“And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah and Allah is Merciful over his bondmen.” (Quran 2:207)
The Prophet (sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:
“The example of my Ummah is like that of rain. It is not known whether the initial part (of the rain) is good or the latter part.”
(Musnaad Ahmad, 3/130, 4/319, and at-Tirmidhee, no.2873)
Ibn Taymiyyah on this Hadeeth:
“..what it means is that among those who come later there will be those who are similar to those who came before, and they will be so close that the one who tries to compare them will not know which is better, even though one of them is in fact better.
This is glad tidings for those who come later, that among them will be those who are close to those who came before them, as it says in another hadeeth: “The best of my ummah are the first and the last, and between them there will be some crookedness. Would that I could see my brethren.” They said, “Are we not your brethren?” He said, “You are my companions.” This shows that precedence was given to the Sahaabah, because they alone are his companions, which is a higher status than merely being brothers.”
[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/370, 371]