Salvation in the Hereafter
Through God’s Mercy Alone
THERE is a saying of the Prophet of Islam that appears in many books of Hadith. In Sahih-al-Bukhari, the words of the Prophet are translated as:
It is not your deeds that will grant you Paradise or save you from the fire of Hell, nor will it be for me, except when it is through the mercy of God.
From this and many other similar sayings of the Prophet, we learn that Paradise is not a recompense or reward for the deeds of man. This is not like the situation where you can purchase something from the shopping centre with the necessary amount of money in your pocket. Paradise cannot be gained by means of a “negotiated deal” or compared at any level to a matter of “buying and selling”. It is true that Paradise will not be granted to anyone without the requisite deeds, but in its ultimate sense, Paradise is not granted solely on the strength of a person’s deeds, it is granted by the compassion of God.
The worth of any number of deeds—however great they may be—can never be equivalent to the value of eternal Paradise. In this matter, the deeds of man are only a provisional requirement for Paradise, not a final selection criterion.
The worth of any number of deeds— however great they may be—can never be equivalent to the value of eternal Paradise. In this matter, the deeds of man are only a provisional requirement for Paradise, not a final selection criterion.
This does not mean that one should not bother with good deeds and rely on the mercy of God for salvation. Doing so would only be similar to seeking justification for our misdeeds and this is the wrongdoing referred to in the Quran as ‘wishful thinking’.
Admission to Paradise is not a gift coupon or reward ticket granted for certain deeds performed; it is based on the entire life of man. For man, the guidance towards faith, the consistency of good deeds, true repentance after transgression, persistence on the “straight path” without excuse, remaining free of negativity in every situation—there are many such circumstances where man cannot by his own effort consistently maintain good conduct. In such instances, the continued guidance and support from God is indispensable. From this point of view, the matter is not just one of entry to Paradise, but it is about the continuous succour of God throughout the life of man—from guidance towards faith till death.
A true believer continually seeks to do good deeds as all his actions are governed by the fear of God. His soul is stirred with the responsibility of being accountable to God for his deeds, so much that he begins to think even his good deeds may be deficient or inadequate. Thus, who would dare to consider his deeds as a “ticket to Paradise”? Instead, a true believer is one who considers Paradise as the benefaction of God and not himself as deserving of it.
Source: Spirit Of Islam