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The Necessity of Ikhlas (Sincerity) in Deeds

The Necessity of Ikhlas (Sincerity) in Deeds

A summary based on the sermon of Shaikh Salih Al-Fozan (Saudi-Arabia), Source: Al-Khutabul-Minbariyyah, vol. 2, p. 273.

Ikhlas (sincerity) in our actions and statements is of utmost importance for the acceptance of our deeds. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that ‘Umar said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say:

“Verily, the reward of deeds depends upon the Niyyah (intentions) and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.”

Therefore, every action that was not performed solely for Allah’s Sake, is annulled and fruitless in this life and the Hereafter.

There are two implications for the word Niyyah according to the scholars. One of them pertains to distinguishing acts of worship from acts of habit. For instance, there is a difference between taking a bath to remove impurity (to be able to pray and engage in other acts of worship), and taking a bath to cool off. Also, there is a different Niyyah for Zhur prayer than Asr prayer and fasting during Ramadan in contrast to fasting in other months.

The second meaning for Niyyah pertains to distinguishing between the intention behind the act – if it is directed to Allah Alone or to Allah and others. This meaning carries with it happiness or misery and reward or punishment. For example, two different persons might perform the same act, paying equal effort to it but one of them earns a reward while the other earns no reward, or even punishment, because the intentions were different in each case.

Some scholars said that this is why people vary in grades (in the sight of Allah); it is in accordance to the intentions behind their actions, not because of merely fasting and praying. Imam Ibn Rajab said:

Know that performing deeds for other than Allah is of different types. Sometimes, this action might be to show off in its entirety, and thus, one seeks to be seen by the creation for a worldly gain. For example, this is the state that the hypocrites pray in. Allah describes them as follows:

“…And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little…” (Surah An-Nisa: 142)

Allah also described some as follows:

“…And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men…” (Surah Al-Anfal:47)

Thus, let’s remind ourselves that showing off can annul our acts of Ibadah and may even lead us to earn Allah’s anger and torment. Sometimes, the act might be for Allah and is mixed with showing off. In this case, there are authentic texts asserting that if the intention of showing off was present at the time one intended to perform a righteous act, the act itself will be annulled and fruitless. But when the act was started to gain Allah’s reward alone, but changed later on to include an intention to partially show off, then it will not annul the act, provided one strives to repel such thoughts.

As Musilms, therefore, we should worship Allah in sincerity and stay away from Riya’ (showing off) and evil intentions. We know from Quran and hadith that Allah does not look at one’s shapes and wealth, but rather at one’s hearts and actions.

Performing a righteous deed solely for Allah can help us towards achieving states of Ikhlas (sincerity). This way, the act can be easily steered away from Riya’ (showing off). The Prophet (s) said in an authentic Hadith, that among the seven whom Allah shades under His Shade, on a day when there wiII be onIy His shade:

” …A man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e., nobody knows how much he has given in charity).”

In addition, Allah said:

“If you disclose your Sadaqat (almsgiving), it is well: but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you. (Allah) will expiate you some of your sins.” (Surah Al-Baqara:271)

Scholars recommend that when a believer gives away charity for a good cause, he should not agree that his name be announced to the public, such as in newspapers, unless the purpose is to encourage others to pay for this and other charitable causes, or if his name is announced without his knowledge. Again, we should be conscious of the fact that Allah always knows the real intentions behind our actions.

To conclude, let’s ensure that we strive to clean our hearts, intentions, and acts from all types of Riya (showing off) and instead should direct our good acts for Allah alone. The real rewards and payback is only with Allah and that’s all that we should strive for.

Allah says:

Say (O Muhammad (S): “I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God – i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (Surah Al-Kahf:110)

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35 comments… add one
  • yaqub ibn suleiman

    alhamdulilah. thanks for the constant updating. i really enjoy reading all the reminder, the words of Allah and the teaching of our prophet (S A W)

  • Aisha M

    In response to:The Necessity of Ikhlas (Sincerity) in Deeds
    Sometimes we forget that at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves what our intentions were when we did what we did and very little was done to please Allah. Reading an article like this wakes you up and lets you see that we have an ultimate goal in life and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you impressed her/him its whether you pleased Allah (S.A.W).

