Ramadan Challenge: Chapter #15 – Just
“Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.” [17:15][Sahih International]
A clear-cut verse, this brings up three major points.
First, when we do something good and follow the right path, we do so for our own benefit. God does not need any favors from anyone, so when we do something beneficial, it’s really all for us. The same concept applies to when we are doing something wrong or deviating from the right path: we cannot harm God, so in the end we are just harming ourselves.
Second, no person will bear the burden of another person. This stresses the idea of personal responsibility. We will be held responsible for our own actions and decisions. We need to fully understand what it is we are doing and what the consequences of our actions are, because only then will we be held responsible. If we think blaming someone for what we did will work, well, we are sadly mistaken. Even if we think we were “persuaded” into doing wrong, God gave us logic and a manual on how to discern what’s right and what’s not.
Finally, we are being reassured that we will not be held accountable for something we did not know about. God will send us a messenger, a sign–anything–to let us know that this is unacceptable. Then, and only then, will He judge us for it.
What a just Lord we have.