Home Quranet Chapter 7 Is the individual alone responsible for his actions?
Is the individual alone responsible for his actions?
Chapter 7

ذَلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلاَّمٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ (سورۃ آل عمران, آيۃ 182)

This is because of the (unrighteous deeds) which your hands sent on before ye: For Allah never harms those who serve Him. (Surah 3, Verse 182)

The father of Fadi, a fifth-grader, was invited to school by the principal. The summons he received said that Fadi had been cursing his friends, and not for the first time, and so the principal wanted to talk to his parents. Present at the talk were the principal, Fadi and his father.

Principal: I've invited you here because Fadi has been cursing his classmates.
Father: At home Fadi causes no trouble. He's a quiet boy, well-mannered, I'm very surprised.
Principal: But at school he curses. That's why I've invited you and Fadi to discuss the problem.
Father: Fadi, is it true that you curse your classmates?
Fadi: It only happened once, and perhaps one other time a month ago.
Principal: I want to know the reason for your conduct. Do you know what it is, Fadi?
Fadi: At home Mother always curses me and talks to me roughly.
Father: I'm at work all day and you've never told me this, Fadi. You've never complained about your mother. And I know that you are the apple of her eye. Perhaps you've been pestering her? I don't know.
Fadi: I don't like helping her and she doesn't understand that. She destroys me when she curses me. Then I feel tense and I want to let out the anger.
Principal: Fadi, even if your mother curses you, you mustn't curse other children. I'm sure you know Verse 182 of Surah 3, which talks about personal responsibility. (He opens the Quran and reads out): "This is because of the (unrighteous deeds) which your hands sent on before ye: For Allah never harms those who serve Him". What do you understand from that verse, Fadi?
Fadi: (silent for a moment): The verse is saying that I'm the one who creates the problems and not my mother and my mistakes return to me.
Principal: Very good, Fadi. And if you have problems with your mother you can discuss them with her or with your father. Problems at home or with friends are solved by discussion where you explain what you find hurtful, and not by cursing.

Explanation: it seems that Fadi is really the apple of his mother's eye. She pampers him but he doesn't feel obliged to help her with the housework. He is angry at her for even asking. Then she loses control and curses him. She seems to have difficulties in her relationship with him. She should be capable of demanding that he help her and of insisting firmly but not aggressively. She may be a weak character. On the one hand, she is very close to Fadi and on the other, treats him aggressively. In any event, the principal's message was the correct one. Fadi can't absolve himself of all responsibility even if his mother treats him like that. The message of the Quran, which is reiterated in many verses like this one, is uniform and it is very meaningful from the educational viewpoint: each individual holds personal responsibility for his actions and nobody should cast responsibility for his actions on to others.