Will you give information about seeking Allah's consent while doing deeds? Is it appropriate to give sadaqah only to be protected from accidents and misfortunes?

Details of the Question
Will you give information about seeking Allah's consent while doing deeds? Is it appropriate to give sadaqah only to be protected from accidents and misfortunes?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Worshipping is done only for Allah's sake. It is not possible to say that any deeds that are not done for Allah's consent will be accepted. Neither bodily worshipping like prayers nor financial worshipping like sadaqah will be accepted if they are not done for Allah's consent. However, if a person does a deed for Allah's sake and also intendsto be protected from accidents and misfortunes, he will receive thawabs. However, it will harm sincerity. Besides, Allah will protect a person fromaccidents and misfortunes anyway due to his sadaqah. He does not necessarily have to intendto be protected from accidents and misfortunes when he gives sadaqah.  

In Islam, all kinds of worshipping including prayers, fasting, zakah, hajj, sadaqah, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, whether they are done financially or bodily, are done to attain Allah's consent and to please Him. The deeds of worshipping in which other purposes are the main cause and reason will annul that deed; no benefit is received from them in the hereafter or some of their rewards will be attained in this world.

In the famous hadith that is described as "one-fourth of Islam" by Islamic scholars, it is stated that deeds are evaluated only by intentions, that is, according to the purpose of the doer. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following:

“The value of an action depends on the intention behind it. A man will be rewarded only for what he intended.”1

For instance, if a person performs prayers in order to keep fit and to exercise, he may get what he intends. However, nothing should be expected from such prayers in the hereafter.

The same thing is valid for a person who helps that poor so that people will say for him, “What a generous person!”

A person who takes part in jihad so that people will say for him, “What a great mujahid and hero” is regarded as a martyr in worldly evaluations but it is of no value in terms of the hereafter. For, these people consumed the wealth of the hereafter in this world with the fame that they received here; thus, they were given the rewards of their nice deeds in this world.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) expresses the states of people like that as follows in a hadith:

1. A person who was martyred:

"He will be brought to the presence of Allah and Allah will tell him His blessings given to him and he will recount them. Allah will ask him, ‘What did you do to requite these blessings?’ He will say,‘I fought for You until I died as a martyr.’

Allah will say to him, ‘You have told a lie. You fought that you might be called a 'brave warrior'. And you were called so.’ Then, orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face downward and cast into Hell."

2. A person who acquired knowledge, taught it to others and read the Quran:

"He will also be brought. Allah will tell him His blessings given to him and he will recount them. Allah will ask him, ‘What did you do to requite these blessings?’ He will say,‘I acquired knowledge, taught it to others and read the Quran for Your sake.’

Allah will say to him, ‘You have told a lie. You acquired knowledge so that you would be called a scholar. You read the Quran so that people would say, ‘How beautifully he reads!’ And, you were told so.’ Then, orders will be passed against him and he also will be dragged with his face downward and cast into Hell."

3. A person whom Allah Almighty gave a lot of boons and wealth:

"He will also be brought. Allah will tell him His blessings given to him and he will recount them. Allah will ask him, ‘What did you do to requite these blessings?’ He will say,‘I spent money in every cause in which You wished that it should be spent for your sake.’"

Allah will say to him‘You are lying. You spent it so that it might be said about you: ‘What a generous fellow!’ And, it was said.’ Then, orders will be passed against him and he also will be dragged with his face downward and cast into Hell.”2

One issue that Muslims are generally heedless about and that causes them to lose spiritually is including worldly interests and purposes in deeds and worshipping though Allah's consent is regarded as basic. A person expects the rewards of his service and deeds from Allah Almighty but he also wants fame, and attention of people, etc. These kinds of deeds are evaluated based on the rate of the intention and purpose in them. That is, he will be rewarded as much as he expects Allah's consent. He will receive as many worldly rewards as he intends in this world.   

The following is stated in a hadith that confirms and explains this issue:

"A troop of soldiers, large or small, who fight get their share of the booty and return safe and sound, receive in advance one-third of their reward in the world. A troop of soldiers, large or small, who return empty-handed and are afflicted or wounded, will receive their full reward in the Hereafter.”3

If a mujahid who takes part in jihad only for Allah's consent receives one-third of his rewards in the world when he gets booty though he does not have any worldly aims and purposes, it can be seen compared to him how much the people who also seek worldly interests in their worshipping, charities and services will lose.

As it is mentioned above, the rate of the worldly purposes and intentions in the deeds and worshipping may be different and its function may also be different. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses this issue as follows:

“If the appreciation of people is the main reason in an otherworldly deed, it annuls that deed. If it is the preferred reason, it harms the sincerity of that deed. If it is an encouraging reason, it eliminates its purity. If Allah Almighty grants something as a sign of acceptance without his demanding, it is nice to accept it so that this deed and knowledge will have a positive effect on people.”4

Footnotes:

1. Muslim, Imarah: 155.
2. ibid, Imarah: 152.
3. ibid, Imarah: 154.
4. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi. Barla Lâhikası, (İstanbul: Sözler Yayınevi, 1987), p. 63.

(Mehmed Paksu, İbadet Hayatımız)

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