Hadeeth 4: Deeds are by their Final Actions, by Al Nawawi
عن أبي عبد الرحمن عبد الله بن مسعـود رضي الله عنه ، قال : حدثنا رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم – وهو الصادق المصدوق - :( إن أحـدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما نطفه ، ثم يكون علقة مثل ذلك ، ثم يكون مـضغـة مثل ذلك ، ثم يرسل إليه الملك ، فينفخ فيه الروح ، ويـؤمر بأربع كلمات : بكتب رزقه ، واجله ، وعمله ، وشقي أم سعيد ؛ فوالله الـذي لا إلــه غـيره إن أحــدكم ليعـمل بعمل أهل الجنه حتى ما يكون بينه وبينها إلا ذراع فيسبق عليه الكتاب فيعـمل بعـمل أهــل النار فـيـدخـلها . وإن أحدكم ليعمل بعمل أهل النار حتي ما يكون بينه وبينها إلا ذراع فــيسـبـق عليه الكتاب فيعمل بعمل أهل الجنة فيدخلها ) رواه البخاري [ رقم : 3208 ] ومسلم [ رقم : 2643
On the authority of Aboo `Abd ir-Rahmaan `Abdullaah ibn Mas`ood (radiAllaahu anhu), who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) and he is the Truthful, the Believed, narrated to us:
Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother's womb for forty days in the form of a nutfah (a drop), then he becomes an 'alaqah (clot of blood) for a like period, then a mudghah (morsel of flesh) for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows his soul into him and who is commanded with four matters: to write down his rizq (sustenance), his life span, his actions, and whether he will be happy or unhappy (i.e. whether or not he will enter Paradise).
By the One, other than Whom there is no deity, verily one of you performs the actions of the people of Paradise until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him, and so he acts with the actions of the people of the Hellfire and thus enters it; and verily one of you performs the actions of the people of the Hellfire, until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he acts with the actions of the people of Paradise and thus he enters it. [Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.]
Explanation of Hadeeth 4:
The statement of ibn Mas'ood that the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa salaam was "the Truthful, the Believed" means that he was Truthful in his speech and that he was Believed in whatever he came with of the the Wahee (inspiration).
Regarding the statement that "the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother's womb for forty days ..." then some of the scholars have commented that this means that the sperm and egg are initially separate within the mother's womb, and it is Allaah who brings them together (to form the zygote) and they remain in this 'basic' state for a period of forty days. [Please note that this comment was made before the 8th Century Hijree, showing the knowledge of the 'Ulemaa at that time - and further evidence of the Truthfulness of what the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa salaam came with]
The further description of the embryo in the various stages of 'alaqah and mudghah are also incredibly accurate - and in our times Dr Keith Moore has described this in detail in his books on Human Development.
The angel that is sent to the embryo is the angel who is deputised with the Responsibility of the Womb.
Regarding the statement "verily one of you performs the actions of the people of Paradise ..." then we understand that this means that a person may perform good actions correctly until he is an arms length away from Paradise, but then what has been previously written about him (i.e. his Qadar) will override that and he will perform evil deeds and thus enter the Hellfire. And this is in conformance to the hadeeth that "Deeds are by their final actions".
And it is understood and seen that the changing of a person from good to evil is rare and is not the norm, whereas the changing of a person from evil to good is far more common - and this is from the Kindness and Mercy of Allaah subhaanahu, the One whose Mercy knows no bounds, and we thank and praise Him for that. And we know from the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam that Allaah has said: "Verily My Mercy precedes My Anger" and in another narration "Verily My Mercy overcomes my Anger".
And in this hadeeth is the establishment of the Belief in Qadar, and this is the belief of Ahl-us-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa'ah. We believe that all occurrences are by the Pre-ordainment of Allaah (i.e. everything that occurs has already been decreed by Allaah) and everything that happens is only by His Will - both the good of it and the evil of it. Allaah 'azza wa jall has said concerning Himself in His Noble Book:
"He is not asked about His Actions, but they (the creation) are asked" [Soorah al-Anbiyaa', aayah 23]
Allaah Acts as He Wishes in His Kingdom, and no one else may act except by His Will.
Imaam as-Sam'aanee said:
The path to understanding this subject [of Qadaa' and Qadar] is through the guidance of the Qur'aan and Sunnah, and not through analogy and bare intellect. So whoever turns away from the guidance of these two [the Qur'aan and Sunnah] then he is misguided and astray in a sphere of confusion, and he does not achieve the purification of the soul, nor does he attain that which contents the heart. [This is] because al-Qadar is something Hidden from amongst the Hidden Secrets of Allaah ta'aalaa, which He has kept for Himself only, and has veiled from the minds and understanding of the creation. And Allaah ta'aalaa has veiled the knowledge of al-Qadar from all of creation, so that not even the angels or the Messengers comprehend it. And it has been said that the secrets of al-Qadar will be revealed to them when they enter Paradise, but not before that.
And in other ahaadeeth it is established that a person should not leave performing good actions, depending upon what has already been written for him in his Qadar, but rather he should act according to whatever has been prescribed for him in the Sharee'ah. For whoever is of the People of Bliss then Allaah will make easy for him the actions of the People of Bliss, whereas whoever is of the People of Sadness then Allaah will make easy for him the actions of the People of Sadness, as is mentioned in the hadeeth. And also there is the saying of Allaah 'azza wa jall in His Noble Book:
"And We shall make easy for him [the righteous one] the path of Good ... And We shall make easy for him [the wicked one] the path of Evil" [Soorah al-Lail].
Some of the Scholars have said : It is obligatory to have eemaan [faith] in the Book of Allaah, and the Lawh (Protected Tablet) and His Pen [which was ordered to write down everything in the Lawh], but as for the precise nature of these and their modality or 'howness' (kayfiyyah) then this knowledge is with Allaah alone, and no one attains any of His knowledge except what He wishes, and Allaah knows best.
•That the angel of life blows the soul into the foetus after it is 120 days old, so without doubt, terminating the life of a foetus when it is over 4 months old is definitely murder.
•That each child which is born has its sustenance, how long it will live, what it will do and how it will fare, recorded before birth since Allaah knows the past and the future and allows the child to be what it will be.
•That since life, sustenance, ability and existence is in the Hands of Allaah and taken care of by Him, one who knows this will not become deceitful or desperate about these things, but worship Allaah constantly and patiently.
•That the results are in the Hands of Allaah and one must do what one knows is best according to His Deen.
•That one never knows how a person will change, either for the good or the bad, so one should not give up trying.
•It is permissible to say "By Allaah" to emphasise something.
•One should seek refuge with Allaah from lapsing into evil.