Sincerity to the One we love
By Yasmin Mogahed, IFN Columnist
Anyone who’s been in love knows what it means to put someone on a pedestal. When you’re in love, your entire focus goes to the one you love. Everything you do is for them. When you get up in the morning, it’s their name on your mind. And when you go to bed, it’s their face you see in your thoughts.
Thinking of them overwhelms you and you find yourself obsessed with doing things to impress them. The beloved is the only one you see.
You’ll do almost anything to make them happy — even if it means making others unhappy.
Sometimes, even the wishes of your own parents become irrelevant, dwarfed by the desire to please that person alone.
What others think becomes insignificant; all that matters is your beloved. Everything you do is done solely to please them and no one else.
This we do for another human being that we love. And yet our love for Allah rarely inspires such sincerity.
This is despite the fact that sincerity (ikhlas) is absolutely essential in our worship.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion.” (Qur’an 98:5)
Sincerity is the purification of the heart from all other motives except seeking the pleasure of Allah.
Without sincerity our good deeds will not be accepted.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah accepts no deeds other than those that are performed solely for His sake and by which His face is sought.” [Al-Nasa`i]
What is even more frightening is the fact that worship that lacks sincerity is actually a sin.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever learnt knowledge by which the face of Allah should be sought, but did not learn it except to gain a portion of the world will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Judgment.” [Sahih Abu Dawood]
True and complete sincerity can only come when the heart is so preoccupied with the Creator, that it forgets the creation.
Think back to the example of being in love.
When someone is in love they are so preoccupied with pleasing that one person that nothing else matters.
Everything they do is for the one they love.
The truly sincere heart yearns so much for Allah and the hereafter that it loses interest in the world.
Soon every action, even the mundane, is done for the sake of the Beloved.
And the Prophet has told us exactly how to strive to reach this level. He said in a Hadith Qudsi:
“Allah the Almighty has said: ‘Whosoever acts with enmity towards a closer servant of Mine (wali), I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory (nawafil) prayers so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.’”[Al-Bukhari]
This hadith describes the one who is so truly absorbed by the love of Allah and anticipation of the hereafter, that sincerity fills the heart and every action becomes an act of worship and a reflection of that love.
Conversely, when one is truly absorbed by love of this life (material things, power, status, etc.), it replaces sincerity in the heart so much so that even acts of worship are not accepted. This is because the heart has no room for both sincerity and love of this life.
But it is important to know that sincerity is not a destination.
It is a journey. One never gets to a point when they are finished purifying their intentions. Tazkiyah (purifying the self) is a constant battle that does not cease until the day we die.
If we think we’ve reached the end of the struggle, we’ve in fact lost that battle.
One must also not be deceived by Satan into abandoning good deeds out of fear of insincerity.
We must never stop performing the good deeds; but, rather, should continue the good works, while at the same time struggling to purify our intentions.
And in the end, one only needs to give to Allah what is naturally given to the object of our love.
IFN columnist Yasmin Mogahed is a freelance writer and writing instructor. She is also the former Sister’s Youth Director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, and an Islamic Studies teacher.
This article was taken from http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/37088/1141/