Performing Deeds for Hereafter to Reach Worldly Benefits (For example: Giving alms to have more provisions)
All praises be to Allah, plentiful and fine praises, full with graces, as what He likes and He pleases of. O Allah, bestow upon our prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions, Your peace and blessings.
What mentioned in the title above is the reality of the believers today. They are keen to perform voluntary fasts, such as the Monday and Thursday fast and the others, but merely to achieve a prime health as suggested by some people. The other ones love to spend in charity, but in order to get more sustenance and to achieve more success in their career. The same case happened to those who are eager to get up in the middle of the night to perform the night prayers, only to strengthen their body. Those are good deeds, for sure. But in fact, their intentions are not purely for Allah, but they perform those deeds, merely to get worldly benefits and advantages. If so, we are afraid that they are included among the humbled men, as mentioned in verses below.
Hoping to Gain Worldly Benefits by performing pious deeds, will indeed, cause a terrible loss
Allah -may He be Exalted and Glorified- declared:
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ (15) أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآَخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“Those who merely seek the present world and its adornment, We fully recompense them for their work in this world, and they are made to suffer no diminution in it concerning what is their due. They are the ones who shall have nothing in the Hereafter except Fire. (There they shall come to know) that their deeds in the world have come to naught, and that whatever they have done is absolutely useless.” (Hud: 15-16)
The meaning of “those who merely seek the present world” is the ones who desires the worldly joys by doing hereafter deeds.
While the meaning of “its adornment” is wealth and descendants.
Those who perform such deeds, will be: fully recompensed them for their work in this world, and they are made to suffer no diminution in it concerning what is their due.
It means that they will be recompensed with the worldly benefits they desired, not because they have done the right or decent thing, but to make them to be complacent and thus fall into the doom, due to their wrong doing. And they will not suffer any diminution in their worldly benefits, meaning that they will be endowed perfectly.
The world might be in their hand. By performing lots and lots of righteous deeds, one might becomes healthier, getting more provisions, and better career. And those are real, and Allah will not decrease it according to His decision. But what will they get in the Hereafter?
Look at the next decree of Allah, which can be translated as, :”They are the ones who shall have nothing in the Hereafter except Fire”. This is the end result for those who perform righteous deeds to merely achieve worldly benefits. They might whatever they wish for in this world, but they wont get rewards in the Hereafter since they did not wish for it in their deeds. Remember, the rewards in the Hereafter will be bestowed upon those who are willing to have it. Allah the Exalted decreed:
وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الْآخِرَةَ وَسَعَىٰ لَهَا سَعْيَهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُم مَّشْكُورًا
“But he who desires the Hereafter and strives for it in the manner he should, and is a true believer, his striving will come to fruition. “ (The Night Journey: 19)
It will be said to them: “There they shall come to know that their deeds in the world have come to naught, and that whatever they have done is absolutely useless.” This tragic loss happened due to their insincerity to wish for Allah’s face in their deeds, thus those deeds become useless in the Hereafter. (To see the explanation of this verse, refer to the book titled ‘I’aanatul Mustafid, 2/92-93)
Indeed, there are so many people who are standing in their nights praying, fasting the voluntary fast, generous in giving charities and alms, only to gain worldly wealth, provisions, longer life, and so on.
Ibn ‘Abbas -may Allah be pleased with him- said, interpreting chapter Hud verses 15-16 , he said:
“Indeed, one who do good in order to be seen (riya’), they only want to get the rewards of their deeds, but they ask for immediate rewards in this world.”
Ibn Abbas also said:
“Whoever fast, pray, or performing night prayer but he simply wish for the world, Allah will repay him with: Allah will bestow upon him the world he’s looking for. But his deeds will be useless (gone) in the Hereafter later on because he just wish for the world. In the Hereafter, he will be among the losers.”
Similar statements with Ibn Abbas’ also stated by Mujahid, Adh Dhohak, and others.
“Whoever aims for the world, it is the world that he seeks with his righteous deeds, will be rewarded with goodness in this world. But in the Hereafter, he wont get anything in returns. As for the believer who is sincere in his worships (only to wish for Allah’s face), he will get rewards in this world and in the Hereafter.” (Refer to ‘Tafseer Al Qur’an Al ‘Azhim, in tafsir/interpretation of chapter Hud, verses 15-16)
Performing deeds only for worldly benefits, Will Not Be Rewarded with Anything in the Hereafter
Why one should worship and perform righteous deeds merely to get the worldly benefits? If he or she perform the deeds only to gain worldly benefits, indeed, they will be rewarded by such. If his or her night prayers, monday and thursday fast, were merely done for the sake of the world, they will surely get what they want, without any diminution. But what will they get in the Hereafter? Verily, they will be the losers, they wont get any reward in the Hereafter, since their deeds were done to seek after the world.
