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Many Ways of Doing Good

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ يَمْشِي بِطَرِيقٍ إِذِ اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ وَخَرَجَ فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنَ الْعَطَشِ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنَ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي بَلَغَ مِنِّي فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَمَلأَ خُفَّهُ ثُمَّ أَمْسَكَهُ بِفِيهِ حَتَّى رَقِيَ فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ فَغَفَرَ لَهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِي الْبَهَائِمِ لأَجْرًا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ فِي كُلِّ ذَاتِ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ

Abu Hurayrah RA narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “A man was once walking on a path and he became very thirsty. He found a well into which he climbed and drank. When he emerged, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of thirst. He thought to himself: ‘This dog is experiencing a similar degree of thirst to what I had experienced.’ So, he again climbed down the well, filled his leather socks with water and holding it in his mouth, climbed back out of the well and gave it to the dog to drink. Allah appreciated this act of his and forgave him.” The Ṣaḥabah RA asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Are we rewarded even because of animals?” He replied: “There is reward for (showing kindness to) every living creature.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

In the narration of Bukhari, the Prophet (ﷺ) is reported to have said: “Allah forgave him in appreciation of this act and admitted him to Jannah”.

Another narration says: “Once a dog was going round the well and was about to die out of thirst. A prostitute of Banu Israel happened to see it. So she took off her leather sock and lowered it into the well. She drew out some water and gave the dog to drink. She was forgiven on account of her action”.

When Allah grants such a splendid reward for an act of kindness towards an animal, one wonders the true extent of Allah’s reward and kindness towards His close and beloved servants.

We are urged to carry out as many good deeds as we can, no matter how insignificant they may appear, as we have no idea which deed holds Allah’s special mercy.

Sincerity draws divine reward. The man’s action of giving water to the dog was sincere and devoid of ulterior motives, hence it attracted Allah’s forgiveness.

EASY GOOD DEED – Caring for Orphans

Helping orphans and widows is also a very meritorious act, as the Qur’an tells us:

وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْيَتَـٰمَىٰ ۖ قُلْ إِصْلَاحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ ۖ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَٰنُكُمْ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ ٱلْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ ٱلْمُصْلِحِ ۚ وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَعْنَتَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

They ask you about orphans. Tell them: “It is best to deal with them justly; you may become co-partners with them, after all they are your brethren; Allah knows who means harm and also who means their welfare. If Allah had wanted, He could be hard on you in this matter, surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.” [Baqarah 2: 220]

Sahl ibn Sa`d RA, a companion, has related:

أنا وكافل اليتيم في الجنة هكذا‏ وأشار بالسبابة والوسطى، وفرج بينهما‏.‏

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “I will be like this in Jannah with the person who takes care of an orphan”. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ raised his forefinger and middle finger by way of illustration. [Bukhari].

Guardianship of an orphan has been so much elevated by this hadith that it is difficult to conceive its merits. Who can imagine the merits of closeness to the Holy Prophet ﷺ which he indicated by his two fingers.

A pious predecessor has stated: At first, I was a big sinner. I once saw an orphan and treated him with such honour and love that perhaps even a father does not do so to his son. When I fell asleep at night, I dreamt that Angels were dragging me towards Hell in a very bad manner when all of a sudden, that orphan came in between and said, ‘leave him, so that I speak to my Rabb عَزَّوَجَلَّ about him’, but the Angels refused. Then a voice was heard: ‘Leave him! I have forgiven him due to the mercy he showed to this orphan.’ I woke up as soon as the dream ended. From that day onwards, I treat orphans with great dignity. [Mukashafatul-Quloob, p. 231]

We learn from this parable that showing good behaviour towards orphans can improve the afterlife in addition to the worldly life.

According to Abu Hurairah RA, our exalted Prophet ﷺ also explained that whether an orphan’s guardian is related to him, e.g., mother, grandfather, brother etc. or not, by looking after them, he shall be entitled to merit in both cases. [Riyad al Salihin. p. 118 quoted from Muslim]

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