Sincerely Yours.

>> Friday, May 20, 2011

How can you make sure that your actions are sincere? I've been attempting to hide my good deeds to make sure that it's just for the sake Allah (S), but sometimes it doesn't work. How can I keep my intentions of good actions just for the sake of Allah (S) and not this earth?

Thanks so much!

Wa'alykum as salam wa rahamutullah wa barkatoo!

Dear Sister Anonymous,
You've asked a great question ma'shaAllah and a question that plagues me almost daily. Really. So, I'm going to try and give you some ideas and hope that the readers will give more, inshaAllah :)

How can we make our actions sincere?

Well, you definitely hit right on the nail when you said that you try and hide your deeds. That's key. The trick is to do things when and where no one will/can see you...

So for example,

  • you can try staying up in your room and reading Qu'ran after fajr
  • waking up in the middle of the night and praying qiyam al layl
  • fasting on a random day and actually 'pretending' to make a lunch box (so that your family actually think you're not fasting) and sitting down with them during dinner, 
  • donating anonymously to a charity box
  • even wearing your hijab to some deserted area where no one would see you anyway... .
  • If you're in university, and you've got some fantastic idea/suggestion for the MSA, turn it in anonymously. 
  • If you give halaqahs/write/etc. try to end with the reminder that what good you say is from Allah and the mistakes are actually from you and the Shaitan.

But yes, sometimes, you just can't hide your deeds/ hide that it is you behind the deed.

What to do?

- Put up this reminder somewhere where you are bound to see it:
"And so it was said".
You know who will say that and when they will say that? Allah Subhanoo Wa' Tala on the Day of Judgment.

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say:
The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied - you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.
 [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied - you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Quran that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.
[Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. He will say: You have lied - you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: He is open-handed. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.
It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa'i).
Just reading that hadith every day should remind you inshaAllah that whatever your reason is for doing the good're going to get it. If you want the dunya, you'll get the dunya....but as this hadith shows, at the expense of the hereafter.

Related to this, remind yourself that Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala is the All Knower.

He knows that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal. (40:19)
- Another thing to do is to question your intentions regularly. At the end of each week, ask your heart about its intention. It would be even better if you did it each night before you went to sleep. Ask yourself- "why am I doing this?"

If you're not exactly sure what your intention is, check your nasiha thermometer.

What do I mean by that?

Well the nasiha thermometer is my made up term for how well you accept nasiha. If you find that you're unwilling to accept someone's sound Islamic advice regarding your deed, maybe you don't have the most sincere intentions out there. Think about it. Sincerity implies that you only want to do it for Allah's sake- we really shouldn't have pride when it comes to doing something for Allah's sake. We should be willing to improve and seek any means to draw closer to Him/better our good acts. Ask yourself- if this is for Allah’s sake, why am I not willing to improve/ accept this person’s advice?

-Realize that your actions were never going to get you heaven anyways but your intentions behind your deeds.
Remember that hadith we’ve put up here a lot? The one about the man who killed 99 people? Well, at the end of one of the versions of this hadith, it stated that Allah moved the earth for this man. When we examine this hadith though, we don’t really see that the man actually did any ‘good deeds’. What was it then that earned him paradise? His sincerity- his sincerity to return to Allah, to become a good person, to live his life in a way that pleases Allah.

In fact, we can see this same concept- that it is not our deeds but our intention/sincerity behind them that leads to jannah- when we look at this hadith:

It was narrated from Sahl ibn Hunayf (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever sincerely asks Allaah for martyrdom, Allaah will cause him to attain the status of the martyrs, even if he dies in his bed.” Narrated by Muslim, 1909.
- Make Dua. Ask Allah to help you keep your intentions for Him.

- Okay, I'm going to guess since you turned this question in, you kinda already know all this, but you can’t help wanting ‘the dunya’…
Like maybe you go to the mosque only because you want to get married and you think you’ll find someone there…or you’re working really hard at university only because you’re worried about getting a job/ want to get a super amazing career and not really for Allah’s sake …What do you do?

You turn to Allah. It’s alright to ask Allah to give you the best of this dunya and the aakhirah. Remember, Allah says:
But among them is he who says, "Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surat Al Baqarah: 201).
Remember, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said that if you are to ask- ask of Allah. In surat Al Fatiha we say, It is You we worship and You we ask for help. (5)” .
Rather than directing all your efforts and good deeds in the hopes that you’ll get ‘the stuff on this earth’, just ask Allah to make things easy for you in this world and give you the best. Tell Allah that you know you have NO other Lord but Him, and that no one could give you whatever it is that you want but Him.

