Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra
Question: Is there something similar in the Quran/Islam that states that you will reap what you sow? Is it permissible to say that something is Karma? Sources will be much appreciated.
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,
As salamu alaikum,
Thank you for your question. “Reaping what one sows”, or tasting the fruits of one’s actions whether good or bad, is definitely a concept in Islam. The consequences of some actions, such as respecting/hurting one’s parents, can play out in one’s worldly life, but the main theater of the recompense of actions is in the Hereafter, when we will be judged by Allah Most High. Since karma is not a true concept, it would not be permissible to cite it, rather all causes, effects and outcomes are from Allah alone and not an unseen, automated system.
“Reaping What One Sows” in Islam
A total harvesting of the outcomes of one’s deeds does not always happen in this life, but this is why there is divine judgment after death with perfect justice. Allah Most High says:
“And whoever does a speck of good [in life], will see it [on the Day of Judgement]. And whoever does a speck of evil, will see it.” [Qur’an 100:7-8]
It is not deeds however, but the mercy and justice of Allah that determine each person’s fate.
The Concept of Karma
Karma is a belief from ancient Indian religions in which an unseen system keeps a running total of one’s deeds throughout multiple lifetimes, to determine one’s status in fortune, caste and wisdom through each stage of reincarnation. Since reincarnation is not a true concept, with humans having only have one life to live, and the one who records all deeds and informs us of them and creates their outcomes is our Creator, there is no need to posit a theory of karma or cite it in one’s speech.
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani