Remember the rich rewards for performing virtuous deeds
June 27 2019 11:12 PM
A mosque in Vietnam.

Allah The Almighty repeatedly reminds us to perform various virtuous deeds. He Says (what means): {“Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord.”} [Qur’an, 57: 21].
Shaykh ibn As-Sa’di, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, commenting on this, “One who hastens towards virtuous deeds during his life will therefore also hasten to enter Paradise in the Hereafter.”
However, forgetfulness is a trait that is inherent in human beings, which leads to neglecting virtuous deeds and weakens their effect. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {“And indeed We made a covenant with Adam before, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm willpower”} [Qur’an, 20: 115]
Remembering the reward for performing these deeds is one of the most successful ways of treating laziness and encourages people to perform them. For example, a person is encouraged not to belittle even the smallest good deed, when one reads the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention): “I saw a man enjoying Paradise as a result of a tree he cut, which was in people’s way and harming them.” [Muslim].
Attending the assemblies of knowledge with virtuous Muslims also encourages one to perform virtuous deeds, or continue performing them. It reminds the Muslim of his Lord, fosters a sense of competition and keeps the heart occupied with virtuous thoughts. A believer is stronger when he is with a group of virtuous people, and he becomes more enthused to utilise his time and take advantage of his life, in obedience to Allah The Almighty.

Incentives to perform good deeds
1. Visiting charitable and humanitarian organisations encourages a Muslim to perform virtuous deeds.
2. Remembering that competing in performing virtuous deeds is one of the qualities of the true believers, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {“So, We answered his call, and We bestowed upon him Yahyaa, and cured his wife (to bear a child) for him. Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear.”} [Qur’an, 21: 90]. This is also one of the characteristics of angels, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {“And by those that press forward as in a race (angels).”} [Qur’an, 79: 4] Mujaahid, may Allah have mercy upon him, commented on this by saying, “This refers to the angels when they defeated the son of Adam in the performance of virtuous deeds.”
3. Learning about how much our pious predecessors would cry whenever they missed out on a chance to perform virtuous deeds. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The people of Paradise do not regret anything more than regretting an hour they spent (in this life) without mentioning Allah.” [Tabaraani]
Sa’eed At-Tanookhi, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to cry if for any reason he had missed a congregational prayer. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I never regretted anything more than regretting a day which passed in which I did not increase (upon) my virtuous deeds.
4. Remembering that life is short makes a Muslim exert extra effort in performing virtuous deeds; the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Rush towards the performance of virtuous deeds before you are afflicted with trials as dark as the night.”  [Muslim].
5. Reading books that soften the heart, mention virtuous deeds and encourage people to perform them.
6. Knowing that encouraging others entitles you to the same reward as theirs, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “He who revives a deed from Islam (which people forgot or abandoned) gets the same reward as the one who (subsequently) performs it.” [Muslim]
7. Loving those who perform virtuous deeds, because the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “A person will be (on the Day of Resurrection) with those whom he loves (in life).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
8. Knowing how eager our pious predecessors were in performing virtuous deeds. Competing in performing virtuous deeds was an intrinsic quality of the Companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said regarding Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him: “Whenever we competed to perform virtuous deeds, Abu Bakr would win.”
