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On Ikhlaas (Sincerity)
  Correctness and Intention
Article ID : TZK010003  [15726]  
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The State of Affairs

From the fundamentals of Knowledge which have been neglected by many Muslims is how and when an action becomes righteous and acceptable to Allaah.

In fact, the matter has grown worse than that! We live in an age in which many Muslims assume that whatever actions they undertake as regards the Deen, then they must surely be acceptable to Allaah!

Such assumptions - arising from ignorance - have played a destructive role in the collective affairs of this Ummah - may Allaahh increase it in nobility - and may possibly being destructive to one's own salvation in the Hereafter, as Allaah says:(1)

Say! Shall we tell you of those who lost most with respect to their actions? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, whilst they thought that they were aquiring good by their actions.(2) [al-Kahf 18:103-104]

So "the people are of three classes: The righteous Scholar, the student of Knowledge being upon the path of salvation and the confused rabble who follow everyone who calls out - bending along with every wind - they are not enlightened by the light of Knowledge, nor do they lean upon a firm support."(3)

Two Essential Conditions

It is a must that two great and important matters be considered for actions to be acceptable:

Firstly: That the one undertaking the action must intend only the pleasure of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic.

Secondly: The action must be in agreement with the Sunnah of His Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam.

If any of these two conditions are not fulfilled, then the action will neither be righteous, nor accepted by Allaah.The proof for this is in His saying:

Whosoever expects to meet His Lord, then let him work actions of righteousness and in the worship of his Lord associate no one as a partner(4) [al-Kahf 18:110]

In this noble aayah Allaah commanded that the action should be righteous - in agreement with the Shar'eeah - and it should be sincere - associating none with him.(5)

Similar to this is the saying of the Prophet - sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam:

"Indeed Allaah does not look at your faces nor your wealth. But he looks at your hearts and your actions."(6)

So, contrary to what many people think, sincerity alone is not sufficient for worshipping Allaah - but along with that it must be in conformity with the Sunnah.Thus the condition of the action must be such that it confirms.

Righteous Actions

Personal tastes, desires and perceptions - intellectual or otherwise(7) - are not the criteria for judging whether actions are righteous or not.Allaah says:

"Who is more astray tan one who follows his own desires without guidance from Allaah".[al-Qasas 28:50]

Rather, a righteous action is one "that is commanded by Allah and his Messenger - and that is obedience."(8) And this obedience must be upon the understanding of the companions - radiallaahu 'anhum. Since they are for this Ummah - after its Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam - the custodians of correct Knowledge ('Ilm), action ('Aml),, belief (I'tiqaad) and methodology (Manhaj).As the Prophet 'alayhis-salaam said:

"My Companions are the custodians for my Ummah, so when my companions go, that which has been promised to my Ummah will come to it."(9)

And the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam warned us about actions which have no basis from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, by saying:

"Whosoever does an action that we have not commanded then it will be rejected."(10)

Sincerity - the Essence of Tawheed

Sincerity demands that one seeks to do actions which Alaah is pleased with, in way in which He is pleased with. The root of this is Knowledge, as one of the Imaams of the Taabi'een, az-Zuhree (d.124H) - rahimahullaah - said: "The people will not trust the action of one who acts without knowledge; and they will not be pleased with the saying of a Scholar who does not act."(11)

As regards sincerity, then it is "the stripping of ones intentions from all impurities in order to draw close to Allaah, ensuring that the intention behind all acts of worship and obedience are exlusively for his pleasure."(12)As Allaah - the One free from all imperfections - says:

They have not been commanded except to worship Allaah, being sincere and making the Deen for Him.[al-Bayyinah 98:5]

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