You can fool yourself, but you can’t fool Allah. Reckoning is a reality.

You can fool yourself, but you can't fool Allah. Reckoning is a reality.

In the opening of Surat Al-Anbiya, Allah Almighty says:

ٱقۡتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمۡ وَهُمۡ فِی غَفۡلَةࣲ مُّعۡرِضُونَ

The time of their reckoning has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away.  (Al-Anbiyāʾ, Ayah 1)

This is a Makki surah, and a common feature of Makki surahs is that they address the challenges faced by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from his people. Firstly, they denied the afterlife. They believed that they would die and they would not be held accountable for anything they had done. Death was the end. The Quran, however, confirms that death is not the end but the beginning of a new life, which Allah gives everyone and each one of us will be questioned.

The word hisab (reckoning) has been mentioned 18 times and the word suwal (question) has been mentioned 129 times. You see these two are always together. When you have died, Allah will question you about what you did in your life. In many verses Allah confirms this fact. From the top to the bottom, everyone will be questioned, even the angels, as they will give testimony. Even the prophets and messengers will be asked. Allah Almighty says:

سَتُكۡتَبُ شَهَـٰدَتُهُمۡ وَیُسۡـَٔلُونَ

Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned. (Az-Zukhruf, Ayah 19)

یَوۡمَ یَجۡمَعُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرُّسُلَ فَیَقُولُ مَاذَاۤ أُجِبۡتُمۡۖ قَالُوا۟ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَاۤۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّـٰمُ ٱلۡغُیُوبِ

(Be mindful of) the day when Allah will assemble the messengers and will say to them, “How were you responded to?” They will say, “We have no knowledge. Surely You alone have the full knowledge of all that is unseen.” Al-Māʾidah, Ayah 109

وَلَتُسۡـَٔلُنَّ عَمَّا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

and surely you will be questioned about what you used to do. (An-Naḥl, Ayah 93)

The only one who will never be questioned is Allah, because He is the Creator:

لَا یُسۡـَٔلُ عَمَّا یَفۡعَلُ وَهُمۡ یُسۡـَٔلُونَ

He is not questioned of what He does, and they are questioned. (Al-Anbiyāʾ, Ayah 23)

Allah’s wisdom is beyond our comprehension. You cannot question Allah when you are only judging from one piece of the whole jigsaw. The only one who has the full picture is Allah and this is why He is not questioned.

The Reckoning is very close, as Allah Almighty stated in the opening word of Surat Al-Anbiya.

Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

سهل بن سعد رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «بُعِثْتُ أنا والساعةَ هكذا»، ويشير بإصبعيه فيَمُدُّ بهما.

“My advent and the Hour are like this,” and he pointed with his index and middle fingers. (Bukhari and Muslim)

We will be questioned on an individual level, on a community level, and on an Ummah level about how we discharged our responsibilities. Allah will ask us about our salah, our life, our money and our children.

Abu Barzah al-Aslami (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «لا تزول قدما عبد يوم القيامة حتى يسأل عن أربع: عن عمره فيما أفناه، وعن شبابه فيما أبلاه، وعن ماله من أين اكتسبه وفيما أنفقه، وماذا عمل فيما علم»

The two feet of the son of Adam will not move on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about five things: his life and how he spent it; his youth and how he took care of it; his wealth and how he earned it and where he spent it; and what he did with his knowledge. (Tirmidhi)

In another hadith, Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

عن أنس رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: ((إن الله سائل كل راع عما استرعاه, حفظ أم ضيع؟ حتى يُسأل الرجل عن أهل بيته)).

‘Indeed Allah will question everyone who is responsible about his charge: has he fulfilled the amanah (trust) or neglected it, and a man will even be asked about the people of his household. (Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban)

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) also reported:

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ، وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ، وَالأَمِيرُ رَاعٍ، وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ عَلَى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ، وَالْمَرْأَةُ رَاعِيَةٌ عَلَى بَيْتِ زَوْجِهَا وَوَلَدِهِ، فَكُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ ‏”‏‏

I heard Messenger of Allah () saying, “All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and responsible for his subjects; the man is a guardian and responsible for his family; the woman is a guardian and is responsible for her husband’s house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

These ayahs and hadith confirm this important point – that each one of us is accountable and we will be questioned, so no one can think they can get away with it. In the dunya, you might get away with things, but you will not get away with anything in the Hereafter.

