This morning while reading the Qur’an I came across an ayah that really spoke to me. In particular I found the latter portion of this ayah, and the commentary by some from the Sahabah intriguing and deep, and this caused me to want to reflect further on this ayah and how it can affect our generation today.
يُنَبَّؤُا۟ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ يَوْمَئِذٍۭ بِمَا قَدَّمَ وَأَخَّرَ
Man will be informed that Day of what he sent ahead and kept back. [75:13]
What our righteous predecessors `Abdullah Ibn Masud (ra) and Ibn `Abbas (ra) are reported to have said that ‘what he sent ahead’ refers to the good deeds he has sent forth before his death.
And similarly, Qatadah (ra) said that ‘what he sent ahead‘ refers to a good deed he did in his lifetime. What was interesting was the richness of their diverse yet related takes on the latter aspect of this verse, ‘and [he] kept back‘.
Ibn Abbas & ibn Masud (ra) stated this could be the good or the bad that is left after we have passed, essentially our legacy. One can leave a legacy of goodness, a legacy that benefits him, a legacy that he and his progeny can be proud of. Similarly, one can leave behind treacherous practices or leave behind a legacy that one will only come to regret in this life, and most definitely in the next. This is because whomever he has influence over, like his family or community, are likely to carry his legacy (of goodness or regret) throughout their lives, and those of future generations.
Interestingly, Qatadah (ra) says this is the good that we failed to do, that we could have done, that we were aware of its benefit, yet we hesitated and we refrained from allowing this benefit to reach us, and that will ultimately and understandably be a source of regret on that Day. In this life one can easily lie to himself by rationalizing, justifying, or surrounding himself with the likes of “yes people” who will validate both his actions and inactions, tell him what he wants to hear about his missed opportunities for goodness. We know that in the verse 3: 104 Allah (swt) mentions a community that what we should aspire to be a part of, especially if we want to make a different in our condition as individuals and as an Ummah.
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ
‘And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful’ [3:104]
There is no doubt that this should be the desire of all, and I’m sure it is for many, but in order to make this a reality we must first be those who tackle the evils of our souls that default to regrettable actions of laziness and apathy that ‘keep back’ good deeds, be it from ourselves or our communities. This is the first step to changing our condition for the better in hopes of changing our situation as an Ummah, as Allah (swt) say “Verily, Allaah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allaah)” [13:11]
For myself this is what the Life Haqq Podcast is all about. Although it is fairly new, its one of Canada’s fastest growing and highest producing podcasts that has produced close to 30 episodes, and over 200 individual videos that push us and our communities to understand on a deeper level this faith, and not too allow ourselves to hold back from goodness, and prevent us from being the Muslims we were born to be. If you want to live by the Haqq, and die by the Haqq, follow, engage and be inspired by the daily content of Life Haqq Podcast by Dr. Syed ibn Iqbal & NYMiNK.