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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In Search of Sincerity

by Muhammad Alshareef

In one of the battles that the Muslims waged against the Romans, the Muslims - under the commandment of Maslamah (rahimahullaah) - surrounded a city that had a tall and well-fortified wall. The siege went on for months.

Then one night, one of the Muslim soldiers came to General Maslamah and told him of a hole that he had accomplished to bore through the wall. "It is only large enough for a slim soldier." He knelt closer. "Quickly, send with me someone who can squeeze through and fight the army on the inside until he has opened the gates for all of us to enter."

Maslamah sent out the news, and that night someone volunteered. In a sweeping assault, the gate was opened and the Muslims were victorious.

Maslamah, overwhelmed with happiness, sent out the word that the soldier that entered the hole should come forward. No one showed. A day passed and the request was repeated. Another day, then another. No one arrived to take credit.

On the fourth day, a soldier approached Maslamah, his face wrapped in a scarf. He said to him, "I have news of the soldier that entered the hole."
Maslamah sat up sharp, "Tell me who it is?"
"First, however," said the soldier, "he has three conditions before exposing himself. Do you agree to this?"
"Of course," Maslamah said.
"The first is that you do not try to compensate him for what he did. The second is that you do not tell anyone who he is. And the third is that you shall not ask for his presence ever again. Do you agree to these conditions?"
"It is agreed," Maslamah said.
The soldier, uncovering his scarf, said, "It is I. I went through that hole only for the sake of Allah." Then, turning, he walked away.


After that day, Maslamah was often heard praying to Allah, "O Allah, (on the Day of Resurrection) grant me companionship with the soldier of the hole."

Sometimes at any Islamic school, there are children who pray at the back, but the actions are better described as 'playing' (no, not with a lisp). Then when the head master or whoever they consider to have authority above them approaches, they all stand erect in complete devotion.
They are children and Allah will not take them to account. However, there are many adults that do this exact thing but on a more serious scale. The ingredient that we all need to work on throughout our lives as Muslims is Ikhlaas (sincerity).


Sincerity in all we do is a commandment of Allah:

[Say, "Indeed my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first (among you) of the Muslims."] Surah Al-An'aam 6/162,163

[And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give Zakah. That is the correct Deen.] Surah Bayyinah 98/5

In defining Ikhlaas, Al-Jurjaani - rahimahullaah - said that it is to not seek any audience for your deeds other than Allah.

When one looks over the text of the Qur'aan and Sunnah, they will come to the realization that Allah Ta'ala and His Messenger - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - speak about sincerity in different aspects: Sincerity in Tawheed of Allah and sincerity in our intentions. Sincerity in our worship, such as in Salah, Sujood, Fasting, standing in Ramadan, standing in the night of Qadr, sincere love for the Masjid, Zakah, Sadaqah, Hajj, Jihaad, repentance, supplications, recitation of the Qur'aan, and so much more.

The Qur'aan and Sunnah speak about sincerity in all our verbal statements, sincerity in our refined and upright AKhlaaq (character), sincerity in our Tawakkul (placing of our trust) in Allah, and sincerity in all actions.

With Ikhlaas one will be saved from Hellfire and granted a lofty position in Jannah. [And they give food out of love for (Allah ta'ala) to the needy, the orphan and the captive. (Saying) "We feed you only for the countenance of Allah, we wish no reward from you nor gratitude. Indeed, we fear from our Lord a Day severe and distressful. So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness. And will reward them for what they patiently endured (with) a garden (in Jannah) and silk (garments).] Surah Ihsan 76/8-12

Dear brothers and sisters, we must understand that there are certain things that contradict our Ikhlaas to Allah. Of these things are three, Reyaa', Sum'ah and 'Ujb.

Reyaa' is to perform an act of worship with the intention of showing it off to people, seeking their praise or some other vanity. Thus this person is seeking to be glorified or praised or hoped for or feared through this action. An example of this would be such as donating a large sum of money in order that people may think the contributor is generous.

Sum'ah is similar to Reyaa', but as the Ulama have said, it is those verbal statements that a person does for the sake of people.

Ibn Al-Mubaarak - rahimahullaah - said, "Perhaps a great deed is belittled by an intention. And perhaps a small deed, by a sincere intention, is made great."

'Ujb is the cousin of Reyaa'. It is when a person becomes impressed with himself for the 'great' deeds that he has done. This and all the other types are viruses that can kill our actions and turn them against us on the day of Resurrection.

Ya'qoob al-Makfoof - rahimahullah - used to say, "The sincere one is he who hides his good deeds in the same way that he would hide his bad."

Indeed insincerity in our actions is something very dangerous and can lead a person to ruin. Ibn Masood - radi Allahu 'anhu - would advise his students, "If your intention is one of these three, do not seek knowledge: To shame the ignorant, or to argue with the Fuqahaa', or to cause people to turn their faces in your direction. Intend with your actions and words that which is with Allah, for indeed that which is with Allah shall remain and everything else shall perish."

In conclusion, Ibn Al-Qayyim - rahimahullaah - said, "Deeds without sincerity are like a traveler who carries in his water-jug dirt. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit."

May Allah Ta'ala make us all from those whose deeds are done in accordance with the Sunnah, deeds that are done sincerely for the sake of Allah.


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