“The actions will lead, and the heart follows.”
Ramadan is coming in less than three weeks. Just in case you don’t know, Ramadan is the time of the year when Muslims are obligated to fast for a whole month. It is during this month that we especially increase our religious deeds, charitable activities, and good acts in general.
As the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever does something good, Allah multiplies its reward by 70 times.” (Hadith narrated by Tirmidhi)
I’m reminded of the term “Ramadan Muslims” that is often thrown around in the Muslim community at people who tend to actively do good only during Ramadan.
While it’s obviously important that we actually be steadfast in the good that we do, I’d argue that at least making the effort to do good (or being a Ramadan Muslim) is better than not doing any good at all.
Because whether you realize or not, there are people out there who aren’t motivated at all to do good deeds, or to improve themselves. It’s a blessing to have your heart open to wanting to make such changes in yourself, even if you end up not following through with them.
Anyway, I guess it’s a common thing that sometimes, we tend to discourage ourselves from doing good. We tell ourselves that we’re not good people, and so, why should we even bother to do the good deed?
And that’s really an unfair excuse, even if it doesn’t feel like it. At the end of the day, even the best of us here make mistakes. We all do bad things. But it’s unfair for us to let those things overshadow the good that we have done, and that we desire to do.
I’m about to make yet another reference to my favorite video game, so bear with me (You’ll understand why it has such a huge influence on me).
Some of the most heartwarming things in Red Dead Redemption II are the conversations between the protagonist Arthur, and a nun that he befriends. Arthur here is a dying outlaw, who longs to make his last days count by seeking redemption for his past crimes. He never stops second-guessing himself, as he is afraid that his mistakes are too big to be atoned for. The nun, however, never stops assuring him that there is nothing to be afraid of — that goodness does exist, and that even she has made plenty of bad choices in her life.
“I’m not a religious man,” Arthur tells her. “I’m an outlaw.”
“What fun!,” the nun light-heartedly responds.
“Hearts are rarely pure,” she tells him. “But equally they are rarely impure either…So, we must all do what we can.”
She then invites Arthur to help the poor. She assures him, “Don’t worry so much about your heart. The actions will lead…and the heart follows.”
And so dear reader, if you ever second-guess yourself about doing something good, I am here to tell you the same thing.
Don’t worry so much about your heart. The actions will lead, and the heart follows.
You don’t have to wait to be a good person to do good. And the same goes to just about everything else in life that you are yet to take on. (I for instance, never stop telling myself that I am simply a person who writes, rather than a writer — and that has actually given me a lot of confidence to write consistently. Counterintuitive, I know.)
So take charge of opportunities to do good, no matter how small they are. Even if it means putting litter in garbage cans where they belong, or removing a harmful object from the floor — the rewards are plentiful, way more than we know.
To quote the Prophet (pbuh), “Verily, I saw a man enjoying himself in Paradise because he cut down a tree in the road that used to harm people.” (Narrated by Muslim)