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The Arrogant Claim of the Disbelievers that They would carry the Sins of Others if They would return to Disbelief

Allah tells us that the disbelievers of Quraysh said to those who believed and followed the truth: leave your religion, come back to our religion, and follow our way;

﴿ وَلۡنَحۡمِلۡ خَطَـٰيَـٰكُمۡ

(and let us bear your sins.) meaning, `if there is any sin on you, we will bear it and it will be our responsibility'. It is like a person saying: "Do this, and your sin will be on my shoulders.'' Allah says, proving this to be a lie:

﴿ وَمَا هُم بِحَـٰمِلِينَ مِنۡ خَطَـٰيَـٰهُم مِّن شَىۡءٍ‌ۖ إِنَّهُمۡ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ

(Never will they bear anything of their sins. Surely, they are liars.) in their claim that they will bear the sins of others, for no person will bear the sins of another. Allah says:

﴿ وَإِن تَدۡعُ مُثۡقَلَةٌ إِلَىٰ حِمۡلِهَا لَا يُحۡمَلۡ مِنۡهُ شَىۡءٌ۬ وَلَوۡ كَانَ ذَا قُرۡبَىٰٓۗ

(and if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin) (35:18).

﴿ وَلَا يَسۡـَٔلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمً۬ا يُبَصَّرُونَہُمۡ‌ۚ

(And no friend will ask a friend (about his condition), though they shall be made to see one another) (70:10-11).

﴿ وَلَيَحۡمِلُنَّ أَثۡقَالَهُمۡ وَأَثۡقَالاً۬ مَّعَ أَثۡقَالِهِمۡ‌ۖ

(And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own.) Here Allah tells us that those who call others to disbelief and misguidance will, on the Day of Resurrection, bear their own sins and the sins of others, because of the people they misguided. Yet that will not detract from the burden of those other people in the slightest, as Allah says:

﴿ لِيَحۡمِلُوٓاْ أَوۡزَارَهُمۡ كَامِلَةً۬ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۙ وَمِنۡ أَوۡزَارِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيۡرِ عِلۡمٍ‌ۗ

(That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection, and also of the burdens of those whom they misled without knowledge) (16:25). In the Sahih, it says:

« مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى هُدًى كَانَ لَهُ مِنَ الْأَجْرِ مِثْلُ أُجُورِ مَنِ اتَّبَعَهُ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَنْقُصَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا، وَمَنْ دَعَا إِلَى ضَلَالَةٍ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْإثْمِ مِثْلُ آثَامِ مَنِ اتَّبَعَهُ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَنْقُصَ مِنْ آثَامِهِمْ شَيْئًا »

(Whoever calls others to true guidance, will have a reward like that of those who follow him until the Day of Resurrection, without it detracting from their reward in the slightest. Whoever calls others to misguidance, will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow him until the Day of Resurrection, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.) In the Sahih, it also says:

« مَا قُتِلَتْ نَفْسٌ ظُلْمًا إِلَّا كَانَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ الْأَوَّلِ كِفْلٌ مِنْ دَمِهَا، لِأَنَّهُ أَوَّلُ مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْل »

(No person is killed unlawfully, but a share of the guilt will be upon the first son of Adam, because he was the first one to initiate the idea of killing another.)

﴿ وَلَيُسۡـَٔلُنَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ عَمَّا ڪَانُواْ يَفۡتَرُونَ

(and verily, they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about that which they used to fabricate.) means, the lies they used to tell and the falsehood they used to fabricate. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Umamah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah conveyed the Message with which he was sent, then he said:

