What Is the Importance of Good Deeds in Islam?

Answered by Sheikh Abdul Samee al Yakti


What is the importance of good deeds in Islam?


All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings upon the Master of the Messengers, his family, and all his companions.

The importance of good deeds in Islam lies in their direct connection with Iman; good deeds go hand-in-hand with Iman, and they are its path, fruit, and result.

Good deeds encompass every sincere act conforming to sacred law, seeking Allah’s pleasure, love, and Paradise. Therefore, good deeds are a means to alleviate hardships, answer prayers, elevate noble words, and raise ranks with Allah, in addition to the rewards and good one receives in this life and the hereafter.

Detail and Explanation:

Good deeds are acts of obedience to Allah, performing His obligations, and adhering to His commands. Allah Most High says, “Whoever seeks honour and power, then ˹let them know that˺ all honour and power belongs to Allah. To Him ˹alone˺ good words ascend, and righteous deeds raise it.” [Quran, 35:10].

Abdullah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) in explaining this verse, said, “Good speech is the remembrance of Allah, and righteous work is performing His obligations. Whoever remembers Allah in fulfilling His obligations, Allah will lift this remembrance to Him, but whoever remembers Allah without fulfilling His obligations, his words will be rejected based on his actions” as mentioned by the exegetes. [Tafsir al-Tabari]

What Makes a Deed Righteous? 

For a deed to be righteous, it must meet two conditions:

Firstly, it must conform to sacred law. Secondly, it must be done solely for Allah’s pleasure and obedience.

Allah Most High says, “So whoever hopes for the meeting with their Lord, let them do good deeds and associate none in the worship of their Lord.” [Quran, 18:110] Imam Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, as reported by al-Baghawi, said, “Righteous work is that which is pure,” meaning sincerity is the cause of the acceptance of all good in words and deeds. [Tafsir al-Baghawi]

The Importance and Status of Good Deeds in Islam:

Their great importance lies in their connection with iman:

Good deeds complete one’s iman. Scholars define Iman as “an affirmation of truth in the heart and deeds with the limbs” or “it is what is settled in the heart and verified by actions.”

– Good deeds are a result and fruit of Iman: Imam Nawawi, in his explanation of Sahih Muslim regarding the hadith, “Truthfulness leads to righteousness,” said, “Scholars say it means that truthfulness leads to sincere good deeds, free from all that is blameworthy. Righteousness is a term that encompasses all good. Some said righteousness means Paradise. It is possible that it refers to both good deeds and Paradise.”

– Good deeds go hand-in-hand with Iman: Good deeds are often mentioned alongside iman in the Quran. Several verses illustrate this, demonstrating the status and merit of good deeds in Islam.

Allah Most High, says:

“To those of them who believe and do good, Allah has promised forgiveness and a great reward.” [Quran, 48:29]

“Those who believe and do good, for them will be bliss and an honourable destination.” [Quran, 13:29]

“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.” [Quran, 16:97]

“As for those who believe and do good, We will certainly absolve them of their sins, and reward them according to the best of what they used to do.” [Quran, 29:7]

“By the ˹passage of˺ time! Surely humanity is in ˹grave˺ loss, except those who have faith, do good, and urge each other to the truth, and urge each other to perseverance.” [Quran, 103:1-4]

– Good deeds are a means of seeking Allah’s aid and acceptance of supplication: This is exemplified in the story of the companions of the cave. Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) say, “Three men from those before you were on a journey until they took shelter for the night in a cave. A rock from the mountain rolled down and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said, ‘Nothing will save you from this rock unless you supplicate to Allah with the virtue of your good deeds…’” [Bukhari; Muslim]

– Good deeds elevate Good speech: As previously mentioned in the saying of Allah, the Exalted, “To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it” [Quran, Fatir:10]. This means that righteous work raises good speech. The pronoun in “raises it” refers to the good speech. This is the opinion of Ibn al-Abbas, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, al-Hasan, Ikrima, and most of the exegesists.

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Righteous work raises good speech to Allah. Speech is presented alongside deeds; if it matches, it is raised; otherwise, it is rejected.” [Suyuti, Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur]

It is also said that the raising in the aya is an action of Allah, the Almighty, meaning that righteous work is raised by Allah, the Exalted. It is also said that righteous work raises its doer, for he is the one who sought honor and knew it is sought from Allah, the Almighty. [Tafsir al-Qurtubi]

The Relationship between Good Deeds and Patience

The significance of good deeds is further highlighted by their association with patience, as mentioned in the Quran: “… except those who patiently endure and do good. It is they who will have forgiveness and a mighty reward.” [Quran, 11:11] Allah Most High has exempted those who are patient and described their characteristics as performing good deeds, which means doing everything that brings about the well-being of themselves, their community, and their religion, which is the protection of their affairs. [Muhammad Abu Zahra, Zahrat al-Tafasir]

Good Deeds is a State of Being

Sheikh Abu Zahrah says in his book, Zahrat al-Tafasir, “Good deeds are every action that brings benefit to the society in which the believer lives, starting with the family, then their neighbors, then the entire tribe, then their people, and then their nation.

The constant pairing of Iman with good deeds in Islam indicates that Islam calls for positive action for good. Religious devotion in Islam is not just a spiritual retreat or worship in monasteries.

Suppose good deeds are for both public and private benefit. In that case, they differ from prayer and zakat, as these are time-bound obligations regulating relations between the servant and his Lord, and between the servant and people. Good deeds, however, are the constant state of the believer, unrestricted by time, place, or condition. Just as Iman is a constant state, so should good deeds, meaning continuous and ongoing benefit for humanity, be a perpetual state for the believer.”


I advise you, my Muslim brother, and myself, to increase in performing good deeds with sincerity and truthfulness in intention, so that we may be among those who perform good deeds, whom Allah, the Exalted, has described and praised, saying, “And whose words are better than someone who calls ˹others˺ to Allah, does good, and says, ‘I am truly one of those who submit.’?” [Quran, 41:33]

May Allah make us among them and with them by His mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful.

[Shaykh] Abdul Sami‘ al-Yaqti

Shaykh Abdul Sami‘ al-Yaqti is a Syrian scholar born in Aleppo in 1977. He obtained his degree in Shari‘a from the Shari‘a Faculty of Damascus University, a Diploma in Educational Qualification from the Faculty of Education at Aleppo University, and a Diploma in Shari‘a and a Master’s in Shari‘a from the Faculty of Sharia, and Law at Omdurman University in Sudan. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis.

He studied under esteemed scholars such as Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani, and Shaykh Dr. Nur al-Din Itr, among others. Shaykh al-Yakti has worked in teaching and cultural guidance in orphanages and high schools in Aleppo. He served as an Imam, Khatib, and reciter at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and as a certified trainer for Khatibs in Abu Dhabi’s Khatib Qualification Program.

He is involved in developing and teaching a youth education program at Seekers Arabic for Islamic Sciences.

Among Shaykh al-Yaqti’s significant works are “Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni: Bayna Ilm al-Kalam Wa Usul al-Fiqh” and the program “The Messenger of Allah Among Us (Allah bless him and give him peace).”