Someone claimed: Allaah has to reward good deeds

Question: Someone was saying that if we do good deeds then we must be rewarded. I replied based on what I learnt from you that Allah is not obliged to do anything. We will go to Jannah by his mercy and not because Allah ‘has’ to do it. His response was Allah ‘has’ to do it based on the fact that He said so. He said there are abundant quotes regarding those who believe and do good deeds are rewarded with paradise. There is no quote in the Quran according to him that says whether you do good deeds or not all depends on God’s grace. So if Allah does not reward those with good deeds then there is a contra-diction and that cannot be so we have to be rewarded when we do good deeds.

Answer: The absolute rule of the religion is that Allaah is not obligated to do or leave out anything, because He has no needs. Scripture texts must be understood in light of one another. Yes, Aļļaah has promised those who do good deeds Paradise, but this is a truth with quite a few details attached. Below some of these details are mentioned, and at the end it is explained that all rewards from Allaah are a grace.

There are several conditions for reward of good deeds

First, one must be a Muslim to have one’s deeds accepted, as blasphemy invalidates all worship performed:

“وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ”

Meaning: “And whoever blasphemes against the correct belief – his deeds have been ruined.” (Al-Maa’idah, 5)

Blasphemy is to disbelieve in the Prophet Muĥammad’s teachings. Aļļaah says in the Qur’aan:

“وَمَنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَإِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ سَعِيرًا”

Meaning: “Whoever does not believe in Aļļaah and His messenger; verily Aļļaah has prepared for the blasphemers a fierce fire.” (Al-Fatĥ, 13)

We know from this statement that the blasphemer is anyone that does not believe in Aļļaah or His Messenger, and that this belief is an immediate obligation upon whomsoever does not have it. It is also stated in Al-Qur’aan:

“إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أُولَئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ”

Meaning: “Those who blaspheme, among the People of the Book (the jews and the christians) and the idol worshipers, will be in the Hell-Fire and dwell there endlessly. They are the worst of creation.” (Al-Bayyinah, 98)

Second, besides being a Muslim, to have one’s deeds accepted one must also have the intention of doing them for the sake of Aļļaah, as the Prophet (şalla Aļļaahu ˆalayhi-s-sallam) said, “deeds are according to their intentions,” i.e. the reward of deeds are according to their intentions.

Third, one must meet any other criteria for having one’s deeds accepted besides being Muslim and having a valid intention, such as having wuduu for prayer, etc.

Fourth, one must avoid things that abolishes previous good deeds, such as making people feel small because of what you have done for them.

Who goes to Paradise?

Aļļaah has promised Muslims who do good deeds and avoid big sins Paradise, as He said in the Qur’aan:

“إِنْ تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ”

Meaning: “if you, as a Muslim, avoid big sins you have been forbidden from, then Aļļaah will forgive the small sins.” (Al-Nisaa’ 4,31)

Some of those who commit big sins will be in Hell for some time, before entering Paradise, as Muslim narrated that the Prophet said:

“فَيَمُرُّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ كَطَرْفِ الْعَيْنِ وَكَالْبَرْقِ وَكَالرِّيحِ وَكَالطَّيْرِ وَكَأَجَاوِيدِ الْخَيْلِ وَالرِّكَابِ فَنَاجٍ مُسَلَّمٌ وَمَخْدُوشٌ مُرْسَلٌ وَمَكْدُوسٌ في نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ حتى إذا خَلَصَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ من النَّارِ”

“The complete believer <i.e. complete in practice> passes like the blink of an eye, and like lightning, and like wind, and like birds, and like strong horses and camels. So there are those that are saved, and those that are injured and then let go and then there are those that are thrown into Hell until all believers are out of the fire.”

Eventually all Muslims will be in Paradise, however, because Aļļaah said in the Qur’aan:

“إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ”

Which means: “Verily Aļļaah does not forgive shirk (that one has not repented from by entering Islam), but forgives what is lesser than that for whoever He wills.” (Al-Nisaa’ 4,48)

Shirk means literally: “associating partners with Him,” but it has been mentioned earlier that all non-Muslims will be in Hell forever. We know then that what is meant here by “shirk” is any blasphemy.

All of the rewards are a grace from Him and the punishments a justice.

That being said, one must not say, “Aļļaah has to do it,” because this phrase implies obligation, and Aļļaah does not have obligations, as He has no creator, and no judge. Instead one says, “Aļļaah is not obligated to do anything. The things mentioned above regarding who will be rewarded or punished must come true however, because Aļļaah said that they will be so, and it is impossible that He should lie. In other words, reward for some good deeds is both a grace and a must. It is a must because the future is already predestined, not because it is an obligation upon Aļļaah. It is impossible that what is predestined should change, because then it would not be predestined.”