One should always supplicate to Allah The Almighty to enable him to perform good deeds and facilitate them for him, because performing virtuous deeds is a gift from Allah The Almighty which He grants to whomever He wishes from amongst His slaves. Humaam ibn al-Haarith, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to supplicate saying, “O Allah! Make me satisfied with little sleep and grant me (the ability of) staying up during the night performing acts of obedience to you” and he would sleep very little, while sitting down.
Performing virtuous deeds is one of the main duties for Muslims in this life, as Allah commands by saying what means: {“O you who have believed! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good, that you may be successful.”} [Qur’an, 24: 77]
Performing virtuous deeds is also included in the saying of Allah The Almighty (which means): {“…Help you one another in virtue, righteousness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression…”} [Qur’an, 5: 2]
Performing virtuous deeds is an important component of the propagation of Islam, which is not restricted to delivering lectures or talks, or publishing books. Behaving virtuously and helping others endears one to people and opens the hearts and minds of others, who would then listen attentively to what one says.
Similarly, there are many Ahadith (narrations) from the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, addressing this issue, such as the following:
• “Rush towards the performance of virtuous deeds.” [Muslim].
• “He who leads others to virtue gets the same reward as the one performing it.” [Muslim].
• “O people! Spread (the greeting of) Salaam, feed the needy, and pray at night while people are sleeping, and you will (therefore) enter into Paradise peacefully.” [At-Tirmithi].
• “He who calls others to guidance will get the same reward as those who follow guidance.” [Muslim].
Incentives to performing good deeds
1. Having your mind and heart constantly occupied with these deeds and having a sincere intention, because, with sincerity, a slave reaches high ranks, and it also acts as an encouraging factor to perform the deed.
2. Knowing that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to ask Allah The Almighty to enable him to perform virtuous deeds saying: “O Allah! I ask You to enable me to perform virtuous deeds and (for) the abandonment of sins.” [At-Tirmithi]. It is known that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, would only supplicate with what Allah The Almighty loves.
3. Remembering Paradise and its pleasures, and what has been prepared for the people of virtue there. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {“And march forth in the way (leading to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth.”} [Qur’an, 3: 133]
4. Knowing that performing virtuous deeds results in other people loving him, even after his death. The believers are witnesses on earth as Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “A funeral passed by us and people praised the deceased, so the Prophet, sallallaahau ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: ‘It has become mandatory.’ Then another one passed and people spoke of how bad the deceased was, so the Prophet said: ‘It has become mandatory.’ So ‘Umar asked about his comments on the two funerals, and the Prophet replied: ‘You praised the first one so Paradise became mandatory for him, and you dispraised the second one so Hell became mandatory for him; you are the witnesses of Allah on earth.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
5. Realising that the longer virtuous people live, the more beloved to Allah The Almighty they become, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said when he was asked about the best people in the sight of Allah The Almighty: “He who lives long and performs virtuous deeds.” [At-Tirmithi], because such a person utilised his life in virtuous deeds and was obedient to Allah The Almighty.
6. Knowing that being steadfast in performing virtuous deeds is beloved to Allah The Almighty even if the deeds are little in number, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The most beloved deeds to Allah are those which are persistent, even if they are little (in number).”
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Motivation boosters: patience and solitude
In the two previous articles, we have discussed some motivation boosters, the last of which we shall mention here:

