Every human that comes into this world is ordered to fulfil two responsibilities - Īmān and Al-A'māl As-Sālihah (good deeds). The success and failure of both worlds depend on completing these two tasks.
If a person on an individual level adorns his life with Īmān and Al-A'māl As-Sālihah, then he will achieve individual success in his individual kingdom. Allāh ta'ālā states:
Whoever, male or female, has acted righteously, while being a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and shall give such people their reward for the best of what they used to do. (16:97)
Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam has stated:
When Allāh loves a bondsman (as a result of his Īmān and good deeds), he calls Jibra'īl and informs him that verily Allāh loves such a person; you also love him. Jibra'īl then begins to love him. Jibra'īl then announces to the people of the heaven, 'Verily Allāh loves such a person, you all love him.' They all love him and he is (also) granted acceptance on the earth.
If however a nation collectively fulfils their responsibility of Īmān and Al-A'māl As-Sālihah, this will result in them achieving collective success and collective supremacy in the world. Allāh ta'ālā states:
Allāh has promised those of you who believe and do good deeds that He will certainly make them (His) vicegerents on earth, as He made those before them, and will certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and will certainly give them peace in place of the fear in which they were before;… (24:55)
What is Al-A'māl As-Sālihah?
Īmān is to believe in everything that has reached us from Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam through a mutawātir chain, i.e. the narrators are so many in number during every era that to perceive it to be fabricated is impossible. It is a great mercy of Allāh ta'ālā that He has granted us this great gift of Īmān and enabled us to recognise and believe in Him and all that was conveyed by Him through his Rasūl sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam. Every believer is aware of this. However, what we need to discuss in detail is the term Al-A'māl As-Sālihah.
Al-A'māl As-Sālihah literally means good deeds. The majority of people are unaware of what is really meant by 'good deeds'. It is a technical term of Sharī'ah and can be divided into two categories:
1. To stay away from everything that displeases Allāh ta'ālā. This is an obligatory and necessary category of good deeds and failure to carry out the actions of this category will result in the displeasure and wrath of Allāh ta'ālā. The actions in this category consist of farā'id, wājibāt, sunan mu'akkadah along with abstinence from acts which are harām or makrūh tahrīmī.
2. To do those things which please Allāh ta'ālā. If one does not carry out these actions, it will neither be regarded as disobedience, nor will it result in the displeasure of Allāh ta'ālā. However, carrying out these actions will bring Allāh's Pleasure. The actions of this category consist of sunan ghayr-mu'akkadah, mustahabb and nafl, and to stay away from makrūh tanzīhī.
So in short, those people who accept Īmān, become common friends of Allāh ta'ālā. Thereafter, those who become particular with regards to the first category of good deeds only, become the special friends of Allāh ta'ālā i.e. loving walī of Allāh ta'ālā and those who progress to the second category, become the special beloved friends of Allāh ta'ālā i.e. the beloved walī of Allāh ta'ālā. Regarding such people Allāh ta'ālā states in a hadīth Qudsī:
... And my bondsman gains the most closeness to Me through the farā'id, and then he continues to progress in this closeness through nawāfil until I love him. And when I love him, I become his ears with which he hears, and his eyes with which he sees, and his hands with which he grasps, and his feet with which he walks and if he asks from Me, I definitely grant him and if he seeks refuge from Me I grant him refuge...
The Result of Good Deeds
Let us scroll through the Glorious Qur'ān and Ahādīth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam to see what Allāh ta'ālā has promised for those who fulfil these two responsibilities of Īmān and good deeds.
1. Peace and tranquillity is attained in this world
Whoever, male or female, has acted righteously, while being a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life (i.e. a life of peace and tranquillity)... (16:97)
2. All the creation will love him and he will be regarded as the best of creation
Surely, those who believe and do righteous deeds, for them the All-Merciful (Allāh) will create love (in the hearts of His creatures). (19:96)
As for those who believed and did righteous deeds, they are the best of all human beings. (98:7)
3. Immune from fear and grief
Surely those who believe and do good deeds, and establish salāh (prayer) and pay zakāh will have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. (2:277)
4. Husn Al-Khātimah – a successful and good death
Surely, those who have declared: – Our Lord is Allāh, then remained steadfast (i.e. continuously performed Al-A'māl As-Sālihah), on them the angels will descend, saying, – Do not fear, and do not grieve; and be happy with the good news of the Jannah (Paradise) that you had been promised. (41:30)
5. Comfort in the grave
Allāh keeps the (perfect) believers (i.e. those who do good and do not transgress) firm with the stable word in the worldly life and in the Hereafter (i.e. grave). (14:27)
6. Shade of the throne and mercy of Allāh ta'ālā
Seven types of people shall be under the shade of Allāh when there will be no shade except His Shade: A just ruler, a young man who spends his youth in the worship of Allāh (i.e. good deeds),... (Al-Bukhārī)
7. Easy reckoning
So, as for him whose book (of deeds) will be given to him in his right hand (as a result of his Īmān and good deeds), he will be called to account in an easy manner, (84:7-8)
8. Forgiveness and good reward
Allāh has promised those who believe and do good deeds: For them there is forgiveness and a great reward. (5:9)
Those who believe and do righteous deeds, We will expiate their bad deeds and will give them a better reward (than their expectation) for what they used to do. (29:7)
9. Entry into Jannah and great rewards and bounties
As for those who believe, and do good deeds, they are the people of Paradise - there they will live forever. (2:82)
And those who believed and did good deeds shall be admitted to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, living there forever by the will of Allāh. There they shall greet each other with 'Salām'. (14:23)
As for those who believe and do righteous deeds, of course, We do not waste the reward of those who are good in deeds. Those are the ones for whom there are eternal gardens, rivers flowing beneath them. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will be dressed in green garments, made of fine silk and thick silk, reclining therein on couches. Excellent is the reward and beautiful is the Paradise as a resting-place. (18: 30-31)
…As for those who believed and did righteous deeds, they will be in meadows of the Gardens. For them there is, with their Lord, whatever they wish. That is the great bounty. (42:22)
As for those who believe and do good deeds, He shall give them their reward in full, and give them more out of His grace. (4:173)
10. High Rank
And whoever will come to Him as believer, having done righteous deeds, for such people there are the highest ranks. (20:75)
The Heights People Reached in the Second Level of Good Deeds
For one to be worthy of the above, carrying out the first category of good deeds is sufficient. However, the more one excels in the second category the more one will be rewarded. To understand this let us take a quick glimpse into the lives of the pious predecessors to see how particular they were with regards to even the second category of good deeds and the heights they reached:
1. It is narrated regarding Imām Abū Hanīfah rahimahullāh that the number of Qur'an he completed in one part of his house was 7000.
