Intermediation through good deedsGood deeds are called virtues. To pray through the means of these deeds, “O Allah, through my particular act which I performed purely for Your pleasure, I beseech You that my need be fulfilled,” is quite valid. A few statements that support the act of intermediation are given below:
1. Deliverance from trouble through mediationA tradition recorded in as-Sahīhayn furnishes clear evidence of the use of intermediation through virtuous deeds which delivers individuals from tension and anxiety or from an actual calamity. ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Umar cites the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to have said:
Once upon a time three travellers were passing through a jungle. All of a sudden the sky was overcast with jet-black clouds. They were thinking of seeking shelter that it began to rain in buckets. They had no other choice but to take shelter in a cave. So they scraped into the cave. The entrance of the cave was quite small. Suddenly a heavy stone came sliding down and covered the entrance. They were trapped inside the cave. They could not move the stone even with their collective might. Therefore, they lost all hope of survival. They felt that the cave would prove to be their grave.
The three of them were religious persons and had an optimistic outlook on life. They had complete faith in the glory and grandeur of God, so the spell of hopelessness did not last long. They chuckled to themselves as they thought of a plan. The clouds of frustration rolled away. Since the plan derived from their strong religious conviction, they readily decided to implement it. They said to one another: there is only one-way to escape the present crunch. We should offer to Allah as a form of intermediation the acts we have performed for His exclusive pleasure and implore Him through their blessings. They said:
Remember the deeds you performed purely for (the pleasure of) Allah, then pray through them to Allah. He may open it (and deliver you from this calamity).Since the plan was sound and suited the occasion, they all expressed willingness to put it into action. Each one of them offered his virtuous acts turn by turn and using it as a form of mediation, prayed to Allah to deliver them from their misery.
The virtuous act of the first man—Service of parentsOne of them related his virtuous act in this way: O Lord, my parents were very old and weak. I considered it my duty to serve them sincerely. I worked hard the whole day. When I returned home, first of all I milked the cow and served the milk to my mother and father. Then I attended to my wife and children and other people. This was my daily routine. One day I was delayed and arrived home late. My mother and father had waited themselves to sleep. However, I milked the cow, poured the milk into a cup and stood by their bedside. I did not like to disturb them in their sleep as I respected them too much; at the same time I could not bear to feed my children before feeding them (my parents) first. Thus I stood there, holding the cup in my hand that I will make them drink it as soon as they woke up. My wee little children kept crying and sobbing bitterly but I ignored it and did not like to break my principle, and in this very state of tension, the night lapsed into day.
(O Allah,) You know it. If I had done this deed purely for Your pleasure, then remove the stone from the entrance so that we can see the sky.As soon as he ended his prayer, the stone slid a little on one side and the sky appeared, but the gap was not wide enough to let a man pass through.
The virtuous act of the second man—Self-purityThe second person narrates his act in these words: I was emotionally attached with my first cousin but that pure and innocent girl was completely unaware of my feelings. She snubbed me once when I tried to convey to her my emotional plight and after that I never dared do so.
Then once there was a severe drought. The shadows of poverty and hunger began to hover around her. Driven by starvation, that innocent girl came over to me and sought my help. I decided to take undue advantage of her helplessness; I seduced her as she was in a vulnerable condition. I piled up a big sum of 100 dinars in front of her and she half-willingly agreed to cater to my emotions. When I tried to give it a practical shape, tears welled up in her eyes. She became restless with shock and said: don’t be cruel and don’t take undue advantage of my helplessness. Fear Allah and don’t make this immoral move. On hearing her words, my hair stood on their ends and, on account of fear of the Lord, the organs of my body began to tremble. My evil intentions were buried and the human being sleeping inside me became awake. I left her there and did not pick up the money either.
O Allah, if, in Your knowledge, I did so only to seek Your pleasure and if You like my act, then You should open our way (so that we can look at the world outside).As he ended the prayer, the stone slid a little farther but the gap was still not wide enough for them to come out.
The virtuous act of the third man—To return to the deserving what belongs to himThe third man offers his good deed as his mediation in this way: O Lord, once I had employed a few labourers. I paid their wages as soon as they completed their work. But one of the labourers, for no apparent reason, did not take his wages and went away. His wage was a measure of rice. I planted the rice and when the paddy was blooming, I sold it and bought a goat with the money I made out of the bargain. Through Your blessing, more goats were born out of her. Then I bought a cow and through Your blessing the number of cows multiplied. Thus with the help of a labourer’s wages, there were so many cattle that the valley was filled with them and I had to keep a shepherd to look after those animals. One day the same labourer returned and said to me:
“Fear Allah, don’t be cruel and pay me my wages.” Then I said (to him), “Go and take those cows and their shepherd.”He said, “Fear Allah and do not ridicule me.” I told him everything with a grim face and he went away with all the goods.
(O Lord,) if I did all this for Your pleasure alone, then, through its blessing, deliver us from this trouble and remove the remaining part (of the stone from the entrance of the cave so that we could come out of it).As soon as their prayer ended, Allah granted it unhesitatingly, and their virtuous acts changed their dark night of disappointment into a bright day of hope. Through them, they received a new lease of life. Since the basis of their good deeds was the pleasure of Allah, He granted their prayer and the stone at the entrance of the cave skidded aside and all three of them slipped out of it easily and comfortably and went on their way.
