Calling people to account for their ideas and thoughts
Will a person be called to account for their inner thoughts?
Allah is Gracious and Merciful to His Servants. He, out of His Mercy, does not impose upon them what they cannot bear. No one will be called to account for their inner thoughts, based on the Hadith authentically reported on the authority of
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Allah has forgiven my Ummah (nation based on one creed) whatever thoughts that occur to their minds, as long as they do not put them into action or utter them.
In his book "Al-Musnad",
Imam Ahmad said:
`Affan told us that
`Abdul-Rahman ibn Ibrahim told him that
Al-`Ala' ibn `Abdul-Rahman told him on the authority of his father that
Abu Hurayrah said: "When it was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) saying:
To Allâh belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and whether you disclose what is in your ownselves or conceal it, Allâh will call you to account for it. Then He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allâh is Able to do all things.
The Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) felt it hard. They came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), kneeled in front of him and said: "O Messenger of Allah! We were assigned deeds that we can perform, such as Salah (Prayer), Sawm (Fasting), Jihad (striving in the Cause of Allah) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity). (Part No. 2; Page No. 485) But we cannot bear this Ayah that was revealed to you." The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
'Do you want to say as the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) said before you, 'We hear and disobey?' You should rather say, 'We hear and we obey; (we seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord! And unto You is the return.'
When people acknowledged it and humbly recited it, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) revealed directly after it:
The Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allâh, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say), "We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers" - and they say, "We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)."
When they did, Allah (Blessed and Exalted be He) abrogated it and revealed instead:
Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.