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On Ikhlaas (Sincerity)
  The Acceptable Action
Author: Hussain al-Awaaishah
Source: The Book of Sincerity (Eng. Trans. by Abu Iyaad as-Salafi)
Article ID : TZK010006  [16768]  

Before you take a single step - My brother and sister Muslim - it is vital for you to be acquainted with the path in which your deliverance lies. Do not make yourself exhausted by performing many actions. Perhaps the one who does many actions, does not gain anything but tiredness from them in this world and punishment in the hereafter[1]. Allaah the Exalted said:

And We shall turn to whatever actions they did and make them into scattered dust[2]

He also said:

It is he who created life and death to see which of you is best in action[3]

Therefore, know before everything else the necessary conditions for actions before they are accepted. It is vital that two great and important matters are fulfilled for every action. If they are not the action will not be accepted.

The First: That the one who performed the action desired nothing but the Face of Allaah Azzawajall by it.

The Second: That the action is in agreement with what Allaah the Exalted has legislated in His Book or His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has explained in his sunnah.

Fudayl ibn Ayyaad, a taabi'ee, said regarding the verse {...that He may test you, which of you is best in deeds...} [11:7], "The most sincere and the most correct" so those who were around him said "And what is the most sincere and the most correct?" He replied "Action, if it is correct but not sincere will not be accepted and action, if it is sincere but not correct will not be accepted until it is both sincere and correct. Sincere means that nothing but the Face of Allaah is sought and correct means that it is in conformity with the Sunnah."

And some of the Salaf used to say: There is no action, even if it is insignificant , except that it will have two questions put to it: Why did you do it? and: How did you do it?

The first question is about the reason for the action and its motive. If the motive was for an objective from among the objectives of the world such as seeking praise or status or any other worldly aim, it is an evil action and will be thrown back at its performer. If the motive for the action was to fulfil the right of Allaah of pure enslavement to Him and seeking a means of nearness to Him then it is a good action and will be accepted inshaa'allaah.

The second question is about the following and imitation of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) . Was the action from amongst the legislated actions or was it from your innovation and invention? If it was from the guidance of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then it is a good action and if it was in opposition to the practise of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then it is an evil action and will not be accepted from its performer as is proven in the hadeeth of Aa'ishah (ra) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Whoever introduces into this affair of ours something that does not belong to it will have it rejected."[4] And she also reports that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Whoever does an action which we have not commanded will have it rejected."[5]

When one of the above two conditions is not fulfilled the action is neither righteous nor acceptable. The saying of the Blessed and Exalted provides evidence for this:

And whoever places his hope in the meeting with His Lord let him work righteous deeds and in the worship of His Lord, associate none as a partner[6]

Allaah, the Sublime has commanded in this verse that the action should be righteous meaning, agreement with the Sharee'ah. Then He commanded that the person should make it sincerely for Allaah, desiring by it nothing besides Him.

Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (rh) said: These are the two pillars of the accepted action. It is necessary that the action is sincerely for Allaah and also correct, upon the Sharee'ah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) . The likes of this has also been reported from al-Qaadi Ayyaad - may Allaah have mercy upon Him - and others.

Allaah the Exalted also said:

And who is better in religion than the one who submits his face to Allaah and is a doer of good?[7]

The meaning of submitting ones face for Allaah is: Making one's intention and action for Allaah, and the meaning of doing good is: Imitating and following the Messenger's (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Sunnah.


1 This is illustrated in his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying: "Perhaps a fasting person obtains nothing from his fasting but hunger and one who stands during the night in prayer nothing but tiredness." Reported by Ibn Maajah from Abu Hurairah and Shaikh Al-Albaanee declared it to be authentic in his Saheeh ul-Jaami', no. 3482.

2 Soorah Furqaan 25:23

3 Soorah Mulk 67:2

4 Reported by Muslim

5 Reported by Muslim

6 Soorah Kahf 18:110

7 Soorah Nisaa 4:125


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