« إِيَّاكُمْ وَالظُّلْمَ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ يَعْزِمُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيَقُولُ: وَعِزَّتِي وَجَلَالِي لَا يَجوزُنِي الْيَوْمَ ظُلْمٌ، ثُمَّ يُنَادِي مُنَادٍ فَيَقُولُ: أَيْنَ فُلَانُ بْنُ فُلَانٍ؟ فَيَأْتِي يَتْبَعُهُ مِنَ الْحَسَنَاتِ أَمْثَالَ الْجِبَالِ، فَيَشْخَصُ النَّاسُ إِلَيْهَا أَبْصَارَهُمْ، حَتَّى يَقُومَ بَيْنَ يَدَيِ الرَّحْمنِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، ثُمَّ يَأْمُرُ الْمُنَادِيَ فَيُنَادِي: مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ تِبَاعَةٌ أَوْ ظَلَامَةٌ عِنْدَ فُلَانِ بْنِ فُلَانٍ فَهَلُمَّ، فَيُقْبِلُونَ حَتَّى يَجْتَمِعُوا قِيَامًا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ الرَّحْمنِ، فَيَقُولُ الرَّحْمنُ: اقْضُوا عَنْ عَبْدِي، فَيَقُولُونَ: كَيْفَ نَقْضِي عَنْهُ؟ فَيَقُولُ: خُذُوا لَهُمْ مِنْ حَسَنَاتِهِ، فَلَا يَزَالُونَ يَأْخُذُونَ مِنْهَا حَتَّى لَا يَبْقَى مِنْهَا حَسَنَةٌ، وَقَدْ بَقِيَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الظَّلَامَاتِ، فَيَقُولُ: اقْضُوا عَنْ عَبْدِي، فَيَقُولُونَ: لَمْ يَبْقَ لَهُ حَسَنَةٌ، فَيَقُولُ: خُذُوا مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ فَاحْمِلُوهَا عَلَيْه »

(Beware of injustice, for Allah will swear an oath of the Day of Resurrection and will say: "By My glory and majesty, no injustice will be overlooked today.'' Then a voice will call out, "Where is so-and-so the son of so-and-so'' He will be brought forth, followed by his good deeds which appear like mountains while the people are gazing at them in wonder, until he is standing before the Most Merciful. Then the caller will be commanded to say: "Whoever is owed anything by so-and-so the son of so-and-so, or has been wronged by him, let him come forth.'' So they will come forth and gather before the Most Merciful, then the Most Merciful will say: "Settle the matter for My servant.'' They will say, "How can we settle the matter'' He will say, "Take from his good deeds and give it to them.'' They will keep taking from his good deeds until there is nothing left, and there will still people with scores to be settled. Allah will say, "Settle the matter for My servant.'' They will say, "He does not have even one good deed left.'' Allah will say, "Take from their evil deeds and give them to him.'') Then the Prophet quoted this Ayah:

﴿ وَلَيَحۡمِلُنَّ أَثۡقَالَهُمۡ وَأَثۡقَالاً۬ مَّعَ أَثۡقَالِهِمۡ‌ۖ وَلَيُسۡـَٔلُنَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ عَمَّا ڪَانُواْ يَفۡتَرُونَ

(And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own; and verily, they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about that which they used to fabricate.) There is a corroborating report in the Sahih with a different chain of narration:

« إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَأْتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِحَسَنَاتٍ أَمْثَالِ الْجِبَالِ وَقَدْ ظَلَمَ هَذَا، وَأَخَذَ مَالَ هَذَا، وَأَخَذَ مِنْ عِرْضِ هَذَا، فَيَأْخُذُ هَذَا مِنْ حَسَنَاتِهِ، وَهَذَا مِنْ حَسَنَاتِهِ، فَإِذَا لَمْ تَبْقَ لَهُ حَسَنَةٌ، أُخِذَ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ فَطُرِحَ عَلَيْه »

(A man will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like mountains, but he had wronged this one, taken the wealth of that one and slandered the honor of another. So each of them will take from his good deeds. And if there is nothing left of his good deeds, it will be taken from their evil and placed on him.)

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوحًا إِلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمۡ أَلۡفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمۡسِينَ عَامً۬ا فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱلطُّوفَانُ وَهُمۡ ظَـٰلِمُونَ فَأَنجَيۡنَـٰهُ وَأَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلسَّفِينَةِ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(14. And indeed We sent Nuh to his people, and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty years; so the Deluge overtook them while they were wrongdoers.) (15. Then We saved him and the Companions of the Boat, and made it an Ayah for all people.)

Nuh and His People

Here Allah consoles His servant and Messenger Muhammad by telling him that Nuh (peace be upon him) stayed among his people for this long period of time, calling them night and day, in secret and openly, but in spite of all that they still persisted in their aversion to the truth, turning away from it and disbelieving in him. Only a few of them believed with him. Allah says:

﴿ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمۡ أَلۡفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمۡسِينَ عَامً۬ا فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱلطُّوفَانُ وَهُمۡ ظَـٰلِمُونَ

(and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty years; and the Deluge overtook them while they were wrongdoers.) meaning, `after this long period of time, when the Message and the warning had been of no avail, so, O Muhammad, do not feel sorry because of those among your people who disbelieve in you, and do not grieve for them, for Allah guides whomsoever He wills and leaves astray whomsoever He wills. The matter rests with Him and all things will return to Him.'

