Question: What will the fate of people with faith (iman) and without faith be in the Hereafter?
People without faith (iman), that is, all disbelievers, will go to eternal Hell and will stay there eternally when they die. As for those with faith, their rewards (thawab) and sins will be weighed. Those whose rewards weigh heavier will go to Paradise and will stay there eternally.
Of the Qur’anic verses on this subject, some are as follows:
(We will set up Balances of justice for the Day of Judgment. No one will be wronged at all then. We will bring every deed to the Balance of justice, even if it is as little as a mustard seed. We are sufficient to take account of everyone.) [Al-Anbiya’ 47]
(We will definitely question both those to whom prophets were sent and the prophets who were sent to them.) [Al-A’raf 6]
(We will recount to them everything they did one by one, for We are not far from them.) [Al-A’raf 7]
(The Balance that will be set up on the Day of Judgment is true, a reality. Those whose rewards weigh heavy on the Balance will be the ones to attain salvation.) [Al-A’raf 8]
(If their rewards weigh light on the Balance, they are those who have brought loss to themselves because they did injustice to Our âyât.) [Al-A’raf 9]
(Every human will taste death. You will certainly be paid your rewards on the Day of Judgment. He who is kept away from the fire of Hell and admitted to Paradise will indeed have been saved.) [Al-i ‘Imran 185]
It is declared in hadith-i sharifs:
(On the Day of Judgment, the son of Adam will be brought and be stopped before the pans of the Balance. An angel will be appointed for him. If his balance weighs heavy, the appointed angel will say, “So and so has been saved eternally from now on.” If his balance weighs light, the angel will say, “So and so, too, has lost.”) [Abu Nu’aym]
(The first of a servant’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Judgment will be salat. If it is found correct, his other deeds will be correct. If it is found defective, his other deeds will be defective, too.) [Tabarani]
How will deeds be weighed?
Question: How will deeds be weighed on a balance on the Day of Judgment?
On the Day of Judgment there will be a Mizan (Balance) different from those we know, for weighing deeds and conduct. The scale for good deeds will be bright and to the right of the ‘Arsh where Paradise is, and the scale for sins will be dark and to the left of the ‘Arsh where Hell is. Actions, words, thoughts, and looks that are done in the world will take shapes there, and the good deeds in bright figures and the evils in dark and ugly figures will be weighed on this Balance, which does not resemble worldly balances; it was said that the scale carrying the heavier load will go up and the one carrying the lighter load will go down. According to some scholars, there will be various balances. And many others said, “It was not shown clearly in Islam how and how many the balances will be, so it would be better not to think of it.”
Those whose rewards weigh heavier will be saved
Question: It is said that Believers whose rewards weigh heavy on the Balance will go to Paradise. But the Qur’an states, “Whoever does an atom’s weight of good or evil, he will be requited for it” [Az-Zilzal 7,8].
We know that if a Muslim has died without making repentance for his/her sins and if he/she could not expiate his/her sins that he/she committed during his/her lifetime by suffering trouble, afflictions, etc when he/she was alive, he/she will expiate these sins by suffering torment in the grave. If they still are not expiated, he/she will expiate them by suffering grief and hardship at the Place of Gathering. If these sins are not purged by means of intercession either, he/she will stay in Hell as long as his/her sins require. Then isn’t the statement above wrong?
Neither that statement nor what you have stated is wrong. Yes, if rewards (thawab) weigh heavier than sins, the case will be like that. That is, if the grief and sufferings he/she experiences in life, at the time of death, in grave, and at the Place of Gathering do not atone for his/her sins, then the relevant person will be punished as much as his/her remaining sins. A hadith-i sharif says, “There is no human without sins.” If we were to be inflicted torment for each sin, we would be ruined. The benefit of rewards (thawab) is that they annihilate sins. For example, the matter of rights of humans is of crucial importance. (If we violate the right of a human) we cannot compensate for it with our voluntary acts of worship, but we must compensate for it with our obligatory acts of worship. For instance, if one breaks another’s heart, the aggrieved party will have a right on the wrongdoer. Absolution from this right requires the wrongdoer to get the aggrieved party’s forgiveness by offering an apology. What will happen if the wronged party does not waive his/her right? It will be executed in the world to come by way of bartering the wrongdoer’s obligatory acts of worship for the harm given. Or the sins of the aggrieved party will be transferred to the wrongdoer. Yes, an atom’s weight of good or sin will not be allowed to be wasted in the least. People’s sins and rewards will be weighed on the Balance, and they will be treated according to that which exceeds in weight.
