There are different types of sin; some you commit that only affect you, others you commit against others. The sins you commit against yourselves are the easiest to bounce back from – as along as one is sincere in tawbah; repent, ask Allah’s forgiveness, and don’t go back to the sin. This is evident in Allah’s words in Q39:53 translated as:
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” Q39:53
When you hurt a fellow human, however, – fellow Muslim or not, it’s a different ball game. Why? For the simple reason stated in this hadith –
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that The Prophet of Allah (SAW) asked: “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They (the Companions of the Prophet) replied: “A bankrupt man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth.” The Prophet (SAW) said: “The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully consumed the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others, his virtues would be credited to the accounts of others (who suffered at his hands). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then the other’s sins will be entered in (his account) and he will be thrown in the Fire of Hell.” [Sahih Muslim]
On judgement day, when the only currency is your deeds, there’s the possibility of someone walking up and asking for a payback- I mean I’m not even sure that I have enough good deeds to cross into Jannah and someone’s going to be asking me to pay up for backbiting or slandering or something even worse?! Where do I start from? Who knows what the going rate will be?! One word of backbiting to 10 good deeds? On the day of Qiyam, Allah is the only Judge and He alone decides how much our ibaadah or sins are worth. Lord help us.
The good news is; hope is not lost. The solution is simple. Repent to Allah, do sincere tawbah and ask for the person’s forgiveness here on earth! Yes it may be tough to have to put your ego aside and walk up to that person (who probably doesn’t even know you did anything to hurt them – those are the worst) and say the words “I’m sorry I hurt you and I hope you can forgive me”. But trust me, better here than there. Apologize now and pray they mean it when they say they forgive you because we don’t know how day of Qiyam will be. We should try to free up our excess burdens (bad deeds) as much as possible before meeting our Rabb.
May Allah make our journeys to Jannah easy and may He count us among the successful ones. Amin.
Barakallahu lee wa lakum
السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