The Prophet (saw) said: “Verily, Allah recorded the good deeds and evil deeds. Then he clarified how (that recording should occur) whoever decided to do a good deed but he did not do it, Allah recorded it with Him as a complete good deed. And if he decided to do it and actually did it, Allah recorded it with Him as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times up to many times over. If he decided to do an evil deed but he did not do it, Allah records it with Him as one complete good deed. If he decided to do it and he actually did it, Allah records it as one evil deed.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This Hadith comprises four matters, the recording of good and evil deeds, and the intention to do good and evil deeds:

  1. The doubling of good deeds

Performing one good deed is rewarded from ten to seven hundred times that deed or more. Every good deed is recorded ten timed over, as indicated by what Allah the Almighty says: “Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times like thereof.” (Al-An’am: 160)

As for the manifold increase over the ten good deeds, it shall be granted to whoever Allah wishes, as is shown in the words of Allah the Almighty: “The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the grain (of corn); it grows seven ears and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All Sufficient for His creatures’ need, All-Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah: 261)

In Shahih Muslim, on the authority of Abu Mas’ud, he said that a man came with a bridled she-camel. The man said: “O Messenger of Allah, this is to be given for the sake of Allah. The Prophet (saw) said: “On the Day of Resurrection there shall be seven hundred camels for you.

The increase in reward for a deed may be more than ten times that deed according to the goodness of the person’s Islam, the perfection of his sincerity, the merit of the good deed itself, and according to the necessity of that action.

  1. Evil deeds are rewarded with the like thereof

Evil deeds are rewarded with the like thereof, without any increase, just as Allah the Almighty says: “And whosoever brings an evil deed shall have only recompense of the like thereof and they will not be wronged.” (Al-An’am: 160)

Allah’s words that He would, “Record it as one evil deed,” indicate that the evil deed would not be recorded as more than one deed.  However, sometimes the gravity of an evil deed is increased according to the time or place.

  1. The intention to perform good deeds

The intention to perform good deeds is recorded as a complete good deed even if it is not done. Thus if someone intends to pray, fast, perform pilgrimage, minor pilgrimage, or jihad, but prevented by some obstacle, Allah will reward him for what he intended to do. Whenever one’s action is accompanied by words or effort, recompense is certain (even if he did not achieve what he intended). Thus, the one who intended to do deed is grouped with the one who actually performed the deed, as was mentioned in the long hadith, “So they are equal in compensation.” (Tirmidhi)

  1. The intention to do evil deeds

The intention to commit evil deeds without taking any action towards doing so is recorded a good deed if one abstained from committing the deed out of fear of Allah. However, if a person intended to do an evil deed, but abstained fearing others or out of fear of being seen, it is said that he will be punished for this evil deed because of his intention to do it. This is because hypocrisy and placing the fear of others before the fear of Allah is prohibited. Thus if abstention from committing an evil deed is due to fear of others or hypocrisy, he would be punished for abstaining.

Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyad said, “People used to say that foregoing the performance of a deed for the sake of others is hypocrisy, and performing a deed for their sake is shirk (polytheism). However, a number of scholars have said that if a man intended to do an evil deed and tried his best, but was prevented from doing so by destiny, he would be punished, just as the Prophet (saw) said, “Allah has forgiven my followers the evil thoughts that occur in their minds, as long as such thoughts were not put into action or uttered. And he who strives to commit an evil deed, then was not able to execute it will be dealt with (as if he committed) it.” (Bukhari)

Prophet (saw) also said, “When two Muslims meet each other (to fight) with their swords, both the murderer as well as the murdered will go to Hell-Fire.” I said,” O Allah’s Messenger! That is for the murderer, but what about the murdered one?” Allah’s Messenger replied,” He surely had intention to kill his companion.” (Bukhari)

by Ibn Rajab