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Islam enjoins virtue and righteousness in all aspects of life. There is great emphasis on the importance of righteousness for every believer in Islam. The only way a believer can be superior to another Muslim is through his righteousness, which is why righteous deeds are of paramount importance in Islam.
Believers from across the globe are united purely by their belief in the One true God and adherence to the teachings of Islam. No Muslim is superior to another by virtue of his racial identity, financial status, or physical appearance. It is only one’s righteousness and piety that renders him superior to his fellow believer.
What the Quran says about righteous deeds in Islam
Allah tells us in Surah Al-Hujurat that He made mankind into nations and tribes only to know each other. Indeed, the most esteemed people in Allah’s sight are those who are most upright. Righteous deeds are the key to pleasing Allah. Hence, Islam is a universal religion, which unites people from all races, countries, ethnicities, etc.
What the Sunnah says about righteous deeds in Islam
We find the same teaching regarding righteousness in the Prophetic Sunnah. In the final sermon of the Prophet (PBUH), he denounced all forms of prejudice and declared righteousness to be the only reason for one’s superiority. He stated that our Lord is One, and we all originate from the same father. Arabs are not superior to non-Arabs. Likewise, non-Arabs are not superior to Arabs. White people are not superior to black people, nor are black people superior to white people. The only way in which one is superior to another is on the basis of righteousness.
Alleviating the grief of a Muslim is among the righteous deeds in Islam
Alleviating grief is a way of assisting a fellow believer, through which one gets Allah’s Help. At times, people find themselves on the verge of being overwhelmed with hardship and turn to Allah for help, which Allah subsequently sends in unexpected ways. In many cases, help arrives through a fellow believer.
Alleviating the grief of a fellow Muslim by easing his hardship or plight is a noble deed. Allah appreciates this righteous act and will reward the doer of such a noble deed in the Hereafter. Allah will alleviate the grief, fright, and suffering this person experiences on the Day of Reckoning.
Relieving the hardships of those in debt is a good deed
Being in debt is a hardship that can have a seriously detrimental effect on a person’s mental state. It can cause immense stress and anxiety to those who owe something to others. It can even cause the person who is in debt to feel close to despair. Relieving such a person of his debt doesn’t only relieve him of a financial burden, but it also eases his stress and improves his mental state.
We can assist a person who is in debt in a number of ways. One can give additional time to the debtor, or simply forgive his debt, freeing him of the obligation of repayment. Alleviating the debt of someone who is struggling to repay it is a deed that Allah loves. Allah says that he will relieve the one who performs this virtuous deed of his hardships in this world and the afterlife.
Hiding the faults of a Muslim is one of the righteous deeds in Islam
Believers should hide the shortcomings of their fellow Muslims. Sadly, it is all too common to see people freely gossiping about the faults of others. People often make fun of others and openly criticize them for their shortcomings instead of concealing their wrongdoings as Islam tells them to.
In Islam, Muslims must focus on their own flaws and not those of others. Our focus should be on rectifying our own shortcomings rather than revealing the faults of other people and openly condemning them. One who hides the faults of his fellow believer will have his own faults hidden by Allah.
Allah will help the one who helps his fellow Muslim
Helping a fellow Muslim is regarded as a highly virtuous deed in Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) taught believers to love for their fellow Muslims what they love for themselves. If Muslims, in general, were to aid each other, their society would benefit greatly. Hence, the number of people suffering from poverty would reduce to a massive extent. Every Muslim should try to help his fellow believers. Allah will reward those who do so by helping them.
Upholding the ties of kinship is a righteous deed
Upholding the ties of kinship is one of the most noble deeds in Islam. It is one of the most excellent deeds that we can perform in order to attain closeness to Allah. As mentioned in a Sahih hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, if one wishes to have greater provision and longer life, he should uphold the ties of kinship.
Therefore, it is imperative to be forgiving and patient with our kin and always treat them well. We should show good manners and always support and help our relatives whenever they are in need of it. We should always stay in touch and never cut off our kin.
Seeking knowledge that is beneficial is a good deed
Seeking useful knowledge is a good deed that is highly rewarding. In a hadith in Sahih Muslim, Allah tells us that He will make the way to Heaven easy for one who follows a path to seek knowledge. Many people seek knowledge, yet their knowledge ends up devoid of blessings. Thus, it is essential that Muslims seek knowledge with pure intentions and sincerity.
Allah might facilitate an easy path to Paradise for the believers who seek knowledge in a number of ways. He may guide His servants to Heaven by virtue of beneficial knowledge. Allah may enable them to easily benefit from their knowledge and stay on the straight path that takes them to Paradise. The crossing of the bridge over Hell to reach Heaven may also be made easy.
Gathering in the mosque is a noble deed
It is a highly virtuous act to gather in the mosque for noble purposes. Among these righteous gatherings in mosques are those that are for reciting the Quran and listening to it. The same applies to gatherings in which believers study the Quran, as well as lectures and lessons. As mentioned in a hadith in Sahih Muslim, these honorable gatherings are blessed with tranquillity. They are enveloped with mercy and surrounded by angels. Furthermore, Allah mentions them to the ones who are in His presence.
Lineage does not help one who neglects the performance of good deeds
Righteous conduct, virtuous deeds, and noble actions are vital for one who desires the rewards that take one to Heaven. If one neglects righteousness and the performance of good deeds, his lineage will not make up for his shortcomings in this regard. His family status and noble ancestry will be unable to avail him to any extent. This is because Islam only holds one accountable for his own actions.
The emphasis on the importance of performing good deeds in Islam shows how it is designed for the overall benefit of society. If good deeds prevail, the community will have more goodness and less evil. People will live in greater harmony, and disputes and enmity will be far lesser.
Islam stamps out all forms of prejudice, racism, and discrimination by prioritizing the performance of virtuous deeds over all the various aspects of one’s identity. It encourages humility and prevents complacency in the heart of a believer. Islam’s noble approach to the life of this world ensures that adherence to its teachings benefits Muslims in both the world as well as the Hereafter.
Islam’s concept of a person’s superiority being determined based on his or her piety and righteousness ensures that believers in every nation feel every bit as welcome in the religion as those who are from Arabia, where the final revelation originated. Whichever place a Muslim is from, whether he is rich or poor, all he needs to concern himself with are his deeds. Allah looks at one’s actions, not his appearance, race, country, or wealth.