Many people ask this question at some point in their lives.
This is actually an interesting question. Let’s think about it together.
Are we really going to enter Jannah as a fair exchange for our work or good deeds?
Well, the average number of years the human being lives on earth today is around 80 years. So, if the person spends 80 years working for the sake of Allah and doing good deeds, then *fairly* the person should get 80 years in Jannah. Right? This is a fair reward for the work. But the truth is, Allah will give the believer an infinity in Jannah, not just 80, 100 or million years.
“But those who feared their Lord will have gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein, as accommodation from Allah. And that which is with Allah is best for the righteous.”
( Qur’an 3: 198)
“But the ones who believe and do righteous deeds – We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. [It is] the promise of Allah, [which is] truth, and who is more truthful than Allah in a statement. Paradise is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking nor by that of the People of the Scripture. Whoever does a wrong will be recompensed for it, and he will not find besides Allah a protector or a helper. And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed.”
( Qur’an 4: 122- 124)
So, we already get much more than we would deserve even if we spend our entire lives in the worship and service of Allah. But do we even actually spend our entire lives doing good deeds, communicating with our Creator, worshipping Him, and actively engaging with Him?
First of all, we are not asked about our childhood years or the age prior to reaching puberty. So this is extracting around 10 years of our lives. Then we have all the time we spend sleeping, eating, commuting, resting, shopping, watching TV or following social media……etc all of this takes up a majority of our time. If you look at the 24 hours a day Allah gave us, you’ll find that the majority of it is not spent for His sake. Even the daily obligatory prayers only take minutes.
But then look at how much Allah rewards for a single good deed that takes up minutes maybe:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah says, ‘If My slave intends to do a bad deed then (O Angels) do not write it unless he does it; if he does it, then write it as it is, but if he refrains from doing it for My Sake, then write it as a good deed (in his account). (On the other hand) if he intends to do a good deed, but does not do it, then write a good deed (in his account), and if he does it, then write it for him (in his account) as ten good deeds up to seven-hundred times.’ ”
[Sahih Al Bukhari]
One good deed= 10 to 700 times the reward. If one thinks of doing good deed, he/she takes a reward.
Is this equal to our deed, or is this largely mercy and generosity from Him?
Now, we need to remember something very important. We were created for a purpose. Allah created us for a purpose. Everything created on earth has its purpose. We too have our purpose. Allah says:
“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers. And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.”
(Qur’an 51: 55- 58)
The word ‘worship’ here means to know Him, learn about Him, communicate with Him, follow and obey Him. The least we could do is connect and communicate with our Creator and actualize our purpose in life.
Each and every single act that Allah asked us to do is there to help us better live our purpose in life and better connect with Him.
Every required act is there to help us move forward and progress in our relationship with Allah. The prayers, the fasting, the zakat, the hijab…. each and every single requirement has a significant role in our spiritual growth and our intellectual, emotional, and physical nourishment.
As the Creator, Allah knows what is best for His created beings in this life and the next, and what He asked us to do is there to help us grow and understand our own meaning as well as the meaning of life and its purpose.
Think about it, who is the best one to tell you how to use an iPhone? The one who created it, right? This is why He used to hold conferences introducing his new creation and explaining to people its features and how to best use it.
The creator usually knows best what He created. He is the best one to get instructions from. His instructions are there to help you make the best use of what he created.
“Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?”
(Qur’an 67: 14)
This is why we get our instructions from Allah and we follow Him because He knows best what is good for our hearts, minds, souls, and our well-being in this life and the next.
In the end, what we do is for our own good and for living and actualizing our purpose. But the reward we get from Allah is much more than we would ever deserve or work for.
So we do what we are required to do with love and out of love, humility, and gratitude to The Generous One who created us to give us and will still give us much more than we deserve in the next life.
In a beautiful hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) demonstrated this gratitude. Narrated Aisha:
The Prophet (ﷺ) used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said,
“O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?” He said, “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?’
This is a beautiful sense of gratitude and sincere love and connection with The One who gave us life.
May Allah make us among those who show true gratitude to Him, and those who live in Paradise for eternity near Him… The Source of Life, Light, Love Peace, and Beauty.
“And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far, [It will be said], “This is what you were promised – for every returner [to Allah] and keeper [of His covenant] Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance]. Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Eternity.” They will have whatever they wish therein, and with Us is more.”
(Qur’an 50: 31- 35)