By Shaykh Abdullah Hasan | Transcribed by Hafiza Sayfullah
Many think that living the luxury life in this world would compensate [for] how they die, [but] this is not true. Thinking that after death comes nothing is absolute ignorance. Life in this dunya as we know is present with evil and good; there is no purpose of both if there is no hereafter. We will follow this āyah closely:
“Those who seek (merely) the worldly life and its beauty, We will fully recompense them herein for their acts, and their right will not be curtailed in this world. Those are the people for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter except fire. Nullified will be whatever they worked herein, and void will be what they have been doing.” [Hūd: 15-16]
What we learn from the verses is that those who base their actions and deeds only seeking, aiming and acquiring the dunya are disbelievers in Allāh and His blessings. They do not have anything in the hereafter except the fire, because all his 'amal (actions) are void and bāṭil; he has no value because he did not seek the pleasure of Allāh in his actions. Those who neglect the ākhirah and reject Allāh, their deeds will not be accepted on the Day of Judgment.
As for the actions and deeds that have some good in them in this life, such as giving charity etc., Allāh will reward him in the life of this world. The scholars say this is the meaning of Allāh saying: “We will fully recompense them herein for their acts, and their right will not be curtailed in this world.” They are righteous people who do well and may receive some comforts in this life, but He may also withhold some benefits in the hereafter.
Allāh may give this disbeliever some of the rewards in this life and lighten for him the punishment in the fire. The time he is in the hellfire will not be cut short, for he will remain in the hellfire for eternity. Allāh says:
“Whoever opts for the immediate (benefits from) life herein, We give him, right here in this life, as much as We will, to whomever We intend. Then We assign Jahannam for him where he shall enter condemned, discarded.” [Al-Isrā': 18]
Therefore, the āyah is explaining that Allāh does what He wills. He may give someone who is ungrateful to his Lord in this life some good and comfort and also He may withhold good from someone else who disbelieves in Him. That is why we see many non-believers who are constrained in this life in their health and wealth. These are those whom Allāh mentions: “He has lost this life and the hereafter, that is the clear loss.” [Ḥajj: 11]
As for the takhfīf [lightening] the punishment in the ākhirah, we find the evidence in the ḥadīth of Abu Sa'īd al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “I hope that my intercession will benefit him on the Day of Judgment. A smoldering ember will be placed under the arch of his foot. His brains will boil because of it.” [Bukhāri]
It is well known that this is the punishment that Abu Ṭālib, the uncle of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), will receive in the hellfire because he used to defend the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) from harm. Thus he (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) hopes that this will benefit him somewhat in hellfire. This is the lightest of the punishment for the disbeliever.
As for the one who makes the dunya his goal and objective in SOME of his actions and deeds, not entirely all his deeds, [this] does not make him a disbeliever and Allāh will not nullify all his deeds. However, if the actions and deeds were performed in order to seek other than the pleasure of Allāh, the deeds will be nullified, and those deeds that were performed to seek the pleasure of Allāh will be accepted. To seek authority and to seek power are those deeds that are not for the sake of Allāh but for pure showing off.
This is the main difference between a believer and a non-believer. As for the kāfir, he does not seek or desire anything except the dunya, while the believer seeks and desires the ākhirah but does not forget his ḥalāl share in the dunya.
Allāh says: “And seek the (betterment of) the ultimate abode with what Allāh has given to you, and do not neglect your share from this world, and do good as Allāh did good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land. Surely, Allāh does not like the mischief-makers.” [Al-Qaṣaṣ: 77]
He also says: “Whoever intends (to have) the harvest of the hereafter, We will increase in his harvest; and whoever intends (to have) the harvest of the world (only), We will give him thereof, while in the hereafter he will have no share.” [Al-Shūra: 20]
Here is a ḥadīth in which we can take many lessons from:
On the authority of Abu Dharr:
“Once I went out at night and found the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), walking all alone accompanied by no human being. I thought that perhaps he disliked that someone should accompany him. So, I walked in the shadow, under the shadow of the moon but the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) looked behind, saw me, and said: 'Who is that?' I replied: 'Abu Dharr, let Allāh get me sacrificed for you.' He (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, 'O Abu Dharr come here.'
