At work yesterday, during my lunch break I came across a powerful and moving Hadith and thought it is imperative that I dedicate a post to it.
Essentially the Hadith in al Bukhari covers the aspect of consciousness and a person’s final end. A person must always be vigilant of his actions and not become content of thinking to himself as being a practicing muslim, who will as a result die in a blissfully pious life. God forbid, but situations can change at any moment and things can start to go down hill in a person’s life. This particular hadith was powerful on a number of levels. But, what struck me most was the fact how the hadith highlighted a deep message for the so-called ‘righteous’ people. Sometimes when we as muslims prefer to see ourselves as the-one deserving-of-paradise, it stops us from being our usual self. In that, we begin to look condescendingly towards others. ‘He is so evil…’ ‘she should be cursed to hell for not praying…’, etc. We become content thinking ‘my end will be good’. ‘I will certainly die on iman & enter paradise, for all the good i am doing.’
What this particular hadith brought home was the fact how our destinies and situations can change, which can as a result causes us to become from the people of hell. Despite being a practicing muslim all our lives. When the final moment comes we might end up doing something very alien to our norm, causing us to enter the eternal condemnation!
In the Hadith, the story goes as follows:
Narrated Sahl bin Sad As Saidi:
“Allah’s Apostle (and his army) encountered the pagans and the two armies fought and then Allah’s Apostle returned to his army camps and the others (i.e. the enemy) returned to their army camps. Amongst the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) there was a man who could not help pursuing any single isolated pagan to strike him with his sword. Somebody said, “None has benefited the Muslims today more than so-and-so.” On that Allah’s Apostle said, “He is from the people of the Hell-Fire certainly.” A man amongst the people (i.e. Muslims) said, “I will accompany him (to know the fact).” So he went along with him, and whenever he stopped he stopped with him, and whenever he hastened, he hastened with him. The (brave) man then got wounded severely, and seeking to die at once, he planted his sword into the ground and put its point against his chest in between his breasts, and then threw himself on it and committed suicide. On that the person (who was accompanying the deceased all the time) came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “I testify that you are the Apostle of Allah.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Why is that (what makes you say so)?” He said “It is concerning the man whom you have already mentioned as one of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire. The people were surprised by your Statement, and I said to them, “I will try to find out the truth about him for you.” So I went out after him and he was then inflicted with a severe wound and because of that, he hurried to bring death upon himself by planting the handle of his sword into the ground and directing its tip towards his chest between his breasts, and then he threw himself over it and committed suicide.” Allah’s Apostle then said, “A man may do what seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of Paradise but he is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire and another may do what seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire, but he is from the dwellers of Paradise.”
– Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 59 Hadith 514
What is so profound about this hadith is despite sacrificing a person’s whole life in the way of Allah. – (An act of the highest degree of righteousness). A person still cannot be too sure of where he/she will be. It’s the final moments of a persons life life that determines his eternal life.
In summary, never gloat or become haughty towards others. Or, even harbour a thought ‘i will certainly have a good end and enter paradise. Since i pray, fast and constantly do good”. We should be hopeful of entering paradise, yes, that is correct. But, this should not make a person evolve into a self-conceited and a deceived individual. Who thinks he is going towards paradise when in actual fact is heading towards hell. At the moment a person may not be praying, fasting, or even doing any good. However, this should not make us become frustrated or even big-headed thinking evil thoughts about him/her. We are only instructed to invite and advise others in doing good. If they are not responding, then it is up to them what they choose to do. Always be aware that no one knows our final end. Remember:
“…A man may do what seems to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of Paradise but he is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire and another may do what seems to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire, but he is from the dwellers of Paradise.”