Allah says in the Qur’an,
“Their reckoning has drawn near to men, and in heedlessness are they turning aside.” (Surah al-Anbiya, 21:1)
“And how many a town rebelled against the commandment of its Lord and His Apostles. So we called it account severely and we chastised it (with) a stern chastisement. So it tasted the evil result of its conduct, and of its affair was perdition. Allah has prepared for them severe chastisement, therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah, O men of understanding.” (Surah at Talaq, 65:8-10)
Who will take the Accounting?
According to the Qur’an and the traditions (Ahadeeth) it is proved that Allah Himself will take account of all people.
“And He is swiftest in taking account.” Surah al-An’am, 6:62
But also according to some traditions this work will be assigned to the Angel. According to some reports it is related that Allah will take account from His prophets (Anbiya), while the prophets will take account from their Vicegerents (Awsiya), while they in turn will take account from their Ummat, as Quran says: (Ehsanul Fawaed)
“(Remember) the day when we will call every people with their Imam.” (Surah Bani Israel, 17:71)
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) in the third volume of Bihar-ul-Anwar of Allamah Majlisi and Amali of Shaikh Mufeed then he said, “when the day of Qayamat will dawn, Allah will command us to take account from our Shiahs (followers). We will question them about the Rights of Allah (Huququllah) and Allah will forgive them (because of their intimacy with us). Then we will also forgive them our rights (due on them).” Then Imam (a.s.) recited the following verse:
“Surely to Us is their turning back, then surely upon Us is the taking of their accounts.” Surah al-Ghashiyah, 88:25, 26
In the same book it is related from Ma’soom (a.s.) that after the forgiveness of the Rights of Allah and the Rights of Aimmah (a.s.), the rights still due on our Shi’ahs will be compensated for by the Holy Prophet (s) himself
May Allah place us amongst the Ummat of the Holy Prophet (s) and the Shi’ahs of Ahlulbait (a.s.), and resurrect us with them.
On the day of Qayamat, when Allah will appoint over the ummat their Imams to take accounts, it is a felicity for us Shiahs that our accounts will be taken by no other than the Imam of our Age -Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), when we will be brought to his presence with heads bowed down in shame and repentance, and with a blackened face, but with heads full of their love (Walayah), we have faith that he will cause our accounts to be scrutinized by a benevolent son of a benevolent father, who himself holds a high status in the eyes of the Almighty.
Whose Account will be taken?
On the day of Qayamat people who will be accounted for their deeds will be classified into four groups. The first group of people will be the ones who will be made to enter paradise without accounting. They will be the ones who loved Ahlulbait (a.s.) in their lifetime and had not committed any sins, or died after repenting and seeking forgiveness from Allah.
The second group will be averse to the first one; they will be the enemies of Ahlulbait (a.s.). They will be thrown headlong into the fire of hell without taking their accounts. The following verse speaks about such people:
“These are they who disbelieve in the communications of their Lord and His meeting, so their deeds become null, and therefore we will not set up a balance for them on the day of resurrection.” Surah al-Kahf, 18:105
Shaikh Kulaini relates from Imam Ali Zainul Abadeen (a.s.) that he said, that the polytheists (mushreqeen) and unbeliever’s (kafereen) deeds will not be weighed weighing of deeds (meezane a’mal), accounting (hisab), and scroll of deeds are meant for the Muslims only, while according to the Qur’an the polytheists and unbelievers will remain in eternal chastisement.
The third group will consist of people who will be made to wait for accounting. They will be the ones whose evil deeds would be surpassing their good deeds. When their sins will be compensated for (by waiting long), they will find freedom. The Holy Prophet (s) said to Abdullah ibne Abbas, “Some people will have to wait for a hundred years for accounting, and only then will they be made to enter paradise.” But for which particular sin will he be made to wait is not specified. Hence a believer (mo’min) should keep himself away from all sins, so that he may not have to wait that long.
Shaikh Sadooq relates from Imam Ja’far -as- Sadiq (a.s.) that he said, that on the day of Qayamat two types of people from the followers of Ahlulbait (a.s.) will have to wait for long. One will be the indigent and poor person, while other a rich and wealthy person. The poor man will cry out, “O my Lord why do I have to wait so long. I swear by your Glory and Majesty that in the world you had given me no kingdom or empire so that I may oppress anyone or commit injustice therein or usurp other’s rights. And you had given me only that which You thought was enough for me, and I remained patient and never grumbled. Then Allah will reply, “O believer surely you speak the truth,” thus he will be made to enter paradise.
