The Power of Doing- Part two

Find Part One here

“…O My servants, it is but your deeds that I account for you, and then recompense you for. So he who finds good, let him praise Allah, and he who finds other than that, let him blame no one but himself.”

We know then that our deeds are a reason for a good end or a bad end. They are the reason for our receiving mercy and entrance to Gardens of Bliss, or they are a reason for torment. The responsibility to act is on us, yet we are not and never will we be able to perform enough deeds to “deserve” entrance in to Paradise. It is but a mercy from Allaah as His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said in the narration by Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise.” (i.e., None can enter Paradise through his good deeds.) They (the Prophet’s companions) said, ‘Not even you, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?’ He said, “Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favour and mercy on me.” So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability: and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah.” {Saheeh Al-Bukhari: 5673}

It is clear from both hadeeth therefore that it is upon us to ask for guidance and strive in worship but it is Allaah that guides and facilitates us to perform deeds of righteousness:

O My servants, all of you are astray except those whom I have guided, so seek guidance from Me and I shall guide you.

We can not fathom the mercy of Allaah upon His slaves. He is more merciful to us than our mothers; He admits to Paradise those who fulfill His Covenant though He is Free of need. Were He to wish that every one of us went to the Fire then it would not be an injustice as He is the Creator. He recompenses based on our deeds, whether good or bad therefore it is upon us to act:

“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.

And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.” {Surat Az-Zalzalah 99:7-8}

These actions, whether large or small, must be in accordance to the Shariah, based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah and they must be for the sake of Allaah alone. It is not enough that an action has a good intention, seeking the pleasure of Allaah and His reward, but it is an innovation that neither the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did, nor his companions, nor the righteous predecessors. The one that commits such an act is making the claim that either he is more knowledgeable about a deed which gets one closer to Allaah than the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم or that there is an action which the Messenger صلى الله عليه سلم concealed and only the “special Awliya” are aware of these acts. Both premises are dismissed as ignorance as the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

“If anyone introduces in our matter something which does not belong to it, will be rejected”. {Agreed Upon}

And he صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“I am leaving you upon a (path of) brightness whose night is like its day. No one will deviate from it after I am gone but one who is doomed. Whoever among you lives will see great conflict. I urge you to adhere to what you know of my Sunnah and the path of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and cling stubbornly to it. And you must obey, even if (your leader is) an Abyssinian leader. For the true believer is like a camel with a ring in its nose; wherever it is driven, it complies.” {Sunan Ibn Maajah: Book 1 H:45}

There is, therefore, only one way of action that will lead to Paradise and that is the way of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. Any action that does not comply with his Sunnah is rejected. In the same way, if an act is from the Sunnah but it is dedicated to other than Allaah, or used to seek nearness to other than Allaah then it is rejected. The act may be small but the Noble Angels are recording. The All-Mighty is Ever-Watching and All-Knowing. He knows the actions of the limbs and the actions of the heart. The power of doing an action, is that be it small or large, difficult or easy, it will all add up on the scales. Mountains, after all, are made up of small stones.

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We can not expect to follow our desires at every turn and neglect the obligations of Allaah upon us and expect that we will not be recompensed accordingly. It is as Ibn-ul Qayyim رحمه الله said:

“The intelligent person perceives forbidden things like a delicious food, which contain fatal poison. Whenever its pleasure arouses his interest, the reality of the poison would push him away from it. Also, he perceives the orders of Allaah as bitter medicine that leads to good health and recovery.” {Al-Fawaa’id (pg. 232 eng. trans)}

Let us not be deceived by the adornments of this worldly life. Let our actions reflect those of the righteous in order that we receive Mercy from The Merciful. We must remember that:

“The Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by temptations.” {Saheeh Muslim: 2822}

We must remember that both are closer than we anticipate as the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

 “Jannah is nearer to anyone of you than your shoe-lace, and so is the (Hell) Fire”. {Saheeh Al-Bukhari: 6488}

May Allaah make our deeds those of righteousness, our hearts the hearts of the Muttaqeen and may He facilitate us towards evil and protect us from evil. May His Salaah and Salaam be upon the Final Messenger, his family, his companions and all those that follow them in goodness until the Day of Resurrection.

