Scientific research shows that millions of harmful microbes try to enter the human body. If humans did not have the defensive mechanism of immune system, then no human can survive even for a moment. But Allah has built within humans a defensive mechanism that fights back these harmful pathogens. If a human defense mechanism has enough strength to defeat these millions of harmful germs that enter the body every moment, then the person remains healthy. If the internal defense mechanism of the body is weak and is not able to fight and defeat the external germs, then the person becomes sick. The medicines that humans take do not really cure the disease but help strengthen the body’s fighting power so that it can overcome and defeat the outside germs, making the body healthy once again. If not, then harmful germs overpower the defense power of the body and the person dies. This is the law of upward development which works incessantly in the Universe at physical level, at human level, at personal level, and at the level of human “self”.
The Quran said this 1400 years ago which modern science claims as one of its greatest discoveries. The Quran says that Allah has created balance (مِيزَانَ) for everything in the Universe:
(55:7) – and has devised [for all things] a measure. [Asad]
Allah has devised for all things a scale for measuring the total weight of good things versus the total weight of bad things:
فَأَمَّا مَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ; فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَّاضِيَةٍ ; وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ; فَأُمُّهُ هَاوِيَةٌ
(101:6-9) – And then, he, whose weight of good deeds is heavy in the balance shall find himself in a happy state of life; whereas, he, whose weight good deeds is light in the balance shall be engulfed by an abyss. [Asad]
The Quranic blueprint will help in establishing a system of life based on universal justice and fairness, instead of the current unjust and unfair system. Everyone in it will be assigned a position according to one’s deeds:
وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَـٰتٌ مِّمَّا عَمِلُوا۟ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ
(6:132) – for all shall be judged according to their [conscious] deeds - and thy Sustainer is not unaware of what they do. [Asad]
The one whose good deeds weigh heavier on the scale of justice will find himself in a happy and blissful state of life. And the one whose bad deeds are heavier on the scale will plunge in the depths of degradation. His mind (or intellect) would not be of any help, and he will wander in utter suffering and despair. This law is based on cumulative effect of good deeds versus cumulative effect of bad deeds. If the cumulative weight of good deeds is heavier compared with the cumulative weight of bad deeds, then one moves to the next blissful stage in this life – and then to the next blissful stage in the next life, i.e., the hereafter life.
Human self and the life of the Hereafter
Let us move one step further. Human being is constituted of not just his body but also of his “self”. His life is only until this world but the real goal of his life is the nourishment and sustenance of his self. This happens through the same law of development as the body was subjected to during its life of the world. Human’s every action not only affects his body but also affects his “self”. The self also has scale with two sides. Good actions – what we call virtuous action – integrate and fortify the “self”; and bad actions – or evil deeds – disintegrate and weaken the “self”:
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا ; فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا ; قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا ; وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا
(91:7-9) – Consider the human self, and how it is formed in accordance with what it is meant to be. And how it is imbued with moral failings as well as with consciousness of God! To a happy state shall indeed attain he who causes this [self] to grow in purity, and truly lost is he who buries it [in darkness]. [Asad]
After the death of the body the “self” moves on to the next stage of evolution – the life of heaven – if the cumulative weight of its good and virtuous actions is higher. On the other hand, if the cumulative weight of its bad actions is higher that the weight of the good actions then it is not able to move to the next stage of development and gets stuck in hell – called Jahannam or Jaheem in Arabic. The root meaning of Jaheem in Arabic is to get stuck, not able to move further. Archeology has revealed several species who could not survive further because they were not able to move to the next stage of evolution. Animals that have survived the evolutionary stages of their life and have reached the end of their journey will remain there and will not be able to evolve further. This is Jaheem for them. The same thing will happen to humans if their “self” is not strong enough to move to the next stage of life – the life of heaven – after this life. They will remain stuck – forever in hell.
The Quran calls those actions that strengthen the “self” حَسَنَاتِ (Hasan-aat) – good (balance-restoring virtuous) actions; and those actions that weaken the self it calls سَّيِّئَاتِ (Sayyi-aat) – bad (balance-destroying or evil) actions. These are kept on the two sides of the scale of accountability. The “self” whose side of حَسَنَاتِ (Hasan-aat) is heavier moves forward and goes to heaven (Jannah). Those who go to Jannah their side of سَّيِّئَاتِ (Sayyi-aat) is not empty – they have the weight of their bad actions they committed but these are lighter compared to the scale of حَسَنَاتِ (Hasan-aat). This is extremely significant concept of balance that the Quran has mentioned for going to heaven.
In other religions going to heaven revolves around the concept of salvation, i.e., one who is free of any sin or evil. Since humans in their entire life can never be sin-free, other religions have devised ingenious ways to get rid of human sins to finally achieve salvation and only then they can go to heaven. The Quran’s teaching, on the other hand, is based on facts and realities of life. It recognizes that humans are prone to making mistakes. It teaches a balanced way of life which has good and bad deeds, but as long as the side of good deeds is heavier compared to the side of bad deeds on the scale of life, one will go to heaven. One does not have to be completely sin-free to go to heaven according to the Quran. It has summarized this principle in just four words:
إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ
(11:114) – The results accruing from your good actions will compensate the ill effects of your shortcomings, if any. This is a basic principle for those who adhere to Allah’s laws. This is not something about salvation, penance, forgiveness, pleading for favor, incentive, or recommendation. This is a purely principle-based thing.
This is an eternal divine principle (of balance). The realities spread throughout the Universe validate this principle. Western scientists – even those who don’t believe in the Quran or God – have arrived at the scientific conclusion through their research that everything and every life in the Universe is based on the principle of balance. If the side of the cumulative constructive forces on the balance of life is heavier than the side of the cumulative destructive forces, then life sustains. They have found that this is the way the system of life moves forward. There are many different levels of negative and destructive elements that are involved. The Quran says that Believers do not commit high impact crimes:
الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ
(53:32) – As for those who avoid the [truly] grave sins and shameful deeds. [Asad]
These people (who lead righteous lives) avoid the serious offenses that slow down the growth of human personality and the actions which spread abominations. However, in a situation when one realizes this and immediately corrects oneself (7:201), or even if he makes an unintentional mistake (and thereafter corrects himself), then one is protected from the adverse consequences of such actions.
In other words, this means that the weight of their good deeds is so heavy that it provides protection against the ill-effects of their minor unintentional mistakes. The Quran says that Allah has created balance (مِيزَانَ) for everything in the Universe:
(55:7) – He has devised for all things a scale for measuring the total weight of good things versus the total weight of bad things.
أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ
(55:8) –So, do not transgress and disrupt this balance.
وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ
(55:9) – You must maintain this balance with fairness and justice in society, without curtailing anybody's rights and obligations.
This is exactly what the Prophet (PBUH) exquisitely accomplished and presented to the world at a time when the entire world was drowned in the darkness of imbalance, unfairness, and injustice.
Now, the only way to get to humanity’s balanced and straight path of life is the path on which the footprints of the Prophet (PBUH) are still shining – and will always shine – with glitter and high intensity.
May Allah give us the fortitude, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to follow the shining footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH). Then Allah guarantees that His cosmic forces will join us in our effort to achieve this goal:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Verily, God and His angels bless the Prophet: [hence,] O you who have attained to faith, bless him and give yourselves up [to his guidance] in utter self-surrender! (33:56) [Asad]