The rich man will have to wait so long that he will sweat profusely, so much so that forty camels could quench their thirst with it. Only then will he be made to enter paradise. In paradise when they will meet each other, the poor man will ask him the reason for having made to wait so long. The rich man will reply, “I was made to wait for a long time giving account of my enormous wealth, so to how I earned it (whether lawfully or unlawfully), as how I spent it. Then the merciful Lord blessed me, forgave my sins and accepted my repentance.” Then he will ask the poor man as to who he was? He will reply that he is the same indigent fellow who was with him in the plains of Qayamat. The rich man will say, “Verily the blessings and bounties of paradise have transformed you to such an extent that even I could not recognize you.” (Matalib)
The fourth group will consist of people whose bad deeds will be more than their good ones. And only if Allah’s mercy, blessings and forgiveness will give way, they will be made to enter paradise. If not they will be punished at that very place, the punishment appropriate for them. They will be chastised in that way till they become clean of all sins. Then people in whose hearts even an atom’s weight of faith (eeman) exists, will not have to stay long in hell, they will be brought back to paradise. While only the polytheists and unbelievers will remain there.
Wasting of Good deeds (Ehbat) and Expiation of Sins (Takfeer)
“And (as for) those who disbelieve, for them is destruction, and He has made their deeds ineffective. That is because they hated what Allah revealed, so He rendered their deeds null.” (Surah al-Muhammad, 47: 8-9).
“And (So for) those who believe and do good, and believe in what has been revealed to Muhammad (S), and it is the very truth from their Lord, He will remove their evil from them and improve their condition.” (Surah al –Muhammad, 47:2).
Ehbat (wasting of good deeds): If a person was a Muslim in the former part of his life and did good deeds, but turned away from the Right Path (Siratal Mustaqeem) during death and died a non -believer, none of his previous (good) deeds will benefit him and they will go wasted. If someone could argue that it is written in the Qur’an:
فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ
“Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!” (Surah az-Zilzal, 99:7).
The answer to it is that the person who died disbelieving himself wasted his (good) deeds. It is impossible for Allah to accept a non-believer’s (good) deeds and make him enter paradise. But the Just Lord gives them the reward for it in this very world, like ease during death, health and wealth etc. as discussed earlier. But it is possible that there may be leniency in their punishment, as in the case of Hatim Tai or Nawshirwane Adil who were generous, they shall be made to enter hell, but the fire will not harm them. As said in the Qur’an:
“Nor (for) those who die while they are unbelievers.” (Surah an-Nisa, 4:18)
In another place it is stated:
“And (as to) those who reject our communications and the meeting of the Hereafter, their deeds are null. Shall they be rewarded except for what they have done.” (Surah al-A’raf, 7:147).
Many verses (ayah) of the Qur’an prove that disbelief (kufr) and polytheism (shirk) wastes away all good deeds. Then there are also such sins that obliterate good deeds and stop them from being accepted. The Holy Prophet (s) has said regarding a disobedient child: “O the one shunned away by his parents do whatever you like, for none of your (good) deeds will be accepted.” If a person has upon him the curses and woes of his mother, he will be thrown into hell even if his good deeds are equal to the size of a mountain.
So also is the case with slander and jealousy. Ma’soom (a.s.) says, “Jealousy consumes faith (eeman) just as fire consumes wood.” Shaikh Kulaini quotes Abu Baseer who narrates from Imam Ja’far- as Sadiq (a.s.) that he said, “Disbelief (kufr) has three roots (foundations): greed, pride, and jealousy.” And as these roots start gaining strength, faith starts moving away and good deeds go waste. Thus man becomes a fuel for the fire of hell. Shaitaan’s good deeds lay wasted because of his pride. But he was given a long span of life in compensation for his (good) deeds. The whole narration is stated in the Qur’an.
