Have Taqwa (Fear) of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people. (Ahmad)
I remember reading that every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every test comes to break us or make us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.
This made me consider the time when we sin, we can either become stronger persons from it by correcting it and not returning to it, or we can become victims and wallow in our sadness rather than repent. We should always choose to become victor.
There is Always Another Chance
Contrary to shame and blame is conviction, which acknowledges that we may have gone wrong, lived a lie, committed an act, said those terrible things or even perhaps failed to do the right thing at the right time. This conviction will always cause us to consider the error of our ways and then persuade us to turn around; no matter how late.
Conviction reminds us, there is mercy and forgiveness awaiting us. There is a fresh start; there is another chance that is of course after we sincerely repent.
Prophet Muhammad narrated:
He who repents of a sin is like him who has committed no sin. (Muslim)
Now that we are on the road again to being the good believer God created us to be, we find ourselves contemplating, well what next?
The thought of doing a good deed might pop into our head from time to time, but due to our busy life, unfortunately it might get pushed to the back burner more than we would like to admit.
The truth is, most good deeds don’t require the amount of time and organization we think they do. The opportunity to do a good deed pops up every day and most are rather simple; it could be in the shopping center, on the daily route to work or while waiting in line to pay our bills.
In fact, one of the greatest things any of us can do is reach out and do a good deed for another human being. Whether it means offering our love and compassion, or making a charitable donation of time, energy, or money, there are many ways to bring sunshine into the lives of others.
Making Good Deeds a Habit
We should be encouraged to start performing these good deeds on a daily basis, making it a habit and believe me you will realize the rewards immediately even if it’s just a toothless smile by that elderly citizen you helped cross the street.
A big boost and one of the most reliable vehicles for uplifting and making us feel better and less guilty of our sins is volunteer work, which forges a beautiful kind of nourishing.
Renew your intentions and make it a way of life. Don’t forget that almost everything you do in life can become da’wah (delivering the message) where later you will be used as an example of a good practicing Muslim.
People will copy you and you will continue to reap the rewards even after death. Furthermore doing good deeds seems to have a ripple effect, triggering cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes.
You will notice it will make you more open, more loving, grateful, compassionate, and forgiving.
Performing acts of kindness in fact is highly correlated with increased happiness, improving both our self-image and our sense of satisfaction with bonus rewards from God.
Work for the Hereafter
Take advantage of the little time we have in this world preparing for the Hereafter.
Remember time is like a river, you cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow has passed and will never pass again so take advantage of time you have in this world.
If you have sinned, repent, stop worrying and begin to erase your bad deeds with good ones and always remember that God is the Merciful. His Mercy is conveyed beautifully in the hadith:
I treat My servant as he hopes that I would treat him. I am with him whenever he remembers Me: if he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My `heart’; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a gathering far better than that gathering; if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And again His compassion is illustrated in the Quran. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining and who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth are highly commended in the Noble Quran. They are wise in that they fill their hearts with the remembrance of God in every moment, in every circumstance and in every posture of their lives.
After we have sinned and made that mistake we must make that diligent effort to embark on the road to recovery. Bear in mind that we do not know when we will leave this world. It may be that the coming morning is our last morning, or perhaps the coming evening is our last evening.
Indeed, it may be that this hour is our last hour, or even, that this moment is our last moment. Morbid, yes, however it is a reality we must make peace with ourselves and begin acting on at once.
Reflect often on this verse from the Quran to understand the seriousness of how long we really are in this world and that the Hereafter is our true abode:
From Allah we came and to Him we shall return. (2: 156)
We, the human race, living on this earth, are sometimes under the perception that we belong here that this is our residence and home. We sometimes forget or are in denial and we don’t want to know the fact that we are on a train. We must remember that we do not belong here we are mere travelers. That is why the Prophet says:
Be in this world as if you are a traveler. This world is like somebody who is traveling in the desert, and then saw a tree. So he took some shade under this tree and took some rest, and then continued with the journey. (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Such an uncertainty however does not, of course, justify a complete withdrawal from this life so as to prepare for the next in some form or another.
The uncertainty is important though and we should always be conscious of it to the extent that it motivates us to spend every moment of our remaining life seriously, considering it as a gift from God and spending the resources, time, ability and energy which He has blessed us with to do good and to advocate it.
It is in reality only then, that in our life we will have achieved what is required of it. Now is the time to pump up the volume of our good deeds in this world.
The catchphrase here is to remember God at all times and is a reflection of His all-embracing and overwhelming love for us. The door to God is always open to us even if we have sinned.
In short He is saying: “Remember Me and I will remember you”.
We simply need only to find our way to and through that door.
(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)