Section 12: Apostle Muhammad a Witness Over All Witnesses
Surah An-Nahl – Verse 84
وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ مِن كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ شَهِيداً ثُمَّ لاَ يُؤْذَنُ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَلاَ هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ
84. “And (remember) the Day We will raise up a witness from every nation. Then, shall no permission be given to those who disbelieved, nor shall they be allowed to make amends.”
The issue of the witnesses of the Day of Resurrection has been repeatedly propoused in the Qur’an. The prophets, angles, Allah’s saints, the earth as well as one’s bodily organs are among the witnesses on that Day.
Imam Sadiq (as) has remarked:
“There is an ‘Imam’ a ‘leader’ for every nation and for every period with whom people will be mustered.”
Imam Baqir (as) has mentioned concerning the verse:
“We are verily the witnesses of this nation.”
Although the Almighty is Omnipresent and Omniscient as to everything, the fact that numerous witnesses are there to testify and bear witness will lead to the emergence of men of virtue and abstinence for the faithful, and will lead to the exposing of the scandals of the culprits.
The necessary pre-requisite for bearing witness is one’s knowledge. Therefore, Allah’s saints, who will bear testimony for us in the day of resurrection, must have an observation over our performances in this world.
This is in line with our belief which, according to numerous Islamic quotations, and in accordance with the noble verse that says:
“…Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messengers and the believers…”1,
all records of our performances are being reported to Imam-i-Zaman (as) every week. If we exclude this belief, the verses about the issue of bearing witness on the Day of Resurrection are not justifiable. How can one who is not aware of our performances or is not just, bear witness as to our acts on the Day of Resurrection?
The Arabic term /’isti’tab/ is derived from //itab/ which means a guilty person asks the owner of the right to blame him so as to quell his anger thereby and then condescend as to his forgiveness.
One is able both to repent of his sins, and apologize for his guilts, and compensate for his wrongdoings in this world. However, in the Resurrection Day, there is no room for justification; nor would any apologies be accepted; nor one can compensate.
Yet, the act of justification is to be dismissed, for when some hell-dwellers tell others:
“…Had it not been for you, we would certainly have been believers”2,
they will be addressed in this way:
“…Nay, you (yourselves) were not believers.”3
However, to make up for a sin is out of the question, for when they ask Allah, saying:
“…therefore send us back, we will do good…”4,
this will be the answer:
“…By no means! it is a (mere) word that he speaks…” 5
which signifies: The case is not so for he utters such words verbally but he will be acting just in the same way if he be returned to his previous position in the world.
As for offering apologies it is also out of the question, for the Qur’an says:
“They will not be allowed to put forth excuses.”6
As the issues involved in the Divine Court are keeping account and record of everything, as well as bearing testimony and witnesses, there will be no rooms left for apologizing, rationalizing or securing the other side’s consent.
The verse says:
“And (remember) the Day We will raise up a witness from every nation. Then, shall no permission be given to those who disbelieved, nor shall they be allowed to make amends.”
Surah An-Nahl – Verse 85
وَإِذَا رَأَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا الْعَذَابَ فَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ
85. “And when those who were unjust behold the chastisement, it shall not be lightened for them nor will they be respited.”
We had it in the previous verse that in the Hereafter there will be no permission for rationalization; nor any possibility securing the consent of others. However, He proclaims in this holy verse that the Divine punishment on that day recognizes no alleviation nor postponement.
Therefore, as soon as the pagans noticed the Hell Fire, and were subjected to the Divine punishment, there would be no alleviation involved for their chastisement, and no respite will be given to them, and their torment will be perpetual, because the time of regretting and repenting has passed.
The noble verse says:
“And when those who were unjust behold the chastisement, it shall not be lightened for them nor will they be respited.”
