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Chapter 7.1. The Types of Actions that will be as Scattered Dust

The First: comprising something more general than previously mentioned and that is one having deeds from which he hopes good but they end up scattered dust and are altered to evil deeds. Allah, Exalted is He says,

As for those who disbelieve, their deeds are as a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water till he comes to it and finds it naught, and finds, in the place thereof, Allah Who will pay him his due; and Allah is swift at reckoning. [Quran, 24:39]

And We shall turn unto the work they did and make it scattered motes. [Quran, 25:23]

Fudayl said concerning this verse, "And there will appear unto them,from their Lord, that wherewith they never reckoned," 'They worked deeds thinking them to be good when in reality they were evil.'

The Second: Close to the above: a servant commits an evil deed to which he pays no regard, thinking it insignificant, and that sin will be the cause of his perdition as Allah says,

...you counted it a trifle but in the sight of Allah it is very great. [Quran, 24:15]

One of the Companions said, 'You are doing deeds that are, in your eyes, more insignificant than a hair, whereas at the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw) we would consider them to be destructive sins!' [Bukhari]

The Third: Worse than the previous case: one to whom the evil of his conduct seems pleasing. Allah, Exalted is He says,

Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers· by their works? Those whose efforts go astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work. [Quran, 18:103-104]

Ibn Uyaynah said, 'When death came to Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir he became apprehensive and so the people summoned AbuHazim and he came. Ibn al-Munkadir said to him, "Allah says, 'And there will appear unto them, from their Lord, that where with they never reckoned,' and I fear that things will become clear to me and confront me that I never expected." Then both of them broke down in tears.' Recorded by ibn Abi Hatim and ibn Abi al-Dunya adds in his report, 'So his family said, ''We called you that you may console him but you have only increased his apprehension!" He then told them of what he had said.' [Ibn al-Jawzi]

Fudayl ibn Iyad said, 'I have been informed that it was said to Sulayman al-Taymi, "You! Who is there like you!" He said, "Quiet! Do not say this! I do not know what will appear before me from Allah, I have heard Allah saying, ''And there will appear unto them, from their Lord, that wherewith they never reckoned."' [Dhahabi]

The Fourth: Sufyan al-Thawri would say upon hearing this verse, 'Woe to the people of ostentation.' This can be seen in the hadith about the three who would be the first to be hurled into the Fire: the scholar, the one who gave charity and the mujahid.

The Fifth: The one who has worked righteous deeds but has also wronged others and he thinks that his deeds will save him, so there confronts him that which he was not expecting. All of his deeds are apportioned amongst those who he wronged, then some wrong still remains to be requited, and so their evil deeds are piled onto his and as a result he is hurled into the Fire.

The Sixth: His account could be scrutinised at which it will be asked of him to show how he was grateful for the blessings granted him. The least blessing would be balanced against his deeds and outweigh them with the remaining blessings yet to be weighed! This is why the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever's account is scrutinised will be punished," or, "will be destroyed."

The Seventh: He could have evil deeds that destroy some of his deeds or the deeds of his limbs, save Tawhid, as a result of which he will enter the Fire. Ibn Majah records the hadith on the authority of Thawban that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "There are people amongst my nation who will come with deeds like mountains and Allah will render them as scattered dust." This hadith goes on to mention, ''They are a people who have your skin, (they speak your language), they spend part of the night in prayer as you do, but they are people who, when they are alone, violate the prohibitions of Allah." [Ibn Majah]

Yaqub ibn Shaybah and ibn AbI al-Dunya record on the authority of Salim, the freed-slave of Abu Hudhayfah, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "A group of people will be brought on the Day of Judgment with deeds like Mount Tihamah and Allah will render their deeds to dust and they will be thrown face first in the Fire." Salim said, 'I fear that I am one of them!' He (saw) said, "They would fast, pray, and apportion some of the night for worship, but in secret, when an opportunity to do something forbidden presented itself, they would take it and as such Allah will invalidate their deeds." A person could have his deeds an nulled because of showing off or arrogance and the likes yet not even be aware of it!