Takfeer (Expiation of sins): It means that the sins, which a person commits, are compensated for acceptance of faith (eeman) destroys all the sins committed in the past. If a person was a non-believer in the former part of life, but later accepted Islam, then the sins, which he committed during that period will be forgiven and will not be taken into account. The sins he committed during that period will be forgiven if he truly repents and seeks pardon. It is stated in the Qur’an:
“Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones.” Surah al-Furqan, 25:70
It is written in the fifteenth volume of Biharul-Anwaar, that once a man came to the presence of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and said, “O Master my sin is very big (in his pre-Islamic days he had buried his daughter alive as was the custom then), you recommend to me a deed whose performance would act as compensation for it, and Allah may forgive me.” The Prophet (s) asked him, “Is your mother alive?”. The man said that she had passed away. The Prophet asked, “Then is your maternal aunt (mother’s sister) alive”? He replied “Yes, she is”
The Prophet (s) told him to go and serve her (for she had a very near relation with his mother, thus serving her would mean serving his mother). Then He (s) said, “Had his mother been alive, it would have been the best compensation (for his sins).
Incident of Ehbat and Takfeer
It is written in trustworthy narratives that in the former days there lived two brothers. One was a believer in the unity of Allah (Tawheed) and the other a polytheist and a worshipper of idols. They both lived in the same house; the believer lived on the ground floor and his (non-believer) brother on the top one. The non-believer was wealthy and lived a lavish life, while the believer was poor and passed his days in hunger and poverty.
Sometimes the non-believer would tell his brother, “If you prostrated before the idols and accepted them as your Gods, I will share half of my wealth with you. Why do you wish to live such a hard and bitter life? Come and prostrate before my idols so that both of us may enjoy life together.” The believer would answer, “Why do you not fear Allah and the day of Qayamat”. This happened many times and days passed by. Whenever they met the same conversation took place between them.
One night the believer was sitting in the courtyard of his house when he smelt the cooking of delicious food from his brother’s house. He said to himself, “Till when will you keep worshipping Allah and glorifying His name, when even after such a long time of surrender you have not had a good dress to wear, nor a soft and comfortable bed to sleep on? You have turned old due to eating loaves of dry bread, and your teeth cannot chew them anymore. Verily my brother speaks the truth, let me go and prostrate before his idols and feast upon the delicious food and enjoy myself. He got up and started ascending the stairs leading to his brother’s place and accept his pagan religion.
There his brother too was engrossed in deep thoughts and wondered, “I fail to understand the reality of idol worship, and it has no benefit as such. Verily my brother speaks the truth, I should go and accept his true religion and worship only one Allah.” He too got up and started descending the stairs to go to his brother’s place. Both brothers met each other on the stairs and exchanged their thoughts.
At that moment Allah ordered the Angel of death (Malekulmaut) to remove the spirits of both of them. Hence they both died, and whatever good deeds the believer (brother) had performed in his life were transferred to the account of the non-believer (brother) who had left his house with the intention of professing the true faith. And whatever bad deeds the non-believer (brother) had done in his lifetime were likewise transferred to the account of the believer who had left his house with the intention of abandoning the faith.
The believer’s entire life was spent in performing good deeds but died a death of infidelity, while the non-believer spent his entire life sinning yet died a faithful. The above incident is the best example of turning from the right (ehbat) and expiating for sins (takfeer).
Hence O Believers, shaitaan is your sworn enemy. He is on the constant move (till your last moment) to turn you away from the Right Path (Siratal Mustaqeem). Put yourself in the habit of righteous by performing good deeds frequently worshipping Allah so that you may not fall prey to the evil intentions of shaitaan, and thus remain steadfast on the Right path (Khazeenatul Jawahir).
Questioning about deeds
It is said in the Qur’an:
“And most certainly we will also question the Apostles.” (Surah al -A’raf, 7:6),
that “we had sent you to guide?” They will reply, “O our Lord we have not kept even an atom’s weight of Your message from being passed on to them.” They will be asked, “Who are your witness”? They will reply, “ O Allah You are our witness and besides Thee is, it is Muhammad (s), as it is said in the Qur’an,
“And thus we made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you.” Surah al-Baqarah, 2:143.
It the same way it will be asked to Prophet Isa (a.s.),
“O Isa, son of Mariam, did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah”? Surah al-Maidah, 5:116.
Prophet Isa (s) will tremble (with fright) due to Allah’s Glory and reply, “O Allah, if I had ever told them I would surely have known it. But I had always said that,
“surely I’m a servant of Allah, He has given me the book and made me a prophet.” (Surah al –Marium, 19:30).
Prophet Isa (s) only worshipped Him who created him and the others.
Then their people will be questioned, “Did your prophet not remind you of this day of Judgment”? They all will reply, “Surely they did so.” Then they shall be questioned about the blessings sent to them by Allah and as to how they spent it
“Then on that day you shall most surely be questioned about the blessings.” Surah al –Takasur, 102:8).
