Taken from the book American Muslim Agenda by Dr. Mike Ghouse
Chapter 16: Islamic Value No 3
Accountability of one’s actions is one of the values that contribute to the overall wellbeing of society. If there is no accountability chaos will prevail. You can drive on the left side of the road, or in the middle or wherever you want, and I will do the same. Should your freedom allow you to drive 60 MPH in a school zone?
Each one of us is accountable for our actions so all of us can be safe. God wants the same thing! And the Quran says nothing different than that.
All humans are equal. The Quran places equal emphasis on men and women, a woman cannot excuse herself on the Day of Judgment that she did it because her husband pushed her or vice versa. Men need to get this straight; a woman is fully empowered and responsible for her actions, just as men.
My Mother’s words frequently echo in my ears from teen times, she would say, “On the day of Hisab-Kitab, the day of Accountability, or the Day of Judgment, everyone will be busy accounting for his or her deeds. As I understand now, it is the reflection exercise we go through when we violate others rights.
She said, I will be busy with my karma, and you will be working with your deeds.
I won’t have time for you neither will you have time for me, and then she would conclude, Son, be accountable and be responsible for what you do. Those were harsh and cruel words, I thought my mother was there to protect me, as she did before, but she was laying the responsibility squarely on me for the actions I choose to take. I did not appreciate her then, but now at 66, I do.
If you have a nightmare, no one else can feel your anguish as you do. Indeed, the narrative of the Day of Judgment is applicable in our day-to-day lives. No one can feel the anguish Dr. Christine Ford and millions of other women, and some men feel when they are violated. As a civilized society, we need to honor their word and believe in them. I am disappointed that the eleven misogynistic Senators and the President faked the investigations to dupe the American Public, I am glad at least there were Nine senators on the committee that fought for the truth. This injustice is not going to go away, it will haunt them and us for a while.
I could relate with the apprehensions, when I was about eight, Satya, our neighbor placed his neck on the railroad track in Yelahanka, my hometown. He failed in his metric exam and did not want to face the parents or the world. All of us went to see, and so did I. It was difficult to see his body cut into two with wide open eyes staring into the sky, for weeks and perhaps months, I hid under the sheets when I went to sleep, I was sweating profusely. I told no one about it, and this is the first time in my life, I am expressing it. So, I can understand the anguish of women who have endured such unease for years. I will do something about restoring the balance my representatives messed up for us, the Americans.
If you murder someone, it’s your Heine that goes to jail and not your husband or wife. My mother was right; we are individually responsible for what we do. This accountability is an Islamic value, you don’t pin others for the acts of the individual. Indeed, it is an American value that men like Gingrich, Cruz, and others don’t get it.
I did not believe my mother at that time. I thought once we are dead we disintegrate and there will be nothing left to punish. I was a teen and looked at her statement from a critical point of view, but later on in life, I learned to see the third dimension and realized that it is the agony we live thru, and perhaps what our soul endures is the punishment.
Burning in hell is a metaphor viewed by some as burning on real embers, and for some, it is the anguish. Regardless of what you believe, the bottom line is behavior modification.
Learning about different faiths has its own advantages. Buddhism explains this responsibility very well. A lot of thoughts, desires, and actions go unfulfilled in one’s life, and many men who are destructive go away without being punished. Things just don’t evaporate into thin air with death, they linger until repentance or punishment is meted out to clear up things up. All items in nature seek balance. For every action, there is a reaction. No one goes scot-free when you attain that freedom, it is called Mukti in Hinduism, Jains call it Moksha, Buddhists call it Nirvana, Salvation is for Christians and Bahais attain Nejat. They all mean the same.
Who are you accountable to?
First of all, we are accountable to ourselves. We all have been embedded with a conscience, that serves as our monitor if we are doing the right thing. Indeed, God says, 50:16 (Asad) Verily, it is We who have created man, and We know what his innermost-self whispers within him: for We are closer to him than his neck-vein.
Our actions and interactions are our free choice, we may not consider that we have choices, but we always have the option. It is an inalienable right uploaded into our brainwaves from the process of evolution.
We have not developed a convincing answer, other than the belief, that no one goes scot-free, 55:8 “So that you might never transgress the measure [of what is right]. ” Each one has to account for his excesses.
How are men like Hitler, BinLaden, Saddam Hussein, Baghdadi, Pol-Pot, Milosevic, and others are accountable to? Then you have politicians who have not paid for their decisions that killed thousands of people, men like Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Bush, Modi, Netanyahu, Salman (Yemeni people), Asad and others. What about the family members who have done wrong?
How are these men and women held accountable for their actions?
Most faiths have offered an explanation, the Dharmic faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism offer the law of Karma, and the evil acts will continue through reincarnation. The Abrahamic religions have proposed the idea that there is a life hereafter and everyone will pay for their excesses. All other faiths like Sikhism, Bahai, and others also have given hope. These theories are convincing to the believers, and are behavior modifiers.
I am pleased to share a few of the many verses of guidance from the Quran.
Quran 6:164, “Say: Shall I seek Lord other than God, while He is the Lord of all things? No person earns any sin except against himself (only), and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another. Then unto your Lord is your return, He will tell you that wherein you have been differing.”
You are responsible for what you do individually, and no one but you is responsible for your actions. You will never be burdened with others’ excesses. Remember, each one of us has a deep secret, that we do not share with anyone, we live with our nightmares and fears all by ourselves.
You are also responsible for keeping harmony within yourself, your family, the family, community and the nations, but you are not accountable.
Quran 17:15, “Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his own self. And whoever goes astray then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens shall bear another’s burden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.”
Quran 35:18, “And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden; and if one heavily laden call another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be laden even though he be near to kin, you can warn only those who fear their Lord unseen and perform prayers. And who purifies himself then he purifies for the benefit of his own self. And to God is the final return.”
Quran 39:07, “If you disbelieve, then God is not in need of you; He likes not disbelief for his slaves. And if you are grateful, He is pleased for you. No bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you what you used to do. He is the All-Knower of that which is in the breasts (Of men).”
Quran 21:13, “Do not run, and come back to your luxuries and your mansions, for you must be held accountable.”
Quran 64:7, ” Those who disbelieved claim that they will not be resurrected! Yes indeed, by my Lord, you will be resurrected, and you will be held accountable for everything you have done. This is easy for GOD to do.”
Quran 65:8, “Many a community rebelled against the commands of its Lord and against His messengers. Consequently, we held them strictly accountable and required them a terrible requital.”