Question: Will every person who is brought to account on the Day of Judgment suffer hardship and trouble?
Every person who is brought to account will suffer hardship and trouble. Therefore, we should strive to enter Paradise without being called to account. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(He who is brought to account on the Day of Judgment will perish.) [Bukhari]
(He who is brought to account will have suffered torment.) [Bazzar]
Is it easy to enter Paradise without being called to account? Won’t everybody be called to account? A hadith-i sharif says:
(On the Day of Judgment, no one will be free from questioning until he answers four questions:
1. How did he spend his life?
2. How did he practice his knowledge?
3. From where and how did he earn his wealth? On what did he spend it?
4. Where did he tire his body?) [Tirmidhi]
However, there will be people who will receive an easy reckoning. For example, a person will be asked, “Are you so and so?” Then that person will be taken to Paradise forthwith. Hadrat ‘Uthman, for instance, is one of such people. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(With the intercession of ‘Uthman, 70 000 people who are to go to Hell will enter Paradise without any questioning.) [Ibn ‘Asakir]
(Allahu ta’ala says, “I made a covenant with My servant. If he performs his salats in their due times and with nothing lacking, I will not inflict torment on him, and I will put him in Paradise without reckoning [without any questioning].) [Hakim]
(When people are questioned on the Day of Judgment, an announcer will call out three times, “Let them stand up whose rewards are upon Allah and let them enter Paradise.” Those who hear this will ask, “Who are the ones whose rewards are on Allah?” It will be said, “Those who forgive people.” Thereupon, thousands of people will stand up and enter Paradise without any questioning.) [Tabarani]
(Whoever dies while going on pilgrimage or while returning from pilgrimage, all of his sins will be forgiven. He will enter Paradise without being called to account and without being inflicted torment.) [Isfahani]
(Those who have patience and ikhlas will enter Paradise without being called to account.) [Tabarani]
(Any Believer who was not a conceited person, who was not a traitor, and who did not have others’ rights on himself will enter Paradise without being called to account.) [Ibn Hibban]
(If a person goes to help a Muslim with a business, for each step, he will be given 70 thawabs [rewards] and 70 of his sins will be forgiven. This will go on until the work is finished. When the work is done, all of his sins will be forgiven. If he dies during the work, he will go to Paradise without any questioning.) [Ibn Abi ad-Dunya]
(My Ummah is divided into three groups: Some of them will enter Paradise without any questioning. Some of them will enter Paradise after a light questioning. Some of them will enter Paradise after being purged of their sins.) [Tabarani]
When a person becomes a martyr because of dying of drowning, his/her debts to other people are forgiven as well. When the right holders demand their rights from this martyr, Allahu ta’ala will say, “Ask for your rights on him from Me,” and He will pay them their dues copiously on his/her behalf. The martyr will enter Paradise without any questioning.
When those meritorious people who enter Paradise without any questioning are asked which deed of theirs has made them eligible to attain such a rank, they will say, “In worldly life, we used to endure patiently the insults and oppression perpetrated against us, and we used to forgive them.”
Questioning on the Day of Judgment
Question: Why will everybody be questioned for every single thing in the Hereafter?
Allahu ta’ala is the sole possessor of sovereignty and power, so He treats His servants as He wishes. Paradise is the eternal abode of reward for Believers while Hell is the eternal abode of punishment for disbelievers. Paradise abounds with unimaginable blessings. Similarly, Hell abounds with kinds of unimaginable torments. Rewards and torments relate to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the known senses. They cannot be described unless they are experienced. Since rewards and punishment will be great, questioning and accounting will be great, too. Allahu ta’ala says in a hadith-i qudsi:
(For My pious servants, I have readied blessings that have never been seen by an eye or heard by an ear or even imagined by mind.) [Muslim]
He also declared in the Qur’an al-karim (what means): “No one can know what eye pleasing blessings have been readied for them as a reward for what they did” (As-Sajdah 17).
