lives according to how Allah wants us to live. We do the things that Allah wants us to do. We stay away from the things Allah wants us to stay away from. And all of this is without seeing Allah. 

Alongside fearing Allah, these individuals also establish the prayer. Ṣalāh is the one true, constant connection that we have and one we must maintain throughout our lives. Because it is through ṣalāh that a person will always be reminded of their priorities. That amid our busy routines and lives, when we take out time to worship Allah, we do so because it is the commandment of Allah. When we wake up in the morning, even though it might be very early to go to work, we wake up so that we can pray. When we take ourselves away from our busy routines during the day, when we make time in our work and our studies to pray, we remind ourselves of the One who is in control.

We remind ourselves of the One who can help us. We remind ourselves of our actual purpose and existence in this world. The combination of Taqwa and salah will always remind a person about their ultimate objective for the life of this world and how they will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment.

Allah concludes this verse by saying that whoever purifies themselves, they only do so for their own good. We know that our worship does not benefit Allah. Our worship does not increase the treasures or the majesty of Allah. Our obedience does not increase Allah in anything. On the other hand, our sins do not take away from Him nor do they disprove anything about Him. Whatever we do, we only do so for our own benefit. A person purifies themselves by making sure that they do the right things and stay away from the wrong things, that their good actions are sincere and devoid of showing off or arrogance, and they are doing them for the pleasure of Allah. Every single step that we take then to earn the pleasure of Allah is a way of purifying ourselves, and we so for our own sake. Ultimately, we will be the beneficiaries of it on the Day of Judgment. 

And this is the mercy of Allah, that if a person does an action for the sake of Allah yet with the intention of earning reward, they are only benefiting themselves as Allah will still reward them. Everything that we do is only for our own benefit, because at the end of the day to Allah is the final return. We are all going to stand in front of Allah. One day we are going to have our Book of Deeds presented in front of us–and we ask Allah to be given our Book of Deeds on our right hands so that we can show it to the people around us, as Allah mentions in the Quran, in excitement. Because that will be an indication that we have earned the mercy of Allah and what we do in this world is geared towards that purpose. Believing in Allah is just the first step. Believing in the Prophet [SAW] is just the first step. What do we do after that? We maximize our chances to earn the mercy of Allah on the Day of Judgment in the Court of Allah, while reminding ourselves that nobody else will be held accountable for the wrongs that we do in this world. Nobody else will be questioned about it. We cannot blame anyone else. We cannot even blame Shaytan because he will absolve himself of all his followers and say that ‘I did not force you to follow me, all I did was encourage you and you acted upon it’. 

May Allah guide us and protect us, may He give us knowledge that benefits us, may He give us all the ability to do the things that will benefit us in the hereafter and to stay away from the things that will harm us in the hereafter, Ameen. 

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk on who is responsible for their sins on Judgment Day was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

IOK Seminary Faculty train highly motivated and dedicated Muslim men and women in classical Islam and contemporary scholarship, giving them the tools to grow as individuals, effectively serve those around them, and preserve the Islamic tradition in the West.

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