Believing and Doing Good Deeds – Part 1 (2015/07/06)

Allah (SWT) mentions “those who believe and do righteous deeds” many times in the Quran. One of the numerous times this takes place is in Surah Baqarah, ayah 25.

Allah says in ayah 25, “And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens (in Paradise) beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, ‘This is what we were provided with before.’ And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.”

This ayah comes right after Allah mentions the torment of those who disbelieve in Him and His Messenger. Right after the punished people, Allah mentions those who stick to His faith and believe in Him and His Messenger. They will be the happy ones with the reward. Allah mentions the miserable first but brings on a happier note of those who adhere to His way to him and believe in Him.

In the beginning of the ayah, Allah says “And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow.” Believing and doing righteous deeds means to believe in Allah and His Messenger, and to put into action the way of the Messenger. We have to believe and act upon with our limbs the way of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Allah have shown us. Righteous deeds include all that which Allah (SWT) has ordained so that includes the five most important pillars of Islam: Shahadah, Salah, Zakah, Sawm, and Hajj. Nobody deserves Paradise except those whose hearts believe and those who act upon the right way with their limbs.

Allah (SWT) states that Paradise has rivers that run beneath it, which means, under its trees, fruits, and rooms. From Hadiths it is learned that the rivers of Paradise do not run in valleys, and that the banks of Al-Kawthar (the Prophet’s lake in Paradise) are made of domes of hollow pearls, the sand of Paradise is made of scented musk while its stones are made from pearls and jewels. The good news that such people have been promised are gardens underneath which rivers flow. This is the reward for those people who fulfill the purpose of their creation. This is what Allah (SWT) gives those who spent their lives in this world in worship and servitude to Him. This is the manifestation of the Pleasure of Allah (SWT) for those who sincerely worship and serve Him. As the Prophet (SAW) has told us, the true reality of these gardens is beyond our imagination. There are delights in these gardens that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard and that no mind has ever imagined. May Allah (SWT) include us in that select company which experiences this! The rivers of the garden are also beyond our comprehension. A general meaning that we can take from what Allah (SWT) tells us about them in this ayah is that they are among the pleasures which the people of the gardens will enjoy. The narrations tell us that in these gardens there will be rivers of wine, rivers of milk, rivers of honey and rivers of water. We can only imagine that the drink from such rivers will be the sweetest and most refreshing of drinks that one can ever drink. We can also imagine that to bathe in these rivers will also be the most pleasurable of experiences. Can you even begin to imagine what it will be like to bathe in a river of milk? May Allah (SWT) make us among those who will witness and experience such rivers!

In the next part of the ayah Allah (SWT) says “Every time they are provided with the fruits from it, they will say ‘This is what we were given before’, and they will be given mutashabiyat ”. Here Allah (SWT) is describing what will happen when the people of the Garden are given fruits. Allah (SWT) tells us that when the people of the gardens are given fruits they will say that these fruits are just like what they were given before. Meaning just like the fruits in the life of this world. However Allah (SWT) explains that these are not the same fruits that they were given before but they are mutashabiyat. The scholars say that this means that these fruits are similar to what they had been given previously in shape and form but they are different in taste. The fruits in the garden will be similar to the fruits of this world in shape and form but the taste of the fruits of the garden will be far superior. So just like you have grapes and apples and mangos in the life of this world, you will also have these same fruits in the Garden. But the taste of such fruits will be far superior to their counterparts of the fruits of this world. So just imagine the most delicious fruit that you have ever eaten in the life of this world. The fruit that brought you pure pleasure when it touched your tongue. Now imagine if the taste of it improved over a thousand times. That is what the fruits of the gardens will taste like. You will have such fruits every day of your life and you will never grow tired of them. You can have them whenever you want and you can eat however much you want. They will not make you sick and they will not make you fat. You will also never become bored of them or tired of them. Remember that this place was created to make you happy. May Allah (SWT) grant us this place! May Allah (SWT) allow us to be among those who partake in such fruits!

Then Allah (SWT) tells us that the people of the gardens will have pure companions. For the couples of this world, where both the husband and the wife were righteous servants of Allah (SWT), they will have each other in the gardens. Both the husband and wife will be purified for each other, and any hatred or bad emotions that existed between the couple will be taken away. Each of them will be the most beautiful person that the other has seen. However for the couples where either the husband or the wife was not righteous and was not fit to be in the garden, the righteous wife or husband will be given new companions in the garden. Companions that were much better than the rebellious spouses that they had in the life of this world. For the ones who never married Allah (SWT) will provide them with beautiful and pure companions. So all the believers will have companions in paradise, either their spouses from the life of this world or better companions from the people of paradise. Also notice that Allah (SWT) describes the companions that the believers will be given in paradise as being pure. There are two meanings for the word “pure” in this ayah. One is that they will be pure of all the contaminants that the human body produces in the life of this world, such as mucus or urine for example. Another meaning is that their hearts will be pure. They will have no jealousy or hatred or despair in their hearts. Because of this there will be no quarrels, no fights and no despair between husband and wife in the gardens. There will be only love.

