Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: How to reconcile between stories where Allah shows mercy to great sinners like the man who killed one hundred people and the fact that people who have made a lot of acts of worship will nonetheless be punished like evil scholars?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Such narratives are sufficient to teach us not to rely upon our works.
Ibn `Ata’illah said, “Among the signs one is relying upon actions is a lessening of hope when a slip or setback occurs.” [see: Contemporary Wisdom – Imam Zaid Shakir on the Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah]
Allah will grant the believers Paradise out of His Infinite Largesse and Bounty, not due to their imaginations of the greatness of their works. In reality, we can never fulfil what is due to Allah.
However, this doesn’t negate the importance of works. Works must be there, and anybody who understands anything about the one ordering will rush to lift his dues. The entire religion revolves around acts of worship.
Allah Most High said, “But those who believe and do good deeds will be given the Gardens of Paradise. There they will remain, never wishing to leave.” [18.107-108]
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.