(2:134) What Have YOU Earned? How one generation impacts another
by Umm Hana
Keeping Track of Yourself
Are we accountable for others’ mistakes? What have we earned? And what have we got to pass on?
That was a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do. (2:134)
Here Allah Almighty is saying that all previous nations have passed away and we are not answerable for their actions.
This ayah is evidence that we are not answerable if we had a parent who was a disbeliever nor for their deeds.
We are only answerable for our deeds and responsible for those under our control or leadership. This is the adl or justice of Allah Almighty.
The Past is Over. Live in the Present
The first lesson from this is not to live in history, but learn from it and move on. Some people specialise in living in the past. Whenever you talk about anything, they hark back to old days.
Particularly Muslims who look back to our previous achievements, but have not much to show for themselves today. Focus on what can be achieved now.
Look Ahead – What Goodness Can You Pass on
The second lesson is the concept of looking ahead, and focusing on the good deeds which you can transfer to the next generations. This is an Islamic concept, as the Prophet (peace be on him) said after death, a man’s deeds stop except three: beneficial knowledge which you left (such as book which people read after you have passed away), sadaqa jariyah (e.g. if you built a mosque and people continue to pray in it), and righteous offspring, who give sadaqa on his behalf and make du’a for him.
Sins that are Passed On
You get what you earned. If anyone is harmed by something, the one who started that sin and spread it will continue to earn the sin from it as long as people are harmed by it.
Gaining Acceptance for Your Deeds
Do the best to have your good deeds in good shape. In Surah Al Kahf, wa wajadu amila hadara we will all find our deeds present before our eyes:
And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, ‘Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?’ And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one. (18:49)
Whether our deeds are good or ugly, all will become evident.
Keep purifying your intentions and ask Allah Almighty to accept your good deeds , so that they are not rejected because of a contaminated intention e.g. doing them to show off.
Reaping Benefit from Predecessors
You will not be harmed by the bad deeds of previous nations. You start with a clean slate. Nor can you get the reward of the good deeds of previous nations. However but if you are connected to righteous predecessors,, you will benefit from their du’as and the blessings the invoked for their future generations.
We see this in Surah al Kahf when Khidr rebuilt the wall for the orphans for free because their father had been righteous.
We should pray for the protection of our future generations just as Hana (surah al Imran) prayed for a righteous offspring and grandchild and was granted Maryam and Eesa (peace be on them).
We ask Allah to make our deeds good deeds and give us righteous offspring, make us among righteous people and enable us to understand His Book and the sunnah of his Prophet (peace be on him), implement this and disseminate it and live by it. Ameen
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