 

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Do we really want Jannah?

Do we really want Jannah?

Why then are the tear ducts dry at the mention of His aayaat (signs, verses, evidences, proofs, miracles) when He, سبحانه وتعالى, said:

“Those were the ones upon whom Allah bestowed favor from among the prophets of the descendants of Adam and of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah, and of the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and chose. When the verses of the Most Merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping.” {Surat Maryam: 58}

And He said:

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses.” {Surat Al-Ma’idah:83}
Do we really want the reward that is reserved for the believers, when our hearts do not tremble like that of the mu’minoon?:
“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)” {Surat Al-Anfal:2}

Do we see the many sins we commit to be a cause of our destruction or have they become a part of the norm? ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ud said:

“A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain which, he is afraid, may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this.” Abu Shihab (the sub-narrator) moved his hand over his nose in illustration.” {Sahih Al-Bukhari}

Do we really want Jannah? Do we fear from the Fire? Does our speech reflect this? Do our actions reflect this? Or are we hoping that Ar-Rahmaan will show us mercy because we said we believed?

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” {Surat Al-‘Ankabut: 2}
Are we losing our grip on the only means of salvation when He said:
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.” {Surat Al ‘Imran: 103}
He, the Most High, saved us from the brink of a pit of Fire and gave us the blessing of opening our breasts to Islaam:
“And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allah puts the wrath on those who believe not.” {Surat Al An’am: 125}

Will we not  then act accordingly? Will we not leave the Zeenah (adornment) of this dunya (worldy life)? Will we not race for the akhirah (Hereafter)?

Do we really want Jannah?…

A Way Out

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Allaah, the Most High, said:

“…And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).

And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allaah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allaah will accomplish His purpose. Allaah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” [Surat at-Talaq: 2-3]

When we face difficulty or oppression, our refuge should always be Allaah. None but He who can change our situation, comfort our hearts and give us the patience and wisdom we need to deal with these difficulties as they come. Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) said:

“Resort to no one but your Lord, for resorting to others is a disgrace.”

How unfortunate it is then to see that the slave will disgrace himself by seeking comfort and ease from people instead of his Lord. He knows that they can not change his situation but still humiliates himself before them. Were he to fear Allaah and resort only to Him, his heart would have been put right and his status would have been raised.

Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله) said about the ayah above:

“…whoever has Taqwa of Allaah in what He has commanded and avoids what He has forbidden, then Allah will make a way out for him from every difficulty and will provide for him from resources he never anticipated or thought about.”

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said:

The greatest Ayah in the Qur’aan that contains relief is: “And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).”

`Abdullah bin Mas`ud and Masruq commented on the Ayah, saying:

“It pertains to when one knows that if Allah wills He gives, and if He wills He deprives, “from where he never could imagine.” from resources he did not anticipate”

And Qatadah said about the way out referred to in this ayah:

“Meaning, from every doubt and the horrors experienced at the time of death, “And He will provide him from where he never could imagine” from where he never thought of or anticipated.”

Allaah said:

“And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that he rode the Prophet’s camel while sitting behind the Prophet , and the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to him:

“O boy! I will teach you words.Be mindful of Allaah and He will protect you, be mindful of Allaah and He will be on your side. If you ask, ask Allaah, and if you seek help, seek it from Allaah. Know that if the Ummah (the nation) gather their strength to bring you benefit, they will never bring you benefit, except that which Allaah has decreed for you. Know that if they gather their strength to harm you, they will never harm you, except with that which Allaah has decreed against you. The pens have been raised and the pages are dry.” [Also narrated by At-Tirmidhi who said it is Hasan]

How excellent is the advice of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم)! Were we to fully understand and act according to this, never would we despair, or feel alone. We would be patient; hoping and anticipating from Allaah the reward for doing so and realising that what is to be decreed has been decreed, and Allaah, the Most High is the Best disposer of Affairs. “The pens have been raised and the pages are dry” so why would be be hasty when we know that Allaah said:

“So be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for the Muttaqun (the righteous)” [Surat Hud: 49]

May Allaah grant us true tawakkul (reliance) upon Him and may His words be a source of our ease and comfort. May His Salaah and Salaam be upon the Final Messenger, his family, his companions, and all those that follow them in righteousness till the Day of Resurrection.