There are those who are in positions of responsibility who are not fulfilling their roles properly because they have power and have managed to evade justice so far. Wealth, allies and connections may enable people to get away with wrongdoing for a period of time, but one day they will have to face Allah Almighty, as He stated,

إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُوا۟ لَا یَرۡجُونَ حِسَابࣰا

They did not expect (to face) accounting (of their deeds), (An-Nabaʾ, Ayah 27)

فَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِیَ كِتَـٰبَهُۥ بِیَمِینِهِۦ فَیَقُولُ هَاۤؤُمُ ٱقۡرَءُوا۟ كِتَـٰبِیَهۡ

Now, as for him who is given his book in his right hand, he will say (to his colleagues), “Come here, read my book. Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 19

إِنِّی ظَنَنتُ أَنِّی مُلَـٰقٍ حِسَابِیَهۡ

I was sure that I would encounter my reckoning.” (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 20)

فَهُوَ فِی عِیشَةࣲ رَّاضِیَةࣲ

So he will be in a well-pleasing life (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 21)

فِی جَنَّةٍ عَالِیَةࣲ

in a lofty garden, (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 22)

وَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِیَ كِتَـٰبَهُۥ بِشِمَالِهِۦ فَیَقُولُ یَـٰلَیۡتَنِی لَمۡ أُوتَ كِتَـٰبِیَهۡ

As for him who will be given his book in his left hand, he will say, “ Oh, would that I had not been given my book, (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 25)

وَلَمۡ أَدۡرِ مَا حِسَابِیَهۡ

and I had never known what my account is! (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 26)

یَـٰلَیۡتَهَا كَانَتِ ٱلۡقَاضِیَةَ

Oh, would that it (death) had been the end of the matter! (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 27)

مَاۤ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنِّی مَالِیَهۡۜ

My wealth has not been of any use to me. (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 28)

هَلَكَ عَنِّی سُلۡطَـٰنِیَهۡ

My power has gone from me for good.” (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 29)

ثُمَّ ٱلۡجَحِیمَ صَلُّوهُ

and then, let him burn in the blazing fire. (Al-Ḥāqqah, Ayah 31)

ثُمَّ لَتُسۡـَٔلُنَّ یَوۡمَىِٕذٍ عَنِ ٱلنَّعِیمِ

Then you will be asked about all the pleasures (you enjoyed in the world). (At-Takāthur, Ayah 8)

إِنَّ إِلَیۡنَاۤ إِیَابَهُمۡ

Surely towards Us they have to return, (Al-Ghāshiyah, Ayah 25)

ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا حِسَابَهُم

then it is Our job to call them to account. (Al-Ghāshiyah, Ayah 26)

وَتَرَى ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِینَ یَوۡمَئذٍ مُّقَرَّنِینَ فِی ٱلۡأَصۡفَادِ

On that day you will see the culprits tied up together in chains, (Ibrāhīm, Ayah 49)

سَرَابِیلُهُم مِّن قَطِرَانࣲ وَتَغۡشَىٰ وُجُوهَهُمُ ٱلنَّارُ

their shirts will be of tar, and their faces will be covered with Fire. (Ibrāhīm, Ayah 50)

لِیَجۡزِیَ ٱللَّهُ كُلَّ نَفۡسࣲ مَّا كَسَبَتۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَرِیعُ ٱلۡحِسَابِ

so that Allah repays everyone in full whatever he earned. Indeed, Allah is swift at reckoning. (Ibrāhīm, Ayah 51)

یَوۡمَئذٍ یَصۡدُرُ ٱلنَّاسُ أَشۡتَاتࣰا لِّیُرَوۡا۟ أَعۡمَـٰلَهُمۡ

That day the people will come back (from the place of reckoning) in different groups, so that they may be shown (the fruits of) their deeds. (Az-Zalzalah, Ayah 6)

فَمَن یَعۡمَلۡ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَیۡرࣰا یَرَهُۥ

So, whoever does any good act (even) to the weight of a particle will see it. (Az-Zalzalah, Ayah 7)

وَمَن یَعۡمَلۡ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّةࣲ شَرࣰّا یَرَهُۥ

And whoever does evil (even) to the weight of a particle will see it. (Az-Zalzalah, Ayah 8)

Whoever was mindful of the fact they would meet Allah, and lived life in accordance with what He commanded, will be ecstatic with joy when he receives his Book in his right hand and will attain the delights of Paradise. Whoever was expecting no one to hold them to account and did not care will find himself in the depths of regret and sorrow, facing the consequences of their heedlessness, and will receive their Book in their left hand, leading them to the torments of Hell.

Whether it is on an individual level or national or international level, we are seeing negligence of duty and people shirking their responsibility. The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us personal responsibility and personal accountability. What will our answer be when Allah asks us what we did for those suffering in Gaza? If you are switching off your screens and saying you can’t do anything, then prepare what answer you will give Allah. Those in power who have neglected their duty will be asked as will their allies. No one can escape Allah’s questions. Be prepared for the next generations who will ask, ‘How did you allow these atrocities to happen?’ You can answer one of two ways: I tried my best (using all lawful and peaceful means available), or I was too busy. It is your call and Allah knows what your reality is – if you are lying or telling the truth. You can fool people around you, but Allah knows the ins and outs of your thoughts and actions.

Let’s fulfil our responsibilities towards ourselves, our families and our communities. It is heart-breaking to watch the on-going massacres. Do not give up until they stop.

Based on the Khutbah of Shaykh Haytham Tamim 21st June 2024


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.