Every day is a race to fulfill our responsibilities. Those basic responsibilities can involve studying, earning a living, looking after our family, and giving time to friends. As we are busy in the race to complete the items on our daily checklist, another type of recording takes place at another level; the recording of our good and bad deeds. While our daily routine is part of our deeds, the daily race to accumulate good deeds breaks down the daily routine and allows us to examine our each action and intention.
Did we wake up for Fajr? How much devotion was involved in our praying today? Did we speak gently to our mother today? Did we help anyone in anyway today? Did we overindulge in talking, spending, eating, relaxing? Did we learn good knowledge? Did we impart it to others? There are innumerable ways to gain rewards and to negate the rewards without even realizing it at times.
Imagine charting the good and bad deeds on an average day. For the individual who is consciously aware of their deeds, the chart would resemble somewhat of a zigzag line. For example, my day started off with Fajr prayer on time but said groggily and quickly. I then visited a sick friend to make him feel better. I met some friends and perhaps we spoke too much about another brother. I saw a community member struggling with her groceries while walking home so I helped her carry her bags. My mother reminded me of some chores I was expected to complete and I didn't reply back to her. I was going to the university just at Dhuhr time and was able to join the congregation at the masjid which was on my way.
It's a daily race to outdo the negative with the positive. Frequently examining your actions lead to better habits that makes one a positive, pious, caring and contributing individual. While we may be examining our own deeds, the All-Knowing is the most Merciful and wants the best for us. A beautiful hadith qudsi narrated by Abu Huraira is that the Prophet (pbuh) said: Allah says: Whenever My slave intends to do a bad deed. (I say to the deeds recording angels): Do not record it against him until he (actually) commits it. If he has done so, write it down exactly as one in his record book. But if he refrains from it for My sake, write down this as a virtue in his favour. And when he intends to do a good deed, but does not actually do it, write it as a virtue for him And if he puts it into practice, write its reward equal to, from ten to seven hundred times (in his account). [Bukhari, Muslim, and Tirmidhi]
It has been made so easy for us to accumulate rewards provided our intention in our obligations, work and with others remains good. We may be able to fool ourselves with our intentions at times but we cannot fool our Creator. In another hadith reported by Muslim, it is narrated that the purity of intention is behind every deed. The hadith states that the following three types of cases will be decided on the Day of Judgement to enter the gates of hell; a martyr who fought to be called a brave warrior, a scholar who studied to gain worldly popularity, and a rich man who gave to be recognized as generous.
Although bad intentions that haven't been committed aren't recorded, the best of visible deeds cannot be fulfilled without the clearest of intention. And for those good intentions Allah bestows upon us multiple rewards. Allah's mercy is generous. It's human nature to err, however, if we are conscious of God's basic commands that keep harmony and balance with others and overall on Earth then we can keep our records in the positive. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that Allah said: My mercy has preceded My wrath. [Muslim]
Zeba Hashmi is a freelance writer and community volunteer.