The regret of missing a good deed

Recently I’d been feeling very hard-hearted and unemotional; I couldn’t feel anything for anyone close or far, no matter what they were going through. I couldn’t cry. I would ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to soften my heart but even asking this was emotion-free. I hated this feeling. But one afternoon everything changed, and my du’a was answered.

On a bright, sunny afternoon I sat in a fast food restaurant with a colleague. Our food had just been served. As we began eating I looked through the window and saw an elderly woman with a walking frame being helped into the restaurant by a couple who were coming to eat at the restaurant as well.

The old lady slowly strolled over to the food counter. A waiter spoke to her briefly, but it seemed he was struggling to understand her. He called another waiter who spoke to her for a few minutes and then left. My attention returned to my food.

Shortly afterwards I noticed the old lady walking, slowly, towards the door, empty-handed. As she made her way to the door she looked at the food on our table. I watched her walk out the door all alone and disappear out of sight.

A few minutes later the thought entered my mind that this lady had walked into the shop wanting something but had left empty-handed. What if she’d been hungry but the waiters hadn’t understood her? What if she hadn’t had the money? The image of her eyes on our food as she walked out made my eyes swell with tears.

Why hadn’t I realized sooner? My hunger died and I couldn’t even look at the food. I could have asked her, could have bought her to our table and shared our food with her, I thought as tears began rolling down my cheeks.

I had indeed missed out on a good deed, and I had missed a chance to bring a smile to a lonely elderly person’s face. When we reached the office I went to the prayer room and cried like I hadn’t cried in many days. I asked for Allah’s forgiveness and asked Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to give me a chance to meet this lady again and serve her for His Sake. I made du’a that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) would grant me the ability to perform good deeds for His sake, to recognize a good deed awaiting me and to hasten to perform it. Indeed those who hasten to do good deeds are on the path to success.

Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions.” Then (giving a warning) he said, “Are you waiting for poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion, or prosperity which will make you corrupt, or a disease which will disable you, or senility which will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death which will take you all of a sudden, or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected, or the Hour; and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter.” At-Tirmidhi

Some benefits of doing good deeds

1. Doing good deeds softens the heart.

2. It decreases/removes selfishness – our hearts become more compassionate towards others, and we think about them before we think of ourselves.It makes you love for your brother what you love for yourself.

“Believing men and believing women are the protecting friends of each other: they enjoin right and they forbid wrong”  Surah At-Tawbah  :71

3. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves the one who does good deeds

4. Good deeds erase our bad deeds and improve our way of life. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Quran:

“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter). ” Surah An-Nahl :9

Compete in doing good deeds and don’t leave them too late; the regret is painful and it’s a moment you can’t get back.

The Author

Nazia Janar is an ambitious marketing professional, whom endeavours to aim high. She is constantly on a path of learning and aims to leave behind a legacy for the Sake of Allah. Heading up I am Alima Publications, Nazia is enthusiastic to make a difference to the Muslim Women of today.

This blog is updated and maintained by the editor and her team with exclusive articles and all that's going on at 'I am Alima'. To contact us, email

3 Responses

  1. Munaim Sayd September 4, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    SubhanAllah sister, May Give you jannatul firdouse for such a good piece of advice!!!

  2. anon October 20, 2013 / 9:40 pm

    I used to have problems doing good deeds because of my shyness but I found that adding some spontaneity to life changed that. Before I would be scared to help someone or do something because of the way it’d make me look but now I will try to do good whenever I can because of the rewards they entail.

    Also don’t worry about what happened, the fact that you regret it more than makes up for it.

    Surah az-zalzala’s last two lines tell us (paraphrasing) we will be recompensed for the good and bad we do no matter how small they are. I try to engrain this into my life so I try to save spiders from being stepped on or stop myself from wasting water. Whatever it is, it is all written and we’ll stare at it in amazement or horror on the day of judgement.

    JazaakAllah Khair

    Assalamu aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

  3. Tonje December 5, 2013 / 9:10 pm

    Jazaki Allah khair for excellent advice & useful reminder, dear sister Nazia.

    You’re so right about the painful feeling of regret.

    May Allah make it easy for us to grab any opportunity to do good. Ameen

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