A Muslim does actions for the sake of gaining the reward from Allah. So, when Allah accepts the actions of man, this is a sign that the action was done correctly in the way which Allah (Glory be to Him) loves. Al Fudayl ibn `Iyad said: "Truly, Allah does not accept actions except if they are done solely for His Sake and are done in the proper manner according to the Sunnah." Allah (Blessed and Exalted be He) mentioned that He does not accept actions but from the pious: "Verily, Allâh accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)." [Surat Al Ma'idah: 27].
How can man know that his actions have been accepted and his effort was fruitful?
Our scholars mentioned that acceptance has some marks, when they are achieved, man should rejoice, of which are:
Not repeating the guilt again:
When a person hates sins and refuses to commit them again, he should know that his actions shall be accepted. And when he recalls sins, he feels sad, shows regret, and his heart burns out of sorrow, his repentance has been accepted. Ibn Al Qayyim said in Madarij As-Salikin: "When a person recalls sins and feels happy, his actions shall not be accepted even if he stays forty years doing repentance." Yahya ibn Mu`adh said: "Whoever seeks forgiveness with his tongue only while his heart insists on committing sins, his fasting shall not be accepted and the gate of acceptance is blocked in his face."
The increase of obedience:
Of the signs of acceptance is the increase of obedience. Al Hasan Al Basry said: "One of the rewards of good deeds is to follow the good deed with another. And of the bad consequences of bad deeds is to commit another sin thereafter. So, when Allah is pleased with a person, He guides him to obedience and directs him away from disobedience." Al Hasan said: If you are not increasing, you are decreasing.
Keeping to obedience:
Keeping to obedience has a great benefit as Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqy said: "The law of Allah, the Generous, is that the one who keeps doing something in the world, he shall die while doing it. And Whoever dies while doing some action, he shall be resurrected on the Day of Recompense while doing it. So, whoever keeps to obedience, Allah, the Generous, shall not cause him to die while committing a sin. It was reported in the Hadith: "Once a man was performing Hajj along with the Prophet (peace be upon him), and suddenly the camel caused him to die. Thereupon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Bury him in his clothes, for he shall be resurrected on the Day of Recompense pronouncing Talbiyah.""
The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned his nation saying: "I do not like to see anyone amongst you on the Day of Resurrection carrying over his neck a sheep that will be bleating, saying: O Muhammad, O Muhammad, and I shall say to him: I have informed you."
Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about the man who stole from the booty: The cloak which he stole from the booty shall turn to be a burning fire on him.
The purity of the heart:
Of the signs of accepting actions is that the heart would get rid of its diseases and filth, go back to the love of Allah, advance His Pleasure to the pleasure of anyone else, and prefer His Commands to the command of anyone else. A person should love others for the sake of Allah and to leave out envy, hatred, and enmity, and to believe that all matters are in the hands of Allah to be assured and pleased. Furthermore, a person should be sure that what had hit him would not have missed him and vice-versa; in general he should be satisfied with the destiny of Allah and think well of Him.
Recalling the Hereafter:
Of the signs of acceptance is that the heart should be always connected with the Hereafter, recalling the standing before Allah, and being reckoned for the actions he had done; so a person should hold himself accountable for minor and major sins. Al Fudayl ibn `Iyad once asked a man: How old are you? He said: Sixty years.
Al Fudayl said: Glory be to Allah!
Since sixty years you have been walking to Allah?! You are about to arrive. However, let it be known that you shall be hold accountable for your actions, so prepare answers to your questions. The man said: What should I do? He said: If you do good in the rest, the past sins shall be forgiven, but if you do evil in the rest, you shall be hold accountable for the past and the present.
Devoting one's actions to Allah:
Of the signs of acceptance is that a person devotes all his actions to Allah not for people because in fact people are made of dust and shall not avail a person before Allah. It was said to one of the righteous: Let us attend a funeral, he said: Wait until I recall the intention. Each one of us should recall a good intention and focus on the purpose of actions. A man was admonished before Al Hasan Al Basry, so Al Hasan said: O so and so, I have not benefited from your admonition either because of a disease in my heart or for the lack of your sincerity.
We ask Allah to accept our actions and to grant us sincerity, for He is the Guardian and the All-Able.
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