Someone claimed: Allaah has to reward good deeds

April 1, 2009

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)


Answers regarding the issue of predestination

June 11, 2008

A long answer to several arguments against predestination have been posted as a comment here.


Q & A: Someone asked, “Is it just for Allah to make one a Muslim and reward him and one a Hindu and punish him?”

June 2, 2008

Rashid wrote: Consider this. A person is born in a purely Islamic environment, he has been taught Islam from the very start of his life and he has been brought up in the same atmosphere. There is another person who is born in a pure Hindu/Christian environment (say in a pandit’s home), he has been taught Hinduism/Christianity from the very start of his life and he has been brought up in the same atmosphere.

Now, there are people who argue that it is in the psychology of a person that it is very difficult for him to deny and take a stand against something he has been believing from his childhood. And it is also a fact that there are greater number of born Muslims than revert Muslims similarly there are a greater number of born Hindus/Christians than converts. If this is the case, the Hindu/Christian is put into hell for eternity and Muslim into Heaven for eternity, if they die with the same faith. Is this justice with both of them? What was the fault of Hindu/Christian for not being born in an Islamic environment and what had the Muslim done for he got such a big prize!

Answer: Al-Bukhari narrated through Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: “Your deeds will not put you in Paradise.” They asked: “Not even for you, O Messenger of Allah?” He answered: “No, not even for me,
except that Allah will cover me with grace and mercy.” (Şahih Al-Bukhaariy No 5349, 5/2147; `Umdat-al-Qaari 21/227)

What this means is that Allah is not obliged to do anything, and thatyour deeds do not influence Allah. Good deeds do not earn you the right to go to Paradise; it is a grace from Allah to enter. It means also that if you do not do good deeds, then this indicates that Allah has not willed good for you, and this is a sign that you are heading for loss in the Hereafter. For some people He has made it easier to do good than others. For some people he has created the ability to overcome difficult obstacles to do good, others not. Aļļaah has created some people to go to Hell, and some to go to Paradise. This is not injustice, for Allah does not have a creator or a judge that He is accountable to, and what He creates is fully His to do with as He wills. Allah said:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون
Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiya, 23).

I have mentioned it elsewhere, but it is useful to recount the debate between Al-Qadi `Abdul Jabbaar of the Mu`tazilite sect, and the great Imam of the Sunnis of the time, Abu Ishaq Al-Isfaraayini . When the two met, `AbdulJabbaar said, “Exalted is Allah, who transcends the obscene.” (While this is a sound expression, what he meant to say was that Allah does not create evil. This is blasphemous, because Muslims must believe that Allah is the only creator, as it is stated in the Quran that He created everything, and that no one wills anything except by His Will.)

Imam Al- Isfaraayini (418 AH) realized what he had implied and responded, “Exalted is Allah, who nothing happens in His dominion but by His Will.” The Mu`tazilite then made another attempt and said, “Does our Lord like to be disobeyed?” Al-Isfaraayini quickly replied, “Could He be disobeyed against His Will?” Upon that `Abdul Jabbaar tried again to defeat his adversary and said, “If God denied me guidance, then ruled that I be destroyed for it, has He treated me fairly?” Al-Isfaraayini calmly answered, “If He denied you something that was yours, then He would have been unfair, but if it was not rightfully yours, then Allah does with His creation what He wills.” `Abdul Jabbaar fell silent, and could not argue further. After all, Allah is the true owner of all creation. (V.4/ P. 261-262. Tabaqaat-al-Shafi`iyyat-al-Kubra).

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Qadari Contention: How can it be that Allah has willed some to do bad and go to Hell?

May 9, 2008

Qadari Contention: You say that Allah has willed some to do bad and go to Hell for it, but I have never read that one of Allah’s Attributes or Names was cruelty.

Sunni Response: And it isn’t, because whatever Allah does with His creation, He does so with a full right. The word “cruelty” implies injustice. Allah has created some humans to be disobedient, and some to be obedient, then He punishes some of the former. When you say that it would be cruelty, you are making yourself a judge of Allah’s action, merely based on your mind. This is the problem with the Mu`tazilah; they gave the mind a much larger role in religion than it can justifiably take. It is like when Ibliis questioned Allah for giving Adam a higher rank. Yours is a judgment that draws analogy between creation and the Creator (saying “if a human did that, then…”). One cannot judge Allah in human terms, or any other terms for that matter. Aļļaah said:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون

Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiyaa’, 23).

Clearly then, to make a judgment of Allah’s actions is nothing less than a rebellion.

Al-Bukhaariyy narrated that the Prophet said:

إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ فِي بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا ثُمَّ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ مَلَكًا فَيُؤْمَرُ بِأَرْبَعٍ بِرِزْقِهِ وَأَجَلِهِ وَشَقِيٌّ أَوْ سَعِيدٌ فَوَاللَّهِ إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ أَوْ الرَّجُلَ يَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا غَيْرُ بَاعٍ أَوْ ذِرَاعٍ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا غَيْرُ ذِرَاعٍ أَوْ ذِرَاعَيْنِ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا


“Verily one of you is gathered in his mothers stomach for forty days, then he is a blood-clot for forty days, then a piece of meat for forty days, then Allah sends an angel ordered with four words: his provision, his end, happy or miserable (1). By Allah, verily one of you may be committing the deeds of the people of Hell, until he is only an arm’s length away, when (it is as if) his destined end overwhelms him (2) and he starts to perform the works of the people of Paradise, and enters it. And verily one of you may be committing the deeds of the people of Paradise, until he is only an arm’s length away, when (it is as if) his destined end overwhelms him and he starts to perform the works of the people of Hell, and enters it.”

This is why one should always ask Allah to make one die as a Muslim.

Notes on the hadith:

1. Some said that it is four matters, and that the fourth matter is gender, but that it is well known from other narrations of the same hadith, so it was left out in this one. Others said that the fourth matter is his actions, but that this is understood from the context. (Umdat-al-Qaari).

2. Everything is always according to predestination, no one can ever do against it, so this is a figurative expression.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji