This article arose out of a talk I gave yesterday, Saturday, at the Ummah of Noor SIM in Second Life. If you don’t know what that is, just ask me!
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All thanks is to Allah, whom we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from whatever evil our hearts conceal and from the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah grants guidance will never be led astray. Whoever He leads astray will never find guidance. I attest that none is worthy of worship except Allah, who has no partners, and that Mohammad is His slave and Messenger
” O ye who believe fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam. ” Aal Imran 102
” O mankind fear your Lord, Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; fear Allah through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and the wombs (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you. ” Alnisaa 1
” O ye who believe fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the right. That He may make you conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: he that obeys Allah and His apostle, has already attained the highest achievement. ” Alahzab 70
Islam – Multi-Level Marketing for the Soul
Perhaps you’ve heard of a business that uses the multi-level marketing model (MLM). A company sells makeup, or vitamins, or home decorations. The premise of the business is this: You buy inventory, you sell it, and you make a percentage profit based on how much you sell. In addition, you recruit other people to sell as well. For each person you recruit, you get a percentage of the profit of everything he sells. Then, when he recruits people, you get a percentage of everyone “downline” from you, and he gets his percentage and a percentage of his downline as well. This is classic multi-level marketing. MLM has been used by multi-million dollar companies, and it has also been used illegally in cash-generating ventures called pyramid or Ponzi schemes. It is possible to make a hefty profit if you have a many recruits, but it requires a lot of work and attention to maintain your downline and increase sales.
Imagine for a moment that you could do the same thing for your soul. Well, that’s downright silly, you say. Islam is not a business, it’s a religion, and every person is responsible for his own soul. You are right, but hear me out….
The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said in a hadith:
“Every good deed of the son of Aadam (alaihi sallam) is increased (in reward)from ten times to seven hundred times – and Allah Ta’ala said: ‘Except Saum, for verily, it (Saum) is for Me and I, Myself will reward it. The Sa-im abstains from desire and food for My sake.’ For the Sa-im there are two (occasions of pleasure -pleasure at the time of breaking fast and pleasure at the time of meeting his Rabb)”.
Look the first sentence. Whenever a Muslim does a good deed, he does not receive only one reward. He receives at least ten rewards, up to seven hundred rewards. This is not counting the fast, which Allah rewards as much as He wishes without measure. So imagine you do a good deed. You teach a new Muslim an ayah of the Holy Qur’an. You will get at least ten rewards for each letter:
Regarding the rewards, Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Salam) said: “The one who reads a single letter from the Book of Allaah will be rewarded with one good deed. (Know that) A good deed is multiplied ten times over. I do not say Alif Laam Meem is one letter. Verily, Alif is one letter, Laam is one letter, Meem is one letter.” [At-Tirmithi]
So now you are feeling pretty good about yourself, huh? Well, it gets better. Let me use myself as an example:
I reverted to Islam fifteen years ago, alhamdulillah. Shortly after I said my Shahadah, the teenage daughter of the Imaam of our masjid took me aside and taught me surat al-Fatihah. Seven verses, twenty-five words, one hundred and thirteen letters (using the counting that does not count the basmalah). Each letter is at least ten rewards, ten hasanaat. Thirteen times ten is one hundred thirty. So for teaching me that surah, she received a LOT of hasanaat because she had to repeat it with me many times before I learned it. One of the continuing blessings for her is that she will continue to receive a reward every time I recite this surah, without the reward that Allah gives me being reduced in the least. So, let’s do a little math. A Muslim prays five times a day. A prayer is not valid without surat al-Fatihah, so with a total of twenty raka’ats (fajr, zhur, asr, maghrib, ishaa, and witr), this surah is recited at least twenty times a day. Twenty times one hundred thirty is…. 2,600. There are three hundred and sixty-five days in a year…. total of 949,000 hasanaat. Whew! I have been Muslim for about fifteen years…. total of 14,235,000 hasanaat.
Imagine the blessings! From one short surah, seven verses, this young lady has earned millions of hasanaat. I am in her “downline” until the Day of Judgment. And I have four children. I have taught my oldest the surah and he recites it in his prayers. If Allah wills, he will grow up and have children and teach them. Every time any descendent of mine recites the surah that I have taught, this kind sister receives a reward. And so on. Think about that next time you have the opportunity to teach. Don’t think that you don’t know enough Qur’an. Don’t think, “I only know short surahs”, or “I only know surat al Ikhlaas”. If you know one, share it. Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, told us “Convey from me, even one ayah”.
And of course, this multiplication of good deeds is not confined to teaching Qur’an. Any good deed that you do has the potential to be an ongoing reward. Teach someone to read Arabic; show a child how to grow tomatoes so he can help feed his family; give a lady a sewing machine so she can make scarves or abayas and help support her family. There are many things that you can do as a Muslim that will earn you so many rewards that you cannot comprehend.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you walk around, calculator in hand, tallying up the rewards you receive and thinking that you have a gold ticket to get in to Jannah. We are all fragile, short-sighted human beings who make mistakes and commit sins. We don’t want to rely on any one good deed to weigh on our scales on the Day of Judgment. We do want to have as many good deeds as possible, yes, because of course our ultimate goal is Jannah. But really, one of the best rewards for doing a good deed is just that wonderful warm feeling you get. It may be a secret good deed and no one knows about it but you. Of course, Allah in His perfect knowledge knows everything you have ever done, and He will never allow a good deed to be lost. So go on with your life, live, teach, help others, and give a thought from time to time about that tally of good deeds that Allah in His Mercy has made possible. And Allah knows best.