Yesterday during taraweeh (well before we started), Sh Hassan Ali decided to give a small motivational speech as he does every night to encourage people to donate to the mosque and what it will mean for our hereafter, something he said which I cannot write word for word or remember the source of the hadith he gave but it really struck me and stayed with me.
There were 2 queues of people in the hereafter, one leading to Jannah and the other to the screaming, and burning of Jahannam. A man in the line leading to Jahannam recognised another man who was in the line to Jannah and asked him 'oh my dear brother do you know who I am?' the man replied 'no I don't recognise you' the man going to Jahannam then said 'I am so and so who gave you water to drink (once) or gave you the facilities to make wudhu (once) (both options in the narrations of the hadith), and look at me today I am going to the burning fire of Jahannam' the man going to Jannah said 'yes I remember you now' so the man going to Jannah ran back and asked Allah 'Oh Allah this man gave me water to drink once or gave me the facilities to make wudu once and he is going to Jahannam please have mercy on him' then Allah will say 'Go get him, take his hand and both of you go to Jannah'
We always think only big things will gain Jannah but often forget the small deeds which may be our ticket. Like the man in the hadith we may have missed out on going to heaven because of our evil deeds but that one small deed of helping another Muslim in his time of need is the thing that saved him from the fire.
How do we know that those who do great things, who fast every day and pray all night will go to Paradise? How do we know that someone we think is not a good Muslim say from outer appearances or bad things they have done will go to Hell? Answer is we don't, only Allah knows what is inside a persons heart, what he/she has done to please Him, what their intentions are, Allah is also the most merciful and can forgive you or me of the countless sins we have committed because of one small good deed, which He loved so much that He let us enter Jannah because of it.
That's not to say that we should think Allah will forgive our sins and then carry on doing them because we think our small deeds earn His forgiveness because it doesn't.What I am trying to say is repent for your sins and do all your acts of worship but don't forget that being kind to your fellow human being or another creation of Allah. Helping another Muslim in need, whether that's a charitable monetary donation or a smile is also an act of worship if you do it for the sake of Allah. Remember the hadith about the prostitute who gave water to a thirsty dog? Allah's mercy is so vast and so generous, that all we need to do is seek it.
So let us in this month of Ramadan, the month of mercy, ask for His forgiveness and as well as praying, reciting Quran & our ibadah also increase those small deeds and acts of kindness we often overlook.