Further to the fact that rewards are a grace from Aļļaah, Al-Bukħaariyy narrated through Abuu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: “Your deeds will not put you in Paradise.” They asked: “Not even for you, O Messenger of Aļļaah?” He answered: “No, not even for me, except that Aļļaah will cover me with grace and mercy.” (Şaĥiiĥ Al-Bukħaariyy No 5349, 5/2147; ˆUmdatu-l-Qaarii 21/227)

What this means is that Aļļaah is not obliged to do anything, and that your deeds do not influence Aļļaah or anything else. It does not mean that you do not need to do anything. It means that if you do not, then this indicates that Aļļaah has not willed good for you, and this is a sign that you are heading for loss in the Hereafter. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiy states: “the deeds of creation are created by Aļļaah and acquired (committed) by creation.” Aļļaah says in the Qur’aan:

“وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَقْدُورًا”

Meaning: “All created beings are predestined by Aļļaah.” (Al-‘Aĥzaab, 38)

This means that all things, has been specified and created exactly how they are to be by Aļļaah:

“وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ”

Meaning: “Aļļaah created you and what you do.” (Aş-Şaaffaat. 96)

7 Responses to Someone claimed: Allaah has to reward good deeds

  1. Amir says:

    The shortest answer I learned about this :

    “It was never Wajib on Allah to promise Jannah for belivers or Jahannam for disbelievers.”

    Ayadakumullah ya Shaykh Abu Adam.

  2. Sam Kanj says:

    Sheik,

    Of course if someone said ‘Allah has to reward good deeds’ with the intention to mean that Allah is obligated to do it because He mentioned He will, this persons judgement would be kufur.

    But if the person said ‘Allah has to reward good deeds’ with the intention to mean that because we know Allah has revealed that good deeds will be rewarded, then this will certainly happen (no obligation was intended in their words). In this case we teach them not to use this phrase (‘has to’), as ones words are misleading. Is this correct?

  3. Saleem says:

    Asaalam’alikum brother,

    Should the word “pre-destined” be replaced with “pre-known” since we do have some control our destiny, like the choices we make every day. Some things we do not have control of i.e. male or femal, death, etc.

    Just like to hear your thoughts on the wording.

    Jazakallah khair

    • No, it is pre-known because it is predestined. If it was not predestined it would not be known. Everything is predestined and created by Allaah. Our choices are choices in the sense that we are not forced. For example, I chose to write this message, no one forced me to write it. However, it is Allaah that created this choice in me and the act and thinking of the writing. This is not seen or felt, but known by rational proofs. See the table of contents for more.

  4. MSheik says:

    Assalamualekum brothers.

    Please help me understand as I feel I am in intense doubt and do not want to go astray.

    As you mention above, if ‘Allah created this choice in me and the act and thinking and writing’ (replace ‘act and thinking and writing’ with anything else that you want), then why would we be rewarded/punished for a particular deed of ours? As the deed in itself was predestined?

    So if a deed was predestined, AND also, like you say, Allah is not obligated to reward/punish us for whatever deed, then what would be the meaning of a reward/punishment(but that it is left to Allah’s will)? So how do we draw the connection between our actions and how Allah decides to deal with us for our actions? And to me, then it feels like both(my actions & the end result) are entirely in Allah’s hands AND also independent of each other. What is the role we(as the individual) play then, except that we are expected to do good so as not to earn His wrath? So why then are we expected to do something, when that ‘something’ has already been pre-destined for us?

    Please please please help me understand.

    • Msheikh says: As you mention above, if ‘Allah created this choice in me and the act and thinking and writing’ (replace ‘act and thinking and writing’ with anything else that you want), then why would we be rewarded/punished for a particular deed of ours? As the deed in itself was predestined?

      Answer: Your acts are committed by you; it is you that do them. Allaah, however, created them in you. These acts of yours do not actually create subsequent punishment or reward. Rather, Allaah has decreed that some of the people who are sinful will be punished, other will be forgiven. No non-Muslim, however, will be forgiven. The connection between disobedience and punishment is something that Allaah created, there would otherwise be no link between them.

      Msheikh says: So if a deed was predestined, AND also, like you say, Allah is not obligated to reward/punish us for whatever deed, then what would be the meaning of a reward/punishment (but that it is left to Allah’s will)?

      Answer: It is all by Allaah’s will. However, He has told us that there is punishment for sins, so we know that there will be such punishment. Not because it is an obligation for Him to punish, but because this is what He has decreed.

      Msheikh says: So how do we draw the connection between our actions and how Allah decides to deal with us for our actions?

      Answer: As stated above, it is a connection that Allaah has decreed.

      Msheikh says: And to me, then it feels like both (my actions & the end result) are entirely in Allah’s hands AND also independent of each other.

      Answer: Not independent, because Allaah has created a connection between them.

      What is the role we (as the individual) play then, except that we are expected to do good so as not to earn His wrath?

      Answer: We are ordered to obey, and threatened with punishment if we do not. If we obey, we are promised reward.

      Msheikh says: So why then are we expected to do something, when that ‘something’ has already been pre-destined for us?

      Answer: We are ordered to obey, as stated earlier, and if you do not, you are threatened with punishment. If you commit a sin, then this is a bad sign, unless you repent. That is why you should engage in acts of obedience. Yes, what you do is predestined, but the future is unseen, completely hidden to you. You do not know what you will do in the future. You only know what Allaah has willed for you to do after you do something. In other words, if you decided to do nothing, since your future is predestined, then this is what has been predestined for you, and it is a bad sign. If instead you focused on engaging in as much obedience as possible, and you did that, then it is a good sign. The unknown future is not something that should make you sit and do nothing.

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