“Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.” (Qur’an 2:105)
“The character of a friend of God is based on nothing more than graciousness and generosity.” (Sufi saying)
“Whoever performs a good deed, We shall increase its goodness for him. Indeed Allah is all-Forgiving, all-Appreciative.” (Qur’an 42:23)
If only we had the proper perspective, we would see that that balance of Allah’s Grace is always in our favor. The Qur’an states in many places that Allah rewards the doer of good deeds; He even multiplies the goodness or our deeds and thus increases the reward. Allah forgives our imperfections, overlooks our flaws, and rewards us according to the best of our deeds. “We shall reward them according to the best of their deeds” (Qur’an 29:7). “And That Allah may give them the best reward of what they have done, and give them more out of His grace. (Qur’an 24:38). When we allow ourselves to absorb this absolute abundance of Grace from Allah, it provides us with the capability to extend a similar graciousness to others. We are imbued with a deep and abundant sense of gratitude that increases our capacity to give to others, and to do so generously and without expectation of return. Instead what we receive is boundless inner satisfaction and joy. If Allah gives us so much more Grace than we even deserve, can we not afford the same to others we come in contact with? After all, it is Allah who enables us to do good deeds, and gives us abundant opportunities in every facet of our lives. Allah gives us the capacity to help others, in large and small ways, and then rewards us when we even have the intention or inclination to do good for others.
Another place in the Hadith Qudsi the Prophet states that Allah revealed to him, that a person is rewarded even for planning or intending in their heart to do a good deed, even if he in unable to follow through! If he does follow through, his reward may be multiplied ten-fold or even more. And the corollary is even more amazing: if a person intends to do a bad deed and then restrains himself and does not do it, he is also rewarded! By the way, Allah never multiplies our bad deeds. A bad deed (and let’s admit it, we all have some of those in our ledger), is never compensated as anything but that one bad deed. And most of those bad deeds are forgiven, if we sincerely ask for forgiveness. Be careful: a really, really bad deed that a person never owns up to, is likely to earn a grievous penalty in the Hereafter. But when we seek forgiveness, with sincerity, we are granted it, and the Prophet reminds us, “Once you have prayed for forgiveness, return not to the wrongdoing, just as milk returns not to the udder.”
Please, let’s do the math, friends! The equation is always in our favor! Allah’s Grace is certainly unbounded. If we could but comprehend this, it would help us to become a true friend of God, and mirror His/Her graciousness and generosity. This is our assignment as “Vice-regents of Allah.” (2:30) What a marvelous place the world could be, if we would simply ”Vie with each other in doing good works.” (Qur’an 2:149)