In the name of Allaah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam Abu Muhammad Al-Hasan b. `Alee b. Khalaf al-Barbahaaree (died 329H,rahimahullaah) stated in his Sharhus-Sunnah (point 33):
“..and one does not bear witness for anyone [that he is from the people of Paradise or Hell] due to a good or bad deed, for you do not know what his final deed will be before his death. So hope for him the mercy of Allaah and fear for him [due to his sins]. You do not know what has been destined for him at the time of death from feelings of regret before Allaah, and what Allaah has ordained for him at that time if he was to die upon Islaam. So hope for him Allaah’s Mercy and fear for him due to his sins. And there is no sin except that there is for the servant repentance from it.”
Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah) commenting upon this stated in It-haaf al-Qaaree (vol. 1):
So affair is one regarding the bearing witness for a person as to whether he is in Paradise or Hellfire by specifically naming that person. So a specific person is not to be named as being in Jannah – nor is it borne witness that he is in the Fire except with an evidence from the Book and Sunnah that names him. As for a person for whom there is no specific textual proof that he is from the people of Jannah even if he is a righteous believer, then we do not know what condition he will die upon. Likewise for the sinner or for the unbeliever; it is not necessarily the case that he be from the people of Hellfire, because he could repent and we do not know what he will end his life upon. The Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:
“Indeed one of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is not between him and it except a cubit length. Then what is written for him [in his Pre-Decree] overtakes him, so he then does the deeds of the people of the Fire, and thus enters it. And one of you may do the deeds of the people of the Fire until there is not between him and it except a cubit length. Then what is written for him overtakes him, so he then does the deeds of the people of Paradise, and thus enters it.”
[Bukhaaree, no. 3036; Muslim, no. 2643; from `Abdullaah b. Mas`ood.]
The deeds are judged by their endings – and none knows the endings except Allaah, the Knower of the Unseen, the Most Perfect, Most High. However, we fear for the sinners but we do not judge their final abode – and this is in reference to naming people specifically. As for speaking in general terms: Then we assert that the people of Imaan are in Paradise, and we assert that the unbelievers are from the people of Hell. Allaah, the Most High, has said regarding the Fire:
وَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ
“It has been prepared for the Unbelievers.”
[Aali `Imraan: 131]
And He stated regarding Paradise:
“It has been prepared for the pious.”
[Aali `Imraan: 133]
So this is in general terms – and as for specific named people, then that affair is left to Allaah, the Most Perfect, Most High. We, however, interact with the people with that which is apparent from them, so we interact with the people who are obedient to Allaah with what is apparent from them, and we deal with the people who are sinful in accordance to what is apparent. And we only judge in accordance to what is apparent in our dealings – and we do not judge their final abode, nor their punishment in the Hereafter, for that is in the Hand of Allaah, the Most Perfect, Most High.