Sincerity: Bitter pill; better pill
In the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
Sincerity is the reality of this Deen (Religion) and the key in the possession of all those that call on to the Path of Allaah and aspire to earn the Ultimate reward of a good life in this world, a resting place in the grave and a favorable decision on the Day of Judgment.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever acquires knowledge by which the pleasure of Allaah is sought, but he only acquires it for the purpose of worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection. (Hasan)
With Ikhlas (sincerity) a man seeks the pleasure of Allaah even with little deeds while with Riya' (show off) a man earns the wrath of Allah even with many deeds.
Scholars said, Ikhlas (sincerity) cannot coexist in a heart which embraces the love of praise and commendation, nor the yearning to obtain that which is possessed amongst the people, save in the manner that fire and water, or a lizard and fish may coexist.
A person’s intention may be noble or evil. However, for the believer, the goal is to make his intention, that is, the motive for his deeds, purely for the sake of Allaah.
Before doing anything, one must ensure that he is doing it purely for the sake of Allaah. If he fails to attain that then he will either be guilty of a major shirk (which takes him out of the pale of Islam) or a minor shirk (Riya’ i.e. show-off).
From the advices of the scholars is that if a servant strives against himself until he does not care about life and the praise and commendation of people and dedicates all his worship to Allah The Almighty, he will be one of the people of sincerity whose every action, word, love and hatred is for the sake of Allah The Almighty alone.
Of great importance also is for a believer not to seek a great status in the hearts of people, nor desire to escape from their blame for speaking the truth. If he turns into such a person, he will be the most powerful person.
Dawud ibn Abi Hind fasted for 40 years without his family knowing, he would take his lunch out with him and donate it in the street. Siyar Vol. 6 p378.
Most of us today will tell the world via social media that we are fasting the voluntary fast and here was a salaf (pious predecessor) who fasted 40 years without his family knowing, a spiritual secret between him and Allaah worthy of complete reward from Allaah.
It is reported that when Ibn Abi Layla prayed [at night], if someone entered [his house], he would lie down on his bed [as if he was sleeping].
Also, the author of "Suwarun min hayaati-t-Tabi'n" wrote that Urwa bin Zubayr read a quarter of the Qur'an from the Mushaf during the day and he will recite a quarter from memory at night. Don't ask me how long he did this.... it was narrated that Urwa read conservatively half of the Qur'an daily for more than fifty years of his life.
We are warned against teaching people just to receive praises from them and hankering after titles reserved for sincere scholars.
We are warned against spending on the poor just to be known and celebrated as being generous.
We are warned against fighting for the cause of Allaah just to be known as a mujahid.
Those that hide their righteous deeds as they hide their sinful deeds and seek only for Allaah's pleasure, Allaah has prepared for them what eyes have not seen.
On the Day of Judgment, Allaah will call out on His servants that used to obey Him in seclusion even though they didn't see Him and will be pleased with them.
Uwais al-Qarni conservatively is said to be the best of Tabi'in but he was reported to have said that his greatest aspiration was to live among the people without them knowing him.
Ibn Hajar quoted al-Khattaabi that: whoever does something that is not sincerely for the sake of Allaah, merely wanting people to see him and hear him, will be punished for that – Allaah will expose him and make known what he is concealing.
Sahl bin `Abdullah al-Tustarî was once asked, “What is that which is most difficult for the soul [to attain]?” He answered, “Ikhlas, because [the self] does not get anything out of it.”
O Allaah, we seek refuge with You from knowingly associating anything with You, and we seek Your forgiveness for that which we do unknowingly
May Allaah make us successful through this Deen and may Allaah make this Deen successful through us.
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