So I accompanied him for a while and then he [the Prophet] said: 'The rich are in fact poor [in reward] on the Day of Judgment, except him whom Allāh gives wealth which he spends in charity to his right, left, front, back and performs good deeds with it.' I walked with him a little longer. Then he said to me, 'Sit down here.' So he made me sit in an open space surrounded by rocks and said to me, 'Sit here until I return to you.'
He went towards Ḥirā' [cave] till I could not see him and he stayed away for a long period, and then I heard him saying while he was coming, 'Even if he had committed theft or even if he had committed illegal sexual intercourse.' When he came, I was not able to remain patient and asked him, 'O Allāh's Prophet, let Allāh get me sacrificed for you, whom were you speaking to by the side of Ḥirā'? I did not hear anyone responding to you!'
He said, 'It was Jibrīl. He appeared to me beside Ḥirā' and said, “Give glad tidings to your nation that whosoever dies without joining others with Allāh will enter Paradise.” I said, “O Jibrīl even if he had committed theft or zina?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Even if he had committed theft or zina?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Even if he had committed theft or zina?” He said, “Yes.”'” [In some copies of al Bukhāri, it also mentions even if he had drunk alcoholic liquor.]
This ḥadīth teaches us many important principles we should endeavor to implement into our lives:
1 – Abu Dharr's walking behind the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) is an example of the adab of the companions that they always tried to maintain with the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam). When he saw the beloved walking alone and thought that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) does not like anyone to walk with him, Abu Dharr did not want to cut the Prophet's khalwah with himself, so he walked behind him.
There is also the wisdom that Abu Dharr feared that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) will be exposed to harm and wanted to be in close proximity of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) if any danger was to take place, with full knowledge that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) is protected from being killed, but he is not ma'ṣūm from harm. Allāh says: “Allāh will protect you from people.” [Al-Mā'idah: 68]
Also, Abu Dharr may learn during his walk with the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), what the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) had learnt or a du'ā' that may be supplicated with, or anything which he may utter from Allāh. When the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) became aware of his presence, he called Abu Dharr to walk with him in order to teach him what Allāh taught him (i.e the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)). As he was eager and keen not to break the Prophet's khalwah, eager for his safety, and keen to learn from him, he was also eager to obey him after that, when the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to him, “Sit here until I return to you.” In spite of that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) made him wait a very long time, Abu Dharr did not complain at all on leaving the place where his beloved ordered him to sit. SubḥānAllāh.
2 – The Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) taught Abu Dharr an important qā'idah, or principle, that: “The rich [in this life] are poor on the Day of Judgment.”
The meaning of the principle is those who have abundant blessings and who are rich in grants in this life, whether these blessings are good health, wealth, children, power or prestige, they will have little in terms of their ajr and darajāt [ranks] on the Day of Judgment. The reason for this is that people deserve the reward and recompense for their īmān and righteous deeds, and the aṣl of the reward is that they be recompensed in the ākhirah. Thus to say people are given something of reward in the dunya, they will lose or their reward will be reduced in the ākhirah, and so therefore the reward of the dunya is on the expense of the reward of the ākhirah. A person is rewarded by the īmān a person possesses in this world, which will be recompensed in the ākhirah.
There is an opposite conformity, most of the time, between the blessings of the dunya and the blessings of the ākhirah, so whenever the blessings of the dunya increase, the blessings of the ākhirah decrease, and whenever the blessings of dunya decrease, the blessings of the ākhirah increase. This is what Khabbāb was fearful of and even wanted to make du'ā' for death when the dunya was opened for him, that is if the Prophet had not forbade him from that.
Imām Bukhāri narrated with his sanad that Khabbāb said, “If Allāh's Messenger did not prohibit us from making du'ā' for death, we would have surely made du'ā' for it. Indeed, the companions of the messenger have left this world without taking anything of their reward in it [i.e., they will have perfect reward in the next life], but we have collected all the worldly wealth that we cannot spend but on the earth [i.e., on building houses].”
Observe these statements. Their treasures were coming to them, and yet he was upset. Upset at the fact the nations that came before them forgot about the ākhirah by dwelling in the riches of the dunya.
