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.
It is known that those who enter Paradise get that level by Allah’s grace, not for their own deeds. Though they have done good deeds, these deeds do not deserve such a high reward or such great blessing.
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:
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 6:43)
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 that He will give them the eternal bliss because He is willing to forgive their sins if they turn to Him and He appreciates their good deeds and honors their good efforts.
After Ramadan, Muslims complete a full month of intensive worship and devotion. They fasted, prayed, read the Qur’an, gave Zakah and sadaqah, and did many good deeds. This should not make them boast that they are virtuous people, but they should be thankful that Allah guided them to all this. It was due to His mercy and guidance that they were able to do all these good deeds and if He accepts these things from them, then it will be also due to His grace and love that they will find His blessings in this life and in the Hereafter.
True and sincere worship (`ibadah) creates humbleness and it always leads to more acts of goodness and virtues. If our Ramadan is 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 onejuz’ or half a juz’ every day. We should read with translation and try to reflect on the Words of Allah.
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.
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.
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.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from, http://pakistanlink.com