Did you thank Allah for His bestowing His blessings on you, or you rebelled? It is stated that the blessings of Allah referred to here means the love of the Holy Prophet (s) and his progeny (a.s.).
Imam (a.s.) asked Qatada, “What do you (Sunnis) interpret of the following verse (Ayah),
“Then on that day you shall most surely be questioned about the blessings.” Surah al -Takasur: 8)
He replied, “It means that on the day of Qayamat we will be questioned about the food and drink that we consumed in this world.” Imam (a.s.) replied, Verily Allah is far beyond this, so as to question anyone about this. If you invited someone for food to your house, would you then question him as to how much he ate”? Qatada replied, “No, but then what does this blessing means”? Imam (a.s.) replied, “The blessing referred to here is the love of us Ahlulbait (a.s.)”. It will be asked as to how did you treat the Ahlulbait (a.s.), did you love them and follow them, or you disobeyed Allah by bearing grudge towards them.
“They recognize the favors of Allah, yet they deny it.” (Surah an-Nahl: 83)
Regarding sustenance, it will only be asked as to how one earned it whether lawfully or unlawfully. Why did he squander it or spend it on unlawful means, “I kept asking from you but you kept deaf ear. The wealth was My wealth, and the poor were My children, and their questioning (from you) was My questioning.”
Shaikh Sadooq relates that on the day of Qayamat man will not be able to move an inch till he is questioned about four things: (i) the way he spent his life, (ii) how did he wore out his youth, (iii) about wealth, as to where he got it from and in what way did he spend it, and (iv) And about the love of us the Household (Ahlulbait) of prophet.
Rights of Allah or the Worship Acts
The first thing about which a person will be questioned is prayers (namaz). Did he say his prayers in time? Did he serve (rightly) this pillar of Islam and the legacy of prayers, or did he recite it to show off. After this people will be questioned about fasting (siyam), pilgrimage (hajj), zakat, khums, the Holy War (jehad) etc. and then the rightful recipients will catch hold of their shirts (and ask for their rights).
Rights of people (Haqqun Naas)
Allah will deal with His servants in two ways, (1) with justice (adl), and (2) with mercy (fazl).
Allah’s Justice (adl): If a person has upon him someone’s right (haqq), then his good deeds (of equal weight or merit) will be handed over to the rightful owner. For example, in case of backbiting (gheebat), defaming etc, the good deeds of the person who has backbited or has defamed anyone, will be transferred to the account of the person whom he backbited or defamed, and in turn that person’s bad deeds will be transferred to the account of the person who backbited and defamed him. Many traditions (ahadees) are quoted to support this.
There is a lengthy tradition (hadees) from Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) in “Rawzae Kafi” that on the day of Qayamat people will be questioned about the rights of men. At the concluding part of this tradition it is quoted that a person asked Imam (a.s.), “O son of the Prophet, if a non-believer who has been thrown into hell owes something to a believer, how will the deeds be exchanged when the non believer has no more good deeds left.”
Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) replied, “The punishment equivalent to the right that he owes will be incurred on him. Likewise the good deeds of the oppressor will be transferred to the account of the oppressed.” The person asked, “But if the Muslim oppressor does not have any good deeds left”? He (a.s.) replied, “The load of sins of the oppressed will be placed on the shoulders of the oppressor, and verily this is true justice”
It is narrated in “Lu’ali Akhbar” that once the Holy Prophet (s) asked his companions as to who was an indigent (muflis) person, they replied that, “That an indigent person is one who does not possess wealth or property.” He (s) replied, “The indigent from my ummah on the day of Qayamat will be the one who even after having offered namaz, keeping fasts, performing the Hajj, paying the zakat, have simultaneously abused anyone, or usurped the rights of anyone, or killed or physically tortured someone. Hence the oppressed ones will be given the good deeds of the oppressor and these deeds will be theirs. If the good deeds of the oppressor are exhausted, the bad deeds of the oppressor will be given to the oppressor, and he will be thrown into the raging fire.” (Ma’ ad)
Allamah Jaza’eri quotes a tradition in his book that if a person owes someone even one dirham and returns it back to it’s owner, this act of his is greater than worship of a thousand years, freeing one thousand slaves in the way of Allah, and performing one thousand Haj and the lesser pilgrimage (Umrah).