Surah An-Nahl – Verse 86
وَإِذَا رَأَي الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا شُرَكَآءَهُمْ قَالُوا رَبَّنَا هَؤُلآءِ شُرَكَآؤُنَا الَّذِينَ كُنَّا نَدْعُواْ مِن دُونِكَ فَاَلْقَوْا إِلَيْهِمُ الْقَوْلَ إِنَّكُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ
86. “And when those who associated (others with Allah) behold their associates, they shall say: ‘Our Lord! these are our associates whom we called besides You;’ But they (the gods) throwing back the saying at them, (will answer) ‘Verily you are truly lairs!’”
According to the Islamic quotations received, there are several stages in Hereafter in some of which lips remain closed when hands and foot bear witness. In other stages one hears crying and supplications. In another stage, one does his best to put all blames for his sins on others. For instance, he would say to the Satan:
It is you who made me pagan, to which the Satan answers:
“…verily I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah from before…”7
Sometimes, they hold the idols responsible, while the idols, too, acquit themselves.8
Even, Allah, addressing Issa, says:
“…O’ Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say to the people: ‘Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?’ He (Jesus) says: ‘Glory be to You! It was not mine to utter what I had no right to (say)…”9
And, in the verse in question, those beings which have been objects of worship along with Allah seek self-acquittal, denying them, telling the idol-worshippers: You were in fact worshipping your own imagination.
The verse says:
“And when those who associated (others with Allah) behold their associates, for Allah they shall say: ‘Our Lord! these are our associates whom we called besides You;’ But they (the gods) throwing back the saying at them, (will answer) ‘Verily you are truly, lairs!’”
In the meantime, the resurrection terror causes one to put blame on other’s shoulders for delivering himself, but to no good effects.
Surah An-Nahl – Verse 87
وَأَلْقَوْا إِلَي اللَّهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ السَّلَمَ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ
87. “And they will tender submission to Allah on that day, and what they used to forge shall depart from them.”
If we do not surrender today we shall surrender tomorrow, on the Day of Resurrection.
However, to what avail can it be? All fantasies will come to an end on that Day, and all attempts to find mediators, reconciliation efforts, and hoping for glory and seeking support from any one but Allah will be out of question.
Some commentators claim that the pagans will lose their arrogance of the Age of Ignorance and will present their submission before Allah, the Almighty, without any deliberation, and whatever they rejected regarding monotheism will disappear from their minds, and those false and empty desires which they cherished regarding the idols will be obliterated altogether, enabling them to understand that the idols are of no use.
On the contrary, they themselves become pillars of Hell Fire, attacking their own worshippers.
The verse says:
“And they will tender submission to Allah on that day, and what they used to forge shall depart from them.”
Surah An-Nahl – Verse 88
الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ زِدْنَاهُمْ عَذَاباً فَوْقَ الْعَذَابِ بِمَا كَانُوا يُفْسِدُونَ
88. “Those who disbelieved and hindered (people) from the path of Allah, We added punishment to punishment for that they used to spread mischief.”
All corruptions have their origin in paganism, as is the case with all decent acts which take their roots from Faith. Those pioneers of paganism, who obstruct the people from the path of Allah by their pen, expression and other means, will have to settle a different kind of account from those of ordinary people.
Up till now, we were involved in our discussion of those misled pagans who were caught in their paganism and deviation without calling others to their path. Later, the cases of those are exposed who are not only misled themselves but they also seek to mislead others as well.
The verse says:
“Those who disbelieved and hindered (people) from the path of Allah, We added punishment to punishment for that they used to spread mischief.”
A well known tradition says:
“Everyone who establishes a good practice, will be rewarded the reward of those who do it accordingly, without diminishing anything from their reward; and he who lays the foundation of an evil act, will be held responsible for the sin of all those who commit that sin, without decreasing anything from their sin.”
Surah An-Nahl – Verse 89
وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِي كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ شَهِيداً عَلَيْهِم مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيداً عَلَي هَؤُلآءِ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَاناً لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًي وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَي لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
89. “And (remember) the day when We raise up a witness from every people against them from among themselves, and We shall bring you as a witness against these. And We have sent down the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and as a guidance, and glad tidings for Muslims.”
