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com IKHLAS - SINCERITY by Dr Ismail Mangera, Mujaz-e-Bayat of Shay h Maseehullah Kha n Sahab: There appears to be quite a lot of confusion still concerning the important topi c of IKHLAS - SINCERITY. This stems mainly from the English meaning of the words "sincere" and "hypocrisy". What do these words mean? The Concise Oxford Dictionary has the following: "sincere: 1 free from pretence or deceit; the same in reality as in appearance. 2 genuine, honest, fran . "hypocrisy: 1 the assumption or postulation of moral standards to which ones own behavior does not conform; dissimulation; pretence." The underlined words are the commonly understood meanings of these words. To mos t people this means that if your heart is not in the tas you are performing, th en you are insincere. If you are pretending, then you are a hypocrite. This is n ot the meaning that the Deen Al Islam gives to the term IKHLAS - SINCERITY. Befo re explaining what IKHLAS - SINCERITY really is, let us give some examples of "s incerity" and "hypocrisy" as is understood by westerners, namely that your heart must be in the tas you are performing, and you must not pretend. Let us ta e an example: A gang is planning to rob a ban . They are all enthusias tic about it. One person is not een on the idea. His heart is not in carrying o ut the robbery, but he joins the gang just the same because he does not want to displease the other gang members. Because he is pretending to be in favor, HE IS A HYPOCRITE, and because the others are heart and soul in favor of the robbery, THEY ARE SINCERE, according to the western concept as mentioned above. Anybody can see how ludicrous this is. So, what is the Islamic definition of IKHLAS - SINCERITY. It is the following: T o carry out an action or deed, solely for the pleasure of Allah Tala and not to please the creation. Yes, if the creation - a parent, an Teacher, etc. - gives a n instruction that is accordance with the Shariah (Islamic Law), then this will be considered to be the wish of Allah Tala also. Let us ta e an example: A perso n is performing Salah (Prayer), but he is forcing himself. He does not want to p erform Salah (Prayer), but he realizes that this is what is expected from him as a Muslim, so he performs Salah (Prayer), even though his heart is not in it. Th is person has IKHLAS - SINCERITY. He is doing it for the pleasure of Allah Tala. It may be that his teacher or his parent may have instructed him, still this is IKHLAS - SINCERITY. because the awe and respect for the Law of Allah Tala is th e motivation by the parent or Teacher. Let us ta e another example: A person see s his friend coming along towards him. He rushes forward and warmly greets him w ith "Assalmo-alai um wa-rahmatullh." There is no doubt about this action: This is wh at the Shariah (Islamic Law) teaches and one would say that he is sincere and th at he hasIKHLAS - SINCERITY. But, let us ta e another person: he sees a person c oming along from the opposite direction. He had a nasty experience with this per son a couple of days ago. Through no fault of his, this other person swore at hi m and was about to hit him, were it not that others stopped him. His initial rea ction is to cross the street and ma e it obvious that he does not want to meet h im. On giving it a second thought, he tells himself that he should not hold a gr udge against a fellow Muslim and the Shariah (Islamic Law) tells us that we shou ld not be cross with another Muslim for more than three days. So, much against h is will, with an avalanche of nasty thoughts about this person assailing his min d, he forces himself not to change his route and is the first to greet him with

a forced smile on his face, "Assalmo-alai um wa-rahmatullh." Is he sincere or is he a hypocrite..? Thin about it... Our Elders, Scholars, and Saints say that not only is this IKHLAS - SINCERITY bu t he will be receiving more reaward than the first person. The reasons given are as follows: 1) He has removed the grudge in his heart for the other person. 2) He has followed the Shariah (Islamic Law) in spea ing to him before the three days are up. 3) He was the first to ma e Salam Just for this he gets a double reward - one fo r ma ing the Salam and another reward for going against his nafs (desire) in ini tiating the salam. 4) He does not allow a flic er of rancor to show on his face. "But," you may as , "what about those nasty thoughts that went through his mind? " The answer is: Uninvited thoughts, no matter how nasty, are from Satan and are called wiswis (sing. waswasah). One is not accountable for these thoughts as long as one does not harbor these thoughts. These thoughts are to be ignored. You may also argue, "Well. Ma ing a pretence ma es him a hypocrite." The answer that the mashai h give is the following: In performing any good actio n, do not stop it because you feel you are insincere. Insh-Allh Ta'l, insincerity wil o on to form a habit, and habit will then lead one to pure IKHLAS - SINCERITY. Insh-Allh Ta'l, it is hoped that the above will remove the doubts in peoples minds co rning IKHLAS - SINCERITY. Anecdotes The anecdotes concerning IKHLAS - SINCERITY are innumerable. Noting down just tw o anecdotes, both have a special twist to them! Anecdote One: On an extremely cold day, the entire wilderness was white with snow and ice. Had hrat Zunnun Misr ( [ny) saw a Jewish mon scattering some seeds. Zunnun: "What are you doing?" Mon : "Today the ground is covered with ice. I am scattering the seeds for the b irds. Perhaps Allah Tala will grant me its rewards." Zunnun: "The deeds of an alien (i.e. Kfir) are unacceptable in Allah Tala's Court. " Mon : Be it so. Allah Tala sees what I am doing. This is sufficient for me." Sometime thereafter, during the days of hajj, Hadhrat Zunnun Misri was astonishe d to see the same mon ma ing tawf of the Ka'bah with considerable devotion. Loo i ng at Zunnun, the (ex) mon said: "See how rewarding was my scattering of seeds. " Hadhrat Zunnun Misri supplicated: "O Allah! In return for a few seeds you best owed this treasure to the Jew who was engrossed in ufr for 40 years." A Voice r esponded: "I do as I please.' [Ta en from "The Majlis" Vol. 17 no. 02, page 9.] Anecdote Two When Hadhrat Musa (Peace be Upon him) was sent to Firun to invite him to Islam, F irun gathered all the magicians to challenge Hadhrat Musa. The leader of the magi cians was very shrewd. He realized that there were only two possibilities: eithe r they won or they lost. If they won, there would be no problem. But what if Had hrat Musa's "magic" was more powerful than theirs? So, he thought up a strategy: he ordered all the magicians to dress li e Hazrat Musa, so that, should his "ma gic" defeat theirs, the magicians were instructed to mingle around him so that t he crowds would not ma e out who it was because of the similarity of clothing an d they would thin that it was the magic of one of the magicians and not that of Hadhrat Musa which won. We now that this plan did not succeed. The Divine mira cle that Hadhrat Musa was endowed with - the staff that turned into a serpent devoured all the tric s of the magicians. Not only were the magicians defeated, but they realized and ac nowledged that Hadhrat Musa a Prophet of Allah Tala and they accepted his call to Islam. Hadhrat Musa was overjoyed, but there was something troubling him. When he spo e to Allh Tala, he enquired from Allh Talathat the person to whom he was sent, name

ly Firun, did accept Islam, instead the magicians aceepted Islam. What was the re ason for this? Alla Tala explained that He li ed their act of imitating His Nabi in their dressing and this was why He granted them guidance to Islam. Even though their action in dressing li e Hadhrat Musa was a blatant pretence an d an effort at deception, yet Allh Tala li ed this imitating His Nabi to such an extent that they were blessed with the gift of Islam.