The Desire to do Good Deeds


Sometimes a desire springs up in a man’s heart to vie with a man who is doing some good deed, but at the same time he begins to feel that he is not equal to that task. He is not worthy of the sublime deed the other fellow is doing. When such discouraging ideas deter a man from virtuous deeds he should act upon the hadith which states seek Allah taala’s help and do not admit (in you) disability for the deed. Have full reliance on Allah Taala who will make the deed easy for you.

It is related about the righteous men that they offer the Tahajjud (Qiyamul Layl, night prayer) salat and make supplications before Allah at that blessed time of the night. You may also feel a desire to offer the Tahajjud salat and reap its blessings, but at the same time your weakness and inability keep you away from this task. In such a situation you should not surrender yourself to such discouraging thoughts, but should pray to Allah Taala hopefully that He may bestow upon you the necessary courage and strength to offer the Tahajjud salat and reap its blessings.

When a man prays to Almighty Allah for help to do some good deed his prayer is sure to bring him one of the two alternative gains. Either Allah Taala will help the man to perform the deed, or He shall grant him the reward for the deed. This is proved by a hadith.

The Noble Prophet (salallahu ’alayhi wasalam) has said in a hadith:

If a man prays with heart-felt sincerity for the honour of martyrdom, Allah grants him, by His mercy, that honour, even if he dies (at home) on his bed.

My respected father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahmatullah ‘alayh) once related this incident of an ironsmith:

After the death of Hadrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak (rahmatullah ‘alayh) someone saw him in a dream [1] and asked him what happened to him after his death. In reply he said that Allah Taala was very kind to him, He forgave him and granted him a status which he hardly deserved. He added that he could, however, not get the status which was granted to the ironsmith who lived in the house opposite his.

On getting up from his sleep the person who had the dream felt a desire to find out who that ironsmith was and what righteous deed he did to supersede Hadrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak (rahmatullah ‘alayh) in the hereafter. This man then called at the house of the ironsmith and related his dream to the wife of the deceased ironsmith and asked her about her husband’s deeds by virtue of which he superseded Hadrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak.

The wife replied to this question, saying: My husband did not devote himself to any special acts of worship, yet I saw in him two notable acts:

As soon as he heard the first words of the adhan (call to prayer) Allahu akbar, he would stop his work without a moments delay, even without completing the stroke for which he had raised up the hammer. He would then leave the smithy and prepare himself for the prayer.

The other notable act I noticed in him is that a pious man, Abdullah ibn Mubarak (rahmatullah ‘alayh), lived in the house in front of our house who used to pray on the roof of his house the whole night. My husband used to envy that pious saint and ardently desired that if Almighty Allah had granted him the necessary freedom of time he would worship Allah like that pious saint.

Hearing this account, the man exclaimed: It is this sincere regret which placed the ironsmith at a status higher than that of Hadrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak.

After relating this event, Mufti Muhammad Shafi used to say: This is the rare feeling of regret which sometimes raises a man to an unimaginable height of superiority. So when a man comes to know that such a person is engaged in doing this righteous deed he should also entertain a desire in his heart to be able to do the same deed.


Transcribed and translated speech of Mufti Taqi Usmani [as compiled in the book “An Outlook on Life” pg 18-20]


[1] It is possible for people to meet and speak to the dead in their dreams, Imam ibn Qayyim has mentioned this in his Kitab ar-Ruh and he has also narrated many incidents where this has happened to the pious. However it must be noted that dreams cannot be taken as a source of evidence for law.

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  1. December 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm

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