Sooner or later every transgressor will have to answer for their actions
In Surah An-Nazi’at, Allah Almighty says:
فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الطَّامَّةُ الْكُبْرَىٰ
يَوْمَ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ مَا سَعَىٰ
وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِمَن يَرَىٰ
فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَىٰ
وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
“When the great havoc happens, man will remember what he did. And the hellfire will be clear and exposed for everyone who sees. As for him, who was defiant, who crossed all limits, oversteps all the limits, and prefers this life over the hereafter, then hell is his last abode. But as for him, who feared the standing of his Lord, or standing before his Lord, restrained himself from desires, then paradise is his shelter.” [79:35-41]
In these very familiar verses, Allah Almighty is addressing a common issue – transgression, الطغيان. Transgression is violating the rules, breaking the boundaries of what is permissible and going against what is right. Transgression is not limited to any place or time or person. It has occurred throughout history and continues to be widespread today. The reason is simple, Allah Almighty mentioned clearly:
وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
“So they prefer this life over the hereafter.”
Surat An-Naziat was revealed in Makkah, and as per the nature of Makki revelations, it is concerned with the most important issues for mankind in this life and in the Hereafter. It is making the consequences of the choices we make in this life clear to us.
To this end, Allah Almighty explains what is waiting for those who are transgressing and committing oppression and what is waiting for those who are promoting fairness and justice and engaged in goodness. There have always been two groups and a struggle between the truth and falsehood. This will remain the until the Day of Resurrection.
We are being reminded that there is life beyond this life waiting for us, whether one believes it is or not, it is fact and a reality. This fact has a huge bearing on what we choose to do now.
When the reality will hit those who ignored it in their lifetime, it will be a terrifying moment of realisation for them, and it will be too late.
A Day when man will remember what he did
Allah Almighty is giving them a heads up by telling them what is to come, warning them to choose carefully. There is the path of the righteous and the path of the wicked. As Allah Almighty stated in Surah al-Kahf, everyone’s actions will become apparent on the Day of Judgement. But by then, it will be too late to change anything and for those who were engaged in sin and breaking the limits set by Allah it will be a time of agonising regret.
The transgressor will be brought to justice
We see every day on the news as took place in every century, all over the world, the unscrupulous killing and bombarding of innocent people, the destruction of hospitals, schools, and homes. The powers in place unleash terror without restraint simply because they can. They have the power. No one can stop them. Those with nuclear power do whatever they want. They think rules don’t apply to them. In fact, it is not about rules, but about morality, decency and humanity. We are suffering from a lack of morality in this world, not a lack of regulations. We have been given divine guidance and we have endless man-made rules and legislation, but none of these stop transgressors with power from wiping out civilians in their own land.
Allah Almighty is warning them that one day their reign of terror will come to an end and they will be held to account and questioned about everything they did.
Whether transgressors claim they are Christian or Muslims, or Hindus it doesn’t matter. Anyone who transgresses and breaks the rules is evil. They have chosen this life over the next. This is their choice and consequently “Hellfire is their final destination.”
Meanwhile “the one who fears standing before his Lord” has genuine belief, is guided by that belief in their good actions, fears the consequences of their bad actions, and restrains their desires.
Desire is a vast beast
Desire is not only related to sexual desire. That is a drop in the ocean. Desire is a vast beast. It comes in many shades – economic, political, military, sexual etc. It is desire that makes people want to control others, to take revenge, to be admired. Whatever desire it is, pursuing it without limits leads to Hell. We have to control desire and that is what leads to Jannah.
Divine revelation gives us the boundaries within which we have to curb our desires. Revelation gives us direction. It is the path of the righteous – ‘as-siraat-al-mustaqeem’ and teaches us where to draw the line, and what are the limits. Unfortunately, especially in the west, limits have been erased. What was prohibited 20 years ago is now the norm. You are not even allowed to question this. We live in a world with no limits. This is the contrary to divine revelation. Divine limits are our safety net.
…These are the limits set by Allah. And whoever transgresses Allah’s limits has truly wronged his own soul. [65:1]
It is not Allah Almighty who is harmed when His rules are broken, it is ourselves, and those around us. Don’t be an oppressor, and don’t support oppression.
Allah has given us Ramadan as a month of controlling desire, and the month of Sha’ban is preparation for that. It is about putting brakes on our whims and desires, not just in eating and drinking, but also controlling our faculties: our eyes, our ears, our tongue. There is massive reward for those who manage it, in this life and the next.
Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ مَنْ كَانَتِ الآخِرَةُ هَمَّهُ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ غِنَاهُ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَجَمَعَ لَهُ شَمْلَهُ وَأَتَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا وَهِيَ رَاغِمَةٌ وَمَنْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا هَمَّهُ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ فَقْرَهُ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ وَفَرَّقَ عَلَيْهِ شَمْلَهَ وَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَا قُدِّرَ لَهُ ” .
“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah makes his heart rich, and organises his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allah puts his poverty right before his eyes, and disorganises his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.” [Tirmidhi]
Khutbah – Shaykh Haytham Tamim 25th February 2023
Transcribed by Zayna Sheikh
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