“To Allah is the final destination”: Imam al-Sa’di’s tafsir of 35:18

Allah informs us in His Book:

وَلَا تَزِرُ‌ وَازِرَ‌ةٌ وِزْرَ‌ أُخْرَ‌ىٰ ۚ وَإِن تَدْعُ مُثْقَلَةٌ إِلَىٰ حِمْلِهَا لَا يُحْمَلْ مِنْهُ شَيْءٌ وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْ‌بَىٰ ۗ إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ‌ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَ‌بَّهُم بِالْغَيْبِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ ۚ وَمَن تَزَكَّىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَتَزَكَّىٰ لِنَفْسِهِ ۚ وَإِلَى اللَّـهِ الْمَصِيرُ

And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination. [35:18]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his tafsir of this ayah, writes:

 ما ذكره بعده في قوله‏:‏ ‏(‏وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى‏)‏ أي‏:‏ في يوم القيامة كل أحد يجازى بعمله، ولا يحمل أحد ذنب أحد‏.‏ ‏(‏وَإِنْ تَدْعُ مُثْقَلَةٌ‏)‏ أي‏:‏ نفس مثقلة بالخطايا والذنوب، تستغيث بمن يحمل عنها بعض أوزارها ‏(‏لَا يُحْمَلْ مِنْهُ شَيْءٌ وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَى‏)‏ فإنه لا يحمل عن قريب، فليست حال الآخرة بمنزلة حال الدنيا، يساعد الحميم حميمه، والصديق صديقه، بل يوم القيامة، يتمنى العبد أن يكون له حق على أحد، ولو على والديه وأقاربه‏.‏

What is mentioned previously of His statement, “and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another” – meaning on the Day of Resurrection every one will be rewarded for his deeds, and no one will the sins of another. “And if a heavily laden soul calls” – meaning a soul heavily burdened with mistakes and sins, and he calls to another to carry part of his load for him – “nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative” – for verily one cannot carry for his close one. For the situation of the aakhira is not equivalent to the situation of the dunya, where close friends help one another and comrades help one another. No, rather of the Day of Resurrection the slave will hope that he has a right upon another, but he does not even have a right upon his parents or near relatives.

‏(‏إِنَّمَا تُنْذِرُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَيْبِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ‏)‏ أي‏:‏ هؤلاء الذين يقبلون النذارة وينتفعون بها، أهل الخشية للّه بالغيب، أي‏:‏ الذين يخشونه في حال السر والعلانية، والمشهد والمغيب، وأهل إقامة الصلاة، بحدودها وشروطها وأركانها وواجباتها وخشوعها، لأن الخشية للّه تستدعي من العبد العمل بما يخشى من تضييعه العقاب، والهرب مما يخشى من ارتكابه العذاب، والصلاة تدعو إلى الخير، وتنهى عن الفحشاء والمنكر‏.‏

You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer” – meaning these are the ones who accept the warning and benefit from it, the people who have reverential fear ( khashyah ) of Allah unseen – meaning those who have reverential fear of Him in situations both secret and open, witnessed and concealed. And the people who establish the salaat within its times and conditions and pillars and preconditions, and with khushoo’ due to it, for reverential fear of Allah calls the slave the action, including having khashyah against his being neglectful of punishment, and fleeing from what he fears will bring about punishment, and al-salaat calls to goodness, and prohibits one from immorality and evil.

‏(‏وَمَنْ تَزَكَّى فَإِنَّمَا يَتَزَكَّى لِنَفْسِهِ)‏ أي‏:‏ ومن زكى نفسه بالتنقِّي من العيوب، كالرياء والكبر، والكذب والغش، والمكر والخداع والنفاق، ونحو ذلك من الأخلاق الرذيلة، وتحلَّى بالأخلاق الجميلة، من الصدق، والإخلاص، والتواضع، ولين الجانب، والنصح للعباد، وسلامة الصدر من الحقد والحسد وغيرهما من مساوئ الأخلاق، فإن تزكيته يعود نفعها إليه، ويصل مقصودها إليه، ليس يضيع من عمله شيء‏.‏

And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul” – meaning: and whoever purifies his own soul with a cleansing of defect, such as al-riyaa’ (showing off) and arrogance, lying and cheating, plotting, deception and hypocrisy, and other such lowly characteristics, and effects beautify characteristics such as truthfulness, ikhlaas, humility, gentleness, being sincere in advising others, and protecting his heart from hatred and envy and other evil characteristics, then his tazkiyyah (purification) returns to benefit himself, and he has reached his objectives thereby, without any decrease from (the reward) of his efforts.

‏(‏وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ‏)‏ فيجازي الخلائق على ما أسلفوه، ويحاسبهم على ما قدموه وعملوه، ولا يغادر صغيرة ولا كبيرة إلا أحصاها‏.‏

And to Allah is the [final] destination” and He will reward His creations according to what they had done, and reckon them according to what they had sent form and performed. He leaves neither small nor big deeds except that He enumerates them.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

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