1- Turning away from a dispiriting environment
Shaykh Muhammad Ismaa‘eel al-Muqaddim, may Allah preserve him, said: “Man is greatly influenced by his surroundings. If he lives in a frustrating environment where lethargy, slackness and meanness are encouraged, he must abandon that and move elsewhere where he would be highly motivated. Only when he leaves behind such conditions will he get rid of its influence and enjoy the opportunity to realise distinguished objectives.”
This is particularly applicable for one who has just repented, as changing his or her surroundings will stimulate motivation, which he or she is in need of, more than other believers. Turning away from an environment of disobedience to that of worship is likely to help in overcoming what initially enticed him or her toward wicked companions and bad places. Hence, he or she will be able to start anew and, with strong willpower and firm determination, adopt a transformed lifestyle.
It is a fact that a person is influenced by the wayward around him or her in the same manner as water is contaminated and changed by rotting meat that may be beside it. Therefore, a person must flee from an environment of weariness, laziness and callousness.

2- Keeping company with people known for their drive
As mentioned above, there is unanimous agreement that people are influenced by those around them. Hence, a person should befriend the righteous and those who are competitive [in doing good], and avoid the company of the wicked and evil, for a person is surely known by his or her companions. He or she must spend time with those who encourage him or her to worship Allah The Almighty, not those who do the opposite.
Moreover, it is undeniable that even looking at the righteous raises one’s morale, just as spending time with them and listening to their words of advice has a great effect. For example, upon seeing Wakee’ ibn al-Jarraah, may Allah have mercy upon him, people used to say: “This is an angel!” Likewise, every time they encountered Muhammad ibn Seereen, may Allah have mercy upon him, they used to glorify Allah The Almighty because of the light [of piety] on his face. Al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyaadh, may Allah have mercy upon him, explains: “When a believer looks at another believer, it purifies the heart; however, when a person looks at a heretic innovator, it leads to [its] blindness. Indeed, the person who keeps company with one who introduces new traditions in religion is deprived of wisdom.”
‘Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak, may Allah have mercy upon him, once remarked: “Every time I look at Al-Fudhayl my sadness and hatred for myself are renewed [because of his excellence in faith]”; he then burst into tears. A person should befriend those who are highly motivated and benefit from their morals and characteristics, if he or she can not be like them him/herself. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And when [other] relatives and orphans and the needy are present at the [time of] division, then provide for them [something] out of the estate and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.} [Qur’an 4:8]
If a person sincerely wants good company, he or she must stand up and take the initiative. He or she should not think that this is difficult because the One Whose help is sought is Allah The Omnipotent. A person must approach The One who has given to others that which he is seeking for himself, for He is his Lord, just as He is theirs. Allah The Almighty taught Al-Khidhr what was concealed from Moosa (Moses), and revealed to Sulaymaan (Solomon) what was unknown to Daawood (David), may Allah exalt the mention of them all.

3- Patience and perseverance
These characteristics, along with conviction, certainly help a person attain an exalted degree of piety. Indeed, a person who tastes the sweetness of good health cares little about the bitterness of patience, when, in fact, the capacity for this in believers transforms them into religious leaders. As for one who sees the path as stretched, walks slowly because of his or her low motivation. Thus, a person should remain steadfast in clinging to the truth and to faith, after sensing its beauty and tasting its sweetness. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.} [Qur’an 3:200]

4- Solitude
Seclusion helps a person contemplate and think; it purifies the heart from anything that might keep it away from the Lord. Abu Haamid al-Ghazaali, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “A man feels forlorn and at a loss with himself when he is devoid of virtues; he therefore intensifies socialising with others to get rid of that loneliness by their company.”
Some scholars say that there should be times when a person isolates him/herself to supplicate to Allah, remember Him, pray, reflect, call him/herself to account, reform the heart and address private matters that require solitude. ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to say: “My father was the most persevering in his [self-imposed] seclusion.” He may Allah have mercy upon him further recounts: “No one saw my father except in the mosque, at a funeral or while visiting a sick person; and he hated wandering in markets.”
Some virtuous personalities have been reported to have said: “Anyone who wants to influence the human existence and transform it, must spend some time in solitude, away from the clamour of everyday life and people’s problems. There must be a period of meditation, reflection and contemplating this vast universe and its innumerable characteristics.”
There are many benefits in such seclusion, some of which are: protection from the evil of the tongue, fortification of the heart from hypocrisy, discovery of the delightfulness of obedience [to Allah The Almighty], safeguarding the sight and attaining peace in the heart, asceticism and contentment and ability to worship through contemplation and meditation.