Finally Allah (SWT) tells us that they will stay therein forever. Of all of the pleasures of the gardens this is perhaps the greatest. The greatest pleasure of the gardens is the knowledge that everything which you are enjoying will never end. In this world our lives are filled with toil and struggle. For some brief moments we may have a chance to enjoy ourselves and we may have some periods of rest. But for the most part our life is one of toil and struggle. Whatever small pleasure that we have in this world, we know that is bound to end. In fact even while we are enjoying that pleasure in the life of this world, there is a part of our mind that is in despair because we know that joy will soon come to an end. How painful is it when one of the happiness that you have comes to an end? That will not be the case in these gardens. Since the passing of time does not exist in the garden, we are free to do whatever we want for however long that we want to. Our existence will never end so the pleasures and the joys will never end. While we are enjoying the pleasures we never have to worry about it ever ending. We never have to worry about our time running out. A similar aspect of this world that is very painful is when the people of this world whom we love leave us, people such as our family members or our dear friends. In the gardens we will never experience that pain because all the people whom who love will be there with us forever. Another problem with enjoying the pleasures of this world other than the fact that they are very fleeting and short lived is that you are not sure if you have truly earned such pleasures. You do not know if you have truly worshipped and served your Creator and Sustainer as He deserves. For any good thing that you have in the life of this world you cannot be certain if it is something that Allah (SWT) has given to you because He is pleased with you or if it is a trial or punishment for you. In the gardens this will not be the case. In the gardens you will know that you have pleased Allah (SWT) because He will tell you so. That will make you enjoy the pleasures of the garden even more because you know that Allah (SWT) has given you such pleasures out of His love for you. How wonderful is that? We ask Allah (SWT) to make us among those who are given these gardens. Ameen! When we think about all of the pleasures that we will receive in the gardens and how it will never end we should realize how just a few moments in the garden will make us forget all of the suffering that we had to go through in this world. All the pain and distraught that we have seen will be wiped from our memory. The Prophet (SAW) has also told us that if the person who lived the most miserable life in this world were only dipped in the garden for a moment, he will forget all of the pain and suffering that he went through in the life of this world. So whatever sacrifices that we have to make for this dawah, and however painful it may be, we have to realize that once we are in the gardens we will forget such pain and suffering. Most of all we would be delighted at having earned the Pleasure of Allah (SWT) and just as we love Allah (SWT) and so we strove hard to worship and serve Him , He loves us as well and so He will reward us with that which will make us truly content. That is the gardens of Allah (SWT) wherein are pleasures and delights which no one has ever imagined. May Allah (SWT) make us among the companions of such gardens! The garden is true and it is something that should always be on our mind. We have to believe that the pleasures of the garden are something that is real. It is as real as this world. We cannot think that the garden is only something spiritual or something metaphysical but rather we have to believe that it is as real as this world. How can we believe in Allah (SWT) to be the Most Loving and the Most Merciful and then think that He created us only to exist in the life of this world? Do you really think that a Creator Who is Most Merciful by His Nature would create us only to suffer in this world and then die? To fade away into non-existence. How could that be Allah (SWT)? No, rather we have to believe that Allah (SWT) will grant us this garden which is as real as this world if only we would try to please Him.

Lessons Learned:

The believer must always have a fear from the punishment of Allah (SWT) but at the same time, he must also always hope for the Mercy of Allah (SWT). Ibn al-Qayyim (ra) has said that the bird needs two wings to fly, the wing of fear and the wear of hope. Not only does the bird need both these wings, but they must also be of equal weight and they must be properly balanced. If either wing one is of greater weight than the other, then the bird will not be able to fly. If we have too much fear we might give up on the Mercy of Allah (SWT). We might think that there is no way that Allah (SWT) will forgive us for all of the evil that we have done, and we might think that we are doomed for the Fire. This kind of thinking may allow Shaytan to trick us into believing that we might as well enjoy this world while we have it before we go the punishment in the next life. Not only is such thinking completely and utterly foolish but it could also be kufr. This is because Allah (SWT) has clearly commanded us never to give up on His Mercy and Allah (SWT) has told us that the only ones who do are the disbelieving people. On the other hand, one cannot have too much hope as well. You must not allow the fact that Allah (SWT) is the Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful lead you into thinking that you can commit all the sins that you want and still be guaranteed the gardens. When such thoughts enter into your mind, you must remind yourself of the terrible punishment of the Fire. You must remind yourself that just as Allah (SWT) is the Most Forgiving and Most Merciful He is also the Severe in Punishment. You must also remind yourself why you live and exist in this world. It is only to worship and serve Allah (SWT) and not to satisfy your lusts and desires. So for you to think that you will be forgiven no matter it is that you do is completely wrong. Such wishful thinking goes completely against this purpose for which Allah (SWT) created you.

Allah (SWT) ,in this verse, has aroused the interest of His slaves to believe in Him and worship Him only by telling them about what He has prepared for them, just like what He has told them, in the previous verse about what He has prepared for the disbelievers and those polytheists who associated gods with Allah in worship like those who worship the graves of pious people.

Believing in Allah (SWT) and his Messenger and acting upon the right way, Islam, is essential for us to do in order for us to enter Jannah. For our deeds to be accepted by Allah, we have to firstly be sincere and secondly, we have to do the deed the way Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to do it. So sincerity plus following the sunnah will make our good deeds accepted by Allah and Insha Allah we will enter Paradise. Ameen!