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Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 35

It is a Form of Shirk to Perform a (Good) Deed for Worldly Reasons

Allah , says:

" To whomsever desires the life of this world and its glitter, We shall pay [the price of] their deeds therein - without decrease. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter except the Fire: Vain are their deeds therein" (Qur'an 11:15-16)

Allah , Most High, informs us in these verses that whoever performed a righteous deed in order to obtain some worldly benefit from it, such as one who fights in Allah's cause with the intention of acquiring a share of the spoils of war, Allah will reward him in this world with long life, good health and wealth etc, in accordance with his deeds and his desires; they will not suffer any loss, at least, in this world. However, in the Hereafter, they will be entitled to nothing, because they have already been rewarded in this life. And their deeds are without merit or value, since they did not perform them for Allah's sake.

Benefits Derived From This Verse

1. That Allah, Most High, may reward even the disbeliever for his deeds in this world, as He might reward the one who acts for worldly gain, but none of them will have anything in the Hereafter.

2. That shirk invalidates good deeds.

3. That seeking the life of this world invalidates one's good deeds in the Hereafter.

That every deed performed without the intention of pleasing Allah is invalid.

Relevance of These Verses to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That they prove that seeking the life of this world through righteous deeds invalidates their reward in the Hereafter.

Important Note

Seeking the life of this world through righteous deeds may be divided into three categories: (i) To perform deeds purely for Allah's sake, but with the hope that Allah will reward one for them in this life, such as the person who gives charity, hoping that Allah will protect him from loss - and this is prohibited; (ii) to perform deeds in order to be seen by the people (i.e. riyaa`) or to be heard by them (i.e. sum'ah) - and this is a form of shirk; (iii) To do good deeds in order to attain some material benefit from people, such as the one who accompanies the pilgrims to Hajj in order to receive payment for so doing, not for Allah's sake, or the one who seeks a reputaion for being pious and religious in order to make a living, or to obtain employment. As for the one who intends by his deeds only to achieve Allah's pleasure, but is granted some worldly reward by Allah , he is not guilty of any sin, but he will be considered to have received the reward of that deed in this world and his recompense in the Hereafter will be adjusted accordingly, as is the case with the one who fights in the way of Allah , and receives a share of the spoils.


It is authentically reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that he said: "Allah's Messenger (may Peace Be Upon Him) said:

"Perish the slave of the deenaar, the dirham, the khameesah1 and the khameelah.2 If he is given these things, he is pleased and if he is not, he is displeased. May such a person perish and be of the losers and if he is pierced with a thorn, may he not find anyone to remove it. Felicity (or, according to some scholars, a tree in Paradise) is for the one who holds the reins of his horse to strive in Allah's cause, with his hair unkempt and his feet covered with dust: If he is placed in the vanguard, he will be found in the vanguard and if he is placed in the rearguard, he will be found in the rearguard. If he asks for permission, it is not granted and if he intercedes, it is not accepted." 3

In this Hadith, the Messenger (may Peace Be Upon Him) informs us that there are some people to whom the life of this world is all-important: It is all they know about and all they care about. Their first and last goals are wealth, luxury and ease. Such people will be destroyed and lost. The sign of these people is their absorption with all things material: When they are given something, they are pleased, but when they are not given it, they are angry. But there are other people who have no goal except Allah's Pleasure and the life of the Hereafter: Such people do not covet fame or glory; their only goal in life is obedience to Allah and His Messenger (may Peace Be Upon Him). The sign of such people as these is their simplicity and humility and their lowly position in society, so that whenever they request something from their leaders, they are refused, and whenever they intercede on behalf of another, their intercession is not accepted, but their final destination is Paradise and the best of rewards.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The general permissibility of supplicating against the disobedient people.

2. The censure of absorption with the life of this world.

3. That whoever makes material gain his sole objective in life will be among the losers.

4. The virtue of preparing oneself for jihaad in Allah's cause.

5. The virtue of jihaad in Allah's cause.

6. That military discipline is a form of Islamic training.

7. The virtue of being in the vanguard of the army.

8. That a person is judged by his actions, not by appearances.

9. It does not necessarily follow that a person whom Allah esteems will be held in high esteem by the people and vice versa.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith proves that whoever made material gain his main goal and purpose in life is considered a worshiper of those things, for he has taken them as partners beside Allah .


1. Khameesah: Expensive, luxurious clothing.
2. Khameelah: Richly embroidered garments.
3. Narrated by Bukhari, At-Tirmizi and Ibn Maajah.

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