Entering Paradise on the Basis of Good Deeds

Is the entrance to paradise guaranteed by good deeds?

Ibn Taymiyyah (رحمه الله) in his ‘Essay on the Heart’ explains that everything looked at from the perspective of itself is headed towards nonexistence and in need of the ever living, the eternal. If you looked at anything which the hand of care has taken charge of, according to the destiny of He who gave everything its forms and guided it, you would see it existing and clothed with garments of grace and kindness. All things, besides Allah, were brought into existence from a state of non-existence by Allah and they are all headed back to that state.

Ibn Taymiyyah (رحمه الله) included a portion of that verse in his explanation of Allah’s mercy manifest in His creation and guidance of human beings. The verse is:

"He said our lord is HE who gave everything its forms and guided it." [1]

And when he said he would see it existing and clothed with garments of grace and kindness. If we look at everything with regards to its destiny, here the favors which Allah has granted human beings are countless, as Allah himself said:

"And if you were to count Allah’s blessings you would not be able to calculate them..." [2]

This is found in in the Qur’an; Surah Nahl verse 18. Allah’s favors not only cover this world but also the next, as no one will enter paradise merely because of his or her deeds. In a hadith narrated by Aisha (رضى الله عنها), she said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said :

"Observe moderation but if you fail try to do as much as you can moderately and be happy for none will enter paradise only because of his deeds. The companions asked: O messenger of Allah! Not even you? He replied: not even I. were it not that Allah envelop me in his mercy, grace and forgiveness and bear in mind that the deed most loved by Allah is one done constantly even though it is small." [3]

So the Prophet (ﷺ) stressed that even in the entering into paradise, this is by the grace of Allah. There are verses in the Qur’an where Allah talks about people being in paradise because of the deeds that they did. So this might seem to contradict the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) but it actually does not. When the Prophet (ﷺ) said it is by the grace of Allah, it does not negate the deeds of human beings. He said they will not enter purely because of their deeds. But he does not negate that the deeds have a role; meaning that it is by Allah’s grace that He rewards a good deed ten times over and more whereas the evil deed is only kept equal to one. So if Allah were to keep good deeds as one reward and evil deeds as one evil deed then no one would enter paradise. So it is by the grace of Allah that He multiplies good and He said:

"...Indeed good deeds erase evil deeds..." [4]

So it is by Allah’s mercy and grace that we are able to erase evil deeds and if Allah has given us the tawfeeq we would enter paradise as a result of His grace.

References:

[1] [Qur’an 20:50]

[2] [Qur’an 16:18]

[3] [Al Bukhari (6099)]

[4] [Qur’an 11:114]

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