The objective of ‘a witness’, is the prophet who has been sent to them, or their ‘contemporary leader’ who serves as the proof of Allah, and We appoint you as a witness of the people, O’ Muhammad! This Book, the Qur’an, is an explicit and eloquent Book for all religious affairs.
The verse says:
“And (remember) the day when We raise up a witness from every people against them from among themselves, and We shall bring you as a witness against these. And We have sent down the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and as a guidance, and glad tidings for Muslims.”
There are no religious matters which are not concerned within the Qur’an or not explicitly expressed in it or which are not leading man to the sources of knowledge, i.e., to the blissful Prophet (S) and to his true successors or to the consensus of the Ummah.
Therefore, all religious edicts are direct inferences from the Qur’an, as was explained in the foregoing fifth verse which revealed allusions made to the witnesses of the nations.
This is one of our decisive beliefs that every nation will have a witness on the Day of Resurrection and the Prophet of Islam (S) will bear witness over this nation as well as over the witnesses of other nations.
The important point in here is that the testimony of men of Allah must be based on the senses, seeing and knowledge, and they must be innocent of any error or falsehood so as their testimony should be regarded as a kind of ultimatum on that sensitive occasion upon all people.
It is evident that there is no one to be aware of the deeds of people whether present or absent, apparent or hidden, and whose words will be accepted by all nations and Allah in Hereafter, except for prophets and those ‘Immaculate Imams’ who have full command of the deeds, words, and behavior as well as the minds of all people owing to their invisible lines of communication.
It has been narrated in Tafsir-i-Safi from Imam Sadiq (as) who said:
“By Allah! we are knowledgeable about everything which is in the skies and on the earth, and whatever is between them, as well as what is in Paradise or in Hell.”
Then the Imam (as) recited the above verse three times.
Imam Baqir (as) remarked:
“Whatever is needed by the Ummah has already been mentioned in the Qur’an, and whatever you hear from me, I shall provide its Qur’anic documentation if you ask.” 10
Hadrat Ali (as) said:
“Whatever news about you, as well as the history of the past nations, the future generations, the skies and the earth all have been stated in the Qur’an.” 11
Imam Rida (as) said to the chief men of some religions in a session that among the miracles of the Messenger of Islam is one which reveals a poor orphan who has been an illiterate shepherd, being in possession of a Book ‘the explanation of every thing’ and that all news of the past and future until the Hereafter be recorded in it. 12
Imam Sadiq (as) has said:
“In Allah’s Book, there is a solution for every dispute between two parties though the people’s wisdom may not catch it.” 13
The Qur’an expresses everything though everyone may not understand. Hadrat Ali (as) says: For the common people, the Qur’an provides apparent sentences; for some sophisticated individuals, it provides mysterious allusions; and for the saints of Allah, it reveals delicate divine nuances, while for the prophets it presents ‘facts’.
Such a trait of being ‘explanatory of everything’ is either in a direct manner or by means of verses which contain some principles that are leading for us, such as in the Qur’an it says:
“…and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back…”14
And as in the verse which says:
“…That you may make clear to mankind what has been sent down to them…”15
Surah Al-Taubah, No. 9, verse 105 ↩
Surah Saba, No. 34, verse 31 ↩
Surah As-S af at, No. 37, verse 29 ↩
Surah As-Sajdah, No. 34, verse 12 ↩
Surah Al-Mu’minūn, No. 23, verse 100 ↩
Surah Al-Mursal at, No. 77, verse 36 ↩
Surah ‘Ibrahim, No. 14, verse 22 ↩
Surah Fatir, No. 35, verse 14 ↩
Surah Al-Ma’idah, No. 5, verse 116 ↩
Kanz-ud-Daqa’iq, under the verse ↩
Kanz-ud-Daqa’iq, under the verse ↩
Nūr-uth-Thaqalayn, under the verse ↩
Nūr-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, p. 75 ↩
Surah Al-Hashr, No. 59, verse 7 ↩
Surah An-Nahl, No. 16, verse 44 ↩