Entering Paradise: Grace or Good Deeds

Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Could
you please explain a bit about Allah’s grace
on the believers when He lets them enter
Paradise? Also, I would like to know how to
get the maximum benefit from the lessons of
fasting after Ramadan. Jazakum Allah
khayran.

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa
Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most
Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and
peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, we would like to thank you for
the great confidence you place in us, and we implore
Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render
our work for His Sake.

In an attempt to answer your question, we cite some words of a khutbah delivered by Dr. Muzammil H.Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of
North America, at ISOC on 4 Shawwal 1424/ 28
November 2003:
“Almighty Allah says: “And We shall strip away
all rancor from their hearts – beneath them will
be rivers flowing – and they shall say: ‘Praise
be to Allah, Who guided us on to this. Had it
not been for Allah Who granted us guidance,
we would not have found guidance. Surely, the
Messengers of our Lord did come with Truth.’
Then a voice will cry to them, ‘Behold! This is
the Paradise which you are made to inherit as a
reward for your deeds.’” (Al-A`raf: 43)

In this verse there is a beautiful description of the
people of Paradise. Before they enter their blessed
abode, Allah will purify them from any lurking sense
of rancor or grudge that they might have had
against each other. Then He will grant them a most
happy place to live. Then there is a wonderful
dialogue that will take place. They will praise Allah’s
grace. They will not boast of their virtues or good
deeds that led them to Paradise. However, Allah on
the other hand will appreciate their goodness and
will say that whatever they are receiving is not some
crumbs of charity from Him, but this is a due
recompense because of their own good deeds. This
is a kind of mutual appreciation and gratitude
between the human and divine that is the hallmark
of this verse.
Islam teaches that believers should do good deeds, but they should never say that we are purchasing Jannah by our good deeds. Jannah or eternal salvation is only because of Allah’s grace and love.
However, Allah also does not say in the Qur’an, “You
do not deserve Jannah,” but [rather], “I shall still
give it to you because I love you.” Allah always says
to the believers, “I shall give you the eternal bliss
because I am willing to forgive your sins if you turn
to Me; I appreciate your good deeds and I honor
your good efforts.”
We have just completed a full month of intensive
worship and devotion. We fasted, prayed, read the
Qur’an, gave zakah and sadaqah, and did many good
deeds. This should not make us boast that we are
virtuous people, but we should be thankful that Allah
guided us to all this. It was due to His mercy and
guidance that we were able to do all these good
deeds and if He accepts these things from us, then it
will be also due to His grace and love that we shall
find His blessings in this life and in the life to come.
True and sincere worship (`ibadah) creates
humbleness and it always leads to more acts of
goodness and virtues. If our Ramadan was a
successful month of learning, then the effects of
these good deeds will be with us and will remain for
a long time. It is said:
The recompense of a good deed is a good deed after
it and the recompense of a bad deed is a bad deed
after it.
To know that our good deeds in Ramadan were
accepted by Allah, we must measure our actions
after Ramadan. If our actions and our behavior were
improved, then it will mean that the training of the
month was successful. If we go back to the same
habits and life style that we had before Ramadan
and we see no significant change and improvement
in our personal life and interpersonal relations, then
it means that our efforts were not very successful. A
believer’s life must improve every day. After
Ramadan let us pay attention to the following:
1. Patience: Fasting in Ramadan taught us patience
(sabr). It taught us self-discipline. Now we have to
use this training. We avoided some permissible
things during fasting; now we know how to control
ourselves and protect ourselves from unlawful
(haram) things.
2. Control over passions and desires: Fasting
taught us to control our passions and desires. Now
we have to use this training and keep ourselves
always pure. We must not be the slaves of our lusts
and desires. We should not obey our desires, but we
must obey Allah all the time.
3. Control over bad temper: Fasting taught us to
control bad temper. It taught us how to avoid bad
words. Now we have to use this training. We must
not quarrel with others or use bad language. We
should be a gentle and honorable people all the time.
4. Charity: Fasting taught us charity. We paid our
zakah and our sadaqah in this month. Now we know
how to be good, kind, and generous to those who are
in need. Now we know how to help good causes
always.
5. Supererogatory Prayers: During Ramadan we
prayed Tarawih during the night. Now we should be
regular in our daily Prayers. We should perform
them on time and in a proper manner. We woke up
for sahur every night. Now we can get up for
Tahajjud Prayer. We should try to pray Tahajjud as
much as possible.
6. Regular Visits to the masjid: During Ramadan
we came to the masjid every day. Now we should
make a habit to pray at the masjid as much as we
can. We have our Friday which is known as the
sayyid al-ayyam (the best day of the week). We
should not neglect the Friday Prayer. We should also
take care of the masjid. Those who come to the
masjid should be also those who maintain the
masjid.
7. Reading of the Qur’an: During Ramadan we
read the Qur’an and we listened to the Qur’an. Now
we should make a resolution to read the Qur’an
every day. We should read one juz’ or half a juz’
every day. We should read with translation and try
to reflect on the Words of Allah.
8. Family gathering: During Ramadan we spent
more time with our families. We ate together and we
prayed together. Now we should keep this habit. The
families that eat together and pray together stay
together. We should have good relations with our
spouses. We should pay more attention to our
children and our youth. We should give them more
time and continue to help them to learn the
principles and values of Islam. We must pay
attention to their Islamic education and training.
9. Concern for the Ummah: During Ramadan we
prayed to Allah to help the Muslims of Palestine,
Chechnya, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan and the
Muslims who are suffering in many other lands. We
should continue to know more about them and do
whatever we can to relieve their suffering and to
help bring justice to them.
10. More good deeds: During Ramadan we did a
lot of good things. Now we should be in the habit of
doing good deeds all the time. The purpose of
`ibadah is to make us Allah’s servants. Allah’s
servants are the best human beings. Our challenge
is to become the best human beings that we are
supposed to be.Source

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