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Question: Hello. I am a Muslim IB Diploma student in high school writing my extended essay on the comparison of the notion of sin between Christianity and Islam. I would like to verify something that I heard regarding sin and hope that you can provide me with textual evidence from the Quran and Hadith to support this idea so that I may use it in my essay. I heard that if a Muslim intends on doing a good deed but is unable to do it, he is awarded by Allah for having the intention to do it. If he carries out his intentions and does the deed, then he is awarded ten times more for having done it. If however the individual intends on doing something sinful but does not carry it out, it is not considered a sin as the deed was not done. Instead, the person is awarded for not carrying out the sin. But if the sin is carried out, then it counts only once, in order to make sure that the good deeds outweigh the bad ones on the Day of Resurrection. Is this true according to Islamic belief? Please answer as soon as possible. Your answer is highly appreciated.

The idea you have referred to in your question has been stated in a well attested Hadith (Prophetic tradition) jointly reported by both Bukhari and Muslim, two of the foremost authorities of Hadith; to cite the full text:

“It has been related on the authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be well pleased with both of them (i.e. father and son) that the Prophet, upon whom be Allah’s blessings and peace, said while narrating from his Lord, the Glorious and Exalted, “Verily, Allah has written down the good deeds as well as the bad deeds and the respective rewards or punishments entailing each one of them; explaining this, he said, “Thus whosoever nurtured the intention to do a good deed and yet was unable to fulfill the same, it would be written down as a good deed to his credit; if, on the other hand, he nurtured the intention to do a good deed and then did the same, it would be recorded to his credit multiplied many times-- from ten to seven hundred times or even more. If, on the contrary, he intended to do a bad deed and then refrained from it, it would be recorded as a good deed in his favor; if, however, he did do the same, it would be recorded as a single bad deed against him.” (Reported jointly by both Bukhari and Muslim).

The above mentioned concept has been reinforced in a number of verses of the Qur’an as well such as the following:

“Whoever has done a good deed will have it ten times to his credit, but whoever has done bad deed will be repaid only with its equivalent—they will not be wronged.” (Qur’an: 6: 160).

“He (Allah) does not wrong anyone by as much a he weight of a speck of dust; He doubles any good deed and gives a tremendous reward of His own.” (Qur’an: 4: 40).

“Who will give God a good loan, which He will increase for him many times over? It is God who withholds and God who gives abundantly, and it is to Him that you will return.” (Qur’an: 2: 245).

May Allah, the All-Compassionate, honor us to hasten to do good works, and shun all evil deeds-aameen.

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