What is MIZAN (SCALE)?
Submitted by on Mon, 04/01/2010 - 18:23
Dear Brother / Sister,
Mizan literally means a device used for weighing something, weighing device, scale. In Islamic terms, it is a spiritual scale which will be used to weigh one’s good deeds and sins in the Hereafter. Mizan is not a device that just weighs materials. There are also devices for measuring hotness, coldness and speed. Besides being used to weigh materials and some symptoms, Mizan is also used allegorically in law to weigh badness and goodness. Such as scale of law, scale of goodness, scale of truth, scale of reasoning…
Allah the Most Glorious stated in the Quran about scales of different types of measurement as in the following: “And the sky He has uplifted; and He has set the measure so that you do not exceed the measure; but observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof.” (ar-Rahman, 55/7–9).
The scale exclusive to weighing good and bad deeds in the Hereafter is real and it will be set up. Allah the Most Glorious tells about this scale to be set up in the Hereafter as follows: “And We set a just scale for the Day of Resurrection so that no soul is wronged in aught. Though it be of the weight of a grain of mustard seed, We bring it. And We suffice for reckoners. (al-Anbiya, 21/47). “The weighing on that day is the true (weighing). As for those whose scale is heavy, they are the successful. And as for those whose scale is light: those are they who lose their souls because they disbelieved Our revelations. (al-Araf, 7/8-9). If a scale is heavy, it is related to the weight of the thing weighed with it. The pan which should weigh heavy is the one in which belief and good deeds are put. The ones whose belief and good deeds weigh heavier on the scale are the ones who will be successful. It is narrated that there are two views on the word “mawazin” in the verse, the interpretation of which is written above. One of them says “mawazin” is the plural form of mizan, and the other says it can also be the plural form of “mawzun (deeds being weighed)”. What is precious and worthy to Allah is good deeds. And what will weigh heavy in the Mizan are good deeds. The aim of fact that Mizan is made plural with the word Mawazin in some verses is to exalt the glory of Mizan and to point out to its importance or to the numerousness of people whose deeds are going to be weighed. Or it can also indicate that there will be one scale for each person. Or it indicates that deeds of hearts (i.e. thoughts, feelings), words and deeds of body organs (deeds done physically) will be weighed in separate scales. Or Mizan is mentioned as Mawazin because it has many parts and details.
The conclusion reached from the Quran’s statements about weighing and scale is this: A scale will be set up to weigh deeds in the Hereafter anyhow. The weighing of deeds will take place after the distribution of recording books of deeds. During weighing with Mizan, if a fiendish person has good deeds, they will be given to people who were behaved unfairly by him/her. If he/she does not have good deeds, those people’s sins will be given to him/her. After everyone’s various deeds are weighed, the total of gains and losses will be deducted from the sum total.
Followers of Mutazila philosophy state that “Mizan” is the metaphor for Allah’s justice; deeds are impossible to be weighed though they can be returned. Human beings’ deeds are known by Allah before they are committed so it is unnecessary to weigh them. Followers of Sunnah replied this theory in this way: “Deeds are weighed on Mizan in order to distinguish Allah’s friends and foes in front of everyone and to show people Allah’s fair and perfect justice. Therefore, everybody will understand that Allah does not behave cruelly. The ones whose good deeds weigh heavier than their sins on Mizan will have more abundance and happiness than ever because of the perfection of their degrees and virtues. On the other hand, the ones whose sins weigh heavier than their good deeds will have more sadness, fear, sorrow and embarrassment. The evidence of those who say the word mawazin only refers to justice is inconsistent. It is not permissible to attribute a metaphor to a word unless its real meaning is illogical in the context. There are some hadiths about Mizan:
a) What will be weighed on Mizan is the book of deeds (Ibn Kathir, Interpretation of the Quran, Beirut, 1966/1385, IV, 566).
b) Good deeds are turned into beautiful physical items of light and sins are turned into ugly physical items according to their amounts and then those items are weighed (Fahruddin ar-Razi, Mafatihu’l Ghaib, Istanbul 1398 h. IV, p.266-267, VIII, p.666).
c) People will be weighed once with their good deeds on their back and once with their sins on their back (Ibn Kathir, III, p.146-147).
Accordingly, one must accept the reality of Mizan to weigh people’s deeds. However, it is impossible for human logic to perceive the reality of weighing process and the essence of Mizan in details. For this reason, it is not necessary to believe in details of it. The ones who misinterpret weighing and Mizan as the justice of Allah are not rejected by Islam on condition that they do not deny their existence.
However, as for those who do not believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment; Allah will not have their deeds weighed anyhow. The process of weighing will be carried out in order to determine the amounts of good deeds and sins of people. Infidels’ good deeds will have gone to waste because they denied Allah and the fact that people will be resurrected after death and that they will be questioned for their lives. Faith is like a bowl keeping and saving good deeds in itself. As an infidel does not have Faith, he/she will have nothing left other than his/her infidelity and sins; therefore, there will be no need to weigh his/her deeds. For this reason, Allah states: “Say: Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight.” (al-Kahf, 18/103-105).
Our Prophet says that no one will remember anyone in three places on Mahshar (gathering place after resurrection) because of fear and worry.
1. Until one finds out if his/her good deeds weigh heavy on Mizan during weighing process.
2. Until one finds out from whence his/her book of deeds will be given to him/her, from right side, from left side or from behind.
3. While waiting by the Bridge of Sirat when it is built across over Hell (Mansur Ali Nasif, at-Taj, V, 376).
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