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Say, “If I am astray, the loss is only mine. And if I am guided, it is ˹only˺ because of what my Lord reveals to me. He is indeed All-Hearing, Ever Near.”34:50

Which means: "If I am astray, the loss is only mine"? After all, those who got lost together with the preacher also bear sin:

Let them bear their burdens in full on the Day of Judgment as well as some of the burdens of those they mislead without knowledge. Evil indeed is what they will bear!16:25

From tafsir Ibn Qasir (interpretation 16:25): ...Mujahid said, "They will bear burdens, i.e. their sins and the sins of those who obeyed them, and this will not in any way diminish the punishment of those who obeyed them."

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There can be two interpretations possible here.

First Interpretation

The point of the second verse is to say each person is responsible for his own actions, and that is the same as what the first verse says as well. This is the interpretation of your translator.

Allah commands the Prophet to say: ⟪If I should err⟫ in what I am doing, ⟪I would only err against myself⟫ i.e. the punishment for the error is mine to bear.

If other people follow him and he erred and it was clear, they would bear the punishment for following him. They will not bear the punishment for the Prophet erring.

And this is a repetition of other more general verses in the Quran like: ⟪Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided.⟫ (5:105), ⟪whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul, and whoever goes astray only goes astray [in violation] against it⟫ (10:108), and ⟪Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.⟫ (17:15).

In all the above verses, someone could come and argue about the followers of someone who errs. But, the point is that those followers are responsible for their own actions and the leader is responsible for his own actions. Neither bears the burden of the other in the sense that anyone is affected by the other's deeds in the hereafter.

But, that doesn't stop worldly influence between them and it doesn't stop that the leader bears the burdens of his followers without reducing from their burdens. He bears those burdens because they are essentially part of his fault, not because he bears the burdens of another person's actions.

Allah says: ⟪That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection and some of the burdens of those whom they misguide without knowledge.⟫ (16:25)

Second Interpretation

This is similar to the famous phrase "If I am right, it is from Allah. If I made a mistake, it is from me and from Shaitan."

So, the verse is saying: If I err, it is only me who erred against myself. If I get guided, it is from the revelations of Allah.

And Allah knows best.

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  • Thanks for the answer, but I didn't understand a bit. If a preacher is mistaken, then he is mistaken to the detriment not only of himself, but also of his followers. For example, if an atheist starts calling for atheism and people follow him, then he got lost to the detriment of both himself and them, since he is a preacher and carried them away with him. And he will bear, therefore, his burden and the burden of these others together with his burden (as it is said in 29:13). But they will also be punished for the error, thanks to this preacher.
    – Insan
    Aug 25 at 20:15
  • So he is deluded to the detriment of both himself and them. The loss not only of him, but also of his followers. Did he harm them with his appeals? That's what I wanted to ask. And another example: In Surah 17 in verse 63, Allah promised Iblis and his followers Gehenna: "Allah responded, “Be gone! Whoever of them follows you, Hell will surely be the reward for all of you—an ample reward".17:63 That is, those who followed him will also suffer, as well as he himself. That's what I don't understand and that's what I want to ask.
    – Insan
    Aug 25 at 20:15
  • @Insan "If a preacher is mistaken, then he is mistaken to the detriment not only of himself, but also of his followers." The preacher and the followers will only be sinful for their own actions, not for each others. The preacher would be sinful for his misguiding others and the follower will be sinful for his own action of following the preacher.
    – The Z
    Aug 25 at 20:21
  • We are not talking about detriment in the worldly sense because there are many things that can influence humans. But, essentially, they are only sinful and blameworthy for what they choose and what they cause themselves.
    – The Z
    Aug 25 at 20:23
  • And as Shaitan will say on the Day of Judgement "But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves." (14:22)
    – The Z
    Aug 25 at 20:25

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