Few weeks ago, as millions of Muslims, who could afford it, were slaughtering their sacrificial animal for the sake of Allaah, millions others were carrying out the most important rites of the most important journey in the life of a Muslim - standing on the plane of Arafah. The two events remind the entire Muslims of the most significant aspect of their righteous deeds - sincerity. Allaah underscores this virtue with both events. With regard to slaughtering the udhiyyah Allaah says:
"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him." (Q22[Hajj]:37).
While mentioning hajj as an important symbol of al-lslaarn, AIlaah says:
"Thus it is [what has been mentioned is an obligation that mankind owes to Allaah]. And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allaah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart." (Q22[Hajj]:3)
Piety of the heart or sincerity is the greatest heart-related act of worship and the most dangerous; many verses, hadeeths and narrations from the pious predecessors have explained its excellence and warned regarding its neglect.
Sincerity has been described in various statements by devout scholars:
Some say it is the evenness of the actions of the servant in the open and in secret. Some others say sincerity is not to seek a witness for your deeds except Allaah and while believing that there is no one who recompenses besides Him. In summary, sincerity is submitting our desires to the truth and judgment of Islaam even when it runs contrary to our own opinion.
And in a hadeeth-Qudsee, Allaah, Blessed is He and the most High, said: "
I am the most Sufficient of partners away from Shirk; whoever does any deed ascribing other than me with me regarding it, I will abandon him and his ascription". (Muslim).
The Difficulty of Sincerity
Sincerity is valuable, difficult to achieve, and is unknown to many who are engaged in acts of worship and as such, the pious predecessors used to beseech Allaah - the most High -requesting for sincerity. Here is Alee bin AI-Husayn beseeching Allaah, saying:
"O Allaah! I seek refuge in you from your beautifying my open (deeds) to the viewing eyes and making ugly my hidden to the obscure eyes".
He was only beseeching Allaah for sincerity of action because it is difficult to attain and it is not granted except to one with great fortune. And sincerity is not perfect except with honesty and there can be no honesty except with sincerity and both will not be perfect except with patience.
Benefits and Impacts of Sincerity
Sincerity has some great importance, some of which are mentioned below:
I - It is the Pillar of Action and Its Hump: Since the one who acts without sincerity is toiling, tiring out himself without reward; Allaah said:
“And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheist, sinners, etc.) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust." (Q25[Furqan]:23).
Fudayl bin 'Iyyaad said regarding the statement of A1laah: “Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best indeed.”
"It is the most sincere of the best of it". They said: 'O Aboo Alee: What is the most sincere if it and the best of it?' He said: "If an action is sincere but not right. It will not be accepted; and if it is right but was not sincere, it will not be accepted until it is sincere and right. The sincere one is that which is for the sake of Allaah and the right one is that in conformity with the Sunnah. Then he recited:
"So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his lord let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." (Q I8[Kahf]: 118).
2 - It Magnify Actions: That is because Allaah multiplies it and rewards the sincere in his deeds by inflating his actions and magnifying them such that he finds it on the Day of Resurrection, much more than he expected. The great Imam Abdullaah bin Al- Mubaarak said: "Many a simple
good deed is inflated by the intention; and many a great deed is made insignificant by the intention". (Nuzhat ul-Fudalaa:2/657).
One of the pious wrote to his who acts for the cravings of the friend:
"Make the intentions for your deeds pure; few of the deeds will suffice you". (Ithaaf us-Saadat iI-Muttaqeen: by Az-Zubaydee: 13/87).
3 -Sincerity Purifies The Heart From Filth: Since the heart ever turns over and over, and is much busy; it turns away from goodness with the slightest chance. But sincerity ensures that the heart is purified and turns towards its Lord. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Three things do not leave rancor in the Muslim's heart: Making actions sincere for Allaah, giving good advice to the leaders and sticking to the group of the Muslims for their supp1ications encompasses those behind them". (Majma'u az- Zawaaid: I/l42-144).
The meaning of: '... do not leave rancor in the Muslim's heart ... ' i.e. it does not allow rancor to remain in it or that the heart does not harbor rancor together with these three traits. (Tahdheeb Madaarij is-Saalikeen: pg 321).
4 - Steadfastness upon Good Deeds: Sincerity grants the servant the strength of continuity because the one who acts for the sake of the people and the one who acts for the cravings of the belly or lust soon stops when he does not attain what satisfies his appetite. Similarly, the one who acts for popularity or post drops and slackens when it becomes clear to him that his expectations are not attainable; and the one who acts seeking the pleasure of a leader or head stops or lags when the leader is removed or the head dies.
But for the one who acts for the sake of Allaah, he neither ever stops nor gives up, nor slackens, because the One for whose sake he acts is ever present and never ceases to exist. The Face of Allaah is everlasting when the faces of the people will cease to exist ... as such, the pious say: What is for Allaah endures and continues; but what is for other than Allaah ceases and breaks. And this is what the reality establishes, and we have seen and perceived and continue to see and observe in every time and place. (An-Niyyah wal-Ikhlaas p.103-104).
5 - Transformation of Permissible Acts to Worship: Sincerity is the panacea of the deeds. such that when placed on any deed - even when the deed is from the ordinarily permissible matters and mere value of a group of people - converts it to an act of worship and closeness to Allaah - the most High ...
6 - Sincerity is the means of Gaining Allaah's Company and Help: Allaah said regarding the companions who witnessed the Ba'at ur-Ridwaan (Pledge of Favor)" under the tree:
Indeed Allaah was pleased with the believers when they gave their Ba'ah (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) under the tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakinah (calmness and tranquility) upon them, and He rewarded them with a near victory. "(Q48 [Fath]:18).
The leader of the Muslims, Umar, wrote to Aboo Moosa AI- 'Ash'aree (RA) whom he made the governor of Basra:
‘Whoever makes his intention sincere, Allaah will suffice him regarding what is between himself and the people; but whoever only puts up goodness for the sake of the people, AIIaah knows it from his heart and disgraces him ...’ (Ithaaf us-Soodatil-Muttoqeen: 13/87).
The Signs of Sincerity
The sincere one has signs with which he is known among which are: fear for popularity and accusing one's soul of negligence and slackness, acting in silence, neither seeking praise and commendation nor: being deceived by it. Not refusing to commend the one who deserves to be commended and praised with its etiquettes and to prefer the pleasure of A1laah to that of the people.
From that is making one's pleasure and displeasure for the sake of AlIaah, being patient over the lengthiness of the path of the legal responsibilities and delayed help being glad with the successes of one's fellows or at least not getting annoyed by that. He should also make efforts at the rectifying himself from self-conceit, not vindicating himself, and concealing his acts of obedience except for a clearly pressing benefit. (An-Niyyot wal-Ikhlas 69-94).
Things that help on Sincerity Supplication and Turning to Allaah: He is the One that assists and Who is turned to in every matter.
Knowledge: Through it the servant recognizes the importance of sincerity and understand the methods of the Shaytaan and his attempts at the soul. Through the knowledge of what is in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) he becomes aware, therefrom, of the encouragement towards sincerity.
Making efforts: AIIaah says:
“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause). We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allaah’s Religion-Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allaah is with the Muhsinoon (good doers).”(Q28[Qasas]:69).
Companionship with the sincere ones: For that brings about the love for sincerity and acting characteristically based on it and knowing about their efforts in this regard is really beneficial.
Reading the biographies of the salaf and those after them amongst the pious: Nothing is most beneficial after Allaah's granting success as studying the biographies of the pious predecessors, their beneficial sayings and their great efforts.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited