General / Motivational

The Day of Judgment and Accountability

The Day of Judgment and Accountability:

A Lesson for Preparation


The literature on the Muslim article of belief ‘The Day of Judgment’ (yawm al-qiyama) is extremely vast. However, one of the most important associated events of the Day of Judgement will be when human beings are held accountable for every action by their Lord Allah (swt).

There are many Qur’anic verses and ahadith that tell us about these events so that the believers are warned and can prepare themselves for the most important trial that awaits them. The preparation for this trial or test is assured through strong faith (iman) and with righteous actions (a`mal saliha). The Qur’an states: {The reckoning for mankind draws near to them while they are turning away in heedlessness…}[1]. Imam Ibn al-Jawzi comments on the meaning:

قوله عز وجل: { اقترب } افتعل، من القُرْب، يقال: قَرُبَ الشيء واقترب. وهذه الآية نزلت في كفار مكة. وقال الزجاج: اقترب للناس وقت حسابهم. وقيل: اللام في قوله: { للناس } بمعنى: «مِنْ». والمراد بالحساب: محاسبة الله لهم على أعمالهم. وفي معنى قُرْبِهِ قولان. أحدهما: أنه آتٍ، وكلُّ آتٍ قريبٌ. والثاني: لأن الزمان ـ لِكثرة ما مضى وقِلَّة ما بقي ـ قريبٌ. قوله تعالى: { وهُمْ في غفلة } أي: عمَّا يفعل الله بهم ذلك اليوم { معرضون } عن التأهُّب له

“Allah’s statement: {it draws near} … is from the word ‘al-qurb’ (proximity) […] al-Zajjaj said it means: ‘The time for accountability and reckoning draws close for all human beings’. It is said that the particle ‘lam’ in {for mankind} indicates ‘min’ (‘from’). The meaning of ‘hisab’ is Allah accounting them for the actions they did […] and Allah’s statement: {while they are in a state of heedlessness} means they are heedless of what Allah will do to them on that Day and {turning away} meaning not preparing for it properly…”[2]

  • The Final Judgment is a reality.
  • Human beings can be in a distracted state from preparing for the Hereafter and the Final Judgment – this is dangerous.
  • Every action will be judged by Allah (swt).

The Qur’an also states: {Indeed, to Us will be their return: -Then verily, for Us will be their Reckoning}.[3] Imam Ibn al-Jawzi comments:

{ إن إلينا إيابهم } قرأ أُبَيُّ بن كعب، وعائشة، وعبد الرحمن، وأبو جعفر «إيَّابهم» بتشديد الياء، أي: رجوعهم ومصيرهم بعد الموت { ثم إِن علينا حسابهم } قال مقاتل: أي: جزاءهم

“{Indeed, to Us will be their return…} […] meaning their return and way back to Allah after they die {-Then verily, for Us will be their Reckoning} where Muqatil said: it means their recompense…”[4]

  • Human beings will return to Allah.
  • Our ultimate beginning was with Allah and our ultimate destination and end will be with Allah.
  • Every action will be met with its appropriate reward or punishment.

These verses and other numerous ahadith clearly mention one of the defining events that will happen on the Day of Judgment – al-Hisab; ‘The Reckoning’, ‘The Day of Accounting’. It is when Allah (swt) will ask every person what they had done in their earthly lives. It is a day of no escape and it is a day of testification, i.e. everything will bring its testimony to Allah for what it was made to do as Allah mentions in the Qur’an: {On the day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions}[5] and {And they will say to their skin: ‘Why did you bear witness against us?’ They will say ‘Allah has caused us to speak, as He cause all things to speak’…}[6] Imam Ibn al-Jawzi comments:

وفي المراد بالجلود ثلاثة أقوال: أحدها: الأيدي والأرجل. والثاني: الفروج، رويا عن ابن عباس. والثالث: أنه الجلود نفسها، حكاه الماوردي

“And the meanings of ‘julud’ are three: [1] one of them is it refers to hands and feet; [2] the second is that it refers to the private parts (al-furuj) as related from Ibn `Abbas and [3] the third is that it refers to the skin itself as mentioned by al-Mawardi…”[7]

            Again, elsewhere, Allah warns: {And fulfil your covenants and agreements as you will be questioned about them…}.[8] Ibn al-Jawzi states:

الثالث: أنه كل ما أمر الله تعالى به أو نهى فهو من العهد الذي يلزم الوفاء به

“…[3] The third meaning of fulfilling covenants is that it is everything that Allah has commanded and everything He has prohibited of contracts and agreements which are binding and have to be fulfilled..”[9]

  • Hence, accountability is a reality.
  • Our limbs will bear witness and testimony to our actions.
  • Every aspect of our life will be accounted by Allah.

If accountability is an inevitability and there is no escape, then we must be extremely mindful of any serious indiscretion, heedlessness or obliviousness on our part as to our duties and obligations. If we are neglecting a duty and we are ignoring its seriousness within the religion, then we will be sternly accounted for it on the Day of Judgment. As an example, many dismiss the repeated warnings regarding living our lives according to the commandments of Allah (swt) and fail to remember that in reality there is no choice in the matter having submitted to Islam. The absence of the shari`ah at present on a practical level in all domains of life means that Muslims are not able to live authentically as they are obligated to do. This means that they have to work to reverse the situation in order to restore this authenticity and that this work is not optional (ikhtiyari) but mandatory (wajib) and hence deliberate abandonment of it would be a major sin. The events to come on the Day of Judgment ought to rattle us into our senses and make us realise that we have a gigantic duty to restore our Sacred Law and its systems and institutions and deliberate avoidance of it will be met with an equal sanction from Allah (swt) on that Day.

May Allah (swt) enable us to fulfil our duties and avoid the tumultuous trials on the Day of Judgment. Amin.

And with Allah alone is success.



[1] Q. 21:1.

[2] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 5:233.

[3] Q. 88:25-26.

[4] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 8:236.

[5] Q. 24:24.

[6] Q. 41:21.

[7] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 7:59.

[8] Q. 17:36.

[9] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 5:356.


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