Ayaat 6-11 – When Deeds will be Measured
After describing the scene of the Day of Resurrection, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about the judgment itself. He informs about the results of the deeds, and the honor and disgrace experienced based on the deeds. He says,
On the Day of Resurrection when Allah’s Court is established our deeds will be weighed and evaluated, the deeds which we take so lightly will become heavy.
The word ‘Mawazeen’ [مَوَزِين] used in the Surah is the plural of the word ‘meezan’ which means a measuring scale (physical balance).
When we speak about scales, we think of a good deed scale and a bad deed scale, and whichever weighs more makes you face the consequences. Evil deeds will have no weight, and the only thing that will have weight is good deeds. It is similar to a new age magnetic weighing scale where it will only measure weight if there is a certain thing of value placed upon it.
It must be noted that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has already mentioned that disbelievers would not be awarded for their good deeds. Regardless of whatever good they are doing in dunya, if they don’t believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, all of His Messengers, all of His Books, His Angels and the Day of Hereafter, it’s all going to go to waste.
One of the things that indicate that people will be weighed is the hadeeth narrated from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu that the Prophet ﷺ said: “A huge fat man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection, and he will not weigh more before Allah than the wing of a mosquito. Recite: ‘and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign no weight for them’ [al-Kahf 18:105 – interpretation of the meaning].” [Bukhari, 4729]
It is also indicated by the fact that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu was trying to break a siwaak branch from an araak tree and he had thin legs and the wind started to buffet him, so the people laughed at him. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “What are you laughing at?” They said, “O Prophet of Allah ﷺ, because his legs are so thin.” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, they will weigh more heavily in the Balance than Mount Uhud.” [Its isnaad was classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Sharh al-Tahhaawiyyah, no. 571, p. 418]
Some scholars say the weight of our intentions i.e. sincerity to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in our deeds will be weighed. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make us weigh heavily in the Balance, aameen.
From this explanation, we learn that it is not about bad deeds and good deeds outweighing each other. Rather, the real issue is that our deeds weigh something of value due to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accepting them.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ said, if you want your deeds to be accepted by Allah, make sure they are:
1 – Sincerely for Allah’s sake
2 – Following the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ
The closer you are in following the Sunnah of Rasoolullah ﷺ, and the more sincere you are to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in that – the heavier your deeds become on the scale even if they are small continuous good deeds. O Allah, make our good deeds heavy and accept them, ameen.
Talking about those whose deeds will heavy, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Then he will live a pleasant life (in Paradise),” (101:7). Derived from the word ‘aysh’ eesha [عِيشَ] means having a life with no worry of food or shelter. It indicates an easy life with no problems. You have everything and you are not dependent on anything.
Similarly, the word ‘Raaddiyah’ [رَّاضِيَ] means the one who is pleased. He is satisfied, pleased and in joy. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says, “But as for him whose scales will be light,” (101:8) meaning, his bad deeds are more than his good deeds. The ayah gives a pause over here so that we may think what is going to happen to such a person, what is going to be the treatment of the one whose deeds weigh light. Continuing this Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says, “His mother will be Hawiyah,” (101: 9) hawiyah [هَاوِيَ] contains the root words ha–wau–ya which means to fall steep as a bird to its prey, pull down, etc. A predator bird like a hawk – dives at full speed to catch its prey at the bottom of a valley. This diving is faster than just falling, because it uses its muscle and wing strength (other than just gravity) – to dive to the bottom. Forcing itself or launching itself down.
Hawiyah is the deep pit into which something falls. Hell has been called hawiyah because it will be deep in which the culprits will be thrown into it from the height. As for the words, “his mother will be hawiyah” it means that just as the mother’s lap is the child’s abode, so Hell will be the culprits’ only abode in the Hereafter.
According to Ibn Kathir’s tafseer this means he will be falling and tumbling headfirst into the fire of Hell, and the expression ‘his mother’ has been used to refer to his brain (as it is the mother of his head).
Al Madh-hari said: This canyon is so deep down in hell, only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows its full depth (it is commonly translated as ‘bottomless pit’).
Ummuhu [his Mother] = Mother = Hell is his Mother (ummuhu hawiyah).
A child runs towards his mother. Who wants to run towards the hellfire? Nobody! But hell is now their mother – where their body will fall with speed. A mother wraps herself around her child, to protect it, and she doesn’t let it go. And when the mother is carrying the baby in pregnancy, the baby is protected inside of her and it cannot come out of her. Similarly, the person is trapped in this mother of a hell, who holds him tightly, who does not let him escape her grip.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala began Surah al-Qari’ah by scaring us and He ends it the same way. The Surah started with questions (Ayah 3 – 4) and this is how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has ended it as well (Ayah 10 – 11).
Asking the meaning of Al-Hawiyah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And what will make you know what it is,” (101:10). He replies, “It is a Fire, intensely hot,” (101:11) Hamiyah [حَامِيَ] means intensely hot and enflamed. It is a heat that is accompanied by a strong flame and fire.
This Surah has been placed between two Surahs: Surah Al-Adiyat and at-Takathur. In both the Surahs the people of Hellfire have been mentioned. So this Surah gives warning to the groups from Surahs which precede and follow it and tells about their fate.
It is narrated from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu that the Prophet ﷺ said,
نَارُ بَنِي آدَمَ الَّتِي تُوقِدُونَ، جُزْءٌ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ جُزْءًا مِنْ نَارِ جَهَنَّم
“The fire of the Children of Adam that you all kindle is one part of the seventy parts of the fire of Hell.” They (the Companions) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Isn’t it sufficient?” He replied,
إِنَّهَا فُضِّلَتْ عَلَيْهَا بِتِسْعَةٍ وَسِتِّينَ جُزْءًا
“It is more than it by sixty-nine times.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
It has been narrated in a hadeeth that Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu that the Prophet ﷺ said,
إِنَّ أَهْوَنَ أَهْلِ النَّارِ عَذَابًا مَنْ لَهُ نَعْلَانِ، يَغْلِي مِنْهُمَا دِمَاغُه
“Verily, the person who will receive the lightest torment of the people of the Hellfire will be a man who will have two sandals that will cause his brain to boil.”
O Allah, we seek refuge with You from the Fire.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ ، وَمِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّمَ ، وَمِنْ فِتْـنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ ، وَمِنْ شَرِّ فِتْـنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ
“O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave, from the torment of the Fire, from the trials and tribulations of life and death and from the evil affliction of Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist).” [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daw’oud, At-Tirmidhi]
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