  • Mohammed

    We could not wait anylonger to see and read each wonderful issues from IqraSense.
    We need reminders every now and then as the world out there are full of distructions. Jazakallah Khairan…
    May the blessing of the Almighty One be with you guys who work hard for the sake of Allah.
    May Allah guide us to the right path ALWAYS…Ameen…

  • Haruna Abdulkharim

    Indeed good update God willing should continue to flow to keep us alert always.
    One request, how can you help me to obtain this book title The Power of Dua.Iam in southern Sudan and i can not print even on line.

  • idrisa

    Well this was very good lesson and active advice for us as muslims, Inshallah may allah bless all of us

  • Anonymous

    May we be able to perform all our acts with good niyya and may Allah accept it from us amin

  • gadija

    very interesting literature. i like to read the english quran. i emailed my daughter in law todays’ literature. my son, her husband is studying at the university of medina in the quran faculty. she like to read and is also gafies quran. my question to you is on my problem of finance. i work and every month i battle to feed my family. we are ten people in the house including the kids. i am the only one working. what duah or salaah can i make to enable my salary to last the whole month to feed everyone and buy electricity. i make salaah and recite quran. i make dahadjud salaah, salatul wudu, shukr salaah, auwabeen and gaajatie. what else can i do.

    • Hassan

      Dear sister, if you could add “Astagfaar, such as Astagfirullah-e-rabi min kuli zanbin wa atubu ileh” in your daily routine (as many as you can do) and reciting of “Surah Waqiah” twice at nigth, after Isha prayers,. Inshallah you will feel the “barakat” of it in your life.

      Note: I am doing it by myself and it is really working, by the will of Allah, alhamdullilah.

      • Khadijah bint Yahya

        May Allah swt bestow peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammed, his family, and his companions. Ameen.

        AS salaam alaikum

        I read thea transliteration and recite Qruan from that . I do not know how to read in Arabic. Also reading Quarn in Engish. Does this count as reciting Quran? I want so much to please Allah swt, however, I do not know the language fluently. Alhamdulilah, I have read that Allahd swt bless the person who struggles with the Arabic language for each letter read. Does that actualy mean the ARabic letter? I know Allah swt if merciful but do not know if the tafsir of the ayat mean in Arabic letters. Does trying to read the transliteration counted in this blessing. I feel so inadequate, although my sincerity is genuine and I pray not to practice riya. Please, clarify for me. Jazaka Allah khair.

      • foosiya l

        salamualaykum everone makes dua for me and my family my sisters and brothers please make dua for me because i want to put two of kids in tahfeeth quran also i am a single mother with 4 boys and their dad dosent help at all please make dua for me and my family for the better.
        Jazakumallah khair

    • rasmia

      just be patient sister in Islam.. that’s the good qualities that ALLAH bestow u.. not all women can do what you do.. as long as you are sincere to your work and to your faith, you don’t have to worry.. ALLAH is the most merciful.. HE will help you inshaALLAH.. just keep it up! may ALLAH grant you a countless blessings.. ameen..

  • Tahir Ajiya

    Its wonderful to have a site as this calling back to the deen, despite the distractions of life. Even though, the essence of life is worship Allah(SWT)and worshiping without knowledge and iklas is void. May Allah increase us in knowledge and always guide us to the right path.

  • Amenda

    Thank you for spending the time to keep up with this website. Getting updates and reading from Iqrasense has helped me very much since I began studying and fell in love with Islam last year as I began my journey to what I feel is my way home. Turning to Islam has answered so many questions I had throughout my life and has taught me how to pray, repent, how to respect myself and others better, to always hold on to faith and to be strong while leaving behind many bad habits I had in my life. I pray for my brothers and sisters God willing their prayers will be answered and any burdens they feel are lifted. Salaam

  • Malik

    Jazakallah! Definitely it improved my knowlegde and Eeman. We all need this .

