When will the book of deeds be opened? What is written in the book of deeds?
On the Day of Reckoning, the Record of whatever human beings did in the world, both good and evil, will be spread open and everyone will see their deeds clearly.
As declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“On the Day We summon every people with their records, those who are given their Book in their right hand will read their Book and will not be wronged by the smallest speck.” (Al-Isra’, 17:71)
“You will see every nation on its knees, every nation summoned to its Book: ‘Today you will be repaid for what you did.’ (Al-Jathiyya, 45:28)
“Read your Book! Today your own self is reckoner enough against you!’” (Al-Isra’, 17:14)
Only Allah knows the true nature of the books, the records of deeds. That which has been revealed to us is that this is a book in which a person’s every action is recorded, without the omission of even the slightest deed. This truth is revealed in a Qur’anic verse as follows:
“The Book will be set in place and you will see the evil doers fearful of what is in it. They will say, ‘Alas for us! What is this Book which does not pass over any action, small or great, without recording it? They will find there everything they did and your Lord will not wrong anyone at all.” (Al-Kahf, 18:49)
As can be seen in this verse, people are troubled not because they have been wronged in any way, but on account of even the sins they deemed small being recorded.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who was most closely acquainted with this reality, warns his community in the person of his wife ‘A’isha (may Allah be well pleased with her):
“‘O ‘A’isha, beware of evil deeds that are regarded as insignificant, for they have a pursuer from Allah (an angel who is charged with watching over and recording them).” (Ibn Maja, Zuhd, 29; Darimi, Riqaq, 17; Ahmad, VI, 70, 151)
Another Prophetic narration states:
“Beware of those wrong actions that are regarded as insignificant, for they will accumulate until they destroy a person.”
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) offers the following likeness in regard to minor sins:
“A group of people stopped to camp in the wilderness and they wanted to prepare some food, so one person went and brought a twig, another person brought a twig, until they gathered a huge pile and lit a fire, in which they cooked whatever they were then to eat.”
In other words, the sins that are trivialised and committed without any care or regard can in time accumulate and turn into major sins. What a slave needs to do, therefore, is to thoroughly avoid committing all forms of wrong, whether great or small. They must look not at the magnitude of the sin, but at the magnitude of who it is committed against. If they cannot succeed in doing this and thus succumb to sin, whatever its nature, they should immediately turn to Allah Almighty and wholeheartedly seek His forgiveness and pardon, shedding tears of remorse that wash their hearts.
Those who will receive their Record of deeds in their right hand will attain eternal happiness and immeasurable joy. Those who are given their Record in their left hand or from behind their back, however, will feel to their core the anguish of being faced with eternal loss and ruin. Verses from the Qur’an describe their state as follows:
“As for him who is given his book in his right hand, he will say, ‘here come and read my Book! I counted on meeting my Reckoning.’ He will have a very pleasant life in an elevated Garden, its ripe fruit hanging close to hand, ‘Eat and drink with relish for what you did in days gone by!’ But as for him who is given his Book in his left hand, he will say, ‘If only I had not been given my Book and had not known about my Reckoning!” (Al-Haqqa, 69:19-26)
“As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy Reckoning and return to his family joyfully. But as for him who is given his Book behind his back, he will cry out for destruction but will be roasted in a Searing Blaze. He used to be joyful with his family. He thought that he would never return.” (Al-Inshiqaq, 84:7-14)
And so, those who are deceived in this fleeting world by the beguilement of Satan and their lower desies to suppose wretchedness bliss, and who are thus lost in the heedlessness of base pleasures, will only know fear and endless sorrow in the Next World.
In contrast, those believers who strive in this world to lead a life of righteousness and display a degree of slavehood, will attain true happiness, bliss and tranquillity in the Next World that is the true abode.
There will be times when a person will think of nobody but themselves in the terrifying tumult of the Day of Resurrection.
The Prophet’s wife ‘A’isha (may Allah be well pleased with her) narrates:
“I once thought of Hellfire and wept.
(Upon seeing me in such a state,) the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked, ‘What is the matter, O ‘A’isha? What is it that makes you weep?’
I replied, ‘I thought of Hellfire and wept. Will you remember your family on the Day of Resurrection?’
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘There are three places where no one will think of anyone else:
At the Balance until one knows whether their scales of good deeds are light or heavy;
At the examination of the Book of one’s life until one says, “Here! Come and read my Book!” When they know whether their book will be placed in their right or left hand, or behind their back;
And the Bridge when it is placed across Hellfire. On both sides of the Bridge pronged flesh hooks, placed under Divine command will be hung and will seize those about whom they are commanded to, throwing them into the Fire. (And so,) a person will not think of anyone else until they know whether or not they have escaped.'” (Hakim, IV, 622/8722, cf. Ahmad, VI, 101, 110)
 There are several accounts in the Qur’anic verses concerning an incident that is to take place on the Day of Resurrection. These mention various aspects and diverse manifestations of the incident at differing times. These differences must therefore not be regarded as contradictions.
 See Ahmad, I, 402-403; V, 331.
 See Qur’an, (69:19).