Purification of the Soul
Typography

Sincerity and the Presence of Intentions for All Actions, Both Apparent and Hidden

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And they were only commanded that they should worship Allah [Alone], making the religion sincerely for Him, inclining to the truth, [that they] establish the prayer and give the zakah. That is the upright religion." [Al-Qur'an 98:5]

"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him." [Al-Qur'an 22:37]

"Say: Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it." [Al-Qur'an 3:29]

Commentary

Al-Ikhlas, or sincerity, is that one desire the Face of Allah only when he does an action and this is one of the four conditions that must be met in order for that action to be accepted.

Two of these conditions deal with the validity of that action and they are:

  1. Al-Ikhlas, or sincerity, and you have come to know what this means.
  2. As-Sawab, or correctness. This means that the action must be in conformity to the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

The other two conditions deal with perfecting that action and they are:

  1. Al-Akhdh bil Quwwa, or taking grasp of and accepting the action firmly and with determination. Allah says:

    "Take what We have given you with determination." [Al-Qur'an 2:63,93]

    "Take them with determination and order your people to take the best of it." [Al-Qur'an 7:145]

    "Take the Book with determination." [Al-Qur'an 19:12]

  2. Al-Musara'ah, or hastening to perform the action. Allah, the Exalted, says, "Do not slacken in My remembrance." [Al-Qur'an 20:42]. The verses encouraging one to hasten to performing good actions are many.

... [As for the saying of Allah:]

"And they were only commanded that they should worship Allah [Alone], making the religion sincerely for Him, inclining to the truth, [that they] establish the prayer and give the zakah. That is the upright religion." [Al-Qur'an 98:5]

Allah informs us that He has ordered his servants to single Him out Alone for worship (tawhid) and that they should not worship anything else alongside Him. That they should steer clear of and be averse to all the invalid religions and come to the religion of Islam because it is the upright and eminent religion, or the religion of the nation that stands firm upon the truth.

This creed and mannerism is what differentiates the Islamic nation from all the other disbelieving nations because this is a purpose from amongst the aims of sending Prophets.

[The saying of Allah,]

"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him." [Al-Qur'an 22: 37]

Allah informs us that he has legislated for you that you sacrifice these animals so that you can remember Him at the point of slaughtering for He is the Provider, Owner of Might and Powerful. Nothing of their meat or blood reach Him for He, the Exalted, feeds and is not fed and He is totally Self-Sufficient.

The people at the time of the pre-Islamic ignorance (jahiliyyah) used to place the meat of their sacrifices around their gods and also sprinkle the blood of their sacrifices around them. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "we are more deserving than they of sprinkling the [sacrificial blood]" and so Allah revealed this verse clarifying that he only accepts actions from the pious who desire thereby His Face only. In this lies a warning that actions that are stripped of a righteous intention will not be accepted.

[The saying of Allah,]

"Say: Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it." [Al-Qur'an 3:29]

The Master, Exalted is He, informs his servants that He knows the secrets, the thoughts and what is displayed outwardly; that nothing whatsoever is hidden from Him. Indeed His Knowledge encompasses them in every circumstance, age and time [just as it encompasses] everything that is in the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. Not even an atoms weight or less escapes Him from any region of the earth, sea or mountains.

This is a warning from Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, to His servants that they should fear Him and be submissive to Him such that they not undertake what He has prohibited and what Angers Him, for He knows all of their affairs. He is Able to swiftly bring on their punishment, and let those who wait, wait for indeed He may give them respite but He never forgets and neglects, then He takes them to a mighty account!

When the servant comes to know these warnings he makes good his actions and becomes sincere and correct [in his actions].

(s) Sharh Riyadh as-Salihin

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Be Mindful O Mankind!

A man who wanted to write hadith would [learn] manners and worship for twenty years before starting.
Sufyan ath-Thawri (d. 167H), may Allah have mercy upon him