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ڪَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ وَلَوۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ ڪُلُّ ءَايَةٍ

(Truly, those, against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them) (10:96-97). Know that Allah will help you and support you and cause you to prevail, and He will defeat and humiliate your enemies, and make them the lowest of the low. It was recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "Nuh received his mission when he was forty years old, and he stayed among his people for a thousand years less fifty; after the Flood he lived for sixty years until people had increased and spread.''

﴿ فَأَنجَيۡنَـٰهُ وَأَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلسَّفِينَةِ

(Then We saved him and the Companions of the Boat,) means, those who believed in Nuh, peace be upon him. We have already discussed this in detail in Surah Hud, and there is no need to repeat it here.

﴿ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(and made it (the ship) an Ayah for all people.) means, `We caused that ship to remain,' whether in itself, as Qatadah said, that it remained until the beginning of Islam, on Mount Judi, or whether the concept of sailing in ships was left as a reminder to mankind of how Allah had saved them from the Flood. This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَءَايَةٌ۬ لَّهُمۡ أَنَّا حَمَلۡنَا ذُرِّيَّتَہُمۡ فِى ٱلۡفُلۡكِ ٱلۡمَشۡحُونِ وَخَلَقۡنَا لَهُم مِّن مِّثۡلِهِۦ مَا يَرۡكَبُونَ

(And an Ayah for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship. And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride) until:

﴿ وَمَتَـٰعًا إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬

(and as an enjoyment for a while) (36:41-44).

﴿ إِنَّا لَمَّا طَغَا ٱلۡمَآءُ حَمَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ فِى ٱلۡجَارِيَةِ لِنَجۡعَلَهَا لَكُمۡ تَذۡكِرَةً۬ وَتَعِيَہَآ أُذُنٌ۬ وَٲعِيَةٌ۬

(Verily, when the water rose beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship. That We might make it an admonition for you and that it might be retained by the retaining ears.) (69:11-12) And Allah says here:

﴿ فَأَنجَيۡنَـٰهُ وَأَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلسَّفِينَةِ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(Then We saved him and the Companions of the Boat, and made it an Ayah for all people.) This is a shift from referring to one specific ship to speaking about ships in general. A similar shift from specific to general is to be seen in the Ayat:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا بِمَصَـٰبِيحَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا رُجُومً۬ا لِّلشَّيَـٰطِينِ‌ۖ

(And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils)) (67:5). meaning, `We have made these lamps missiles, but the lamps which are used as missiles are not the same lamps as are used to adorn the heaven.' And Allah says:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ مِن سُلَـٰلَةٍ۬ مِّن طِينٍ۬ ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ نُطۡفَةً۬ فِى قَرَارٍ۬ مَّكِينٍ۬

(And indeed We created man out of an extract of clay. Thereafter We made him a Nutfah in a safe lodging.) (23:12-13). There are many other similar examples.

﴿ وَإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ إِذۡ قَالَ لِقَوۡمِهِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱتَّقُوهُ‌ۖ ذَٲلِڪُمۡ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ إِن ڪُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا تَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡثَـٰنً۬ا وَتَخۡلُقُونَ إِفۡكًا‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ تَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ لَا يَمۡلِكُونَ لَكُمۡ رِزۡقً۬ا فَٱبۡتَغُواْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرِّزۡقَ وَٱعۡبُدُوهُ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُ ۥۤ‌ۖ إِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ وَإِن تُكَذِّبُواْ فَقَدۡ ڪَذَّبَ أُمَمٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكُمۡ‌ۖ وَمَا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَـٰغُ ٱلۡمُبِينُ

(16. And (remember) Ibrahim when he said to his people: "Worship Allah, and have Taqwa of Him, that is better for you if you know.'') (17. You worship besides Allah only idols, and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allah have no power to give you provision, so seek from Allah your provision, and worship Him, and be grateful to Him. To Him you will be brought back.) (18. And if you deny, then nations before you have denied. And the duty of the Messenger is only to convey plainly.'')

