Virtuous Actions in Islām

Written by Wafa Bint Houssam عبيد on . Posted in More Important Basics

  Shaykh Abū Anas Hāmid al-ʿUthmān

Shaykh Hāmid al-ʿUthmān mentions many principles regarding virtuous actions which are very important for the Muslims to know. Virtuous actions lead to paradise and they must be done sincerely for the sake of Allāh.


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Good deeds are a cause for one to enter paradise.

Allāh says that the Angels say:

 ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
Enter you into Paradise because of (the good) which you used to do (in the world).
[Sūrah al-Naḥl, 16:32]

The deeds will be weighed on the day of resurrection. The reward of actions depend upon the intentions, the time and the place.

The Companions used to rush to do good deeds and because of the strong īmān (faith) in their hearts they used to discuss amongst themselves the virtues of different actions.

Some of the Companions were prevented from doing certain good actions due to an inability and they would go to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) while being upset at being unable to do these good actions. Just as the poor and needy from the Muhājirun came to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa-sallam) and said: The people with wealth have made up with the reward. The Messenger (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa-sallam) said: Should I not guide you to that which is better than that, say Subhānallāh thirty three times, al-Ḥamdulillāh thirty three times, Lā ilāha illallāh thirty three times and Allāhu Akbar thirty three times.

ʿĀʾishah said, I said, "O Messenger of Allāh! We consider jihād as the best deed". The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, "The best jihād (for women) is Ḥajj. This Ḥadīth shows that even the women from the Companions were eager to perform more good deeds.

Conditions for righteous actions to be accepted:

  1. Actions are done purely and sincerely for Allāh alone. Allāh says in a Ḥadīth Qudsī: Whoever does an action in which he associates someone else along with Me than I will abandon him and his Shīrk
  2. Following the way the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa salām) did the actions. Narrated in Muslim: ʿĀʾishah said, that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: Whoever does an action which is not in accordance to our affair will have it rejected

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah mentioned that some scholars differ about whether righteous actions remove major sins without repentance.

  1. Some scholars hold that righteous actions remove major sins without any restrictions
  2. Some scholars hold that major sins will not be removed by righteous actions, but rather major sins must be removed by repenting

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah preferred the middle path between these two sayings, he said: The affair will be in accordance with the level of sincerity. He mentioned two evidences for this:

  1. Narrated in al-Bukharī: A prostitute from the Children of Isrāʾīl saw a dog on a very hot day wandering around a well, sticking his tongue out because of thirst. She said, "This dog is afflicted with thirst just as I am afflicted with it". So she took off her shoe and fed the dog some water with it; thus she was forgiven. Zinā (fornication) is forbidden and is from the major sins yet this woman gave a drink to this animal and she was forgiven because of her sincerity to Allāh.
  2. Narrated in al-Tirmidhī: On the Day of Judgement, Ninety-nine scrolls of bad deeds will be unrolled for a man; every scroll will stretch as far as the eye can see, then a card will be brought forth and in it will be: ‘I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh and that Muḥammad is His slave and His Messenger.’ Then Allāh will say: Bring your bad deeds. The man will say: What is this card compared with these scrolls? Allāh will say: Indeed, you will not be oppressed. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) continued: The scrolls will be put on one side of the scales and the card will be put on the other side, the scrolls will be light and the card will be heavy, there can be nothing more heavy than the name of Allāh.

Al-Fudayl Ibn ʿIyāḍ described a righteous action as: That which is done with sincerity and is correct. These two things are counted, not that the actions be multiple in number.

Allāh says,

لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا
That He may test you which of you is best in deed
[Sūrah al-Mulk, 67:2]

Our Lord did not say: that we should test you which of you is most in deeds.

Narrated in al-Tirmidhī: The first thing from the servants actions that will be examined on the Day of Judgement is the prayer and if that is complete than the rest of the actions will be complete. If there is any deficiency in the obligatory prayers than the optional prayers will be looked into to complete the deficiency.

Question and answer session:

  1. With regards to the saying that a persons condition must be better in the place they are making Ḥijrah (migration) to. Would the correct intention be sufficent in this case? Answer: 54:29
  2. A question regarding that which was asked to Imām Aḥmad: Which is better a person who prays, fasts and does ʿi‘tikāf or the one who rebukes the people of innovation? Imām Aḥmad said it is the person who rebukes the people of innovation. Answer: 58:40
  3. Is the reward of the prayer greater when praying in Makkah? Answer: 60:00
  4. Is it permissible to forbid my wife from allowing her parents into the home? Answer: 61:00

Part 2 (begins after 1 hour within this audio)

All the children of Ādam are those who make mistakes and the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent. Ādam sinned and therefore his offspring sin. Mankind are not free from sins. Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah said: even the Walī (ally of Allāh) can fall into sins.

The Khawārij give up from the mercy of Allāh when they commit a major sin and consider themselves disbelievers. (The way of Ahl al-Sunnah with regards to one who commits a major sin is that they are sinners and they fear the punishment of Allāh but they do not exit the religion of Islām, they hope in the forgiveness of Allāh and repent to Allāh from that sin). The way of Ahl al-Sunnah is to comibne fear, hope, and love for Allāh.

Sufyān ibn ʿUyānah said: Whoever worshipped Allāh only with love is a Zindīq (innovator), and whoever worshipped Allāh only with hope then he is a Murjīʾ, and whoever worshipped Allāh only with fear then he is a Ḥarūrī (another name for Khārijī) and whoever worshipped Allāh with fear, hope and love then he is a believer.

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Tags: Ḥamad al-ʿUthmān, Basics

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