(44) Reckoning and Accounting
‘Hisab’ (Reckoning) is a ‘Term’ which may be applied to the whole proceeding right from the distribution of the scrolls of deeds to the ‘Sirat’ and its ‘stops’ (which will be described later). All these things are closely connected with each other and overlap so much that sometimes they appear to mean one and the same thing.
To explain each and every term, the writers have to give separate headings to each; but it must be made clear that explaining one term after another does not imply the sequence of the happenings on the Day of Qiyamat.
‘Hisab’ is a very vast subject; and the size of this book does not permit the quotation here of even one per cent of the Ayats and Ahadith.
Therefore only a few important principles will be given here.
The questioning about conveying the message of Allah (See chapter 41) will be universal. Nobody will be exempted from it: the prophets, their successors and the people, all will be questioned about it.
Once it is done, the ‘Mushrikun’ (polytheists and/or pantheists) will be sent to Hell straight away. They will not be asked anything about their deeds. It is clear from many Ahadith as well as from the Qur’an:
“Verily Allah will not forgive that partners be set up with Him; and He will forgive other things to whom He will please. ” (Qur’an, 4:48)
Also, many Believers will be sent straight away to Paradise.
Those whose accounts will be checked cannot be easily divided into categories, because each will be dealt with in his own way, according to his belief and deeds, whether he loved the 14 Masoomeen (A), was good to his parents, relatives and neighbours, whether his sins were against Allah, or against the creatures of Allah; and finally whether the Holy Prophet (S) or his Ahlul-Bait (A) would like to intercede for him or not.
Obviously, no hard and fast rules can be laid down for this purpose. Suffice it to say that those who did not believe in Allah, or did not believe in the Holy Prophet of Islam, or did not believe in the 12 Imams who came after the Holy Prophet of lslam, would enter Hell, after they had given full account of their deeds and beliefs.
Now as to those who believed in all the above -mentioned: If a believer had committed a sin and was punished for it by the rightful Qadhi or Imam, according to Shariat, that sin would not be brought up again for reckoning (because Allah is Just and does not punish twice for one thing.) If he had committed a sin against another creature of Allah, it will not be pardoned by Allah; he will have to repay it (or seek pardon from the wronged party). If he had committed a sin against Allah (but no creature of Allah was wronged by it), and then had done Tawba (had repented), then, in the words of Hadhrat Ali (A), “we hope that the Mercy of Allah will cover him, but, at the same time, we are afraid of His punishment to him.”
On that Day, Allah will give His creatures opportunities to seek pardon from their fellows and forgive them. Imam Zaynu’l- Abidin (A) narrated a long Hadith from Hadhrat ‘Ali (A), a part of which runs as follows :-
”…………Then, Allah will say: “I Am Allah; there is no god except I, the Judge, the Just who does not do any injustice. Today I will judge between you by My Justice and Fairness; none will be dealt with unjustly. Today I will take the right of the weak from the strong; and the wrong done to anyone will be righted with repayments of good and evil deeds, and I will reward those who will forgive their fellow-beings. And no one, who had done wrong to anyone (if that wrong has not been forgiven), will be allowed to pass this ‘narrow passage’ before Me.
Therefore, seek each other and demand your dues from him who did injustice to you in the world, and I am your witness against them, and enough am I for witness.”
Then people will recognise each other and catch each other, till everyone has found the person (s) who had done any wrong to him.
They will remain in that condition as long as Allah would wish; their condition will become tough, sweat will pour down from them, and their grief will increase; and their cries will rise high and loud: many of them will be ready to forgive their oppressors just to get away from that place.
”…………'(Then an announcer will say)’: ‘Verily Allah tells you, ‘I am the Giver; if you wish to forgive each other, do so; and if anybody does not want to forgive, I will surely get his recompense from his oppressor.” Many will forgive their dues; but there will remain many who would not forgive.
Then Ridhwan (the Angel who manages the Paradise) will be called, and Allah will command him to raise before them a palace, made of silver, with all its paraphernalia, from the palaces of Paradise. The people will be told to raise their eyes and look at it. Everyone will covet it.
‘Then an announcer will declare from Allah: ‘O creatures! It is for anyone who forgives a believer.’ A great many will forgive their dues to their oppressors. Still a few will not do so.
“Then Allah will say: ‘No one who did wrong to another will go to my Paradise today. And no such person will be sent towards Hell who has to repay any due to a Muslim, before repaying it at the time of ‘reckoning’ O my creatures! Be ready for Reckoning.’
Then they will be allowed to proceed……….till they reach the field (of Mah-shar)…..and the Books will be laid open (given to the people), and weighing-scales will be set, and the prophets and the witnesses (i.e., Imams) will be present: every Imam will give witness against his people that he had stood among them with the command of Allah, and called them to the Way of Allah.”
At this juncture, a Qurayshite asked Imam Zaynul-Abidin (A):
“O Son of the Messenger of Allah! If a believer demands some dues from an unbeliever, what will be taken from that unbeliever when he is from the people of Fire?
Imam said: “Some of the sins of the believer will be transferred to the account of the unbeliever (to the extent of the right of the believer upon him) and he will have to undergo that much extra punishment.