5- Reading the biographies of those who are highly motivated
Studying the life stories of great, sincere scholars and well-known righteous people is one of the best means of encouraging virtue in oneself, for it teaches the ability to endure hardship and difficulties for the sake of noble intents and sublime goals. Moreover, it encourages a person to follow in the footsteps of those who made great sacrifices and were highly motivated to rise to the highest of ranks.
Al-Junayd, may Allah have mercy upon him, would say: “Stories of the righteous [are like] among the soldiers of Allah that He uses to strengthen the faith of those who seek to be close to Him.” When it was inquired if any authentic reference validated that theory, he replied: “That is supported by the verse where Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart.} [Qur’an 11:120]”
Thus, learning everything about the righteous is the finest method of strengthening resolve, stimulating ambition, promoting enthusiasm, discovering talents, reforming a person’s morals and increasing motivation. Yet, we are not alluding to a mere narration of stories and tales, with neither understanding nor beneficial knowledge. Rather, we mean shedding light on good role models a Muslim can imitate in terms of morality and religion, as well as in words and deeds.
Ibn Al-Jawzi may Allah have mercy upon him said: “The path for a man who seeks perfection in pursuing knowledge is in reading beneficial books; let him read a lot and then he will discern the knowledge and high morale of those people, which will energise him and motivate him in his determination to be hard working.” Therefore, all people should pay attention to the biographies of the righteous predecessors, read their books and learn everything about them, because perusing their works will give us an insight into their personalities.
In sum, these are some motivation boosters. We advise you to apply them with patience and we ask Allah The Almighty to make these of benefit to all of us.
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Countering evil with a better deed
Interacting with others in life is necessary, as a person is surrounded by neighbours, relatives and colleagues in institutions of study and workplaces. Due to this dealing with different types of people, it is natural to be made susceptible to harm from some of them. Suppose that every such act one is subjected to, is met by an evil one in its like, in return - regardless of whether this harm is slight or great, or intentional or not - the communities would turn into a jungle. People will abandon good traits and live without regulations or rules.
To prevent the Muslim community from this detestable scenario, Allah The Almighty commanded His believing slaves to resist evil with something good, when He Says (what means): {And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.} [Qur’an 41:34]
Undoubtedly, the ultimate act that is superior to countering evil with its like, is to pardon and be compassionate, or at the least, to turn away and avoid further embroiling oneself. Dear brother and sister! By adopting this noble moral, you are safeguarding your own self-respect and rationality. Therefore, you have to keep yourself away from the provocation of foul people in order to be one of the true servants of Allah The Almighty. He describes them Saying (what means):
{And they who turn away from laghw (anything from falsehood, and that includes association, other minor sins and all useless speech, actions and concerns; furthermore, busying oneself with that which does not concern him is included).} [Qur’an 23:3]
{And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say: “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.”} [Qur’an 28:55]
{And when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.} [Qur’an 25:63]
When one treats an abuser in a wholesome manner, he or she would suppress his or her anger, thereby becoming one of those whom the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, referred to when he said: “He who stifles his rage while he is able to give vent to it, Allah will summon him in front of all people on the Day of Resurrection and let him choose from the Hoor (maidens of Paradise) as he pleases.”
Furthermore, one of the greatest benefits of repelling evil with a better deed is that the enemy who wants to inflict harm and evil, often converts into a defending supporter and a devoted friend. There is a wondrous magic in good manners that it can be more influential than physical force and vengeful will. Thus, antagonism changes into a different sentiment, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.} [Qur’an 41:34]
We have observed the best of all creatures, Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, not only tolerating the maltreatment of the violent, but also overlooking that and pardoning them. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, described him, saying: “He does not counter evil with evil, rather he absolves and forgives.” This was also the example of the righteous people, may Allah be pleased with them, who followed the methodology of the Prophet. One of them was insulted by someone once, so he said to him: “If you are mistaken, I ask Allah to pardon you; and if you are correct, I ask Him to forgive me.”
Among the final instructions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, before his death, was: “Whoever is given authority over something in the Ummah of Muhammad and has the power to harm or bring benefit to anyone, then he should reward those who do good and pardon those who commit evil.” A man once came to the Prophet  complaining about his servant, saying: “I have a servant who is a wrongdoer and an oppressor. Should I beat him?” The Prophet said: “Forgive him as much as 70 times per day.”
Also, a person whose relatives treat him unjustly is particularly in need of this quality. He or she should not meet their ill behaviour with evil in return; rather, he or she has to pardon, forgive and increase in compassion. It was narrated that a man came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have some relatives with whom I maintain ties of kinship and they sever them; I pardon them and they oppress me; I treat them kindly and they harm me. Should I then treat them in the same way?” The Messenger of Allah replied: “No, then you would all be sinners; rather, you should be better and maintain the ties of kinship and as long as you are in that state, you will have a protector and supporter appointed from Allah with you.’”
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