Quran Reminder: Allah Never Overburdens You


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Let’s learn some lessons from the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah. It’s a long verse, but we will only refer to the first part of it.


“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned…” (2:286)

You are strong enough

The word ‘Takleef’ in Arabic means, to be burdened with something; and Allah (swt) says that He does not burden any individual. Allah (swt) will not burden any single person- except to that person’s capacity. It means that any trials you and I go through in life are custom tailored to our capability to manage them. What somebody else is going through may not be something I can handle; and what I’m going through might not be something they can handle.

The gifts we enjoy in life and the difficulties we suffer in life; the hardships and the trials we go through- all are custom tailored according to our own individual personalities. So, Allah (swt) says that He does not burden anybody more than their tolerance level.

Obligatory is obligatory

The other thing that’s remarkable about this verse is- there are some things that all of us are equally responsible for- the commandments of Islam. For them, you can’t say, ‘Well, I know you can do it, but  it’s not my personality’ like five prayers for example. You can’t say, ‘Well, Masha’Allah, I know you pray five times, but I could only do it in Ramadan- usually, it’s impossible for me. I’m not able to do that’. You can’t make that excuse for such commandments of Allah (swt) because they are the ones that Allah (swt) put on every Nafs. He put it on every individual and enabled us to do it. And, there are very few exceptions to those, that are in very minute cases; and even then, there are differences of opinion. Hence, for the major things that are forbidden and obligatory on Muslims, you cannot make an excuse for those- such as Allah (swt) will understand that you are not exactly the prayer type; or you are not a morning person so you can’t really make it to Fajr. That’s not going to be the case.

Are you guilty of hiding something?

Allah (swt) burdened us with these responsibilities knowing that every single human being is capable of praying five times a day. Every human being, every Muslim is capable of staying away from Haram; you’re capable of doing Halal things. So, when you tell yourself you can’t, and when you convince yourself that you can’t- then you’re actually, wasting the capability that Allah (swt) has granted you with; and that Allah (swt) would never have given those things for you and me to do- if we weren’t capable of doing them. You have to ask yourself- ‘Am I being truthful to myself when I say I cannot?’ or ‘Is Allah (swt) being true when He says that yes you can, and I wouldn’t have given it to you- unless you could have handled it?’ Self question yourself with honesty- you and I have to ask ourselves, especially when it comes to the major commandments of Allah (swt).

Make it hard to sin and easy to do right!

Finally, the last part of the verse- Allah (swt) says a person will benefit from whatever they earn; whatever they earned in terms of sin will go against them. There are some things you earn that’ll go for you, and there are other things you earn that’ll go against you. In Arabic, ‘Kasaba’, which is easier, was used for good deeds; and ‘Iktasaba’, which is harder to earn, was used for bad deeds.

It is weird because we think sins are easy to earn, and good deeds are hard to earn, but Allah (swt) is telling us a secret in this verse.

Sins may be easy to earn in the short term, but what you pay for them in the long term, they bring about so much difficulty in what you’ve earned in terms of problems and difficulties in life. It causes so much hardship because of the disobedience to Allah (swt), that it doesn’t count as something easy.

Like stealing may be easy, but spending time in jail may be pretty hard. What you did as an act of stupidity may have been really easy on you at that time, but the price you paid for it made it a very difficult and bad thing that you did for yourself.

And getting a job, working hard and earning money the right way may be really hard, but the hardship you save yourself from compared to what you’re doing is pretty easy. The alternative is pretty easy, that’s the view Allah (swt) wants us to have of good deeds and bad deeds. Good deeds may require a lot more work, but Allah (swt) will make them easy; while bad deeds may be much easier to do, but you will pay the price, and you will realize in how much difficulty you have put yourself.

Hence, don’t over estimate the burden that Allah (swt) has put on you as far as responsibilities are concerned; and don’t underestimate the weight of sin. Don’t think, it’s just something I do, who cares and not think about the burdens and the troubles it’ll bring you tomorrow; and especially, when you and I stand in front of Allah (swt).


