Rush to do good deeds
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey
Last Friday we had discussed how the entire universe is united in total submission to Allah (SWT) and is devoted to His glorification as mentioned in Aayah 1 of Surah Jumu’a:
“Everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah, the Controller, the Most Exalted Holy, the Almighty, [and] the Wise.”
There is yet another truth where we find the universe and every object in it in complete unison with each other in Allah’s divine scheme. That truth is that there is a momentum of action which goes on in the moving stream of time. An endless chain of action permeates the cosmos. The Creator Himself is busy and “Every day He (Allah Almighty) is engaged in some new work” as mentioned in Aayah 29 of Surah Al-Rahman. Galaxies known and unknown with billions of stars, planets, moons and suns are in action and floating in their destined orbit. The churning oceans and the revolving earth is each on it course of action. Action is the very pulse of the universe and it the very heart beat of life. Action can be noble if it is in complete harmony with the dictates of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger, and it can be ignoble if it is otherwise. Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 10 of Surah Al-Balad “[We} have shown him [man] two clear ways [of good and evil].” It is up to the man to make the choice between the two.
Aayah 105 of Surah Tawba reads:“Say [Rasul Allah], Take action! Allah will see your actions – as will His Messenger and the believers – and then you will be returned to Him who knows what is seen and unseen, and He will tell you what you have been doing.”
In this verse Allah (SWT) exhorts his slaves to act. Action means the exertion of physical and mental power to achieve results. In other words action is a result oriented performance. It is a continuous struggle to achieve a set of goals. These goals can be multi-dimensional. The may be about material well being, physical, mental, educational and professional excellence, upbringing of children, providing livelihood to family etc, contributing to the neighbors, the community and the Ummah at large. The action which tops the list is about the spirit. One who focuses on its growth and well being gets the prize. He is the winner in both the worlds.
Poet philosopher Iqbal says about action:
“Action makes our life. We can make it heaven, or we make it a hell,
In the clay that we are made of, neither light (of virtue), nor darkness (of evil) dwell.
At another place he compares a person without action to the one who is carrying the burden of his dead self on his own shoulders.
Blessings and peace be on our beloved Prophet (SAW); he used to explain complex issues through simple examples. Once he told his companions that a person had three brothers: the elder, the middle and the younger. All of them were very close and loved each other very intimately.
As the person lay dying, he said to his elder brother:
“My brother, you are elder to me and I have always respected you and served you well. At this critical moment of death, I request you to please help and relieve me of these pangs of death.”
The elder brother refused point blank and said: “You are in self-deception; I can not be of any help to you at this time.”
Hearing this unexpected, cold and curt response, the dying person was sad and dejected. He called the middle brother and repeated the same request to him. The middle brother replied:
“You are mistaken; I am in no position to assist. However, I can arrange for your burial after you die. That is the maximum I can do.”
Disappointed and dismayed, the dying person lastly called his younger brother and pleaded for help. The younger brother’s reply was a relief to the dying person. He said: “Do not worry the least my brother. I am here to help you out.”
Having related the story, Prophet (SAW) asked: “Do you realize who these three brothers were?
The companions (RAjmaeen) submitted: “Ya Rasul Allah, Allah and His Messenger know the best.”
Prophet (SAW) clarified: “The elder brother is the material wealth to which a person attaches importance and devotes much attention. Material wealth is the first to say good buy to the dying man. The middle brother represents relatives who at the most can do the burial. The younger brother is the personification of noble deeds which one does during his life span and they are the only assets which a person takes along with him to the next world.”
Through this allegorical story Prophet (SAW) emphasized the moral that virtuous deeds are the true companions of a person before death, in death and after death. According to a tradition of Prophet (SAW), the angels even at the time of death ask the dying person to do noble deeds. And the only noble deeds a person can do at that time are to recite the Kalimah, remember Allah (SWT), and seek His forgiveness. Noble deeds are also the best grave companions.
