Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that on one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), “Do you know who the bankrupt person is?” The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) replied, “The bankrupt person among us, O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), is the one who neither possesses dirhams (silver coins) nor goods.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Indeed, the person who is truly bankrupt from my Ummah is the one who will come on the Day of Qiyaamah with his salaah, fasting and zakaah, but (at the same time,) he will come having verbally abused this person, having falsely accused that person, having (unjustly) consumed the wealth of this person, having (unrightfully) shed the blood of that person and having (wrongfully) struck this person. Hence, this person (who was oppressed) will be given from his good deeds (as recompense), and that person will be given from his good deeds (and in this way, all those who were oppressed will be given from his good deeds). If his good deeds are completely depleted before the sins that are upon him have been recompensed, then some of their sins (the sins of the oppressed people) will be taken and placed on him, after which he will be flung into the fire of Jahannum.” (Saheeh Muslim #6579)

Imagine a person who spent his entire life building the house of his dreams, acquiring the car of his dreams, developing the business of his dreams, and amassing a fortune in wealth. However, tragedy struck overnight and his house, car, business and all his wealth burned to ash – leaving him totally bankrupt. Naturally, the person himself will be utterly distraught, and those around him will also feel overwhelming sympathy for his plight – especially as he was previously enjoying wealth, but now lost it all.

However, the scene described by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in this hadeeth is infinitely more tragic. The reason is that even if one loses everything in this world, there is still a chance that he can earn it again. So long as there is life in him, he has an opportunity to improve his condition. But once one has passed away, this opportunity no longer exists. On the Day of Qiyaamah, if all our good deeds, which we had hoped will tip the scales in our favour and become the means of our salvation, are taken and given to others, then there is absolutely no way through which we can earn those deeds again. Imagine the dismay of a person on seeing the hard-earned rewards of his salaah, fasting, charity, etc. all being given to others, before his very eyes, due to him oppressing them!

Hence, if we have wronged or hurt any person in any way, then we must secure forgiveness before we pass away. If we fail to do so, then these oppressed individuals will present their complaints on the Day of Qiyaamah, and to compensate them for the hurt they suffered, they will be given our good deeds. Furthermore, if our good deeds are depleted, their sins will be taken and loaded onto our backs.

In essence, making amends in our lifetime is easier than being made to compensate for it after our death.

May Allah Ta‘ala enable us to fulfil the rights of the creation and save us from His punishment, aameen.