Will the disbelievers be given an accounting on the Day of Resurrection?

Q: Will the disbelievers be given an accounting on the Day of Resurrection?

A: This is an issue that is a point of dispute for the later Hambali scholars and others.

So, from those who said that they will not be given an accounting for their deeds are Abu Bakr ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, Abu al-Hasan at-Tamimi, al-Qadi Abu Ya’la, and others.

From those who said that they will be given an accounting include Abu Hafs al-Barmiki (from the companions of Ahmad), Abu Sulayman ad-Dimashqi, and Abu Talib al-Makki.

And the final word is this:

The term ‘account’ can be used to mean either that their actions will be laid out in front of them, or that their good deeds will be weighed against their bad deeds.

So, if the first meaning is what is intended, there is no doubt that they will be taken to account in this manner. If the second meaning is what is intended – that the disbelievers could have good deeds left over that make them deserving of Paradise – this is a clear error in understanding.

And if it is meant that they vary in their levels of punishment, then it is the case that the punishment of the one with more bad deeds is more severe than the one whose bad deeds are few, and the one with good deeds will have his punishment lightened, just as the punishment of Abu Talib is lighter than that of Abu Lahab. And Allah Said: {“As for those who disbelieve and mislead others from the Path of Allah, We increased them in punishment over their punishment…”} [an-Nahl; 88] and: {“The postponing of a Sacred Month is an increase in disbelief…”} [at-Tawbah; 37]

And Hell is of various levels. So, if the punishment of some of the disbelievers is more severe than others due to an abundance of bad deeds and lack of good deeds, the Accounting will be for the purpose of making evident these various levels of punishment, and not for the purpose of entering them into Paradise.

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 4/159-160]

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