2. Prayer as mediationFive-time prayer is mandatory for every Muslim. It is a pious act through which the servant practically demonstrates his servitude to Allah in a state of prostration. Since Allah likes humility in his servants, prayer is a form of worship, which represents the climax of humility. That is why Allah loves the act of prayer very much. Allah condones the lapses of His servants through the means and blessing of prayer.
It is narrated by Abū Hurayrah that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
Tell me if someone among you has a canal at his doorstep, and he has a bath in it five times a day, will any speck of dirt remain on his body? The audience replied: No dirt will remain on his body. He said: The same applies to five prayers. God erases sins through their (blessings and means).Here five prayers are acting as a form of mediation. Through them, man achieves his salvation:
3. Nearness of Allah through voluntary prayerThe purpose of a true believer is to seek access to the nearness and pleasure of his real Lord and Master, and the servant gains the nearness as well as the pleasure of his Lord through optional prayers (nawāfil). It means the servant attains the nearness of the Lord through the mediation of optional cycles of prayer.
It is attributed to Abū Hurayrah that Allah says in a divine hadith:
And My servant keeps coming closer to Me through his voluntary acts of prayer until I love him. So when I love him: I become his sense of hearing with which he hears and I become his sense of sight with which he sees and I become his hand with which he holds and I become his leg with which he walks.
4. Deliverance from the hellfire through better upbringing of daughtersDuring the era of ignorance, people generally disfavoured their daughters. At the birth of a daughter, they felt extremely worried. The Qur’ān has very clearly depicted their typical attitude: whenever someone is given the glad tidings of the birth of a daughter, his face becomes black with anger. This is how the non-believers expressed their disapproval on the birth of their daughters. But Islam placed the fair sex on such a pedestal as is simply inconceivable in any other social system. Mother, sister, daughter and wife, all are sacred relations. Islam not only sanctified these bonds but also spelled out an unmistakable reward for all those who practically realize the value and sanctity of these relations, that is, who protect them and bring them up decently. We realize from a number of statements made by the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), that proper upbringing and education of the daughters is such a virtuous act that it serves as a form of mediation for the parents and delivers them from the fire of Hell. It is narrated by ‘Ā’ishah:
A woman came to see me (and) she had two daughters with her. She had come to beg something from me but she found nothing with me except a date. I gave the same to her. She divided the date between her two daughters. Then she stood up and left. (After this,) the Holy Prophet came over. I related to him the whole story. Then he said: Whoso was tested through the daughters and he treated them well, then this will turn for him into a veil against Hell.
5. Deliverance from punishment through the mediation of the penitentTo worship Allah, to love one another for the sake of Allah, and remember Him while others are sleeping, are such virtuous acts, which are highly favoured by Allah. Those who are penitent and ask for His forgiveness in the silence of the nights are His favourites and through the blessing of their mediation, He delivers other creatures from punishment though otherwise they might have ended up in Hell.
It is attributed to Anas bin Mālik that once the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
Verily, Allah the Glorious says, “Surely I want to punish the residents of the earth but when I look at the people who populate My places of worship, who love one another for My sake and who ask for forgiveness in the later part of the night, then I turn (My wrath) away from them.
. Bukhārī narrated it with different words at various places in his as-Sahīh: b. of buyū‘ (sales) ch.98 (2:771#2102); b. of ijārah (hiring) ch.12 (2:793-4#2152); b. of muzāra‘ah (sharecropping) ch.11 (2:821-2#2208); b. of ambiyā’ (prophets) ch.52 (3:1278#3278); b. of adab (good manner) ch.5 (5:2228-9#5629); and Muslim in as-Sahīh, b. of dhikr wad-du‘ā’ wat-tawbah wal-istighfār (remembering (Allah), invocation, repentance and seeking forgiveness) ch.27 (4:2099-2100#2743).
. Muslim, as-Sahīh, b. of masājid wa mawādi‘-us-salāt (mosques and the places of prayer) ch.51 (1:462-3#667); Bukhārī, as-Sahīh, b. of mawāqīt-us-salāt (the times of the prayers) ch.5 (1:197#505); Tirmidhī in al-Jāmi‘-us-sahīh, b. of amthāl (examples) ch.5 (5:151#2868) and graded it hasan sahīh; Nasā’ī, Sunan, b. of salāt (prayer), 1:231; Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad (2:379); and Dārimī in Sunan, b. of salāt (prayer) ch.1 (1:213#1187).
. Bukhārī, as-Sahīh. b. of riqāq (softening of hearts) ch.38 (5:2385#6137).
. Qur’ān (an-Nahl) 16:58.
. Bukhārī narrated it in as-Sahīh, b. of adab (good manner) ch.18 (5:2234#5649); and Muslim in as-Sahīh, b. of birr was-silah wal-ādāb (virtue, good manners and joining of the ties of relationship) ch.46 (4:2027#2629).
. Bayhaqī, Shu‘ab-ul-īmān, 6:500 (#9051); Suyūtī, ad-Durr-ul-manthūr (3:216).