In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (MAPH) reported: Messenger of Allah (SAWS), the truthful and the receiver of the truth informed us, saying, “The creation of you (humans) is gathered in the form of semen in the womb of your mother for forty days, then it becomes a clinging thing in similar (period), then it becomes a lump of flesh like that, then Allah sends an angel who breathes the life into it; and (the angel) is commanded to record four things about it: Its provision, its term of life (in this world), its conduct; and whether it will be happy or miserable. By the One besides Whom there is no true god! Verily, one of you would perform the actions of the dwellers of Jannah until there is only one cubit between him and it (Jannah), when what is foreordained would come to pass and he would perform the actions of the inmates of Hell until he enter it. And one of you would perform the actions of the inmates of Hell, until there is only one cubit between him and Hell. Then he would perform the acts of the dwellers of Jannah until he would enter it. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary 1: This Hadith should make one remove any ego, racism, or thought that one is better or superior than anybody else or that one becomes too confidant that they are destined to Jannah (only Allah knows who is) and at the same time this Hadith should remove any hate or feeling that somebody is worse or bad or is destined to Hell (only Allah knows who is). Abu Soufian (MAPH) spent twenty years fighting the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) and became a Muslim at the end. The Messenger’s uncle Abu Talib spent his life helping Rasoul Allah (SAWS) and died not accepting Islam. We must live in balance between Hope in Allah’s Mercy and Fear in Allah’s Anger. Allah is Just and everybody will get what they have earned and not one deed good or bad will be unaccounted for (but remember with repentance Allah turns those bad deeds into good deeds). Allah Alim.
Commentary 2: Commentary: This Hadith deals with the problem of fate in which Faith is essential. What it means is that Almighty Allah already knows about every person, whether he will be pious or impious, whether he will go to Jannah or Hell. He has already recorded all this. But it does not mean that man is absolutely helpless and is deprived of will and power, as is believed by some deviant sects who have gone astray. Fate is in fact a manifestation of the Knowledge of Allah and it has nothing to do with the will and intention of a person. Allah has not created man as a helpless creature, but has endowed him with the freedom of will and action, because in the absence of these two qualities, there would be no justification for his trial. He could only be put to test if he was granted not only the ability to choose between good and evil but also the freedom to act. For this purpose, Almighty Allah, has clearly indicated to man both the paths and granted him freedom to choose whichever he likes. He has also told him the ultimate end of each. The Noble Qur’an says:
Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful. (Koran 76.3)
And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.”… (Koran 18:29)
But by mentioning this Hadith in the chapter relating to the fear of Allah, Imam An-Nawawi has warned that we should be fearful of Allah, pray for His Help, and an auspicious end of our life. He has advised us to adopt whatever means are available to us. In other words, we should make Faith and piety a way of life because one can find the means and resources according to one’s capacity. Since nobody knows the result of his endeavours, one should leave it to Allah and rest assured that He Who has created him with a purpose will also create the ways and means to attain it. He who adopts piety, the ways to piety will open for him; and he who adopts evil, the ways to evil will open for him.
A Muslim should never go towards evil at any stage of his life, lest his life comes to an end suddenly and he is deprived of the reward of all the good deeds he has done during his life and consequently he is consigned to Hell rather than Jannah. May Allah save us from a bad end and such actions which lead one to Hell.
SAWS: May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection
MAPH: May Allah be pleased with him
Riyaadiss-Saliheen (The Meadows of the Righteous)
By Imam An Nawawi
Hadith: Chapter 50, Page 134, Number 396