State of Sincerity
Strive to become Allah’s sincere devotees. There should be no worldly act that is not done as an act of servitude to Allah, not even such acts as sleeping, eating, dressing, speaking and laughing. The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, engaged in all these acts. But he was God’s devote par excellence. As a consequence of that, every aspect of his life, even the most ordinary of chores, was an act of devotion to Allah.
Without such spirit, even the most religious of acts – prayers, reciting the Quran, martyrdom, and infaq (spending in the way of Allah) – would all be merely worldly acts. Imbued with this spirit of total dedication, even the smallest religious act, and all acts of worldly life, would stand heavy in the scale of Divine Justice. If you are able to achieve this state of sincerity, even a little effort would suffice in imparting the colour of Allah in your life and soul. All the evils of the world – in men’s souls, in their lives, in their mutual relationships – have their roots in lack of sincerity. Lack of sincerity in matters pertaining especially to religious activities leads to very ill effects.
Designate your niyyah (intent) purely for Allah and strive always to keep it so. This brief and simple prescription is the gist of true religious faith and of the desire to shape your life completely according to that mould. It is also the most effective formula to remember Allah at all times. This is the perpetual dhikr (remembrance), one that suffices for all occasions.
“Dying and Living for Allah” – Khurram Murad, p. 37
قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ “ إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى دُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying,
“The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”
The merit of all our actions in this world, therefore, is squarely based on purity of motive.
Whatever we do, must be to please Allah and none else!
Intention (niyyah) refers to the motivation behind the act: to draw closer to Him and attain His good pleasure and reward.
Therefore, two components must exist together:
- An intention for the act itself and 2. An intention for the One for Whom the act is done.
This Venn diagram succinctly summaries the concept and relationship of actions-intention:
* ‘Sadaqah Jaariyah’ means the charity the rewards of which can be reaped even after one’s death!
Ponder over the following saying of Abdullah ibn Mubaarak, a great Muslim scholar:
Once you set your intentions right, then you need to take effort i.e. do hard work to achieve your goal.
وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
“And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives” Surah An-Najm 53: 39
You need to have reliance on Allah.
As Allah says in the Qur’an:
فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]” Surah Aal Imran 3:159
Along side sincere intention and effort, you also need to seek the help of Allah through Du’aa.
And this attitude must continue with consistency, InshaaAllah.
As there is no short cut to success, there is only one formula for success:
Success = Right Intention + Effort + Du’aa + Help from Allah
May Allah make our intentions pure and sincere. May He guide us and keep us on the Right Path.
The above saying of Al Fudail bin Iyaad is a point to think upon.
He says, “If a deed is sincere but not right, then it wouldn’t be accepted. And if a deed is right but not sincere, it wouldn’t be accepted until it becomes both sincere and right. Sincere means that ‘a deed is done for Allah alone’ and Right means ‘it is done in the light of the Sunnah’.