And he says, “We emigrated with Allāh's Messenger for Allāh's pleasure and our wages [reward] became due on Allāh. Some of us died without receiving any of the wages, and one of them was Muṣ'ab ibn Umayr who was martyred on the day of battle of Uḥud leaving only one shirt [to shroud him in]. If we covered his head with it, his feet became uncovered, and if we covered his feet with it, his head became uncovered. So the Prophet commanded us to cover his head with it and to put some idhkhir [leaves and grass] over his feet. On the other hand, some of us have had the fruit [of our good deeds] and are plucking them [in this world].”
As a result, this is how Khabbāb covered Muṣ'ab because he did not take anything from the blessings of the dunya, and hence his reward remains full and complete in the ākhirah. Preventing themselves from dwelling in ḥarām by fearing their rewards would get decreased in the hereafter.
The Prophet clarified that the mujāhid, if he is safe, a third of his reward will be decreased, and if he is safe and takes the booty, two thirds of his reward will be reduced, and if he is not safe and does not take any booty, his reward will be complete. This is conformity with the principle: The rich are poor in the ākhirah.
On the authority of 'Abdullāh b. 'Amr, the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “A troop of soldiers, large or small, who fight (in the way of Allāh), get their share of the booty and return safe and sound, receive in advance two-thirds of their reward (only one-third remaining to their credit to be received in the Hereafter); and a troop of soldiers, large or small, who return empty-handed and are afflicted or wounded, will receive their full reward (in the Hereafter).”
This is the secret of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) encouraging us to abstain from the dunya. Therefore, zuhd [ascetism] is being abstinent in the mubāḥ [permissible]. So why does a believer do zuhd in those things that are permissible?
The answer is that the blessings of the dunya will be on the expense of the reward in the ākhirah. This is why the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would abstain from the comforts of this world and also the narrator of the ḥadīth Abu Dharr and the rest of the ṣaḥābah and their followers would abstain from the dunya. So from this perspective, the reward of the poor does not decrease. As for the rich, their reward decreases by their degree of their richness, and this is why the poor will enter paradise before the rich. Taqwa and tawḥīd are sufficient for this dunya, and sacrificing their times in the way of Allāh and their reward will be Jannah.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah and others, the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “The poor Muslims will enter paradise before the rich by half a day, and half a day is like five hundred years.” [Tirmidhi]
This is how the divine justice is actualized. The poor enter Paradise and enjoy from its delights before the rich, in contrast to how the rich enjoy the delights of the dunya and the poor who do not have anything in this life.
3 – One may ask: What is the sin of those who enjoy the blessings of this life? What can the rich, the wealthy, the people of prestige and station, and the healthy do so their reward is not reduced in the hereafter?
Ḥadīth: fa nafha yamīnihi wa shimālihi 'amila fīhi khayran
Those who are given good, and this can be any good of any types whether the good is much or little, whether it be knowledge, or wealth, or health and safety or anything like that, and he fulfills the following conditions that the ḥadīth mentions and indicates to, and they are:
a. He should give from the blessings plentifully without hesitation:
Consequently, spending in the path of Allāh becomes his characteristic and natural order, and this is the meaning of 'fa nafha yamīnihi wa shimālihi '. Furthermore, for example, if he is a scholar, he should teach the people with everything that Allāh has provided him of energy, wisdom and knowledge.
If he is a wealthy person, he should spend in the path of Allāh without hesitation and being miserly.
If he is strong, he should help the weak and should not hesitate in coming to the aid of people.
Everyone is accountable; everyone has a duty to fulfill towards Allāh!
b. He should perform that with sincerity desiring nothing except the pleasure of Allāh:
It is well known that ikhlāṣ, or sincerity, is a condition that needs to be met in order for a deed to be accepted. Therefore, the deed, however great it is, there is no value in it if it is not performed with ikhlāṣ. On the other hand, it will be a proof against him on the Day of Judgment. Ask yourself: what are the noblest deeds in this dunya? It is to acquire knowledge, to be a mujāhid and to be generous. If they are not for the pleasure of Allāh, they will not be accepted.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah who said that he heard Allāh's Messenger (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) say:
“The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allāh will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say, 'And what did you do about them?' He will say: 'I fought for you until I died a martyr.' He will say, 'You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you], “He is courageous.” And so it was said.' Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.[Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Qurʾān. He will be brought and Allāh will make known to his His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say, 'And what did you do about them?' He will say, 'I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qurʾān for Your sake.' He will say: 'You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you], “He is learned.” And you recited the Qurʾān that it might be said [of you], “He is a reciter.” And so it was said.' Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man whom Allāh had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allāh will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say, 'And what did you do about them?' He will say, 'I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake.' He will say, 'You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you], “He is open-handed.” And so it was said.' Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.”