But what about one who performs righteous deeds sincerely, who means with his or her deeds, only Allah’s face?
In the Hereafter, they will get double folds of rewards, as Allah the Exalted decreed:
مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الْآخِرَةِ نَزِدْ لَهُ فِي حَرْثِهِ وَمَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِن نَّصِيبٍ
“Whoever seeks the harvest of the Hereafter, We shall increase for him his harvest, and whoever seeks the harvest of this world, We shall give him thereof; but he will have no share in the Hereafter.” (The Consultation: 20)
Ibn Katsir – may Allah have mercy on him- interpreted the verse by saying that:
“Whoever seeks the harvest of the Hereafter, We shall increase for him his harvest, means that We will increase our rewards for him due to his aim (the Hereafter). We will also add our rewards for him, by rewarding every one of his goodness with ten until 700 folds, until unlimited numbers of rewards according to Allah’s will… But if he aims for the world without any intention to get the reward in the Hereafter, Allah wont give him anything in the Hereafter, and will give to him the worldly benefits he is after. And if Allah wishes, he will not get either the worldly benefits or the the rewards of the Hereafter. This kind of person perhaps will be glad with his wishes, but he could have missed the Hereafter and the world altogether.”
Ats Tsauri said, from Mughiroh, from Abul ‘Aliyah, from Ubai Ibn Ka’ab – may Allah be pleased with him- he said,
بشر هذه الأمة بالسناء والرفعة والدين والتمكين في الأرض فمن عمل منهم عمل الآخرة للدنيا لم يكن له في الآخرة من نصيب
“This nation has been given glad tidings, with nobility, position, religion, and power on earth. Whoever from this nation performs a righteous deed which suppose to be aimed for the Hereafter, to gain worldly benefits, will not get any part in the Hereafter.” (Narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban in his book, Al Hakim and Al Baihaqi. Al Hakim said that the narration is valid. Sheikh Al Albani classed this hadith as sahih, in his work “Shahih At Targhib wa At Tarhib”)
There is also a narration from Al Baihaqi, that the messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said,
بشر هذه الأمة بالتيسير والسناء والرفعة بالدين والتمكين في البلاد والنصر فمن عمل منهم بعمل الآخرة للدنيا فليس له في الآخرة من نصيب
“This nation was given glad tidings with ease, position, and nobility, with their religion and strength upon this earth, and also will be given aids. Whoever performs deeds of Hereafter to seek for worldly benefits, he wont get any thing in the Hereafter.”
Signs of someone who perform righteous deeds for worldly benefits
Al Bukhari narrated a hadith in chapter of “Keeping one’s self from the slander of wealth”. From Abu Huraira – may Allah be pleased with him- , that the messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said,
تَعِسَ عَبْدُ الدِّينَارِ ، وَالدِّرْهَمِ ، وَالْقَطِيفَةِ ، وَالْخَمِيصَةِ ، إِنْ أُعْطِىَ رَضِىَ ، وَإِنْ لَمْ يُعْطَ لَمْ يَرْضَ تَعِسَ وَانْتَكَسَ
“Let the slave of Dinâr and Dirham, and Qatifa and Khamisa (i.e., money and luxurious clothes) perish for he is pleased if these things are given to him, and if not, he is displeased!” (Narrated by Al Bukhari)
Qatifa is a kind of clothes that has velvet part. While Khamisa is a kind of clothes which color is black and has red dots on it. (Taken from I’aanatul Mustafid, 2/93)
Why they are termed the slave of dinar, dirham, and luxurious clothes? Because the ones meant in that hadith perform their deeds to obtain those wealth, not for Allah’s face. Thus they are dubbed the slave of dinar, dirham, and so on. As for those who carry out their pious deeds wishing for Allah’s face only, they are the real slave of Allah.
