In the name of Allah
What is the true value of any good deed?
Islam clearly says that the value of a deed is not in how much money you spend for it, how much time does it take you to do, or how much effort you use for it. Rather, it is about your intention. Why did you do it? The truth is, the more you do it because of the love of God the more valuable it becomes, although you may have not used much money, time or effort.
Sometimes you do something just for the love of someone. It’s obvious when you love someone, you like to do things that are loved by this someone. The value of a deed is very much connected to how much you really do it for God.
Does this mean I suspect everyone’s intentions?
No, we may not use this in evaluation of other’s deeds. The reason is that we don’t know their true intentions, and we have to be Positive about others. But with ourselves, we know our own intention, so we have to evaluate our deeds this way.
To avoid any misconception, I don’t say: “Go do easy deeds and leave those hard ones. Only care about your intention.” Struggling in the way of Allah is considered the best type of worshipping although it is the hardest. What I really mean: “Be careful you don’t lose your time doing something, only to find out your intention was for someone else other than God.” If you want to do something just to keep your name as a great person in history, it has no true value at all.
When we talk about desires, it’s exactly this we’re talking about. You may do a very great thing, but your goal is to get a benefit for yourself.
- A scholar may study only for the intention to be respected by people.
- A politician may speak in a way to get power and position in future.
- A Youtuber may say every wrong thing, just to get million followers.
Or another way is to do something in a way you don’t expect a thing in this life, but postpone your reward to the other life. This is the uppermost of sincerity.
A good way to go about this is to look at deeds as tools to something higher. I’m a student, I eat to get power for studying. In the end you need to eat because you need energy. But don’t eat for the sake of eating and feeling its pleasure, eat because it gives you energy to study. Why study? Not to get a certificate, because a believer should not be ignorant.
Can economy be for God?
Let me tell you a story:
Sh. Mesbah Yazdi was in America as a tourist. He says: I was in America as a tourist and we needed some electronic devices for taking back to Iran. I asked someone: “What market here has the most religious sellers?” He said: “it’s a market for Jews and it is the most righteous market here.” I told him: “Take us there”. We went to the market. Headed toward a shop. A Jew man with his small hat on the head, sweeping his head left and right, whispering things. I went to him, and gave him a list of the devices I needed. He took a look at the list and said: “Where do you want to use these devices?” I said in my head: “What kind of question is this? It’s the first time I see someone selling something and ask about where do I want to use this. Just sell your products and get the benefit.” I answered him: “Iran”. He said: “These devices will not work in Iran because their voltage is different. You can use something with it to solve the problem, but by time, it will damage your device.” I was amazed. He could easily sell me the thing, in any price he wanted. How would I know if he is giving me a good price or not? Not only he didn’t give me a high price, he advised me to not buy it.
See, he didn’t look at business and economy as something beneficial to his own interests. Rather he saw them as a tool for a higher purpose. How beautiful is this?”