Scale of deeds

Scale of deeds

According to verse of Quran and traditions of the Infallibles, it can be concluded that in Qiyamat, a scale would be established in order to weigh the good and bad deeds of people. Weighing of deeds is an Islamic principle and it is a part of accounting.

The Quran says:

وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَزِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَمَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئاً وَ إِن كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا وَكَفَى‏ بِنَا حَسِبِينَ

And We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection, so no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and though there be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, (yet) will We bring it, and sufficient are We to take account. (21:47)

Balance (Mizan) is an instrument of fixing the quantity of goods and commodities. This instrument has been common in different nations and communities in various forms, although mostly it is constructed from tangible materials and bodies are weighed through it, but it is not restricted only to material affairs; on the contrary in reality it is used in other matters as well.

The science of logic used to discriminate between right and wrong judgment, is also called as the ‘science of balance’. In the exposition of the quantum of consciousness, memory, sciences, information, people use the written and oral experiments and name them as ‘balance of exposing the reality’, and other matters of this type. Therefore the implication of ‘balance’ does necessarily have to be something material.

Since the balance of Qiyamat is also same, because it is a medium to identify faith and principles of belief, good and bad morals, righteous and evils deeds, it cannot be a worldly and a physical matter.

Can prayer, fasting, sincerity, piety, faith, truthfulness, trustworthiness be weighed on a worldly balance?

A person asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (`a): “Would the deeds of people not be weighed in Qiyamat?”

He replied:

“No, since deeds have no body; that which would be weighed in the balance would be its quality (effect). One who wants to find the weight or quantity of something needs a balance. While the fact is that nothing is hidden from the Almighty Allah.”

So, the person asked: “Then what is the meaning of the weighing of deeds?”

The Imam said:

“That is justice would be observed in accounting and recompense of deeds.”

He asked, “Then what is the meaning of the verse:

فَمَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَ زِينُهُ

…then as for him whose measure (of good deeds) is heavy… (7:8)

He replied:

“It means that his good deeds would be more.”[78]

Therefore the balance of deeds in Qiyamat is not like the usual balances, which have a worldly body; on the contrary it should be of another kind. It is possible to choose between two causes in the interpretation of balance in Qiyamat:

First reason: It is that balance consists of correct beliefs, ethical values and laws of the Shariat, which are in fact the straight path, wayfaring on the path of Allah and attainment of the lofty stages of humanity. Therefore, in Qiyamat, the deeds of every man would be weighed on the criterion of Shariat and rewarded accordingly. The same point is indicated in traditions:

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:

“Justice is the balance of God on the earth, one who acts on it would be admitted in Paradise and one who leaves it, would be thrown into Hell.”[79]

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (`a) said:

“One who recites the formula of ‘there is no god except Allah,’ with sincerity would be admitted in Paradise and sincerity lies in the fact that the testimony of ‘there is no god except Allah,’ should prevent him from committing of prohibited acts.”[80]

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:

“Prayer is the balance; one who fulfills its rights would be recompensed completely.”[81]

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:

“Nothing is placed in the balance of deeds of the people in Qiyamat, which is superior to good behavior.”[82]

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (`a) said:

“One who meets the Almighty Allah with the following ten things would be admitted to Paradise: Testimony of ‘there is no god but Allah,’; testimony that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; confession of all that has come from the Almighty Allah; establishing of prayer; paying of Zakat; fasting in the month of Ramadhan; Hajj of the Holy Kaaba; acceptance of the guardianship (Wilayat) of the holy personalities (Awliya) of Allah; immunity from enemies of Allah and refraining from alcohol.”[83]

Second reason: It is that balance of deeds is in fact the holy reflection of deeds and views of prophets and infallible Imams. Since these holy personalities are guides of humanity, they themselves acted in accordance to laws of Shariat and practiced the best of morals in such a way that perfections of humanity were personified in them. They also called the people to same beliefs and morals. Hence all beliefs, acts, morals and traits of character can be judged on their criterion; thus they are considered to be the balance of deeds. The same interpretation is mentioned in some traditional reports.

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (`a) said in the interpretation of the verse:

وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَزِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَمَةِ

And We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection… (21:47)

“They are the prophets and their successors.”[84]

Imam Sajjad (`a) said:

“Ali (`a) is the chief of faith and the balance of deeds.”[85]

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (`a) said:

“By Allah, Ali is the straight path and the balance of deeds.”[86]

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:

“I am the balance of knowledge and Ali is the two pans of balance, Hasan and Husain are its cords and Fatima is the connecting rod between them and the Imams after Hasan and Husain would be the criterion of recognition of their friends and their enemies.”[87]

Therefore the holy beings of prophets and their infallible successors can also be interpreted as the balance to weigh the deeds of the people of the community, but think upon it for a moment and you will see that that the second reason also returns to the first cause, since the beings of the prophets and successors are personification of beliefs, morals and good character of religion, they are introduced as balance; thus the balance is in fact a criterion to weigh beliefs and deeds and laws of religion. And the deeds of every person can be weighed in it and he could be rewarded and punished accordingly. In this weighing, beliefs and deeds of a person would be placed in one pan and the other pan contains all beliefs, morals and laws of religion.

From some verses of Quran it can be concluded that man has not one, but many balances.

وَ الْوَزْنُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ فَمَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَ زِينُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ‏ * وَمَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَ زِينُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُواْ أَنفُسَهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ بَِايَتِنَا يَظْلِمُونَ‏

And the measuring out on that day will be just; then as for him whose measure (of good deeds) is heavy, those are they who shall be successful. And as for him whose measure (of good deeds) is light, those are they who have made their souls suffer loss because they disbelieved in Our communications. (7:8-9)

In this verse, the point mentioned is about the heaviness of the balances of some people and the lightness of the balances of others. It can be concluded that every person would have a number of balances. Perhaps it would be from the aspect that the beliefs would be weighed in one balance, while morals would be weighed in another and deeds would be weighed in yet another balance; thus if each belief is weighed against the correct belief, and every deed is weighed against proper deeds and every moral is weighed against right morals all in different balances, each person would have a number of balances.

Process of weighing the deeds

The background of the heaviness and lightness of the pan of balance is obtained in this world through beliefs, morals, character and speech of man: correct beliefs make the self illuminated, and one who has a stronger faith has more illuminated self. Even though good morals and nice manners are also of the same sort, good deeds, worship and other charitable acts are accidental and they do not endure, but through sincerity and good intention assume the form of a second nature and illuminate and polish the self of man and strengthen his human aspects and make the pan of his deeds heavier.

On the other hand, false beliefs, morals and evil deeds make the soul dark and terrifying; his aspect of humanity is weakened and the aspect of his bestiality is strengthened and so much so that sometimes in his inner being, he assumes the form of a carnivorous beast and the pan of his humanity becomes light.

All these acts, reactions and changes occur in this world and inside the self, but he himself is unaware of them, till on Judgment Day the curtain would be removed from his eyes.

يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَآئِرُ

On the day when hidden things shall be made manifest. (86:9)

He would see all of them with his own eyes. At that time he would find the pan of balance of his self either light or heavy.


[78] Biharul Anwar, Vol. 7, Pg. 248
[79] Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 11, Pg. 388
[80] Wasailush Shia, Vol. 15, Pg. 257
[81] Kafi, Vol. 3, Pg. 268
[82] Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 100
[83] Wasailush Shia, Vol. 1, Pg. 30
[84] Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 420
[85] Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 10, Pg. 224
[86] Biharul Anwar, Vol. 35, Pg. 343
[87] Biharul Anwar, Vol. 23, Pg. 107