Among the signs that show how they perform deeds to get the mentioned wealth, or to get the world, is the explanation of the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- after that: “He is pleased if these things are given to him, and if not, he is displeased!” The similar words were claimed by the hypocrites as in Allah’s decree,
وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَلْمِزُكَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ فَإِنْ أُعْطُوا مِنْهَا رَضُوا وَإِن لَّمْ يُعْطَوْا مِنْهَا إِذَا هُمْ يَسْخَطُونَ
(O Prophet), some of them find fault with you in the distribution of alms. If they are given something of it they are pleased, and if they are given nothing they are angry. (The Repentance: 58)
That is the sign of those who perform their deeds only to aim for the world. If they are given something from worldly pleasures, they will be pleased. But if they do not get it, they will be displeased and furious, and their heart will say, “I have routinely perform the night prayer for a month, but both my provisions and business are still sluggish.”
Whereas the believer, if they are given pleasures, they will be grateful. In contrary, if they do not get it, they will still be patient, since believers perform their deeds not for the world, even some of them do not wish any part of the worldly benefits at all. It is said that some companions did not please to get the worldly benefits, and they also did not seek for it, as they always wish for the rewards in the Hereafter. They did so to be committed in their deeds, so that they would always wish for the better life in the Hereafter. They totally disliked to get advance rewards for their deeds in this world.
However, whoever given the worldly benefits without him or her being wishful for that before, and without any feeling of greediness to the world, is allowed to take it. This is explained in the hadith from ‘Umar Ibn Khattab,
قَدْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يُعْطِينِى الْعَطَاءَ فَأَقُولُ أَعْطِهِ أَفْقَرَ إِلَيْهِ مِنِّى. حَتَّى أَعْطَانِى مَرَّةً مَالاً فَقُلْتُ أَعْطِهِ أَفْقَرَ إِلَيْهِ مِنِّى. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- . خُذْهُ وَمَا جَاءَكَ مِنْ هَذَا الْمَالِ وَأَنْتَ غَيْرُ مُشْرِفٍ وَلاَ سَائِلٍ فَخُذْهُ وَمَا لاَ فَلاَ تُتْبِعْهُ نَفْسَكَ ».
“The messenger of Allah gave me a gift’. Umar said, “Give it to the needier (poorer) than me.” He said it for several times, but he continued to handed me the gift.” Umar kept said, “Give it to the needier (poorer) than me.” The messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “Take the gift and the like of this when you do not feel more noble with it’s presence, nor did you beg for it. Take the gift. Beside it, (whichever your heart desire to get it before it is given to you), let them go and do not let your heart cling onto it,” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Once again, that is the characteristic of the believers;whether they are given pleasures or not, their deeds wont be decreased. Because they love Allah and His messenger dearly. As for the ones who wish to get the world by their deeds, will act differently; they will be please with gifts and furious without it.
Types of intentions and deeds to get the world
There are several types of intention of deeds:
First; If the intention is genuinely to get the world, without any wish for Allah and the life in the Hereafter, the owner will not get anything from the pleasures in the Hereafter. And it is important to know that such intention will not come out from a believer. A true believer, although his or her faith is weak, will still hope for Allah’s face and rewards in the Hereafter.
Second; If the intention is to get rewards from Allah and to get the worldly benefits altogether, whether the strength on tendency are equals for both aims or not; such kind of intention will decrease the magnitude of his sincerity. His or her deeds will be considered imperfect, due to imperfection in sincerity.
Third; As for someone who has tried to be genuine, to wish for Allah’s face only, but after that he or she get some rewards or wages, that he or she takes to aid him or herself in performing the righteous deeds (such as the warriors who went for a battle and got the war booty, the teachers and workers who work in religious matters and get the monthly wages from the government in return), it is alright for him or her to receive the wages, and it wont decrease their sincerity, since they did not perform the deeds but to support the religious affairs, and whatever they get as the impacts of their work, will be used to aid them in performing their deeds and carrying out their religious orders. (Taken from Qoulus Sadiid, page 132-133)
While the deeds performed to get worldly benefits are divided into two types:
First; The kind of deeds without any worldly merits being mentioned in it. If someone performs such deed to seek for worldly rewards, his deed is considered as unlawful and further could be included as shirk.
For example: One performs the night prayer, hoping that his next child will be a boy. Such practice is not allowed, since there is no single indication that mention that one who perform the night prayer will have a baby boy.
