Will you give information about the hadith mentioning a man who will be sent to Hell looking back and stating that he hopes Allah will send him to Paradise and hence Allah’s sending him to Paradise?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The hadith narration in question is as follows:

According to Bayhaqi’s narration from Abu Hurayra, the Prophet said,

“On the Day of Judgment, Allah decrees that a man will be sent to Hell. The man is taken away from the presence of Allah to be sent to Hell; on the way to Hell, the man looks back and says ‘My hope about Allah is not like this.’ Allah asks, ‘What is your thought about Me?’ The man says, ‘I think my Lord is Rahim (Compassionate) and Ghafur (Forgiver).’ Thereupon, Allah says, ‘He has good thoughts about me; I will definitely send him to Paradise’.” (Kanzul-Ummal, h. no: 5846)

It is necessary to review the following information for the clarification of the issues in the hadith:

The importance of having good thoughts about Allah is pointed out in such narrations. As it is known, it is among the basic principles of the religion of Islam not to feel secured from the penalty of Allah and not to despair of the mercy of Allah. God Almighty states the following in a sacred hadith:  

“I am just as My slave thinks I am (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him).” (see Bukhari, Tawhid 15, 35; Muslim, Tawba  1)

- “A slave committed a sin and then asked for forgiveness by repenting. Allah addressed His angels as follows:

“My servant committed a sin and then he came to realize that he has a Lord Who forgives the sins and punishes for the sin… (Witness that) I have forgiven him.” (Muslim, Tawba, 29).

- While a man was performing a prayer, somebody stepped on his neck. The man said, “By Allah, Allah will never forgive you.” Thereupon, Allah said, “Have you sworn that I will not forgive My slave? I have definitely forgiven him.” (Majmauz-Zawaid, 10/194)

- The following verses will also shed light on the issue:

“Never give up hope of Allah´s Soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah´s Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith."  (Yusuf, 12/87)

“When We give men a taste of Mercy, they exult thereat: and when some evil afflicts them because of what their (own) hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair." (ar-Rum, 30/36)

As it is stated in the sacred hadith above, we should rely on our Lord who says, "I am just as My slave thinks I am (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him)”and we should not accuse His mercy.

"My mercy extendeth to all things." (al-A'raf, 7/156)

We should remember His statement above.

However, this must not be regarded as a reason for committing sins. It is a necessity of belief for a person not to despair of mercy no matter how many sins he commits and not to rely on what he does no matter how much he worships.

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