What is ikhlaas
The Arabic word, “Ikhlaas” is translated as “Sincerity”. In Islam, sincerity is “freeing one’s intentions from all impurities in order to come nearer to Allah.”
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “Certainly, Allah does not look at your shapes (appearance) or wealth. But He only looks at your hearts and deeds.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
If you look at it, every single deed you perform, whether it is deen or dunya related depends on your sincerity.
How sincere are you while praying, reading or memorizing the glorious words of Allah? Do you memorize it to seek fame, recognition and praise from people or are your efforts directed at seeking Allah’s pleasure alone?
When you pray your salah five times, do you perform it to show off as being pious or are you looking at salah as a means of erasing your sins and coming closer to Allah?
When you recite the Quran, are your intentions to gain rewards from Allah and have a beautiful understanding of His words, or do you recite the Quran to seek people’s praise?
When you donate for charity, do you want its effects to be rewarded by Allah or would you rather have people look at you in awe and admiration for your philanthropic nature?
You see, these acts can tip the scales in your favor and land you your dream place in Jannah or receive Allah’s wrath and displeasure depending on how sincere you are.
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Sincerity- Effect on your heart
Sincerity acts as a catalyst in cleaning our hearts from ill thoughts, negativity and disappointments. When you perform a particular deed and remind your heart that you are doing this to earn Allah’s pleasure, what others say or think about you would hardly matter. Your heart will be at peace knowing that your Lord, who takes into account every second of your life, is recording these good deeds against your name to be presented on the Day of Judgment.
Sincere intentions bring peace to our hearts while simultaneously negating feelings of anxiety, suspicion, doubt or anger. A heart in such a state finds it easier to connect to Allah, in turn, basking in peace, contentment and joy – feelings that lead to overall satisfaction with the way our lives are headed, improving our relationship with Allah and with people around us.
The more sincere you are, the more Allah will reward you by granting you the ability to do more good deeds with sincere intentions. The formula is simple:
More good deeds = more hasanat = easier to attain Jannah.
See, performing an act of worship or good deed is no big deal, anyone can do it, but whom did you perform this for?
For showing off to your friends and family?
Or to please Allah?
Did you seek fame and recognition by mere mortals or recognition and acceptance from Allah most high?
Steps to attain sincerity
Now that we know what sincerity is, what are the steps to attain ikhlas? Let’s look at them below:
Dua: It’s normal and human to seek recognition and fame from people, especially in this era of social media. But a smart Muslim realizes that Allah’s recognition far supersedes any human’s recognition. Therefore, if you are struggling to keep your acts sincere, make dua to Allah. Let Him know that you are trying to do good deeds to please Him and not people. Dua can do what you can’t.
Good deeds: The more busy you are with performing good deeds, the more closer you will get to Allah and in turn will cleanse your heart from pride, showing off, and arrogance. Good deeds bring barakah, rewards, and blessings in our lives in unbelievable ways – in both dunya and akhira. So the more goodness you involve yourself in, the cleaner and more sincere your heart will become.
Ilm (Knowledge): Seeking knowledge will soften our hearts in a powerful manner because with knowledge, you learn about Allah’s rewards, His punishment, what pleases Him and what He dislikes. The more you learn about the principles that revolve around our beautiful religion, the more aware and conscious your mind and heart will be when performing any deed, be it big or small.
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Allah will give him more…
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“A person can have nothing more beneficial than sincerity towards his Lord in all his affairs along with sincerity of resolve, so he should be sincere towards Him in his resolve and in his actions.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And when the matter (preparation for Jihaad) is resolved on, then if they had been true to Allaah, it would have been better for them” [Muhammad 47:21].
So his happiness lies in sincerity of resolve and sincerity of action. Sincerity of resolve means having a certain desire to do an action and not hesitating to do it. If his resolve is sincere, all that is left is sincerity of action, which is doing one’s best and striving one’s utmost when doing it , and not letting anything (outward or inward) hold him back from it.
Resolve of purpose prevents him from becoming weak-willed and sincerity of action prevents him from becoming lazy or lethargic. If a person is sincere towards Allah in all his affairs, Allah will give him more than He gives to others, and this sincerity results from true love of Allah and true trust in Him. So the most sincere of people is the one who loves Allah most and puts most trust in Him.” (Al-Fawaa’id, p. 186, 187)
So the next time you indulge in any deed, remind your heart that you are doing this only to please Allah and no one else. You will see how easy it is to be sincere in all your affairs.