In yet another tradition, Prophet (SAW) said that when a man will be resurrected, he will have five shields protecting him: La Ilaaha illalLaah will be in the front, Allah u Akbar over his head, Subhaan Allah on his right, Alhamdulillah on his left, and La hawla wala quwaata illa bilLaah behind him. Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 11 in Surah Ra’ad:
“…each person has guardian angels before him and behind, watching over him by Allah’s command…”
Only good deeds come to the rescue of man in life. When an Allah conscious person faces hardships and is in trouble, Allah (SWT) resolves his problems and makes things easy for him as mentioned in Aayah 2 of Surah At-Talaaq:
“Allah will find a way out for those who are mindful of Him, and will provide for them from an unexpected source…”
The ultimate truth is that material wealth should be used only to serve man and man should not to be its servant. The heart should be the exclusive abode of Allah’s love and remembrance; the only care one should have is to seek knowledge about Allah (SWT).
Wife and children become a source of comfort and pleasure if they tread the right path and perform noble deeds; otherwise they too cause frustration and strain. Prophet (SAW) use to supplicate thus: “Ya Allah, I seek refuge in You and seek Your protection from the off spring which becomes a burden on my soul, and a woman who may make me old before old age.”
Virtuous deeds give hope, while and vices create hopelessness. A disbeliever is scared to die, while a Momin is not afraid of death. Poet philosopher Iqbal says:
“The sign of a Momin, let me tell you is this,
on meeting death, a smile adores his lips.”
Absence of Iman in disbelievers makes them loose hope of any reward in the Hereafter, hence the Holy Qur’an says in Aayah 96 of Surah Al-Baqarah about them:
“[Rasul Allah] you are sure to find them clinging to life more eagerly than any other people, even the polytheists. Any of them would wish to be given a life of a thousand years, though even such a long life would not save them from torment: Allah sees everything they do.”
Disbelievers focus on this world alone, and have nothing but, depression, dejection and doom in the Hereafter. Momin on the other hand has contentment, trust and hope. The world is after him and he is not after the world. Poet philosopher Iqbal highlights the difference between the two. He says:
“The unbeliever looses himself in the universe
While the universe itself is lost in the Momin!”
Proud in their belief of noble deeds, followers of Musa (AS) claimed that they were Allah’s friends. Allah (SWT) in Aayah 764-8 of Surah Al-Jumu’a says:
“Say [Rasul Allah], you who follow the Jewish faith, if you truly claim that out of all people you alone are friends of Allah, then you should be hoping for death. But because of what they have stored up for themselves with their own hands they would never hope for death – Allah knows the wrongdoers very well – so say, ‘The death you run away from will come to meet you and you will be returned to the One Who knows the unseen as well as the seen: He will tell you everything you have done.”
Whatever a man does – good or bad, cannot remain hidden. Actions always expose themselves both Here as well as in the Hereafter. Aayahs 6-8 of Surah Al-Zilzalsays:
“On that Day, [of Judgment], people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds: whoever has done an atom’s-weight of good will see it, but whoever has done an atom’s-weight of evil will see that.”
You will see that bad people receive punishment even in this world. They are looked down upon in society, and Allah (SWT) softens the heart of people for the virtuous and the pious. Aayah 96 of Surah Maryam says:
“But the Lord of Mercy will give love to those who believe and do righteous deeds.”
The verse from Surah Tawbah, I referred in the beginning exhorts us to be pro-active.
Poet philosopher Iqbal says:
“Allah hates soul-less bodies, He is a living Allah and hence He is Allah of those who are really alive, the people of action.”
Take action to acquire the knowledge of Iman (Faith). Act upon and practice the acquired knowledge. Do not stop there, but make efforts to learn more. Invest temporary life for preparation of the permanent life. Subject yourself to accountability before Allah (SWT) holds you accountable. The time to act is here and now, tomorrow is too late and uncertain. Seize the present moment before it turns into past and becomes history. Overcome the hurdles of temptations, struggle to achieve piety and seek Allah’s help. He crowns those with success who strive to act and struggle for the betterment of life Here and the Hereafter. May Allah enable us to be the people of action for the good of both the worlds, Aamin!
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.