Thursday, May 24, 2018

Is 'Sawaab' fruitful in the life hereafter alone?

Is 'Sawaab' fruitful in the life hereafter alone?

By: Khurshid Imam

      A.    Introduction.

Most Muslims commonly understand that when they do good work they 'earn sawaab'. It is like earning some 'points' or like 'crediting some amount' in their account. In the life hereafter these 'points' or 'credited amount' will help them in getting blessings of paradise.
The whole idea gives an impression that 'doing good deeds' has no result in the worldly life, doing good deeds simply increases your sawaab tally and it will be helpful in the life hereafter only.
From top to bottom the terminology of sawaab is misunderstood among masses. This misunderstanding acts as a catalyst in making the community handicapped. You don’t feel much motivation for doing constructive work in different aspects of life because they don’t bring any good in the worldly life – as per the popular understanding of sawaab. You have to wait till life hereafter in order to see any benefit of sawaab. Eventually, rest of the world works for the betterment of humanity because they see the good results here only. Muslims don’t do so because they have the idea in the back of their mind that good deeds will be helpful to them in the akhirah only.

      B.    Meaning of sawaab.

Arabic word sawaab comes from the root word thā wāw bā (ث و ب) which occurs 28 times in the Quran. It means “to return to its desired condition” or “to be evident as result” or “to reach to its destination as a result of the act”.

      1.     Al Raghib Dictionary meaning:

Source: Al-Mufradat fi Gharib al-Quran, dictionary of Qur'anic terms by Islamic scholar Al-Raghib al-Isfahani. Page 183, Urdu version.
      2.     Lane’s dictionary:

Going through the meaning, we can surely say that popular understanding of sawaab is pretty different. While we assume that sawaab is something that is “earned”, the actual meaning conveys sawaab to be the evident result of actions.

      C.    Quranic use of sawaab.

1. Sawaab in Duniya and Akhirah
People usually think that sawaab is relevant for akhirah only. Quran has made clear that sawaab applies for both.

وَمَنْ يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَنْ يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الْآَخِرَةِ نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَسَنَجْزِي الشَّاكِرِين

“… And whoever desires sawaab in (this) world, We shall give him of it; and whoever desires sawaab in the Hereafter, We shall give him thereof. And We shall reward the grateful.” Quran 3:145
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا فَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآَخِرَةِ

“Whoever desires sawaab in this life of the world, then with Allah (Alone and none else) is the sawaab of this worldly life and of the Hereafter…”. Quran 4:134
فَآَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا وَحُسْنَ ثَوَابِ الْآَخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“And Allah gave them sawaab in this world, and the excellent sawaab of the Hereafter. For Allah loves those who do good”. Quran 3:148
In the below Ayah sawaab is given in the form of victory. Victory is the result of good deeds – evident as sawaab.
فَأَنْزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا

“…and He sent down As-Sakinah (calmness and tranquility) upon them, and He gave sawaab to them with a near victory.”. Quran 48:18
Similarly, there are many references in Quran where Allah has explained about the sawaab in the akhrah or life hereafter. For ex- Quran 5:85, 3:195, 18:31

Some of the qualities of the people who get sawaab are:
·       Those who are grateful - Quran 3:145. Being grateful means utilizing skills, blessings, faculties in constructive ways.
·       Those who fought in the way of God without surrendering, they continued in spite of weakness, showed steadfastness. Quran 3:146
·       They sought forgiveness from Allah for their sins. Quran 3:147
·       Those who have real faith [in laws of God] and do constructive deeds. Quran 18:30. It means people who understand the laws of God and act as per them.

2. Sawaab as noun in sense of “A place of return”
وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا
“And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security….” Quran 2:125

3. Sawaab as noun in sense of “garment”
Used in sense of clothes in Quran 11:5, 18:31, 22:19, 24:58, 24:60, 71:7, 74:4, 76:21

4.Sawaab can be negative also
Sawaab does not mean “earning reward” but it is actually “result of actions”. This result can be negative also. For bad deeds, there will be bad result.
      a.      Distress in the form of Sawaab.

فَأَثَابَكُمْ غَمًّا بِغَمٍّ
“… There did Allah give you sawaab (in the form of) one distress after another by way of requital to teach you not to grieve for that which had escaped you, nor for that which had befallen you”. Quran 3:153
      b.     Sawaab given to those who did kufr.

هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
“Have those who did kufr [not] been rewarded [this Day] for what they used to do?”. Quran 83:36
      c.      Worse form of Sawaab.

قُلْ هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِشَرٍّ مِنْ ذَلِكَ مَثُوبَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ لَعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ
"Say, "Shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that sawaab from Allah? [It is that of] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He became angry…. Quran 5:60

      D.    Walk the talk.

Quran makes it clear that for good deeds the results will be good. Look at the communities / races / nations who do constructive work for the benefit of mankind. They witness good results of their work in this world. All the development in the field of science, technology, medicine, agriculture, industries etc. that has brought relief, comfort and ease for the mankind is sawaab [desired result] of the work done by people.
If we want to raise the bar of the community; if we want to see good results in this worldly affairs, then we need to do constructive work. The sawaab of good deeds will be given to us in this world as well as in the hereafter.

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