Every Muslim acknowledges that this life is temporary and the eternal life will begin in the hereafter. Allah has promised to those who believe and do righteous deeds a more bountiful, peaceful, and fulfilling life in the Hereafter; that is if we follow the principles of Islam accordingly and live our lives pleasing Allah and abstaining from sins. How can we work productively as an Ummah to achieve Allah’s Love in this life and the next? How can we work towards a permanent abode in Paradise?
This article is aimed to establish the various ways we can work efficiently to gain the favour of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and working for our Hereafter.
1. Maintaining Our Salah
We know as Muslims that one of the main acts which distinguishes a Muslim from a non-Muslim is Salah (prayer). The importance of prayer in Islam cannot be understated. Every Muslim is obliged by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to pray five times a day, however there are many Muslims who forget the importance of this obligation. Prayer is one of the most essential elements of obtaining a place in Paradise.
Our Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said what means:
“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” (Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, Sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol.1, p. 503.)
Accordingly, a Muslim must consider the consequences of neglecting prayer – will his other good deeds be accepted? Will his neglecting of prayers lead him to do more evil and bad deeds? Allah knows best, but we are told that prayer is obligatory and very important. We should ensure that we maintain our five daily prayers, performing them with enthusiasm, love, fear, hope, and sincerity.
There are many books available on how to perform prayer properly and how to attain kushoo; it is definitely worth investing some time and money into learning about this most essential act of ibadah.
“And I have chosen you, so listen to that which is inspired to you. Verily, I am Allah! There is none worthy of worship but I, so worship Me and offer prayer perfectly for My remembrance.” [20:13-14 translation].
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [51:56 translation]
Here are just a few tips:
• If you do find it hard to get up early in the morning – try setting up several alarms, placing your alarm clock away from you so you have to get up to turn it off, using an alarm that will play the adhan to wake you up (it’s difficult to not get up when you hear the name of Allah!)
• Before you raise your hands for the opening takbir, think and believe this is your last prayer because it very well could be. Pray each prayer as if it is your last, death can hit us at any time and we should always be aware of this fact.
• If you knew that you were going to die in the evening, you would be sure to not miss any prayers during that day and in fact you would pray sunnah and nafl (extra) prayers too. Let’s treat every day as if it is our last in regards to performing and cherishing our prayers. Our time of death is decreed by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, so it doesn’t matter if we are young and in good health walhamdulillah – death can come at any time.
• Read about the Hell Fire and consequences of missing prayer to have fear of missing a prayer
• If you have missed prayers, Allah tells us the best of sinners are those who repent; we are all in need of repentance, so let us turn to Allah and repent
• Treat your prayer as a special, relaxing time – have an enthusiastic prayer towards it and let it be the highlight of your day
2. Zakat (Obligatory Charity)
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has made it an obligation that every Muslim must give at least 2.5 per cent of their wealth each year to benefit the poor. The payment of zakat is an aspect of Islam which should not be overlooked as Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has commanded us to give to the less fortunate from what He has provided to us.
Charity is another aspect of Islam which deals with kind and righteous deeds to the less fortunate but charity in Islam also extends to the simplest of actions. Even a smile upon greeting your sister or brother can be an act of charity and giving. Our Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said that, “Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is an act of charity.” How Merciful is Allah and how beautiful is our religion that even a smile is counted as charity!
If you are generous and give charity, Allah will give you the same in return or more in this dunya and in the akhirah. Our Prophet (Peace be upon him) said that “The best charity is to satisfy a hungry person” and also that “No wealth (of a servant of Allah) is decreased because of charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2247).
Here are just a few tips:
• Next time you feel down and are meeting your brother or sister, try to remember that the more charity you do the better and give a big smile to them. It could just benefit you in the hereafter and count as one step closer to obtaining a place in Paradise bi’ithnillah.
• Maintain your obligations of Zakat
• Remember the importance placed on charity – take a closer look at Juz Amma in which are many ayaat linking righteousness and success with feeding the poor and caring for the orphan
• Remember that one of the people that will be under His Shade on the Day of Judgment is the person who gave charity so freely (and in private) that his left hand does not know what his right hand gave
• Be careful to give charity in a sincere manner and not for show as it is Allah who we should all try to please, not members of society.
3. Virtuous Deeds Establishing a Path to Paradise
Apart from the five pillars of Islam establishing good relationships with family and maintaining pure friendships can also help to promote good deeds. There are many ways in which we can carry out virtuous deeds which can please Allah as discussed in this article in relation to prayer and charity. Other righteous deeds include being kind to others, being hospitable to family, friends and neighbours, not backbiting or judging others. We should rush to perform good deeds before something hinders us from doing so. Working towards bettering ourselves will help us improve our eman. There are many things we need to do as Muslims to ensure that our eyes, mouth and body are in submission to Allah; we need to constantly be checking our heart and purifying it to gain a better life in the Hereafter.
Final thoughts to reflect on and take that step today to a better life in the hereafter ….
• In this life we go through many ‘ups and downs’ as Allah provides us with sustenance and loss and we should all accept what Allah has decreed for us and this acceptance affirms our faith in Allah and our acknowledgement that He is The All-Powerful.
• If you do suffer from any misfortune in life, remember to remain steadfast in your prayer as this will give you strength and Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) will give you relief in due time.
• If there is something certain in life, it is death – which has been decreed by Allah. Many of us have lost our loved ones to death and this should wake us up to the fact that one day we all will have to experience death. We should be ready for death and working with it in mind; if we don’t wake up to this reality, it may too late when death does arrive
• Try to make the necessary steps in your life today to work towards a better chance of obtaining Paradise and most importantly pleasing Allah by the way of Islam.
About the Author
Tasnim Nazeer is a Freelance Journalist/Reporter for BMG’s Global Islamic Finance Magazine. She has written for a variety of print and online publications including The Muslim News, CNN iReport Citizen Journalism, How to Books and she has her own parenting column on Mum and Muslim Magazine. As a mother of two toddlers she likes to write on topics of productivity in the family and remembrance of Allah.