By Zahra Anjum
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Intelligent people invest in dealings that have long lasting benefits. Those who are smart plan for their afterlife; they are worried about their eternal success and want to collect as many good deeds as they can. They not only perform good deeds while they are alive, but they also leave behind a legacy that benefits them after they are gone.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) informed us: “The best things that a man can leave behind are three: A righteous son who will pray for him; ongoing charity whose reward will reach him; knowledge which is acted upon after his death.” (Ibn Majah; reliable)
In another hadith, he said: “When a man dies, all his good deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity (sadaqah jariyah), beneficial knowledge, and a righteous son who prays for him.” (an-Nasai; authentic)
Some simple deeds that can benefit us after death are listed below:
Raising righteous children
Righteous children are the coolness of their parents’ eyes. They are obedient to Allah and dutiful to their parents. Here is how we can attain lasting rewards through our children:
- Nurture faith in your children so that they grow up as strong Muslims and productive members of the Ummah. Whatever good they do, based on what you taught them, will also reach you.
- Teach the salah (prayer) to your children yourself. Whenever they will pray, you will also be rewarded for it.
- Teach your children the everyday duas (invocations) and Islamic morals and manners.
- Teach your children the recitation of Quran, or if you are unable to do it yourself hire someone and facilitate their Quran learning journey.
- Teach them the dua they should make for you as parents:
رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
“My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” (Surah Isra 17: 24)
- Encourage your children to gain religious knowledge and facilitate their participation in gatherings of knowledge.
- Encourage your children to spend their resources, time, and energy in causes that aim to spread the message of Islam.
Sadaqah jariyah (ongoing charity)
Sadaqah jariyah (ongoing charity) refers to any righteous deed of a person that continues after death and the reward is added to the person’s book of deeds as long as that deed is benefited from. Some forms of ongoing charity are:
- Plant a tree. “Whenever a Muslim plants a tree or cultivates land and birds or a man or a beast eats out of them, it is charity on his behalf.” (Muslim)
- Digging up a well or setting up water coolers at different places for travellers and wayfarers. One of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) came to him and informed that his mother had passed away. He asked him about what he should do as a sadaqah for her. Prophet Muhammad (sa) replied: “Water (is best).” So he dug a well and said: “It is for my mother.” (Abu Dawood; reliable)
- Building a mosque or an Islamic centre, or contributing to it by providing prayer mats, coolers, furniture, or other facilities. “If anyone builds a mosque, Allah would build for him a similar place in Paradise.” (Bukhari)
- Distributing copies of the Quran and other Islamic literature, or placing it somewhere that people can benefit from.
Islam encourages us to gain and spread knowledge that is beneficial and brings us closer to Allah. As long as people benefit from the knowledge passed on by us, we will continue to gain the rewards. Below are some examples:
- Participate in dawah activities. It is an immensely rewarding act if someone is guided through us. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Whoever calls people to true guidance will have a reward equal to that of those who follow him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever calls people to misguidance will have a (burden of) sin equal to that of those who follow him, without that detracting from their sins in the slightest.” (Ibn Majah; authentic)
- Teach the recitation and meaning of the Quran, and aid in its memorization.
- Help someone memorise a dua or phrase of remembrance (dhikr).
- Give talks and lectures that impart beneficial knowledge, or participate in their arrangement.
- Contribute to the publication of books, articles, and pamphlets that aim to propagate Islamic knowledge by writing, translating, designing, editing, and funding.
A deed that is done purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah goes a long way and is multiplied in terms of rewards. May Allah grant us the ability to spend in His way and leave behind a legacy of righteousness. Ameen.
Zahra Anjum is a freelance writer, editor and translator based in Islamabad, Pakistan.
© IIPH 2016