 Not your work. Not your good grades. Not your amazing connections/ wealth/etc. If He didn’t will it, you wouldn’t get it. Period.

Come to think of it, the daily morning/evening adkhaar have many references to the 'good of this day/night'- try saying them :) In this way, instead of you focusing on the dunya, you'll know that Allah is taking care of it for you :)

 Just turn your worries and desires into a heart wrenching dua to the One and Only Lord you have =)

Well, sis, these are my small ideas. I hope inshaAllah the readers will provide us with more =D

Verily it is Allah who is The Provider, Bestower, the Guardian and Protector. 

5 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Layla May 20, 2011 at 2:28 PM  

OMG! This was soo my question. I hide the Qur'an and my Salah from my mother. She thinks I don't know how to read the Qur'an and Salah, but I truly do! :)

I don't want to tell her. I don't know. I just wanna keep it to myself. I want to keep the happiness of my Islamic knowledge to myself.

Thanks for asking this question! :)

Anonymous,  May 20, 2011 at 4:18 PM  

Mashallah!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!
Jazakum Allah Kulu Khair!!

Umm Khaleel May 21, 2011 at 7:45 AM  

Jazakillah khayr for this post sis! :) I can use this to reflect on myself now al-hamdulillah :)

Coincidentally, two days ago I was reading a book and one of its chapter focuses on sincerity. Let me share a particular section about sincerity which I used to be confused previously. May it benefit all of us, insha Allah :

(Taken from the book: "How to Rectify the Heart" by Dr Muhammad Moosa Ash-Shareef, pp. 53-54)

2. Not renouncing good deeds for fear of mixed-up intentions:

Aboo Taalib Al-Maakee - may Allah shower blessings on him - said: "The servant should not give up a good deed fearing its infiltration by a failure for that is what his enemy desires of him. Rather, he should be upon his original intention of pure sincerity. If it (the intention) is infultrated, he places cure on it and tries to reject and remove it and remains steadfast on his good intention and good character. He should not laeve any deed for the sake of the people being shy of them and in detestation of their considering him virtuous; for acting for the sake of the people is Shirk (ascription of partners to Allah) and abandoning it for their sake is show-off. Leaving a good deed for the fear of the infiltration of a failure is of ignorance and leaving it when the ailment has crept into it is weakness and fraility. Whoever commences a deed for the sake of Allah - the most High - and comes out of it for the sake of Allah - the most High, what comes between tha twill not harm him after rejecting and not accomodating it" [Ithaaf us-Saadat il-Muttaqeen: 13/105]

3. The intention can be rectified after its corruption:

Some of the people may think that if an action is started with a bad intention, then it is obligatory to abandon it and not continue with it. But the truth is that, the intention can be rectified while the action can be continued and not abandoned. Some of the pious predecessors used to commence seeking for knowledge not having perfect sincerity, then, they took heed and returned to Allah, rectified their intentions and carried on with the search for knowledge with a right intention.

Imam Adh-Dhahabee - may Allah shower blessings on him - said: "Abdur-Razzaaq said: Ma'mar told us that: 'It used to be said: A person searches for knowledge for other than Allah and the knowledge and the knowledge holds him back from that so that it becomes for Allah'.

I say: Yes, he seeks for it initially and what led him to that is the lover for knowledge and the passion to take out ignorance from himself, the love for job and things like that and he did not realize the obligation of sincerity or the right intention regarding it. So, when he realizes, he cautions himself and fears the perils of his original intention and then, the right intention completely or partially comes to him. Some of them could turn in repentance from the wrong intention and regret and the sigh of that is his reducing claims and love for disputation. And whoever intends to increase in his knowledge and is self-conceited; if he boasts about his knowledge or says: I am more learned than so-and-so, then away with him"

Imam Adh-Dhahabee said in another place: "The pious predecessors used to seek knowledge for the sake of Allah, and attaining nobility, becoming model leaders. Some of them did the same initially not for the sake of Allah and achieved it and then, became very learned and cautioned their souls and knowledge made them gain sincerity on the way as Mujaahid and others said: We searched for this knowledge while not having much of (the right) intention, and then, Allah granted the right intention later".


Anonymous,  May 22, 2011 at 2:56 AM  

Jazak Allah kheir for this enlightening post. May Allah SWT always purify our intentions for His sake. Ameen.

Little Auntie May 26, 2011 at 3:48 AM  

Ameen to the beautiful adyea.

Umm Khaleel, jazakillah for sharing those insightful points, ma'shaAllah. Truly the Shaitan does have a way of tricking us into thinking of leaving our that was a very important point to bring up.

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
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