11. Given that Allah SWT only accepts the work of pious individuals, isn’t that reason for the common individual and sinners to lose hope?

Firstly, with regards to the Ayah that states:

إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ ٱللَّـهُ مِنَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

“God accepts only of the pious.” 1

Piety in itself has stages. Therefore, pious means “with more piety”. The Qur’an states:

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّـهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ

“Surely the noblest among you in the sight of God is the most god-fearing of you.”2

Most of the common people and those who do wrong also have levels of piety even if they have never done any good nor do they leave any sin.

Secondly, if a government dictates that only university students can be employed their intention is that when one officially is employed in their field, they need to have that qualification, not that anyone who works outside their field or without qualification has no right to their wages earned.

Thirdly, the acceptance of your actions also has levels. The Qur’an states Allah SWT accepts with:

بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ

“With gracious favor.” 3

And in the prayer fare welling Ramadhan we read تقبل باحسن قبولك and accept our deeds with the best of your acceptances. So everyone’s actions will be accepted according to their own level of piety.

Therefore, the Qur’an states different levels of reward relative to the people who do good and to what action they do:

ضِعْفَيْنِ (Baqarah 2:265) Some actions have double the reward.

أَضْعَافًا (Baqarah 2:245) some have rewards that are multiplied multiple times over.

فَلَهُۥ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا (Al Anaam 6:160) Some actions have a tenfold reward attached to them.

كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍ مِّا۟ئَةُ حَبَّةٍ (Baqarah 2:261) Some actions have the reward multiplied 700 times over.

فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّآ أُخْفِىَ لَهُم (Sajda 32:17) Some rewards are so great that only Allah SWT knows them.

And these differences are based upon the differences in the intention and the kind of good deed being performed.