You close your eyes and think of the ‘good’ deeds you did in the way of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). You gave sadaqah (optional charity), you gave a ride to someone to the masjid, shared a hadith and saw someone implementing it, helped out someone read the Qur’an today, visited a sick neighbor or called a relative and earned lots of du`aa’s from them.
And you smile and think, Alhamdulillah, you did something today, in sha’ Allah tomorrow you would do more.
And then a tiny voice says,’But what if in spite of all the good deeds I did, I still don’t please my God?’ And we worry; was it accepted or not? Let’s look at some conditions that we can fulfill before doing and after doing the good deeds:
1. Make Your Intention Clear before You Do the Deed
Ever wondered why the first hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari is “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended”? (Al-Bukhari)
It is because the whole criteria of acceptance is ‘intentions’ if we intend to do something for the sake of earning the pleasure of Allah rather than acclaim or the love of someone in the this life, then that’s all we will get. We should make a firm intention in our hearts and seek refuge from the Satan. This also helps us in doing our deeds with excellence, as we are doing it to please Allah and we will then give it our 100% in sha’ Allah.
2. Seek Forgiveness Every day
Intentionally or unintentionally, we all commit sin during our life.
And “Allah does not guide the wrongdoers…” (Aal `Imran 3:86)
So many times, we plan to do something good, but somehow are never able to do it. This inability to perform good deeds even though we intend to do them and are able to do them, is because of sins that we have committed knowingly and unknowingly.
And Allah says: “…except for those who repent after that and do righteous deeds. Verily, Allah id Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful.” (Aal `Imran 3:89)
So we should take the advice given to us by our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as he said:
“Turn you people in repentance in Allah and beg pardon of Him. I turn to Him in repentance a hundred times a day.” (Muslim)
Integrate istighfar (seeking forgiveness) into your daily dhikr (remembrance) of Allah.
3. Make Du’aa’ for Your Heart
.. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart. (Al-Anfal 8:24)
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) commented on this verse saying: ‘Allah prevents the believer from disbelief and the disbeliever from faith’. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
“There is no heart that is not between two of the Fingers of the Most Merciful. If He wills, He guides it and if He wills, He sends it astray.” (Ibn Majah)
The Prophet used to make the following du`aa’s for the protection and guidance of his heart:
“O You Who changes the hearts, make my heart firm on Your religion.” (Ibn Majah)
Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate now after You has guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own presence; for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure! (Aal `Imran 3:8)
4. Don’t Procrastinate
Don’t delay any action. The moment some good thought comes in your mind, just do it and make this du`aa’:
“O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.” (Bukhari)
5. Watch Yourself
The moment you start noticing the first twinge of laziness or the first time you ‘forget’ to do that good deed, know it is time for some serious istighfar and start reciting the du`aa’s for it right then.
6. Work Harder
Put in that extra effort to turn your good intentions into action. Keep that charity money in your hand when you walk into the masjid. Put a reminder to call your relative in your cell phone, sleep early to be able to wake up for Fajr. In sha’ Allah, Allah (Exalted be He) will acknowledge your efforts and reward you even more and make it easy for you!
7. Don’t Give up
No matter how tough it gets, even if that du`aa’ you are trying to learn might be too hard to memorize, don’t give up. Learn one line at a time. Whatever it takes, don’t give up. Ask Allah for help and don’t give up. Imagine you are on a mountain and there is a raging fire below and work because you know that however difficult it is, you have to climb up to save yourself.
8. Seek Refuge from the Satan
Seek refuge from the Satan whenever you feel the energy slipping. Recite Surah An-Nas (the 114th chapter of the Qur’an), Surat Al-Falaq (the 113rd chapter) and Surah Al-Ikhlas (the 112nd chapter) in the mornings followed by the prophetic morning du`aa’s. These are the essential vitamins that our hearts need to function properly throughout the day.
9. Thank Allah
When you feel the energy back in your heart, when getting up for Fajr, when memorizing the du`aa’ and when giving charity starts to seem easy after all: thank Allah for accepting your du`aa’ and thank Him a lot as Allah says:
O you who believe !! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah , if it is Him you worship. (Al-Baqarah 2:172)
May Allah guide us to see our mistakes and seek forgiveness for them, and may He make our hearts firm in His obedience, Aameen!