2. It is narrated regarding Imām Shu'bah ibn Al-Hajjāj rahimahullāh who was a great muhaddith, that he recited the Qur'ān 24,000 times in his lifetime.
3. Sa'īd ibn Jubayr rahimahullāh was a great person. It is related about him that one morning his speech was slightly blurred and he was stuttering. Upon enquiry he disclosed that the previous night he had recited the Qur'ān two and a half times due to which his tongue had been temporarily affected.
4. Layth ibn Sa'd rahimahullāh had an annual income of 80,000 dīnārs, but zakāt never become fard upon him because he would spend it all in the path of Allāh ta'ālā. It is mentioned about him that he would feed 360 poor people every day.
5. Talhah radhiyallāhu 'anhu states about 'Umar radhiyallāhu 'anhu that I saw him enter a house at night. I was surprised and became inquisitive as to why would 'Umar radhiyallāhu 'anhu come here as only a woman was residing there. I waited until I saw him leave and then entered. After greeting with Salām, I realised that a disabled blind woman was living there. I enquired as to who had just visited her. She expressed no knowledge of the person and his name or background. I then asked her the purpose of his visit. She replied that he comes every night and attends to all her chores.
6. Imam Al-Awzā'ī rahimahullāh was a judge during his time. One day a person was summoned to the court due to an unpaid debt. Upon Imām Al-Awzā'ī rahimahullāh questioning him, he accepted and affirmed the debt. He was then ordered to pay, otherwise he would face imprisonment. The person begged Imām Al-Awzā'ī rahimahullāh for respite, as imprisonment would only cause further delay in the payment of the debt. Looking at the pitiful situation of the person, Imām Al-Awzā'ī rahimahullāh paid off the debt on his behalf, and let him free.
After some time, a similar incident took place with another individual, and then a third and then a fourth, and soon it became common knowledge. It is narrated that during his lifetime a number of incidents took place in which some cases were not even genuine. Nevertheless, he continued his practice until he passed away.
All the great people, along with being particular in regard to the first category of Al-A'māl As-Sālihah, progressed significantly in the second category too, due to which they excelled and reached heights that leave us in wonder, surprise and astonishment. Sometimes our faculty of understanding may even have doubted these incidents had they not be related through reliable sources.
These days we are in delusion with regards to ourselves. We are content thinking our lives are full of 'good deeds', But this is far from the truth. If we were to make an assessment of where we stand as far as our deen is concerned, we will realise that of the four branches of Al-A'māl As-Sālihah, mu'āmalāt (dealings) and mu'āsharah (social conduct), are near zero in our lives. Extreme negligence is portrayed in their regard and Allāh ta'ālā forbid at times we regard contrary to Islāmic dealings and social conduct to be the norm of life. As for the third branch, husn al-akhlāq (good characters and traits of the heart), this is unheard of and there is complete ignorance of this aspect of Islāmic teachings and obligation. We now remain with only the fourth branch, 'ibādāt (acts of worship) which if we were to assess, we will realise that in all fairness this too is next to nothing. Either we are negligent or lax in the fulfilment of the obligations or if there is punctuality, then the inner spirit and quality will definitely be poor. Just taking an evaluation of the ikhlās and concentration in our worships will make us realise where we stand.
It is, indeed, time we made a start. Let us exert every effort to rid ourselves from those actions which displease Allāh ta'ālā and ensure that there is no negligence with regards to the first category of good deeds. If and when an error occurs we need to immediately make Allāh ta'ālā happy by resorting to tawbah; this too is an obligation and failure to repent will increase the displeasure of Allāh ta'ālā.
May Allāh ta'ālā grant us the tawfīq. Āmīn.
© Riyādul Jannah (Volume 22 Issue 12)