The evil in ‘I Will…’

procrastination-breaking-habitIbn e Mubarak, the great Muslim scholar, tells an incident about an old wise man in one of his books. The old man was on his death bed. The people went to him to seek a great piece of life like he had been giving them his entire life. He said to them two words; “Anzartukum Sawfa!”  I warn you against Sawfa!

What is Sawfa?

Is that, maybe, another name for Satan? Or maybe it was a serial killer back then that he was warning against. Actually it is none of these two. Sawfa is the Arabic word for “I will!”

Reality of “I will”

When we are doing something wrong and disobeying Allah (swt), we want to repent. But then we say to ourselves, “I will repent, but not now… Tomorrow…  Next week…I am doing this for the last time…”

This is one of the best games that Shaytan plays with us.  He uses this trick for one of the two reasons:

  1. To stop us from doing a good deed
  2. To stop us from leaving a bad deed.

He keeps on telling us to postpone our good deeds. Not now… a little bit later… Just a little bit later. Just commit this sin for the last time… you will repent tomorrow…

For the record, Shaytan uses this trick especially with the people who have Taqwa (fear of Allah (swt)) in their hearts. You see, the non-believers don’t bother if they’re committing sin, at all. Believers want to leave the sin, but they tend to procrastinate; hoping for Mercy and Forgiveness from their Lord later.  And, such an attitude is a trap from the Shaytan, in which we easily fall into. Astaghfirullah.

For instance- for sisters struggling with Hijab, he may go something like this:

‘You will start wearing your Hijab right after this party… After completing your F.Sc; not before your marriage dear. No man will propose the Hijabi version of you!”

The result maybe that coffin becomes her first Hijab.

For students, he may (he definitely will) come round with something like this:

“This is just a regular class test…  You won’t cheat in the Finals…  You won’t cheat even one MCQ in the next paper. But for now you really need to copy this long question in any way possible… You’ve cheated in every exam, what’s the big deal if you cheat once more?”

Resulting into a degree earned totally by cheating.

To a writer he may whisper:

“This sure is a wonderful idea to write on (Meanwhile, trying his best to make you forget that idea) – but you really need to complete that homework of yours first; you will write after dinner, you need to get some sleep. You are tired; you’ll write tomorrow, you’ll write when you get free time, maybe next week or summer vacations.”

In this way, the writer will keep on postponing, and eventually, the idea will get old and lose its ingredients. And the chances are that idea will never get in black and white.

Long term effects of Shaytan’s devious trick

1. You will never be able to do a postponed good deed- the charity that you thought of giving, the idea that you thought to write on; you will forget it and lose the Ajr forever and ever.

2. Because if you fall into his trap eventually, one of the two things will happen;

  1. Either you die before doing that good deed or leaving that bad deed
  2. You will continue living your life with that sin.

It is because that particular sin would have become a regular habit of yours. It will become such an integral part of your life that you won’t be able to give it up. Then the worst thing happens… “I can’t!” You will tell yourself that you can’t give that sin up. Hopelessness! Shaytan is the hopeless case from the mercy of Allah (swt), and that is exactly what he wants for you too! He will make you believe that you can’t leave that sin. He will make you fall into the pits of hopelessness and depression- you can’t possibly live a peaceful life while indulging in sins and making your Creator unhappy!

Ibn Al Qayyim (ra) said: “There is nothing more beloved to Shaytan than a depressed believer.” (Tareeq ul Hijratain)

Your mistake was that you didn’t make Tauba right after you sinned. You kept on telling yourself ‘Sawfa! I will! Later!’

All of us sin. It is a fact. On the authority of Anas bin Malik, our beloved prophet (sa) said: “All sons of Adam (as) are sinners. But the best of those sinners are those who repent” (Ibn Majah)

Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent.”- nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.” (An Nisa 4:18)

So dear readers, take that brave step now. If you are committing a particular sin, or are far away from Allah (swt), make Tauba to Allah (swt) and repent from it, right now, before turning over to the next page. Otherwise, you will keep on telling yourself; “I will repent tomorrow… I will…” And, there may be no tomorrow for you. Similarly, if there is a good deed that you’ve been postponing from so long, do it now.

This is the net of Sawfa- net of ‘I will’ laid by Shaytan that we need to recognize, and fight against. Pleasure of Allah (swt) and Jannah are worth fighting for!