What is al Baaqiyaat-us-Salihaat ?
When someone you are deeply attached to departs, you feel sad, lonely, and dejected.
When Ramadhaan leaves us, we feel abandoned.
When you have to wind up your Umrah/Hajj journey and you know that this is your last sight of Ka’bah, your spiritual heart bleeds.
The absence of permanence in different facets of our life is the common factor for all our heartbreaks.
Allah knows of this emotional vacuum in us and therefore graciously tells us to hold on to al Baaqiyaat-us-salihaat, the deeds of lasting permanence. Things that would give us company even in our graves. Those that will save us from eternal damnation.
Salihaat = good deeds, al baaqiyaat = the enduring, those that remain forever.
The synonymous word for salihaat in the Qur’an is hasanaat, and its antonym is sayyi’aat = evil deeds
إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ
“Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds”. Surah Huud 11:114
I feel salihaat is a stronger and richer word in terms of meanings it conveys. In salihaat, you find sincerity, purity of motive and righteousness – all blended in one.
Back to al baaqiyaat-us-salihaat. Good deeds are of enduring nature because the One Who appreciates them is the Enduring and Ever-Lasting.
Indeed, Allah is Al Baaqi, the Ever Enduring, the One Who remains forever!
وَاللَّـهُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
“And Allah is better and more enduring.” Taha 20:73
وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ
“And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” Ar-Rahman 55:27
Every Friday, while reading Surah Al Kahf, we are being reminded that wealth and children are of no lasting value.
الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا
“Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.” Surah al Kahf 18:46
Our glorious Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam said:
يَتْبَعُ الْمَيِّتَ ثَلاَثَةٌ، فَيَرْجِعُ اثْنَانِ وَيَبْقَى مَعَهُ وَاحِدٌ، يَتْبَعُهُ أَهْلُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَعَمَلُهُ، فَيَرْجِعُ أَهْلُهُ وَمَالُهُ، وَيَبْقَى عَمَلُهُ
“When carried to his grave, a dead person is followed by three, two of which return (after his burial) and one remains with him: his relative, his property, and his deeds follow him; relatives and his property go back while his deeds remain with him.” Sahih al Bukhari
The enduring good deeds are خير better in the sight of your Lord. Al Baaqiyaat-us-salihaat are better in terms of reward ثوابا they will bring and they are better in that they kindle hope أَمَلًا in you about recognition or reward and motivation to do good deeds. And what more, al baaqiyaat-us-salihaat are better for recourse مَّرَدًّا
And by the way, a Recourse is “an opportunity or choice to use or do something in order to deal with a problem or situation”.
Now, before proceeding, I would like to ask you a question.
What qualifies a good deed as a good deed?
People who do not believe in Allah or people who associate partners with Allah also do good deeds, right? What about them?
The answer is found in the last ayah of Surah al Kahf, which many Muslims read every Friday but unfortunately without giving thought!
فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا
“So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” Surah al Kahf 18:110
In Islam, any kind of adulteration or contamination in worship is rejected straightaway!
Now you understand why Laa ilaaha (negation) comes first in the kalimah!
The words highlighted in red are meant to tell you that there is a conditional clause used in this ayah. If you want to meet Allah in the Hereafter, then you should do two things: do good deeds and do not commit the blunder of associating partner/s with Allah.
To answer the above question more clearly, let me reiterate the fact that something will be considered as saalih only when it is done for the sake of Allah, with ikhlaas = sincerity, while not associating anyone in His worship.
Allah declares with full force that:
مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ ۖ وَمَا عِندَ اللَّـهِ بَاقٍ
“Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting.” Al Nahl 16:96
وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
“While the Hereafter is better and more enduring.” Al A’laa 87:17
We buy things and keep for future use even though there is no guarantee that we will definitely use them.
Expatriates buy many things with the intention to use them when they go back to their native country. It so happens that the person dies, and things remain unused! This is the investment for this dunya.
Investment for Aakhirah never goes waste. The good deeds we do here in this world will come back to us in the form of great rewards, inshaaAllah:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ
“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds – for them is a reward uninterrupted.” Fussilat 41: 8
وَمَن يَأْتِهِ مُؤْمِنًا قَدْ عَمِلَ الصَّالِحَاتِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الدَّرَجَاتُ الْعُلَىٰ ﴿٧٥
جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ ﴿٧٦
“But whoever comes to Him as a believer having done righteous deeds – for those will be the highest degrees [in position]: Gardens of perpetual residence beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. And that is the reward of one who purifies himself.” Surah Taha 20: 75, 76
I will conclude this post by quoting random references from Tafseer Ibn Kathir wherein the great scholar mentions some examples of enduring good deeds.
Al baaqiyaat-us-salihaat, the righteous deeds that last are:
* the five daily prayers, salah
* sabr of the parents when their righteous child dies during their life, and his parents seek the reward of Allah.
* saying SubhaanAllaah, (glory be to Allah)
* saying Al Hamdu Lil-laah, (praise be to Allah)
* saying Laa ilaaha il-lal-laah, (there is none worthy of worship except Allah),
* saying Allaahu Akbar (Allah is Great),
* saying Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah hil ‘Aliyil ‘Azeem (there is no strength and no power except with Allah the Exalted, the Almighty),
* saying TabaarakAllaah
* seeking forgiveness by saying Astaghfirullaah (I seek Allah’s forgiveness)
* saying Sal-lal-lahu-ala Rasulil-laah,
* observing fast,
* going for Hajj,
* giving Sadaqah (charity),
* freeing slaves,
* doing Jihad,
* maintaining ties of kinship.