Ibrahim's preaching to His People

Allah tells us how His servant, Messenger and close friend Ibrahim, the Imam of the monotheists, called his people to worship Allah alone, with no partner or associate, to fear Him alone, to seek provision from Him alone, with no partner or associate, to give thanks to Him alone, for He is the One to Whom thanks should be given for the blessings which none can bestow but He. Ibrahim said to his people:

﴿ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱتَّقُوهُ‌ۖ

(Worship Allah, and have Taqwa of Him,) meaning worship Him and fear Him Alone, with all sincerity.

﴿ ذَٲلِكُمۡ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ

(that is better for you if you know.) if you do that you will attain good in this world and the next, and you will prevent evil from yourselves in this world and the Hereafter. Then Allah states that the idols which they worshipped were not able to do any harm or any good, and tells them, "You made up names for them and called them gods, but they are created beings just like you.'' This interpretation was reported by Al-`Awfi from Ibn `Abbas. It was also the view of Mujahid and As-Suddi. Al-Walibi reported from Ibn `Abbas: "You invent falsehood, means, you carve idols,'' which do not have the power to provide for you.

﴿ فَٱبۡتَغُواْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرِّزۡقَ

(so seek from Allah your provision,) This emphasizes the idea of asking Allah Alone. This is like the Ayat:

﴿ إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ

(You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help.) (1:5) And His saying:

﴿ رَبِّ ٱبۡنِ لِى عِندَكَ بَيۡتً۬ا فِى ٱلۡجَنَّةِ

(My Lord! Build for me, with You, a home in Paradise) (66:11). Allah says here:

﴿ فَٱبۡتَغُواْ

(so seek) meaning, ask for

﴿ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرِّزۡقَ

(from Allah your provision,) meaning, do not seek it from anyone or anything other than Him, for no one else possesses the power to do anything.

﴿ وَٱعۡبُدُوهُ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لَهُ ۥۤ‌ۖ

(and worship Him, and be grateful to Him.) Eat from what He has provided and worship Him Alone, and give thanks to Him for the blessings He has given you.

﴿ إِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ

(To Him you will be brought back.) means, on the Day of Resurrection, when He will reward or punish each person according to his deeds. His saying:

﴿ وَإِن تُكَذِّبُواْ فَقَدۡ ڪَذَّبَ أُمَمٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكُمۡ‌ۖ

(And if you deny, then nations before you have denied.) means, `you have heard what happened to them by way of punishment for opposing the Messengers.'

﴿ وَمَا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَـٰغُ ٱلۡمُبِينُ

(And the duty of the Messenger is only to convey plainly.) All the Messengers have to do is to convey the Message as Allah has commanded them. Allah guides whoever He wills and leaves astray whoever He wills, so strive to be among the blessed. Qatadah said concerning the Ayah:

﴿ وَإِن تُكَذِّبُواْ فَقَدۡ ڪَذَّبَ أُمَمٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكُمۡ‌ۖ

(And if you deny, then nations before you have denied.) "These are words of consolation to His Prophet, peace be upon him.'' This suggestion by Qatadah implies that the narrative (about Ibrahim) is interrupted here, and resumes with the words "And nothing was the answer of (Ibrahim's) people...'' in Ayah 24. This was also stated by Ibn Jarir. From the context it appears that Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said all of what is in this section. Here he establishes proof against them that the Resurrection will indeed come to pass, because at the end of this passage it says:

﴿ فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوۡمِهِۦۤ

("And nothing was the answer of his people...'') (29:24) And Allah knows best.

﴿ أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ ڪَيۡفَ يُبۡدِئُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۥۤ‌ۚ إِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ۬ قُلۡ سِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ ڪَيۡفَ بَدَأَ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ‌ۚ ثُمَّ ٱللَّهُ يُنشِئُ ٱلنَّشۡأَةَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬ يُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرۡحَمُ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۖ وَإِلَيۡهِ تُقۡلَبُونَ وَمَآ أَنتُم بِمُعۡجِزِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ‌ۖ وَمَا لَڪُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِىٍّ۬ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ۬ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِقَآٮِٕهِۦۤ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَٮِٕسُواْ مِن رَّحۡمَتِى وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

(19. See they not how Allah originates the creation, then repeats it. Verily, that is easy for Allah.) (20. Say: "Travel in the land and see how He originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter. Verily, Allah is able to do all things.'') (21. He punishes whom He wills, and shows mercy to whom He wills; and to Him you will be returned.) (22. And you cannot escape in the earth or in the heaven. And besides Allah you have neither any protector nor any helper.) (23. And those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and meeting with Him, such have no hope of My mercy: and for such there is a painful torment.)