c. As for his saying: ' 'amila fīhi khayran' – he should spend what Allāh has provided in goodness. Know that money does not belong to him but to Allāh and should be spent in the way of Allāh. This will be a benefit for him if he were to donate his wealth to charity, even after his death. Achieve this by sacrificing his time, his strong body, his wealth all for the sake of Allāh.
4- He should spend it without being wasteful.
Allāh says: 'Those who waste are the brothers of the shayāṭīn, and the Shayṭān is a disbeliever in his Lord'.
Tabdhīr: To waste wealth without purpose or objective, like someone who throws it in the ocean.
Isrāf: To exceed the legislated boundaries in spending on the lawful matters.
However, how is spending in the lawful matters prohibited? The reality is that it is not prohibited. If one spends in only the mubāḥāt (permissible) while neglecting and falling short of the mandubāt (recommended) and the wajibāt (obligatory acts), this will be deemed impermissible. Wallāhu 'ālam.
Therefore, isrāf is spending in the mubāḥāt till it reaches the point where there are shortcomings in the wajibāt or the mandubāt.
And it is two types:
1- That which nullifies the wajibāt and that is ḥarām
2- That which nullifies the mandubāt and that is makrūh
So whoever spends, for example, in building his mansion whilst knowing that there are people dying of hunger and have no shelter, and there are others who are leaving their religion because of poverty, then he is a musrif and sinful without a doubt.
The meaning of isrāf I mentioned differs from one time to another time and from one society to another, from one individual to another. It may be that buying something specific is isrāf for an individual but not isrāf for someone else. Therefore, whoever meets the conditions mentioned will be inshā'Allāh rich in this life and the next
3- People may misunderstand the ending of this ḥadīth and presume that there is tahwīn or lessening the gravity of sin and disobedience, and that they do not harm or effect īmān. However this understanding does not confirm with the vast majority of the nuṣūṣ (texts) we have in the aḥadīth.
It is also not in conformity with the ḥadīth in question because the statement by the Prophet to Jibrīl, 'even if he steals, and even if he fornicates!? Indicates that these two sins are from the kabā'ir [enormities]. This is why the prophet specifically mentioned them and asked about them over others. Moreover those being amongst the kabā'ir should be understood as a warning to those who fall into it.
So how can we understand the ḥadīth, and how can a person who commits these kabā'ir enter Paradise?
1- That sins however great they are, they do not shut the door of repentance in front of the human being, so whoever repents sincerely with all the conditions, his repentance will be accepted even of the sins were from the kabā'ir.
The meaning of this is that the one who will enter paradise is that person who repents and is regretful and not the one who is persistent on the kabā'ir. The door of repenting is never closed, as long as he repents sincerely he will be forgiven – Allāh is Al-Ghaffār! (The Forgiver)
2- That the one who commits the kabā'ir does not excommunicate him, and whoever dies without making sincere tawbah, he may be punished in the fire and then he will be taken out from it and will not dwell therein forever. But Allāh, out of His Grace and Mercy, may forgive that person and admit him/her into paradise directly.
This is the 'aqīdah of the ahl'l-sunnah.
The fire of the aakhirah is 70 times more hot than the fire of the dunya, none of us can truly comprehend what awaits us in the hell fire so the station of fear should be forever embedded in the believers heart, action, tongue and INTENTION! Fearing Allāh has sustained the companion's lives after the Prophet's departure of this world, but his Sunnah is still strong and amongst us for us to take heed from.
May Allāh save us from the hellfire, rise us amongst the mutaqūn, help us implement what we are taught and teach it to our community, may we struggle in the way of Allāh with only His pleasure as our goal, and make us less stingy with our wealth!