Second; The kind of deeds which has some worldly benefits mentioned in it. For example, keeping good relations with kith and kin, and devoting to both parents. Keeping the good relations was mentioned by the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- in his saying,
مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ لَهُ فِى رِزْقِهِ وَيُنْسَأَ لَهُ فِى أَثَرِهِ فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ
“Whoever desires an expansion in his sustenance and age, should keep good relations with his kith and kin.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
If someone performs such deed merely for the worldly rewards, without the Hereafter rewards, he has fallen into a kind of shirk. But if he performs it, hoping for both rewards in this world and in the Hereafter, sincerely, this practice is considered alright, and the worldly rewards serve as an additional bounty for him because shari’a indeed has shown the existence of worldly rewards for such deeds. (Taken from “At Tamhid Li Syarh Kitabit Tauhid”)
The difference and similarity between deeds for worldly sake and ria’ (performing deeds to be seen and heard by other people)
Sheikh Muhammad At Tamimi -may Allah have mercy on him- explained this part in his work “The Book of Tawheed”, in the chapter of “One perform worshipping activities to seek worldly benefits is included in shirk”. He -may Allah have mercy on him- explained this chapter after the chapter about riya’. What was the reason?
Riya’ and performing righteous deeds to get worldly benefits both are deeds of the heart and thus are unseen to other people. But both are deeds which are done for other than Allah the Exalted. Hence, both are included in shirk, which is the disguised/vague shirk. However, the difference between those lies in the intention; riya’ means performing deeds to be seen by others and one who performs it wish to be popular with his or her deeds, while the other intend to gain advance rewards in this world by performing obedience, such as prayers, fasts, etc.
The scholars said that one’s deeds to get the worldly benefits are more evident in result than riya’, because riya’ doesn’t cause the one who does it to get anything, contrary to the other. But both are the kind of deeds which caused the owner to be losers in the Hereafter, in front of Allah the Exalted. Both are a type of shirk, either in intention or aim.
Why don’t you perform it sincerely for Allah?
Basically, if someone try his best to purify his deeds only to seek for Allah’s face, and be sincere to Him, the worldly rewards will obviously come to him. But if he aims to get the world, and merely seek for it, he will indeed get the world just as what Allah has ordained for him. This is a very important matter to remember.
Hopefully, a hadith below will be something to be think of, for us all,
مَنْ كَانَتِ الآخِرَةُ هَمَّهُ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ غِنَاهُ فِى قَلْبِهِ وَجَمَعَ لَهُ شَمْلَهُ وَأَتَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا وَهِىَ رَاغِمَةٌ وَمَنْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا هَمَّهُ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ فَقْرَهُ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ وَفَرَّقَ عَلَيْهِ شَمْلَهَ وَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَا قُدِّرَ لَهُ
“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allâh makes his heart rich, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allâh puts his poverty right before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi, in hadith no. 2465, classed sahih by Al Albani. For the explanation of this hadith, refer to ‘Tuhfatul Ahwadzi’, 7/139)
Come, O brother, to purify our deeds every time we perform it. Perform it sincerely to reach Allah’s please. Do not intend to merely get the worldly rewards. Perform it genuinely for Allah, then you shall get the world as well. Trust this!
May Allah always improve the faith and deeds of the believers. May Allah grant His guidance and light to them to find the straight way.
All praises be to Allah, Who makes all goodness become perfect by His bounty. Prayers and peace may be upon our prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions.
1. “Al Qoulus Sadiid Syarh Kitab At Tauhid”, by Sheikh ‘Abdurrahman Ibn Nashir As Sa’di, Wizarotusy syu’un Al Islamiyyah wal Awqof wad Da’wah wal Irsyad-Al Mamlakah Al ‘Arobiyah As Su’udiyah.
2. “I’aanatul Mustafid bi Syarhi Kitabit Tauhid“, by Sheiks Sholeh Ibn Fauzan Ibn ‘Abdillah Al Fauzan.
3. “At Tamhid li Syarhi Kitabit Tauhid“, by Sheikh Sholeh Ibn ‘Abdul Aziz Alu Syaikh, published by Daar At Tauhid.
4. “Tafsir Al Qur’an Al ‘Azhim”, by Abul Fida’ Isma’il Ibn ‘Umar Ibn Katsir Al Qurosyi Ad Dimasyqi, Tahqiq: Saami bin Muhammad Salamah, published by Dar Thobi’ah Lin Nasyr wat Tauzi’.
5. “Tuhfatul Ahwadzi bi Syarhi Jaami’it Tirmidzi”, by Muhammad ‘Abdurrahman bin ‘Abdirrahim Al Mubarakfuriy Abul ‘Alaa, published byDarul Kutub Al ‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut.
Written at the house of my beloved parents in law,
Saturday afternoon, 22 Rabi’uts Tsani 1430 H
Ustadz Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal
Article of www.whatisquran.com