“My Lord! Send me back!”

Allaah, the Most High, said:
“Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back,
So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” [Surat Al Mu’minoon: 99-100]

Following is an extract of the Tafsir (exegesis) of Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله):

The Disbelievers’ hope when death approaches. Allaah tells us about what happens when death approaches.

(‘My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No!) This is like the ayah:

(And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e. Zakat) of my wealth , and be among the righteous [i.e. perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)].

And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) [Surat Al-Munafiqoon: 10-11]

And:

(And warn (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them; then the wrong-doers will say: “Our Lord! Respite us for a little while, we will answer Your Call and follow the Messengers!” (It will be said): “Had you not sworn aforetime that you would not leave (the world for the Hereafter).) [Surat Ibraheem: 44]

And His saying:

(Await they just for the final fulfillment of the event? On the Day the event is finally fulfilled (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), those who neglected it before will say: “Verily, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth, now are there any intercessors for us that they might intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back (to the first life of the world) so that we might do (good) deeds other than those (evil) deeds which we used to do?” Verily, they have lost their ownselves (i.e. destroyed themselves) and that which they used to fabricate (invoking and worshipping others besides Allah) has gone away from them.) [Surat Al-A’raf:53]

And:

(And if you only could see when the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world), we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty.”) [Surat As-Sajda: 12]

And:

(If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!”

Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) [Surat Al-An’aam: 27-28]

And:

(And whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no Wali (protector) after Him. And you will see the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, oppressors, etc.) when they behold the torment, they will say: “Is there any way of return (to the world)?”) [Surat Ah-Shura: 44]

And:

(They will say: “Our Lord! You have made us to die twice (i.e. we were dead in the loins of our fathers and dead after our deaths in this world), and You have given us life twice (i.e. life when we were born and life when we are Resurrected)! Now we confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?”) [Surat Ghafir: 11]

And:

(Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do.” (Allah will reply): “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition, – could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.) there is no helper.”) [Surat Fatir: 37]

Allah says that they will ask to go back, when death approaches, on the Day of Resurrection, when they are gathered for judgement before the Compeller (Allah) and when they are in the agonies of the punishment of Hell, but their prayer will not be answered. Here Allah says:

(No! It is but a word that he speaks)The word Kalla (No!) is a word that is used to rebuke, and the meaning is: “No, We will not respond to what he asks for and We will not accept it from him.”

(It is but a word that he speaks) refers to his asking to go back so that he can do righteous deeds; this is just talk on his part, it would not be accompanied by any action. If he were to go back, he would not do any righteous good deeds, he is merely lying, as Allah says:

(Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) [Surat Al-An’aam: 28]

Qatadah said: “By Allah, he will not wish to go back to his family and tribe, or to accumulate more of the things of this world or satisfy his desires, but he will wish that he could go back to do acts of obedience to Allah. May Allah have mercy on a man who does that which the disbeliever will wish he had done when he sees the punishment of Hell.”

Stories of the past

Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) said:

” Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur’aan) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of that which was before it and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a mercy for the people who believe.” [Surat Yusuf: 111]

Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله), the great mufassir, said regarding this Ayah:

“Allaah states here that the stories of the Messengers and their nations and how we saved the believers and destroyed the disbelievers are,

(عِبْرَةٌ لاوْلِى الأَلْبَـبِ)

(a lesson for men of understanding), who have sound minds,

(مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَى)

(It is not a forged statement.) Allaah says here that this Qur’aan could not have been forged; it truly came from Allah,

(وَلَـكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِى بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ)

(but a confirmation of that which was before it) in reference to the previously revealed Divine Books, by which this Qur’an testifies to the true parts that remain in them and denies and refutes the forged parts that were added, changed and falsified by people. The Qur’an accepts or abrogates whatever Allaah wills of these Books,

( وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ)

(and a detailed explanation of everything) Meaning the allowed, the prohibited, the preferred and the disliked matters. The Qur’aan deals with the acts of worship, the obligatory and recommended matters, forbids the unlawful and discourages from the disliked. The Qur’aan contains major facts regarding the existence and about matters of the future in general terms or in detail. The Qur’aan tells us about the Lord, the Exalted and Most Honoured, and about His Names and Attributes and teaches us that Allaah is glorified from being similar in any way to the creation. Hence, the Qur’aan is,

(هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ)

(a guide and a mercy for the people who believe.) with which their hearts are directed from misguidance to guidance and from deviation to conformance, and with which they seek the mercy of the Lord of all creation in this life and on the Day of Return. We ask Allaah the Most Great to make us among this group in the life of the present world and in the Hereafter, on the Day when those who are successful will have faces that radiate with light, while those whose faces are dark will end up with the losing deal…” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

Performing deeds for show (Riya’)

Allaah said:

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” [Surat An-Nisaa’: 142]

It is from the characteristics of the hypocrites to do deeds for show and not  for attaining the pleasure of Allaah. Riya’ is a grave sin, that one should guard himself from, by seeking the assistance of Allaah and continuing to renew his niyah (intention) so that it is completely sincere for the sake of Allaah.

The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

“He who acts to show off, Allaah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, and he who does good deeds so that people (may hold him in high esteem), Allaah will expose his hidden evil intentions before the people on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Therefore Riya’ does nothing but harm the servant who performs deeds with it. Instead of impressing the people he will be exposed as a liar. He will not find the deeds that he performed in favour of him on the Day of Resurrection, and instead these “dead deeds” will be a source of grief for him.

A poet said:

“The garment of Riya’ (doing deeds for show) is transparent, revealing what is underneath it, so that, if you attire yourself with it, you are in reality naked.” [Quoted by Sheikh Muhammad Al Uthaymeen]

We seek refuge with Allaah from performing deeds with Riya’, and may the Salaah and Salaam of Allaah be upon the Final Messenger.

Test your heart

Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) said:

And know that, among you there is the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم). If he were to obey you (i.e. follow your opinions and desires) in much of the matter, you would surely be in trouble, but Allah has endeared the Faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts, and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم) hateful to you. These! They are the rightly guided ones.  [Surat Al-Hujurat: 7]

We need to test our hearts with this glorious ayah in the Book of Allaah. Does Islaam take a secure place in our hearts, such that it throws out anything that is not compatible with it? Is disbelief and disobedience hated to us, such that when we see such evil we act against it? The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

“Whoever among you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart- and that is the weakest of Faith.” [Sahih- Sunan an-Nasaa’ii]

Do we fit this description? Do we command the good and forbid the evil?

Or has Shaytaan tricked us? Is our time is wasted, watching shows of disbelievers committing obscene things, which we justify to be ‘okay’ because it’s fiction. Are we entranced by the lives of these so called “stars”?

Our hearts are fickle. The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

“Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. A man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning, and would sell his Faith for worldly goods.” [Sahih Muslim]

Our souls incline to what it is surrounded with. If the slave surrounds himself with beneficial knowledge, righteous companions and seeing and hearing the khayr (good), his soul will incline toward it and he will not be satisfied with anything except that which is good. Conversely, if the slave surrounds himself with vain amusements, idol talk, and falsehood, his soul will incline toward that and feel more comfortable with evil and unsettled with the good.

We should fear our own selves and never feel safe from the allure of the worldly life. We should never feel safe that because we have Islaam today, that we will have it tomorrow. The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

“‘Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between two fingers of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord (Ar-Rahman) as one heart. He turns them to any (direction) He likes.’

Then Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: ‘O Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience.'” [Sahih Muslim]

May Allaah rectify our conditions and make our hearts incline toward His obedience. May His Salaah and Salaam be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his wives, his companions and all those that follow them in righteousness.