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What are Good Deeds?

Good Deeds wherever they are mentioned, whether in the Quran or Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ they denote acts of obedience, worship, and nearness to Allah, which include actions of the heart such as sincerity of intention, correct belief that negates disbelief and polytheism, as well as physical deeds.

Therefore, good deeds vary and include all that Allah the Almighty has commanded in terms of obligatory and desirable acts of worship. If a Muslim performs them in obedience to his Lord and submission to His law, seeking Allah’s pleasure with it, he is from the people of righteous deeds.

The utmost part of righteous deeds is worship which its main principles are covered under the hadith of Jibril (AS), which are: prayer, zakat, fasting and pilgrimage, as they are among the pillars of Islam that it is not permissible to underestimate at all, neither to underestimate their importance.

Preaching Good

To urge others to goodness is also an act of great merit. If someone agrees to do good due to another man`s efforts, both shall earn equal merits and reward. Abu Mas’ud Ansari RA relates that our eternally blessed Prophet ﷺ has said:

‏من دل على خير فله مثل أجر فاعله‏ ‏

‘One who guides another to goodness shall earn as much merit as the doer of the good deed’ [Sahih Muslim].

If the guidance towards good is in the form of a collective effort, i.e. many persons are guided and consequently do good, the reward of the good deeds of all goes to the guide also (in addition to the rewards due to actual doers).

Abu Hurairah RA recounts that our Holy Prophet ﷺ said:

One who calls others to the right path of good deeds gets as much merits as those who act upon his guidance, and the merits of the doers are not reduced thereby. And one who calls others to do wrong, sins as much as the collective sins of those who follow him in sinning and their sins shall not be reduced at all” [Muslim].

While merit is vouchsafed when others respond to guidance, the very act of guidance to good, whether responded to or not, is one of great merit because the Hadith tells us that:

امر بالمعروف صدقة، و نهي عن المنكر صدقة

Giving order to do good is a form of Sadaqah and stopping (someone) from doing evil is also a form of Sadaqah [Muslim].

Hence no opportunity of giving good advice to and guiding others should be lost, but care should be taken to adopt a method for this which is not insulting or irksome to the other man. One should not criticize others in public nor should one adopt an overbearing anti proud stance, advice should be given in privacy and in a soft tune showing one’s sympathy, hence, one should choose a time for advice when the hearer is not worried. Wisdom should be exercised in this and the intention should be of doing good.

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