Sūratu’l-Isrā’ [The Night Journey] : (17:13)

Sūratu’l-Isrā’ [The Night Journey] : (17:13)

وَكُلَّ إِنسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَائِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ ۖ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كِتَابًا يَلْقَاهُ مَنشُورًا

Every human being’s fate We have fastened around his neck, and We will bring forth for him on the Day of Resurrection a book which he will see spread open. (Al-Isrā’ 17:13)

This verse calls to mind the cards hanged around the necks of those who have been sentenced to death and on which the crimes they committed are recorded. The following few things can be said in interpreting it:

  1. What is meant by the “fate (tāir) fastened around one’s neck” is the actions they have done in the world. According to a hadīth, if they are good acts, they will appear in the other world in front of the one who did them in a beautiful form, but if they are evil acts, they will appear in an ugly form(Musnad Ahmad, 4/287, 295.)
  2. If God wills to disgrace a person, that is, if He wills to punish them for their evil deeds as a manifestation of His justice, He hangs the book of deeds of that person around his neck, and He discloses his acts. But if God wills to forgive a person, He covers his faults and does not show them to anybody.
  3. “Tāir” which is hanged around one’s neck refers either to the prick of conscience or to clear conscience, which one feels deep in their conscience because of what they do.

To sum up, every person’s life or fate or acts, which are formed around their free will, always make themselves felt “around their neck” or in their conscience as inseparably as the soul is from the body and the shadow from the thing. It either flows into them like clear, bubbling water and gives them rejoice and contentment or it is felt as a constant distress and uneasiness in the heart. Then, it is opened and spread out like a book or register in front of the person on the Day of Judgment. And the person is told:

Read your book! Your own self suffices you this day as a reckoner against you. (Al-Isrā’ 17:14)

Those who questioned themselves about their acts every day while in the world walk towards Paradise, favored with God’s good pleasure while the others who have deficiencies suffer loss upon loss.

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