Prophet Muhammad - 27: Good Deeds And Pure Intentions
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
& Information - By Adil Salahi
By way of explaining how the Prophet (peace be upon
him) used every possible method to explain to his
audience the concepts of Islam, its moral standards
and values, and how people should conduct their lives
in order to practice what they believe, we referred to
his method of telling stories.
Any story the Prophet told was short, to the point
and had an obvious lesson for us to learn.
We gave an example of a story the Prophet related
to stress the importance of good deeds and how they
benefit the person doing them. The story tells of
three people seeking refuge in a cave, but as they
were in, a large rock fell off the mountain and landed
at the cave entrance, blocking it completely so that
they could not even see the sky. They counseled each
other to remember some of their good deeds and pray to
God to help them in their difficulty. The first one
spoke of his dutifulness to his parents, the second
mentioned how he refrained from committing adultery
with the woman he loved so dearly, and the third spoke
of how he took care of the wages of a laborer he had
hired until they multiplied manifold and then he
handed all the proceeds to the laborer who came back
to demand his wages.
Each of these deeds was done purely for Godís sake.
The first man, who came home late to find his elderly
parents having slept before he could feed them, did
not disturb their sleep and did not feed his children
before his parents. He realized that dutifulness to
parents was paramount. Had he fed his children, he
would not have committed a sin, but he would have fell
short of the standard of dutifulness he wished to
maintain. The second man loved the woman so much that
he was prepared to go to every length in order to give
her what she wanted so that she would yield to his
desire and sleep with him. When she reminded him of
God and told him to fear Him, he just left off,
knowing that he could have had her and she could not
have prevented him. The third man invested the
laborerís wages and managed to achieve very high
returns that instead of a small sack of rice, he was
able to give the laborer several cows and their feed.
He could have kept the wages safe until the man came
back. When he achieved such a high rate of return, he
could have retained some of it as his commission. But
he wanted nothing of this. He gave it all up to the
In each of these stories, the moral is the purity
of intention. The good deed was done purely for Godís
sake. There was no immediate benefit for the person
concerned. All that the men hoped for as a result was
that God would record the deed as done for His sake.
None of these acts involved any great sacrifice. None
meant much effort, but the point is that they had that
great element of purity of intention. Hence they were
accepted by God.
We know that God rewards a good deed ten times its
value. But this is the basic rate. The Prophet
mentioned that it could be raised to 700 times the
value of the deed. That is certainly a much higher
return, but the Prophet also left the door open to any
multiple God may choose to grant. In the case of these
three men, it meant their safety from a situation that
was bound to end their lives.
They could not remove the large rock no matter how
hard they tried. Only an act of God could achieve
that. To ensure it, they had to pray to Him on the
strength of their good deeds.