English

Sincerity


By Amjad Rafiq
A sermon on al-Ikhlaas (sincerity), a condition for Allaah's acceptance of one's actions.

The Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also said as is authentically reported from him: There is no servant who sets out seeking to be heard of or showing off except that Allaah will make all His creation know about him, will belittle him and hold him in contempt.

Part 1

Allaah the Exalted said [to Shaytaan]:

Then get out from here, for verily you are accursed, rejected. And verily, upon you is the curse till the Day of Judgement. He said: O my Lord grant me respite till the Day they are raised up. He (Allaah) said: Then you are of those who have been granted respite. Till the Day of the appointed time. He (Iblees) said: Because you have put me in the wrong I will beautify for them (what is on) earth and I shall mislead them all. Except your servants among them who are sincere.

Allaah further went on to say:

Indeed you have no authority/power over My servants.

In this passage Shaytaan has made a promise, in front of Allaah, that he will misguide the whole of mankind. However, he did make an exception: The sincere servants of Allaah, and Allaah too reiterated to him, that he can have no authority over Allaah's servants, those that are sincere.

Today's topic therefore is Ikhlaas or Sincerity. Since the presence of this quality is a deliverance from the evils of shaytaan and therefore the Hellfire and entry into Paradise, it is a great and vital topic, the reality of which needs to be understood by every concerned and responsible Muslim.

This Ikhlaas has been commanded by Allaah and He has made it binding upon the whole of mankind. He said:

And they were not commanded except that they should worship Allaah and worship none but Him, offer prayers perfectly and give zakah and that is the correct religion.

Also:

Say: Verily I have been commanded to worship Allaah making the deen exclusively and sincerely for Him (alone).

And also:

He is al-Hayy (Ever-Living) there is none worthy of worship except He, therefore call upon Him being making the deen exclusively and sincerely for Him (alone)

And as-Soosee, one of our Salaf, said: What Allaah intends/wants from the actions of the creations is Ikhlaas and nothing else.

The Definition of Ikhlaas

Ikhlaas is that ones speech/action/emotions/feelings are free from all impurities and desires of the soul. Such impurities and blemishes could be:

desiring praise - 'he is a scholar', 'he is a doer of good', 'he is a skilled reciter', 'he is brave' and other such things. attracting attention to oneself to achieve one's goals and objectives fulfilment of ones personal needs running away from rebuke and criticism showing off seeking worldly gains

When all these are removed and are non-existent so that none but Allaah is desired, the resultant feeling or situation is that of Ikhlaas. Allaah the Exalted said in the hadeeth qudsee:

I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having partners. Thus whoever does an action for someone else's sake as well as Mine, will have that action rejected by Me to him whom he associated with Me.

Here are some more useful definitions from our Salaf which will help to conceptualize the reality of this Ikhlaas, the deliverer from the snares of Shaytaan:

Ya'qoob al-Makfoof: The sincere person is the one who hides his good deeds just like he hides his evil deeds.

It was said to Sahl: What is the hardest thing upon the soul? He said: Ikhlaas, when there is no other desire in it.

As-Soosee said: What Allaah intends/wants from the actions of the creations is Ikhlaas and nothing else.

Abu Uthmaan said: It is forgetting the sight of the creation by continual observance of the Creator

Ibraheem bin Adham said: He has not been truthful to Allaah who loved fame (and recognition)

Sahl ibn Abdillaah said: There is nothing tougher/harder upon the soul than Ikhlaas. How many times have I tried to extinguish riyaa from my heart and it is as if it has appeared in a different colour (i.e. a different form).

Part 2:

So this then is Ikhlaas, the sincerity with which Allaah commanded us and those who came before us.

As for its opposite, then that is Riyaa or showing off, doing something in order to gain a portion of the world and other such things which we have mentioned previously.

Allaah has warned against this numerous times. He said:

And We shall turn to whatever actions they did and make them into scattered dust.

Also

And if you were to associate partners (with Allaah) then vain would be your works and you would be among the losers.

The Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also said as is authentically reported from him: There is no servant who sets out seeking to be heard of or showing off except that Allaah will make all His creation know about him, will belittle him and hold him in contempt.

Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said: We were talking about Maseeh ud-Dajjaal in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).He said: Shall I not inform you about something which I fear more for you than Maseeh ud-Dajjaal? We said: Of course, O Messenger of Allaah! He said: The Hidden Shirk. A man stands for prayer and beautifies his prayer for those who are watching him.

The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) explained that Riyaa is more dangerous to his ummah than Maseeh ud-Dajjaal!! And he gave an example of how it can occur. During the greatest of the acts of worship, the prayer!! How then for the other actions?

We now have a good and clear conception as to the meaning of Ikhlaas. This Ikhlaas which is a feeling in the heart should be present in all our actions, prayer, zakah, fasting, dhikr until even the smallest of actions such as picking something harmful off the road or smiling to another muslim brother.

We will now finish by listing a number of benefits that are attained as a result of this Ikhlaas and which give evidence to its greatness.

1. Aiding of the Ummah, due to the hadeeth:

Allaah will help this Ummah on account of its weak ones, due to their supplications prayers and sincerity.

That is the affliction, the humiliation and the oppression which we find ourselves in can be removed on account of the sincerity that we as individuals try to develop and maintain as a lasting quality, and this in turn is what benefits and aids the ummah on a wider scale.

2. Love of the angels, due to the hadeeth:

When Allaah the Exalted loves a servant He calls to Jibreel: Indeed Allaah the Exalted loves so and so, therefore love Him. So Jibreel loves him and then he calls the inhabitants of the heavens (i.e. angels): Indeed Allaah loves so and so, therefore love him. The inhabitants of the heaven love him and acceptance is made for him upon the earth.

3. Good repute, due to the hadeeth:

There is no servant except that he has a reputation (amongst the angels) in the sky. If his reputation is good in the sky it is placed upon the earth and if it is bad it is placed upon the earth.

4. Removal of Difficulties, due to hadeeth in which three men set out on a journey and they get trapped in a cave. Each one of them calls upon Allaah to remove this affliction from them on account of their sincere actions which they had done previously. One man gave his parents preference over his own children despite the fact that they were starving, another man refrained from an illicit sexual relation with a cousin of his whom he loved dearly and the third gave back to a man who had worked for him but did not take his wages, the investments he had made with his wages. All of them said: O Allaah if I did this seeking nothing but Your Face then deliver us from this evil.

Due to hadeeth in which three men set out on a journey and they get trapped in a cave. Each one of them calls upon Allaah to remove this affliction from them on account of their sincere actions which they had done previously. One man gave his parents preference over his own children despite the fact that they were starving, another man refrained from an illicit sexual relation with a cousin of his whom he loved dearly and the third gave back to a man who had worked for him but did not take his wages, the investments he had made with his wages. All of them said: O Allaah if I did this seeking nothing but Your Face then deliver us from this evil.

5. Answering of the supplication, due to the hadeeth we have just mentioned

Due to the hadeeth we have just mentioned

6. Safety from misguidance, due to the saying of Allaah:

Except Your servants amongst them who are sincere/purified.

So these are some of the benefits, and how great they are, for those who make their actions sincerely and purely for the sake of Allaah. I pray that Allaah benefits us all and gives us to drink from the fountain of Ikhlaas.

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