Islam is a practical way of life, and we are surrounded by numerous opportunities to do good. It is just a matter of recognising them.
In order to carry out small and easy good deeds yet still achieve a great reward, we must understand and embrace the concept of ‘sincerity of intention’. One of the many beautiful qualities of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is that He is the Most Merciful; and it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan,
“Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults, verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth, and when ye are hidden in your mothers’ wombs. Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil.” (53:32)
Islam provides us with plenty of chances to reconcile with our inner goodness, and we may find it difficult at times, what with our chaotic 9-5 working days followed by the hectic demands the dunya throws at us each day. Personally, the most amazing thing about Islam is that we are so blessed in terms of the flexibility of the Islamic way of life, that in nearly everything that we do, there is a reward ready for us, we just need to have the right intentions.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) once said: “Allah definitely does not look at your bodies, nor your appearances. Rather he looks at your hearts.”
The latter makes it clear that what matters most is our inner being, and how much integrity, passion and earnestness we have within us when it comes to carrying out even the smallest of good deeds.
So, all you need is sincerity in your intentions and the taqwa (God-consciousness) to help you identify these small but invaluable good deeds. What are they? How can you make the most of your day, your deen, and your life?
Most of you reading this article may be familiar with the hadith “Smiling is sadaqah”; and even though we have heard it so many times in the past, and from so many different people, we sometimes still fail to understand just how significant the small action of a smile really is. Islam teaches us to be compassionate and considerate towards our brothers and sisters throughout the world, so next time you’re walking in the street and pass by someone, don’t be afraid to just crack a smile, because as the famous philosopher Plato once said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Why is it so important to say salaam to another Muslim, whether you know them or not? This question may have popped into your mind at one time or another and the answer to it is this:
Imran bin Husayn (may Allāh be pleased with him) recounts that once he and others were in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)when a man came and said, “Assalamu alaikum”, to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded and said, “Ten”, then another man came and he said “Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah”, to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded and said “Twenty”. Finally, a third man came and said “Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatu”, to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded and said, “Thirty”. (Abu Daud, Tirmidhi, Jami al Usul, p. 602. Vol 6)
So the third man that passed by had earned a huge 30 rewards just by saying the full salaam. Shouldn’t we be motivated then, to do the same and earn as many rewards as possible while we have the chance?
3. Reciting the Qur’aan
Something that truly reflects the compassionate nature of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is that for every letter of the holy Qur’aan that we recite, we get 10 rewards! SubhanAllah, another simple yet weighty good deed that we can earn many rewards for, though sincerity is still key.
4. “Cleanliness is half of faith”
The words of the blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) – a man who has done countless good deeds and sacrificed much in the path of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) – yet he still emphasised even physical cleanliness to be a deed which, if done properly, counts as half of our faith. The purity mentioned in this hadith is also said to be inner cleanliness, but at the same time, practical everyday things like keeping your clothes clean, laying down a dirt-free prayer mat and washing your hands before eating are all acts that fall into the ‘cleanliness’ in this hadith. Not only are they essential to keeping your body healthy and your surroundings hygienic, but these actions are also sunnah!
5. Just one sunnah, but the reward of 100 martyrs!
One thing that blew me away when I was doing research for this topic is a hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him):
“Whoever sticks to my Sunnah when my ummah becomes corrupt, will receive the reward of 100 martyrs.”
The fact is that every person does at least one thing in their whole life that is a sunnah – we just don’t realise it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)was also a man, the best of all creation, but still a man. Many of us, forget to apply this knowledge of integrity in our intentions being the main thing; as a result, we miss out on the big rewards for some of the most basic things that we do daily.
There is reward in gazing upon the night sky, sitting to eat, yawning and even sleeping! All we need to do is rectify our intentions. Anything we do with the intention of it being a sunnah act, we are rewarded for it by Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Alhamdulillah, there are an enormous amount of opportunities that are handed to us on so many occasions each day, let us then make the most of the blessings that Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has granted us, and begin to revive a sunnah, inshaAllah!
“Your remedy is within you, but you do not sense it… You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire universe… Therefore, there is no need to look beyond yourself. What you seek is within you, if only you reflect.” (Ali Ibn Abu Talib (may Allāh be pleased with him))