Your ‘digital footprint’ is the unique trail of every single move you make through the Internet. Ask yourself – would you be comfortable if each step of this trail was placed on display for the entire world to see? No passwords, no going incognito and no deleting browser history. Every website you’ve ever visited, image you’ve ever clicked on and all the purchases you’ve ever made, played back to your family, all of your friends and to the world at large to see.
Today, we are overshadowed by an environment which promotes the self-entitlement of man. One which promotes the notion that we deserve the freedom and privacy to do as we please. But putting aside the uproar it would create about this digital playback being an invasion of privacy: how would this exposé actually make you feel? Absolutely fine, because you’ve never done anything wrong in your life, or embarrassed, ashamed and downright mortified because your sins have been put on display and you’ve been named and shamed in front of everyone you know?
If we were made aware of this digital footprint playback and warned beforehand of its occurrence, it would affect our footprints, right? Surely, we’d be much more conscious of what we’re clicking, viewing and buying? Knowing that every wrongdoing would become a further source of shame and embarrassment, thus serving as a deterrent and stopping us from falling into such sin?
Now replace this fiction, with reality. Replace this digital footprint playback, with your dunya footprint playback. On that burdensome day, where the Lord of the heavens and the earth will play back every facet of your life – online and offline – for the whole world.
لَا أُقْسِمُ بِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ
وَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالنَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ
أَيَحْسَبُ الْإِنسَانُ أَلَّن نَّجْمَعَ عِظَامَهُ
بَلَىٰ قَادِرِينَ عَلَىٰ أَن نُّسَوِّيَ بَنَانَهُ
“I swear by the Day of Resurrection,
And I swear by the reproaching soul [to the certainty of resurrection].
Does man think that We will not reassemble his bones?
Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order his fingertips.”
[TMQ Al-Qiyamah 75:1-4]
On display that day, will be every word uttered and every action undertaken. Our individual actions, and those undertaken with others. Our public actions, and those behind closed doors – where we lulled ourselves into thinking no-one was watching, knowing deep down that Allah (swt) was watching our every move.
يَقُولُ الْإِنسَانُ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَيْنَ الْمَفَرُّ
كَلَّا لَا وَزَرَ
إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْمُسْتَقَرُّ
يُنَبَّأُ الْإِنسَانُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِمَا قَدَّمَ وَأَخَّرَ
بَلِ الْإِنسَانُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ
“On that Day man will say, ‘Where can I escape?’
No! There is no refuge.
Unto your Lord (alone) will be the place of rest that Day.
Upon that Day man will be fully informed of whatever he forwarded and deferred.
In fact, people will testify against their own souls.”
[TMQ Al-Qiyamah 75:10-14]
Despite all the effort we put into covering our tracks and covertly carrying out acts which are impermissible, and even despite us knowing (and choosing to forget) that Allah (swt) is watching us at all times, have we ever stopped to think our bodies themselves are watching our every move? As an amanah (a trust) given to us by the Creator (swt), our bodies helplessly witness every transgression they’re used for, until on that day, they will be given the long-awaited chance to testify against the oppression they were made to carry out. Furthering this, have we ever stopped to think that the very earth we walk upon – also a noble creation of Allah (swt), will bear witness against the sins we committed upon her?
We would feel immense shame and embarrassment at the idea of being exposed in front of our families and friends – where we’d be fully clothed, and able to flee. Yet how is it possible that we would feel no shame or embarrassment at being exposed before Allah (swt), naked before Him with nowhere to hide, our bodies describing every detail of injustice we heedlessly undertook? How could we possibly fear our parents viewing our Internet browsing history, yet not fear the Almighty viewing every single moment of our lives?
وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالْأَرْضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
“And they have not honoured Allah with the honour that is due to Him; and the whole earth shall be in His grip on the day of resurrection and the heavens rolled up in His right hand; glory be to Him, and may He be exalted above what they associate (with Him).” [TMQ Az-Zumar 39:67]
We have been warned beforehand, time and time again, as a mercy and favour from Allah (swt) in His noble Quran, of this playback. Warned that not only will we be exposed for all to see, but also that our sins will most surely see their consequences, in a blazing fire like no other.
وَتَرَىٰ كُلَّ أُمَّةٍ جَاثِيَةً ۚ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ تُدْعَىٰ إِلَىٰ كِتَابِهَا الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
“And you will see each nation humbled to their knees (kneeling), each nation will be called to its Record (of deeds). This Day you shall be recompensed for what you used to do.” [TMQ Al-Jathiyah 45:28]
Ibn Kathir (rh) mentions in his commentary of this verse:
“And you will see each nation humbled to their knees (jathiyah),) kneeling, fearful of the tremendous calamity and events. It was said that this will occur when Hellfire will be brought forth, for she will exhale once, and everyone will fall to their knees, including Ibrahim (as), the Khalil. He will proclaim, ‘Myself, myself, myself! Today, I will not ask You (O Allah) but about myself.’ And even Isa (as), will proclaim, ‘Today, I will only argue before You on my own behalf, I will not ask You about Maryam, who gave birth to me.’”
SubhanAllah! One of the most highest ranking prophets to have ever walked this earth, Isa (as), will cast aside one of the most noble and righteous women known to mankind – Maryam (as). His beloved mother at that, who defended and struggled for him right from before he was even born. Why? For no other reason than the terror of being faced with the raging fire of Jahannam. If this will be the state of the most pious souls who spent their entire lives in servitude of Allah (swt). What then, will become of us? Can we really live comfortably sidelining Allah (swt) watching our deeds, until we are met with a dire fate and it is too late to turn back?
In this month of taqwa, let us reflect upon Allah (swt) being the All-Seeing, All-Hearing and All-Knowing. Let us reflect upon the day that our families will flee from us, and we will be left to meet Allah (swt) with nothing but the deeds we enact today. Let us work hard to be of those who are conscious of Him, who fear Him and who mould their actions to be of those which gain His pleasure and good reward.
May Allah (swt) make us of those who are handed their book of deeds in their right hand, those who are a source of pride and joy – not humiliation and disgrace – for their parents on the Day of Reckoning.
يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا
بِأَنَّ رَبَّكَ أَوْحَىٰ لَهَا
يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصْدُرُ النَّاسُ أَشْتَاتًا لِّيُرَوْا أَعْمَالَهُمْ
فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ
وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ
“On that Day the earth will recount everything.
Because your Lord has commanded it.
That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds.
So, whoever does any good act (even) to the weight of a particle will see it.
And whoever does evil (even) to the weight of a particle will see it.”
[TMQ Az-Zalzalah 99:4-8]