Reflection No. 107 on Q 16:97 – The effect of good deeds

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Man ‘amila swalihan min dhakarin aw-unthaa wa-huwa mu’minun falanuHyiyannahu Hayaatan Tayyibah, wa-lanajziyyannahum ajrahum bi-aHsani maa kaanoo ya‘amaloon.

Whoever acts righteously, whether male or female, and he is a believer, We shall revive him with a good life, and pay them their reward by the best of what they used to do.
Suratun-Nahl (No. 16), Aayat 97

This verse is a beautiful promise to the believer of the effect of good deeds stemming from faith in God. The doer of the deeds will have a good life in this world, and will be rewarded in the Hereafter.

Tafseer gives the following definitions of the good and pleasant life that the believer will have in this world:

a) A life which has peace and satisfaction.
b) Relationships that have harmony, cooperation, and love.
c) Not succumbing to fear and grief. This is the ideal state of people in Heaven. It can be achieved to some degree in this world when a person does not let circumstances affect him. (Q 57:23)
d) Constant struggle towards perfection, which makes life more meaningful. (Q 48:29)
e) Having a correct perspective on things, through the Light of Allah (Q 39:22)
f) Support of the angels who pray for him and seek forgiveness for him. (Q 40:7)

In the Hereafter Allah will reward those who do good deeds with the best of what they used to do. According to Tafsire Namune, this means that Allah will take the worth of the best actions of the believer, and then reward all the other good deeds with the same value. Its example in this world is like that of a buyer who wants to purchase items of different values. He takes the highest priced one and pays for all the items according to that value. No human being would do that since each person looks for his own advantage and profit, not the profit of the other party. It is only the Creator who loves His creatures so much, that He allows them to profit so much.

To have faith is to have the best of both worlds. It doesn’t mean that things will be smooth and easy for the believer. But it is the inner faith that controls the reaction and attitude to life. Once that changes, outer turbulence cannot affect the inner calmness stemming from faith. That is the true meaning of peace of mind.
Source: Tafsir Namune, Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi (ed.)