The severity of the torment in Hell is mentioned in various Qur’anic verses. For such a great reward and punishment, no doubt a great trial is implemented and subtle things will be asked. A Qur’anic verse says (what means):
(Whoever does an atom’s weight of good, he will see the reward for it. Whoever does an atom’s weight of evil, he will see the punishment for it.) [Az-Zilzal 7,8]
No one will be wronged in the Hereafter. A Qur’anic verse says (what means):
(Allah is not tyrannical to His servants.) [Fussilat 46]
No one will be wronged. But when rewards are given, they will be bestowed upon people abundantly. A Qur’anic verse says (what means):
(Surely, Allahu ta’ala does not do an atom’s weight of injustice. [He punishes with justice the evil-doer for his evil deed but] He multiplies the reward for an atom’s weight of good deed and also gives from Himself a great reward.) [An-Nisa’ 40]
An exam for an elementary school is different from the one for a university. What is more, every faculty applies different exams. In an exam conducted for street sweepers, there are no questions related to physics or algebra. Things light in weight are weighed on mini scales in jewelry stores. It cannot be asked why they do not weigh things that are 3-5 kilograms in weight. Similarly, it cannot be asked why weighing platforms manufactured to weigh things of 40-50 tonnes do not weigh things of 3-5 grams. Every person is put to trial in accordance with his/her capacity, and every person will be questioned about the blessings he/she has been granted. Blind people will not be called to account for the blessing of seeing, and dumb people will not be called to account for the blessing of talking. The accountability of a chief executive officer is different from that of a porter. The accountability of a scholar is different from that of an ignorant person. Those who live in mountains, forests, or deserts and die without having heard of the Islamic religion will not be called to account. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(We will definitely question both those to whom prophets were sent and the prophets who were sent to them.) [Al-A’raf 6]
(We do not inflict torment before sending a prophet to give warning.) [Al-Isra’ 15]
Those who have heard of the Islamic religion will definitely be called to account. The Qur’anic verse “By your Lord, We will definitely call all of them to account for whatever they did,” indicates this fact. (Al-Hijr 92, 93)
The angels Kiraman Katibin, who are appointed for each human, photograph whatever human beings do and film every moment of them. Allahu ta’ala knew in eternal past the deeds human would do, and He also recorded them in Lawh al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet). No error or injustice can occur in the least. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(We do not hold responsible anyone beyond his capacity. With Us is a Book that speaks the truth. No one will be wronged.) [Al-Mu’minun 62]
Reckoning and accounting of everyone will be performed in a very short time. The statements “Wallahu sari-ul-hisab” appear in the Qur’an al-karim, which means, “Allah is swift at reckoning.”
We should ready ourselves for reckoning. Before attempting to do a deed, we should be careful about the thoughts that occur to us. If good thoughts occur to us, we should do that deed. If evil thoughts occur to us, we should think that it originated from the nafs‘s desire. Feeling ashamed before Allahu ta’ala, we should condemn our nafsfor such a desire and scold it. It is fard to contemplate the wickedness of that deed, its harm, and the penalty it will incur on the Day of Judgment. As a matter of fact, it is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(Three books will be put before a servant for each deed he did voluntarily: Why did you do it? How did you do it? Who did you do it for? The meaning of “Why did you do it?” is “Did you do it for Allah’s sake or did you do it as you followed your nafs and the Devil?” If he becomes free from it, then the turn will come to “How did you do it?” [It will be said to him] “Each deed has a condition, decency, and knowledge. Did you do what you did by acting upon knowledge or by thinking that ignorance was easier?” If he did it by observing its conditions and thus if he becomes free from this question, then the turn will come to “Who did you do it for?” [It will be said to him] “If you did it with ikhlas, purely for Allah’s sake, you will be rewarded for it. If you did it for someone else, demand its reward from that person. If you did it for the world, you have nothing allotted for you. If you did it for someone else, you will experience trouble and penalty.”)
People who know these facts cannot be remiss in calling themselves to account.
Animals will not be questioned
Question: On the basis of the hadith-i sharif that states, “The hornless sheep will get its due right from the horned sheep,” will there be reckoning and questioning for animals as well?
No, there will not. This hadith-i sharif has a metaphorical meaning. It points out that everybody will get his/her due right. The oppressed will get their rights from the oppressors. In other words, it means that if powerful people rely on their power and oppress the weak, the weak will get their due rights in the Hereafter. The oppressors will not get away with their oppression.