  • Anonymous

    JazakAllah Khair for not only sharing the reminder about having the right intentions, but also showing how these can be cultivated. “Performing a righteous deed solely for Allah can help us towards achieving states of Ikhlas (sincerity). This way,the act can be easily steered away from Riya’ (showing off).” We need to be constantly conscious of Allah, and whenever performing a good deed, (like for example giving right advice to someone), we need to thank Allah for enabling us to do so. We should be conscious that it’s not our intelligence that made it possible but Allah’s Generosity to us. May Allah Help us all to have the right intentions in all our good actions – Aameen.

  • Shaikh Nafisa

    Very nice !!!
    Plz send me regular updates on my mail address. Dear frnds alwayz remember me in ur Dua. Allah bless all of us.

  • Rasheed 4rm Nigeria

    May Allah in His infinite mercy reward you for the reminder and enlightenment you usually give to the muslim brothers. May He enpower you more and make it a beneficial to all readers of your articles.

  • sister jannah

    Thank you for ur wonderful work that you are doing may Allah continue to guide you these words all ways inspired me.

  • Ayisha

    Thanks. I was eagerly waiting for such an email
    Jazakallahumma Khairan

  • Afrin

    thank you so much for always sharing knowledge. May Allah make it easy for each one of us. Aameen

  • Anonymous

    salam alaikum,may almighty Allah bless you and your crew for spreading the words of islam.thank you so much.i appreciate all articles sent to me.

  • reshma

    jazakallah for sending allthe best of islamics knowledge

  • Abdulnaseer

    So wonderful. May allah increase your iman

  • samine

    Jazakallah. I learn much from the articles and the islamics knlowledge. This really served me as it is indeed very helpful to me..May Allah bless all.

  • Khadijah bint Yahya

    May Allah swt confer peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammed, his family, and his companions. Ameen.

    As salaam alaikum, thank you for the strong reminders. I pray and worry about riya because I teach and study with many sisters. I constantly pray to Allah swt to keep me humble and always conscious of His blessings on me.

    Allah swt has blessed me greatly and I pray that Allah swt accept my efforts. I know that it is not my intellect but Allah swt empowering me to remember what He has allowed me to learn, however, I constantly am concerned about my niyyah because I am always so happy to be among the believing woman who are hungry for studying together. For years, I havestudied and studied to learn my Deen.I read the Quran and study Arabic.I struggle with the ARabic. I pray Allah swt makes it easier for me. I have collected the sound hadith and studied them from series of books, Ibn Kathir, and others. I pray sincerely that Allah swt keep me in a lowly state of heart because so many people always tell me how much they learned from the presentations I give from the scholars.

    I always respond that it is because Allah swt bless us to learn and May Allah forgive our sins and keep us humble. I truly mean this. How can I tell when my intentions are solely for Allah swt, given that I enjoy sharing Islamic knowledge so very much. Please respond. May Allah swt protect us/ me from riya. May Allah swt keep me sincere. Ameen.

    Please Believers, as you read my posts, please pray for me that Allah swt protect my niyyah and make of those who are rightly guided. Ameen.

  • fatima

    Jazakallah thanks so much please continue sharing the knowledge with us .May Allah have mercy on us inshallah

  • Anonymous

    Subhan Allah very helpful n needfull info…shared..thank you soo much..please do keep sharing…

  • m.arif ramli

    ALHAMDULILLAH…truly awakening and inspirational info!

  • Abdullah

    As a new Muslim I learn more and more each and every day how to act and carry myself as a Muslim this pass Jummah I was unable to attend the Mosque but reading about the The Necessity of Ikhlas (Sincerity) in Deeds is a message I need to hear and know what I need to practice as a Muslim Man
    Thank you for this message

  • Muhammad Alfa

    May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala bless both the Shaikh and Iqra Sense for this mind touching khutbah. May Allah protect us from all forms of riya. It is very challenging, hence every individual Muslim must continuously strive to abstain from the deadly act of RIYA.

  • Mariam

    I like this article, it reminded me on benefit of doing things for the sake of Allah

  • Abu Bakarr As-Seddiq

    Alhamdulillah i am so greatful to Allah for making me be amongst those who always receives Islaamic reminder through email. May Allah bless you all for your good work.

  • AbdulHameed wasiya

    So wonderful and powerful article…Indeed let us do things for sake of Allah alone, cz He alone we shall be meeting..no doubt abt it

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