Dealings with others
“As for him whose scales are heavy;
he will live a pleasant life.
But as for him whose scales are light;
his mother is the Abyss.
And what will convey to you what she is?
– Surah al-Qari’ah 110:6-11
Know that none shall escape the peril which is the Scales save the man that called himself to account in this world, and weighed up his deeds, statements, ideas & hours in the scales of the Law, as Sayyidina Umar RA said, “Call yourselves to account before you yourselves are called to account; weigh yourselves up before you yourselves are weighed up’.
A man’s weighing of himself can only consist in his sincerely repenting of every sin before he dies, and in remedying his inadequacy in discharging his obligations towards God, and in righting the wrongs [that he has committed] grain by grain, and in reconciling himself with all those who were injured by his tongue, his hands, and the bad opinions which he harboured within his breast.
He should set their hearts at rest so that when he dies not a single injustice or obligation will remain to his discredit. Such a man will enter Heaven without reckoning. If, however, he should perish before making reparations for his iniquities his adversaries shall surround him, seizing him by the hand, the forelock or the throat, while one of them says, ‘You wronged me!’ and another, ‘You mentioned me to my discredit in my absence!’ and another, ‘You were my neighbour, but treated me badly!’ and another, ‘You had dealings with me, but cheated me!’ and another, ‘You sold something to me, but defrauded me, and concealed from me the defects of your merchandise!’ and another says, ‘You lied regarding the value of your goods!’ and another, ‘You saw that I was in need, and you were rich, yet did not feed me!’ and still another, ‘You saw me wronged, and were able to put an end to that wrong, but instead humoured my persecutor and failed to protect me!’
While you are in this state, and while your adversaries cling to you with their claws and hold on to you by the scruff of your neck, while you are dumbfounded and bewildered by their multitude (for there shall be no-one with whom you had a dirham’s worth of dealings during your lifetime, or with whom you sat but once, against whom you did not commit some injury, whether by backbiting or treachery, or a contemptuous glance, while they were too weak to oppose you); at this time your strain your head upwards towards your Lord & Master, that perhaps He may deliver you from their hands. Then your ears are assailed by the call of the Almighty (majestic is His glory!): Today each soul is requited for that which it acquired. No injustice is there this Day. (Surah al-Ghafir 40:17)
Then your heart is divested of all dignity as you tell yourself that your doom is inevitable, and recall that of which God (Exalted is He!) warned you on the tongue of His Prophet SAW, when He said, “Consider not that God is heedless of that which the wrongdoers commit. He only gives them respite until a Day on which eyes shall stare, as they come hurrying on in fear, their heads upraised, their gaze returning not to them, and their hearts as air. So give warning to mankind!” (Surah Ibrahim 14:42-44)
How great is your pleasure today, as you suck dry people’s reputations, and as you appropriate their wealth, but how intense will be your lamentation on that Day when your Lord shall stand upon the carpet of justice, and when you shall be made to speak on your own behalf, even though you shall be bankrupt, indigent, helpless and abased, unable to restore any right or to come forward with any justification. Then your good deeds, for the sake of which you had exhausted yourself in this life, shall be taken from you and made over to your adversaries as a compensation for their rights [which you had abused].
Said Abu Hurayra RA, ‘The Prophet SAW once said, “Do you know who is the bankrupt?’ And we replied, “The bankrupt among us, O Prophet, is he that has neither dirham nor dinar to his name, nor any property.”
But he said, “The bankrupt of my nation is he that shall come forward on the Day of Arising with the Prayer, the Fast and the Tithe, but having insulted this man, and abused that man, and having consumed another’s wealth, and shed another’s blood, and struck yet another. Each one of these shall be given a portion of his good works, and should these be exhausted before his obligation is discharged, then he shall be assigned some of their sins, which will be heaped upon him. Then he shall be cast into Hell.”
(From ‘The Remembrance of Death and The Afterlife’, Imam Ghazali RA)