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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.
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).