In another tradition Ma’soomeen (a.s.) says, that whosoever pleases his debtors (by repaying their loans), will be made to enter paradise without taking account, and in paradise they will be among the friends of Prophet Ismail (a.s.) Allah’s mercy on the day of Qayamat when a person owes some rights to someone is that they drown in their own sweat (due to fear).
Allah will reveal to the people the palaces of paradise and call out to the person who owes something from His servants: O people who owe something from my servant, if you wish to enter paradise, forgive him the rights that he owes you, and thus free him of this responsibility. Fortunate is the person on whom Allah is Merciful. For verily if Allah does not straighten his affair, his state will become bad. Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) wept (in fear) with the Justice of the Merciful Lord.
It is appropriate to quote here the Supplication (du’a) of Abu Hamza Sumali. Abu Hamza Sumali says that Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen used to recite the following du’a every night at the time of sehar in the month of Ramazan. This du’a is quoted in many books of supplications and also in the first volume of ‘Mafateehul Jinaan’ by the same author.
The recitation of Namaze Radde Mazalim (Namaz for expiation of rights due) is also beneficial. It’s method is as follows: Recite four Rak’at Namaz (two Rak’at each), in first Rak’at after Surah al-Hamd recite Surah at-Tawheed Twenty five times, and in the second Rak’at after Surah al Hamd recite Surah at- Tawheed fifty times, in the third seventy five times, and in the fourth hundred times. After ending Namaz ask Allah’s forgiveness.
This incident is quoted in one of the writing of Shaikh Shaheed, Ahmed bin Abil Hawaree. He says that I had a wish to see in my teacher Abu Salman Duraani (vis. Abdul Rehman bin Aytiyyah, a virtuous person who died in Dariyah in Damascus in 235 A.H. and his grave is renowned there). After a year I saw him in my dream and asked him, “O dear teacher, how was your treatment (after death)”? Abu Salman replied, “O Ahmed one day while coming from Babe Sagheer I saw a camel laden with hay. I casually removed a straw from it. Now I do not remember whether I put in my mouth or threw it away without chewing it. One year has passed and I am still being accounted for it.”
This narration is not an imaginary work, but can be supported by the following verse (ayah) of the Qur’an:
“O my son surely if it is the very weight of the grain of a mustard seed, even though it is in (the heart of) a rock, or (high above) in the heavens, or (deep down) in the earth, Allah will bring it (to light)” Surah al-Luqman, 31: l6
Amirul Mo’mineen Ali (a.s.) in one of his sermons says, “Will not the souls be accounted for their good or bad deeds on the day of Qayamat, even if it be of the weight of a mustard seed.”
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) sent Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr with a pronouncement, “O servants of Allah You should know that on the day of Qayamat Allah will certainly question you about your actions, big or small, open or concealed.”
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) wrote to Abdullah ibne Abbas. “Are you not afraid of the ‘Umanaqesha’ of accounting”? In reality ‘Umanaqesha’ means a thorn pierced in the body. As a person faces great difficulty in removing a (minute) thorn, in the same manner on the day of Qayamat people will have to bear hardships. Some researchers say that on the day of Qayamat one will be safe from the fear of the weighing scale (mizan), except the one who in his lifetime started taking account of all his good and bad deeds. The Holy Prophet (s) says that, “O people take account of your selves before your account is taken (in Qayamat), and weight your actions before they are weighed in Qayamat.”
It is said about Tawbah bin Samah that he daily took account of himself. One day he calculated his age and concluded that sixty years of his life had passed. Then he counted the days in sixty years and that came to twenty one thousand six hundred. He was shocked and said to himself, “Woe be to me. Will I face Lord having committed twenty one thousand six hundred sins.” After having uttered these words he fell down unconscious and passed away (in grief).
It is also narrated that once the Holy Prophet (s) was sitting on the barren ground with no grass on it. He ordered his companions to gather fuel to lit a fire. They replied that they were in a place where it was impossible to find dry grass for fuel. The Prophet (s) told them to gather whatever they could. Each one of them collected a small quantity and slowly it became plenty. The Prophet (s) looked at the heap of grass and said, “In the same manner sins of people will be collected on the day of Qayamat.”
The Prophet (s) wanted to tell his companions that as the dry grass cannot be seen in that barren land, but when searched for can turn out to be a heap. In the same manner the small sins, which a person commits cannot be seen, but on the day of Qayamat when all sins will be gathered they will amount to a large stock. Thus Tawbah bin Samah calculated one sin (the least) committed in one day, which amounted to twenty one thousand six hundred sins in sixty years.