We are all in a race this month, the race to beat ourselves in doing better deeds each day, make the prayers that are accepted an achieve a better dunya and akhirah on the way. Most of us are. I wanted to share a few points for those whom are striving to improve their ibaadah and do as much good they can.
Only To Please Allah
Every action is given reward according to its intention. So if your deeds is not the grandest but the intention of what you are doing is grand, than you can reap great rewards. Similarly, if your deed is great, read 100 voluntary prayers in 1 hour just to beat my friends who only read 90. Your intention was not to solely do the ibaadah for Allah but to do better than others. The important point to understand is that we need to ask Allah to perfect our intentions and our sincerity, Ikhlaas. This is something we all are striving with. One cure can be to hide the good deeds we do, and keep them between us and Allah. On the day of Judgment Three people will be thrown in hell first. They are a martyr, a reciter of Quran, and a wealthy person. When they are asked what their intentions were for doing these deeds, they say to please Allah. Allah whom of course can see their intentions, says that these deeds were rather done to be called courageous for the martyr, the man of knowledge wanted the people to call him a good reciter, and the wealthy wanted to be called generous.
They Are Given Signs In Their Life
The heaviest on the scale of deed on Judgement Day is good manners. Our deeds are not going to be counted as of how many they are. But they are being weighed of sincerity, intention and if salah; the khusho. To have these great qualities we have to kill our ego and think less of ourselves and more of Allah and His Greatness. With our every action. We are nothing and Allah is everything. We need to fully understand whom we are doing it for and why. For instance, often people say, you were given that and that blessing because you deserved it. I don`t understand this as the pure truth. If you have a father that is a millionaire. Obviously when you have a lot of wealth you will live wealthy, with expensive things. If this father has a son, who lends his fathers expensive car and goes on a trip with his friends. Showing off that he can buy this car. He is ascribing the car to himself. The same way, if we are breathing right now, it is not because we have done something amazing in the eyes of Allah, that He is giving us these breaths. Allah has given us this life to test us, to see whom are His submissive slaves, that are patient when he withholds and grateful when He gives. Our vehicle, wealth, children, status, spouse, beauty is given from Allah. He wants to know if we will use it for good or bad. Can you say that Hitler deserved the breaths he was given by Allah, even though he killed so many jews? Can you say that Bush deserved his breath although he started a war against innocent people, just because of 9/11. I`m sure no religion justifies killing innocent people in their scriptures. These leaders were given the position they had because Allah was testing them. Allah gives wealth, livestock, beauty in abundance to people who doesn`t believe in Him. This is a test for them. They are given signs throughout their life to help them turn to Allah, some are put astray even more than before others are guided, even though they have failed sometimes.
We Are Forgiven Because Of Allah`s Rahma, Not Because Of Our Deeds
On judgement Day there will be two men that are going to be questioned in front of Allah. One of them has used all his life to do good deeds and is very proud of himself. As he is given Jannah, he walks were slowly towards his destination. Meanwhile another person has done wrong deeds all his life, and is sentenced to a life in Hell. This person is running towards hell with speed. So Allah stops both and asks them why they walk as they do. The one with great deeds comes in a discussion and says he deserves Jannah because of his good deeds. So Allah says, ok, lets weigh them. This is a person whom has utilized all his life doing good deeds. When his deeds are weighed they don`t even weigh as much as the blessing of the eyesight of one of his eyes. So he is thrown in Hell because he believed in himself rather than Allah`s Mercy. The other person will be asked why he was running so fast. He will answer that he is so ashamed of himself that he didn`t obey any of Allah’s commandments in Dunya so he thinks for himself that, he will at least obey this command, so he hastened for his punishment in Hell. Because of this Allah forgave him and gave him Jannah. Even our Prophet Muhammad pbuh has said, if it wasn`t for Allah’s rahma on him, even he wouldn`t be forgiven his sins. And he pbuh is the perfect of all people. Where do we stand whom disobey Allah and sometimes obey Him.
When shaytan can not make us sin, he makes us waste time or puts self-thoughts in our mind. A man once came to see the Prophet. He wasn`t let in to him at once. Ayesha raa told him pbuh who it was. Prophet Muhammad said: “that is a bad person”. When he came in the Prophet pbuh was even nicer to him than the other people whom are good that he pbuh usually are nice to. So after he had left, the mother of believers, Ayesha raa asked him, why he was so well-treated when he was so bad. He pbuh answered because he could have harmed us by spreading bad stuff about us, through poetry or etc, so to prevent that from happening, he pbuh pleased him by his manners that he went happily. On the contrary there is another hadith that says that those that please other in their face, break their neck, in example make proudness grow in them and therefore destroy their deeds. If we want to praise some people because of their remarkable work, do it in a way that doesn`t make him/her feel proud, but at the same time makes them feel appreciated. When other praise us, it is important that we don`t get blind to what they say either, often it is sugar-coated. If we are sincere to ourselves and evaluate ourselves and know how we really are. Whenever some people praise us, we would actually hate them, because they don`t know us the way we know ourselves. We would rather love those who gently guide us to our faults because then we would find some points that needs improvement. Insight in our own deeds would never allow us to become proud. Knowing that good deeds come from Allah`s guidance and not necessarily because we are worthy of doing them, is also something that helps us keep us humble.
Make Dua In A Language You Understand
It is easy to understand that the more you know what you are reciting the more asr it would have on you. If we keep on reading the salah, without comprehending on the translation, we will not be able to build our khusho, concentration in salah. How can our intentions and our sincerity be on top if we don`t understand what we are saying. Making dua in your own language helps and taking baby-steps to understand what surah`s are saying will help also.
The Opposite Of Each Other
We have discussed that is not the deed itself but the intention behind it, that matters. One hadith that portrays that in a beautiful way is of a man who comes to a place with his camel and wants to pray. He is looking for something to tie his camel to. He doesn`t find it so he makes it himself, to help other that would need the same at this place. Some time after a man comes and sees this thing in the sand, where other might have tied their camel. He is afraid of it hurting some people if they don`t see it while they are passing it. So to save others for the hurt, he takes it out of the ground. Both are given a good deed for what they did, even though they did the opposite of each other. It is because of their intention for the deed was correct.
The Grandest Deed Can Be Rejected
Imagine you want to feed the poor and hungry, but you don`t have that much money. So instead of earning money, you steal from the rich to give to the poor, ala robin hood. Even though the deed is great, and has immense reward in the eyes of Allah, since it is forbidden to steal, you won`t get any reward, but rather bad deeds for it.
Few Points To Reap The Reward
- Intention for the deed. You are doing this only for Allah to please Him not so that other will praise you or think good of you.
- Avoid praising others. It can develop proudness in them.
- Sincerity. Our deeds are weighed not counted. It wouldn`t help to read fifty voluntary prayers if you don`t have any concentration in them. Rather read two with full concentration/khusho.
- The blessings in our life are from Allah, we are not given them because we deserve them, but because He will test us. The same way we are tested when He takes something away from us or afflicts us in a trial.
- Allah likes the repentant sinner more than those that are arrogant because they have done good deeds.
- Without Allah`s guidance and we having a heart that accepts guidance, we can become lost at any time.
- Understanding the meaning of the words in salah and supplications increases the sincerity and khusho. Being heedless of what we are reciting does the opposite.
- Even though the deed is seen as great, if the means of achieving it is haram, you won`t reap any reward, but rather bad deeds.