“A good accountant will always anticipate and provide for potential loss and never anticipate gain” – Basic Accounting Principles
Once upon a time ago, an acquaintance of mine said this to me. “I pray 5 times a day, most of the time, I fast every Ramadhan and I give money for charity. I am a good Muslim because I never disturb others. I believe what I’m doing is enough and I will be ok. There is no need to do anything extra”
What was my reaction to her statement? Well….believe it or not, I kept quiet. I didn’t offer any comment but instead I merely smiled at her. I knew at that time that any comment that I make will lead to an argument. I decided a long time ago, not to argue about religion with anyone. I was paid, as a lawyer, to argue my cases in court on behalf of my clients but when it comes to religion that is where I draw my line.
It was not because that I agreed with her statement, in fact, it is quite the opposite but I knew at that time, she wasn’t expecting a comment from me neither would she welcome it. She wasn’t asking a question either but she was merely stating her point.
Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not argue when he is in the wrong will have a home built for him on the edge of Paradise. Whoever avoids it when he in the right will have a home built for him in the middle of Paradise. And whoever improves his own character, a home will be built for him in the highest part of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]
I am not the ‘religious police’. I can’t go round telling people what they are thinking or doing is wrong because I, myself, am not sure if whatever I am doing is right. If this acquaintance was to ask me a question, then it would be different story because I will be giving her my own personal opinion based on my limited understanding but I would still attach an exemption clause to my answer and would still tell her to refer the matter to an Islamic scholar.
Her statement got me wondering though. Have I ever thought consciously or sub-consciously, that whatever act of worship that I am performing is enough to earn me a ticket to Jannah? Have I ever been cocky enough to think my deeds are sufficient to shield me from the Fires of Hell? Have I ever been arrogantly enough to think that I am ‘safe’?
You see, each of us have our own book of ‘accounts’. Our books are called books of deeds and it is maintained by the two Angels that are appointed specifically to jot down ALL our deeds. Nothing is left out.
Unlike the normal books of accounts, where we can check the transactions every end of the month and make sure that it balances, our book of deeds are quite different. If there are any shortages in the normal book of accounts, then we easily can top-up the differences or add in to ensure that we have a positive balance. Unfortunately, our books of deeds are not visible to us. We can’t check to see if our deeds are balanced. We can’t ensure that there are no shortages whereby the bad deeds outweigh the good. The only time that we will be shown our books, is on Judgment Day. By that time, it will be too late to do any rectification work.
Just the other day, the Wise Owl brought up this topic. He said “Sister, we must never think that whatever we have done for Allah Al Mighty is enough. We must never be arrogant to think that we are okay and that we have secured a place in Jannah. By performing the basic acts of worship, we will be rewarded for it but that reward may not stay with us permanently. It might be given away later. If we have very little reward in our books, then, if it is given away, we will be left with nothing.”
What the Wise Owl was referring to about ‘rewards being away’ is related to this hadith.
“Whoever has wronged his brother, in the way of property or honor, let him go to him and repair it, before it is taken [from him on a day] when he has no dirhams or dinars, such that if he has any good deeds, some of the good deeds will be taken and given to [the wronged one], otherwise [if he has no good deeds], some of the other's evil deeds will be taken and cast upon him." [Bukhari, Al-Mazalim, 5/121, #2449. Ahmad, Al-Musnad, 2/435]
The thing is we sometimes don’t realize that we have committed wrong. As human we will definitely make a mistake or commit a sin. The only person who was free of sins was our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW.
You see, a piece of juicy gossip can easily be disguised as a piece of important news so when we utter it or hear it, it does not cross our mind as it being sinful. We may have, unintentionally taken something belonging to others. For example, some brothers have told me that if they lose their shoes or slippers during Jumaah prayers, either they will walk home bare footed or take the other slippers that they can find. Now, the latter is actually stealing because they have taken something that did not belong to them.
We sometimes take lightly the smaller sins that we commit on a daily basis, thinking that it is ‘small’. We take for granted that we only need to ask for forgiveness and all our small sins will be forgiven. After all, Allah SWT is very Merciful but, we fail to realize that small sins can accumulate to become a mountainous of sins. Sins against another person will not be forgiven by God but it must be forgiven by the person whom we have wronged. If we did not manage to seek for forgiveness, thenthat is when our rewards will be given to them on Judgment Day. The Wise Owl said that if we are not careful, we might end up ‘bankrupt’ on Judgment Day and to make matter worse, if we do not have any more rewards to give away, the bad deeds of the person whom we have wronged, will be added to our own list of bad deeds. Imagine going to Hell for other someone else’s sins!
The moral of the story is, we must never take for granted that we have done enough acts of worship or good deeds. We must never be arrogant to believe that we will be given a place in Jannah. Strive hard to increase our ibadah and good deeds because we must take into account the good deeds that we may have to give away later. Never be too sure that our bad deeds are less than our good deeds. Never think that we are safe from the Fires of Hell. It is not for us to declare ourselves as good Muslims because only God Al Mighty is qualified to do that. …….