“Today every person shall have what they have earned. There will be no injustice today and verily Allah is swift in his accounting.”
— Quran, 40:17
In Omar Suleiman’s recent video, “Justice in the Court of Allah,” Suleiman talks about the recent hearing of the Christchurch attacks. For, this will be the first time the surviving victims and families of the deceased sit in a courtroom with the person who committed the murder.
He begins to think about an ayah from Surah al-Ghafir and about Allah’s courtroom, and the difference between Allah’s courtroom and the courtrooms of this world.
“So, while we pray for all the families of injustice, the families that have to sit in the courtrooms after these terrible tragedies unfold, I just wanted us to think about reflecting a little bit on this ayah, where a lost parent says, ‘Today every person shall have what they have earned. There will be no injustice today and verily Allah is swift in his accounting.’”
Transcript of Video
“Now, this verse has multiple layers. But I want us to think about the scene of the courtroom on the day of judgment. And the scene of the courtroom in this life the best that you can get is some sort of punishment and retribution against the person that committed that murder, but you’re not going to get your loved one back. And that’s something that I’ll never forget, when Jordan Edwards was murdered here by an officer, and his father said at the end of it as they gave the officer Roy Oliver 15 years, who murdered his 15 year old son. He said ‘Yeah, but I don’t get my son back. I don’t get my son back, right’ So, what are you celebrating here? You’re celebrating some semblance of justice, but you don’t get your son back. You don’t get your loved one back, and often you see the families of these victims who have been victimized themselves, and in the case of Christchurch survivors also, they’re trying to impress upon the murderer the gravity of the crime that they have committed, and upon the judge and upon the public.
They’re trying to advocate faithfully for their loved ones and tell their stories because their stories have been cut short by these ruthless acts. And that is a heavy burden to have, and subhanallah, Allah tells us that everyone will be repaid for what they have done [with] reward and punishment. Now, this has a broader meaning in tafsir; this refers to any good deed that is done and any sin that is committed, but specifically in the capacity or in the context of wrongdoing.
The judge in this world can only work for fairness, but the judge in the hereafter, who is Allah, can actually restore and give back what was lost.
And so you think about the oppressed standing with the oppressor, the murderer and the murdered, the slanderer and the slandered. All of these different types of oppressors and oppressed standing on the day of judgment, and the compensation for the one who is patient with the loss of their loved one is not just getting their loved one back
But being in the presence of the beloved sallallahu alaihi wasallam in paradise, right? I mean, it doesn’t get better than that. So, Allah gives what was taken and there is, no doubt, no distrust at any point, or lack of confidence that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala will give you back what you have lost and what has been taken away from you.
And so the power of Al-Yawma tujzaa kullu nafsim bimaa kasabat [means] ‘Everyone will get what they deserve of reward and punishment,’ and the motto of the day of judgment, laa zulmal Yawm [means] ‘There will be no wrongdoing today.’ There are no lawyers to stand in the trial. There is no access to power or privilege in the trial in front of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. There’s no better argument. There’s just truth, and the judge knows all things. There’s no suppressed evidence because you can’t hide evidence from Allah. And no one, no wrongdoing will be tolerated. Lastly, innal laaha saree’ul hisaab [means] ‘Verily Allah is swift in his accounting,’ and this is such a powerful ending to this verse.
There are two meanings to it. Number one, the day of judgment is on its way, so don’t be hasty towards it. Verily, resurrection is on its way, and when we stand before Allah, this entire life would have felt like less than a day. So on that day, a day of which the standing is 50,000 years, this entire life of however many years you lived on this earth would feel like less than a day in its entirety. But there’s another meaning of it, that verily on the day of judgement Allah will be swift in allotting reward and punishment.
And what that means is — and one of the blessings we can take from this is that, if you think about how in this life, you know, people have to wait for the trials.
And then the trials take a long time and then you have the pain of the arguments, the trauma being revisited, the evidence being presented.
And you don’t even know if you’re going to get justice, and all of these things taking place.
You have all the strings being pulled, you have all the uncertainty on the day of judgment in Allah.
So, we ask Allah support our brothers and sisters to help them through these difficult moments. We ask Allah to alleviate their suffering to reward them fully for their suffering, and we ask Allah to protect us from oppressing or being oppressed. “
Omar Suleiman is an American Muslim scholar, civil rights leader, writer, and public speaker. He is the Founder and President of Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research.
Maliya Naz is a Kashmiri/Pakistani American poet and human rights advocate. When she is not volunteering or translating Urdu ghazals, you can find her giving talks about all things Islam and spirituality.