The Qurayshite asked: ” if that due was from a Muslim to a Muslim, how would it be recompensated?
The Imam said: “Some of the good deeds of the man who had wronged (to the extent of that wrong) will be taken away from him and given to the wronged party.”
The Qurayshite again asked: “If the man who had done wrong did not have any good deed?”
The Imam said” “If the wrong-doer did not have any good deed, surely there would be some sins committed by the wronged party; those sins will be taken away from him and added to the sins of the wrongdoer.” 21
In this way, people will have to repay for the wrongs, injustices and tyrannies committed against other persons. Can we afford it?
Hadhrat Ali (A) said: “Know that the sin is of three types: There is a sin which will not be forgiven; and a sin which will not be ignored, and a forgiven sin which will not be looked into. The sin which will not be forgiven is to ascribe any partner to Allah.
Allah has said: ‘Verily, Allah will not forgive that partner be set up with Him.’ (Qur’an, 4:48)
And the sin which will be forgiven is the ordinary sins done by a servant (of Allah) by which he puts only himself into harm.
And the sin which will not be ignored is the wrong done by the servants (of Allah) to one another. The Reckoning in this case is very tough. (And) this does not mean (big injustices like) wounding by knife or flogging by whips. But it includes even small injustices.” 22
Someone asked Hadhrat Ali (AS): “How will Allah take the accounts of all His creation (at one time) and they would be so many?” Imam (A) said: “Just as He gives them sustenance (at one time) and they are so many”. Then he was asked: “How will He take their accounts when they would not be seeing Him?” Imam (A) said: “Just as He gives them sustenance and they do not see Him.” 23
It is the right of every person to be treated with justice; but nobody has a ‘right’ to the mercy of the judge. It is for this reason that every person will get his due rewards from Allah; there is no exception in this rule. Even the unbelievers, if their wordly well-being had not compensated their good deeds, will be given their rewards – in the form of reduction in their punishment. For example, Hatim and Nushirwan will have to go to hell, because they were unbelievers; but according to a Hadith, they will not feel any trouble there, because of their generosity and justice respectively.
But as was mentioned in ‘God: An Islamic Perspective’, the Mercy of Allah on the Day of Judgement will surround the true believers only; it will not reach the unbelievers and Hypocrites.
About Promise of Reward and Threat of Punishment: Shaykh as-Saduq (r.a..) has written: “It is our belief that whatever reward Allah has promised for a deed, He will surely fulfil that promise; but whatever punishment has been threatened for an action, Allah has the discretion about it. If He metes out that punishment it will be by His Justice; and if He forgives, t will be by His Mercy and Grace; and your Lord is not unjust towards the creatures.” 24
Therefore; if someone is a believer, he is basically entitled to go to paradise. And he will finally reach Paradise. The only question is – and it is a big question indeed – whether he will be sent there without first being punished for his sins and misdeeds. As was mentioned in chapter 17, 20, and 22, if a believer was not cleansed of his sins by the troubles of the worldly life, or by death-pangs, or by the squeeze of the grave, or punishment in Barzakh, then he will have to be sent to Hell for his due punishment If this happens, then it will be a manifestation of the Justice of Allah. On the other hand, he may have to his credit one or more such good deeds which may give Allah an ”excuse” to shower His Mercy upon him, and forgive His sins. Or he may get ‘Shafa’at’ (intercession) of the Prophet (S) or Imams, or Bibi Fatima (peace be on them all) or of other believers. In that case, Allah will forgive him, to show the honour of the interceders.
But here the warning given by Hadhrat Ali (A), (quoted in chapter 17) must be repeated: “Therefore, do good work, and obey (the commands of God), and do not rely merely on faith and our intercession, and do not think of the punishment of Allah as a small matter, because there will be among the sinner (believers) those who Will not get our intercession but after three hundred thousands years.”
Think of it! Three hundred thousands years in the Fire of Hell! May Allah have Mercy on us!
‘Allamah Majisi (r.a..) says: “Know that Hisab (Accounting of deeds) is Haqq (Truth), and numerous Ayats and Mutawatir Ahadith have spoken about it.
“But there is some deference in the Ahadith concerning what will the servant (of Allah) be required to give account of, and what they will he asked of. For example, some Ahadith show that one will not be asked about the things used lawfully, while other Ahadith say: “In (the world’s) lawful things is Reckoning and in its unlawful things is punishment.”
Maybe the first type of Ahadith refer to the believers (that they will not be asked about lawfully used things), and the second type refers to unbelievers; or, maybe, the first type refers to the necessities, like food, clothes, house and spouse, while the others refer to that which exceeds the need, like hoarding wealth more than one’s need, or spending it on unnecessary items which are disliked by Shariaat.” 25
From the above explanation we may understand other Ayats and Ahadith which, at first glance, may appear to differ from each other. But in fact their is no difference and no contradiction at all. An atheist had asked Hadhrat Ali (A) about many Ayats of the Qur ‘an concerning the Day of Judgement, which he claimed were contradictory to one another. Hadhrat Ali (A) said: “These Ayats do not describe the condition of one time and place. They explain the situation of various places on the Day which will be fifty thousand years long.” Afterwards, the Imam (A) explained which Ayat is about which group and for what period. 26