Whoever Does an Ant’s Weight of Good Will See It: Tafsir ibn Kathir

While describing the events of the Day of Judgement in surah al-Zalzalah, Allah completes the surah by informing us:

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ * وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

So whoever does an ant’s weight of good will see it * and whoever does an ant’s weight of evil will see it [99:7-8]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir included the following explanations from Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, one of the tabi’oon and a student of ibn ‘Abbaas, in his commentary on this ayah:

وقال ابن أبي حاتم : حدثنا أبو زرعة ، حدثنا يحيى بن عبد الله بن بكير ، حدثني ابن لهيعة ، حدثني عطاء بن دينار ، عن سعيد بن جبير في قوله تعالى : ( فمن يعمل مثقال ذرة خيرا يره ومن يعمل مثقال ذرة شرا يره ) وذلك لما نزلت هذه الآية : ( ويطعمون الطعام على حبه مسكينا ويتيما وأسيرا ) [ الإنسان : 8 ] ، كان المسلمون يرون أنهم لا يؤجرون على الشيء القليل الذي أعطوه ، فيجيء المسكين إلى أبوابهم فيستقلون أن يعطوه التمرة والكسرة والجوزة ونحو ذلك ، فيردونه ويقولون : ما هذا بشيء . إنما نؤجر على ما نعطي ونحن نحبه . وكان آخرون يرون أنهم لا يلامون على الذنب اليسير : الكذبة والنظرة والغيبة وأشباه ذلك ، يقولون : إنما وعد الله النار على الكبائر . فرغبهم في القليل من الخير أن يعملوه ، فإنه يوشك أن يكثر ، وحذرهم اليسير من الشر ، فإنه يوشك أن يكثر ، فنزلت : ( فمن يعمل مثقال ذرة ) يعني : وزن أصغر النمل ( خيرا يره ) يعني : في كتابه ، ويسره ذلك . قال : يكتب لكل بر وفاجر بكل سيئة سيئة واحدة . وبكل حسنة عشر حسنات ، فإذا كان يوم القيامة ضاعف الله حسنات المؤمنين أيضا ، بكل واحدة عشر ، ويمحو عنه بكل حسنة عشر سيئات ، فمن زادت حسناته على سيئاته مثقال ذرة دخل الجنة . ـ

Ibn Abi Haatim reported that … Sa’eed ibn Jubayr commented on the ayah

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ * وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

So whoever does an ant’s weight of good will see it * and whoever does an ant’s weight of evil will see it [99:7-8]

by saying:

It happened that when the ayah

وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا

And they give food despite their love for it to the poor, the orphans and the prisoners of war [76:8]

was revealed, the Muslims thought that they would not be rewarded for small amounts of charity. So a poor person would come to their doors and they felt that to give him a date or a scrap of food or a nut or the likes was something insignificant so they would send him away, saying, “That is nothing, we will only be rewarded if we give away something that we love.”

Meanwhile, others thought that they would not be subject to blame for small sins such as lying, lustful gazing, back-biting and other similar acts, saying, “Allah has only promised Hell-fire for the major sins.”

So Allah encouraged them to do even a small amount of good, for that is practically a large amount, and He warned them against a small amount of evil, for that is almost a large amount. So He sent down:

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ

So whoever does the weight of a dharrah

i.e. a weight even less than an ant

خَيْرًا يَرَهُ

… of good will see it.

i.e. he will see it in the record of his deeds and it will delight him.

He also said:

For both the righteous and the sinner alike, every sin that they do will be written down as a single sin, but every good deed that they do will be written down as ten good deeds. Then of the Day of Resurrection Allah will even multiply the good deeds of the believers; every good deed multiplied by ten and ten sins wiped out from his record for every good deed. Then whoever’s good deeds outweigh his sins by even so much as the weight of an ant will enter al-Jannah.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 8/463]

See also: Whoever does an atom’s weight of good or evil shall see it: Imam al-Shinqitee

2 thoughts on “Whoever Does an Ant’s Weight of Good Will See It: Tafsir ibn Kathir

  1. Pingback: Whoever does an atom’s weight of good or evil shall see it: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Allah Promises You Forgiveness and Bounty: Tafsir al-Tabari & ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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