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Ikhlas lillahSincerityIntroduction:

During the time of Musa (a.s), there was a pious man, who used to pray day and night. One day some people came and told him that there was a garden where a tree was being worshipped by a group of people. On hearing this, the pious man picked up an axe and went with the intention to cut that tree. Shaitan came to him in a form of old man and asked him what he was doing when he told him his intention shaitan said:"What have you to do with it? If Allah wished the tree to be cut, he would have sent his Prophet to do it." The two went on arguing and quarrelling till they came to blows. The man managed to knock the Shaitan and was about to kill him. The Shaitan begged him for pardon and release saying, "Let me suggest you one thing which would help you in this world as well as in the next world. I shall pay you two dinars every day. You can pay partly to the poor and partly spend for your own self. Leave this tree uncut till Allah commanded whether it was right or wrong to cut it."The pious man was misled by the Shaitan and he agreed. On the second day, he saw two dinars under his pillow. He was delighted with the money and spent some on the poor. But on the following day, he did not see the money again as expected, so he again took over his axe and came at that tree. Shaitan asked him the same question as why he wanted to cut that tree. When he answered Shaitan told him that he had no power to do it so it was better he went back home. He did not agree and again they fought. This time the Satan succeeded in overpowering the pious man and knocked him down on the floor. The pious man was surprised at this and asked Satan why it so happened that he could not overpower him this time. The Satan replied: "Whoever does a good deed purely for the pleasure of Allah, no one can face him but if he does it with an aim of worldly gain, then he loses strength and stands to fail." It was the change in his intention which made the pious man overcome by shaitan.

. The ingredient that we all need to work on throughout our lives as Muslims is ikhlaas (sincerity); in sha Allah, that shall be our topic for today Sincerity has been interpreted as being upright, sincere, truthful, pure, distant from show and ostentation in one's intention and conduct, and being away of the things that cloud or foul one's heart. Ikhlas means purging actions of all impurities. And the impurities mean desire to please oneself and other creatures. Sincerity can rightly be called the life and soul of the entire moral edifice of Islam. If the action lacks sincerity however dignified or pious it may be it will not fetch any reward from Allah. In defining ikhlaas, Al-Jurjaani rahimahullah said that it is to not seek any audience for your deeds other than Allah. Sincerity in all we do is a commandment of Allah. () )( Say, Indeed my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds/ No partner has He. And this I have been commanded and I am the first [among you] of the Muslims )Anaam 6/162-163). )( () Say: Verily, I am commanded to serve Allaah with sincere devotion; and I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allaah in Islaam. (Az-Zumar: 11-12)

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Prophet (s.a.w) said :

Surely, all actions are but driven by intentions and verily, every man shall have but that which he intended. . Actions are acceptable when they are done to please Allah and according to the sunnah of the Prophet(s.a.w)The beauty here is that this hadith can refer to any action, no matter how simple. So for example, even washing the dishes, with the intention of pleasing Allah by looking after our families, can earn us reward.

Sincerity in every aspect of life-When we look over the text of the Quran and Sunnah, we will come to the realization that Allah (s.w.t) and His Messenger sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam speak about sincerity in different aspects: Allah (s.w.t) says in the Quran:

98:5 And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.(surah al bayyinah) From ahadith we learn that sincerity is required in every aspect of life Sincerity in Tawheed of Allah in our Intentions , in our Worship (salah, sujood, fasting, standing in Ramadan, standing in the night of Qadr) , in love for the masjid, zakah, sadaqah, Hajj, jihaad, repentance, supplications, recitation of the Quran, and so much more

The Qur'an and Sunnah speak about: Sincerity in all our verbal statements ,akhlaaq,tawakul (having trust in Allah) )in short in all actions of heart as well as the limbs.

Allah says, "Their flesh and blood dies not reach Allah but your fear of Him (tawqa) does reach Him." (22:37) Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "It means that your intentions reach Him."

Benefits of sincerityWith ikhlaas we can be saved from misguidance as Yusuf alayhis salaam was saved. Hear Allahs words:

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And thus [it was] that We should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our mukhlaseen servants (Yusuf 12/24) the Prophet said, describing the luckiest person who will have his intercession on the Day of Resurrection: "The one who said, Laa ilaaha illa Allaah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah) sincerely from his heart." [Al-Bukhaari With ikhlaas, the books can be turned in our favor in the last minutes of our lives just as what happened to the man that murdered 99 men. Allah saved him in the end because of his sincerity in repentance.

With ikhlaas one will be saved from Hellfire and granted a lofty position in Jannah Moreover, a small amount of sincere work can be a cause for attaining the satisfaction of Allah The Almighty as in the Hadeeth of the Prophet in which he said:Fear the Fire, even if by giving half a date (in charity). [Al-Bukhaari]

Omar Ibn Al-Khattab says: (Whoever is sincere in his intention, Allah eliminates all the troubles/issues between himself and people). Ref: Az-Zuhd, Hannad Ibn

Who is the sincere oneYaqoob Al-Makfoof rahimahullah used to say, The sincere one is he who hides his good deeds in the same way that he would hide his bad. From the Seerah, Saad ibn Waqqaas narrates: as for Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl (after the conquest of Makkah) while escaping by sea, a terrible storm befell them. The owners of the boat shouted, At this moment pray to only God and pray sincerely, for your gods cannot avail us in any way through salvation from this storm. Ikrimah said, By Allah, if ikhlaas can only save me on the sea, then on land nothing but it can save me. )He then raised his hands and pronounced(, O Allah if you save me, you have upon me an oath that I shall not rest until I arrive at Muhammad sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam and place my hand in his. He then came to RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, became Muslim, and was later martyred in jihaad.

Lack of sincerity-

On one hand where sincerity is so important then on the other hand insincerity in our actions is something very dangerous and can lead a person to ruin. Ibn Masood radi Allahu anhu would advise his students, If your intention is to: To shame the ignorant, to argue with the Fuqahaa, or to cause people to turn their faces in your direction then do not seek knowledge. Intend with your actions and words that which is with Allah, for indeed that which is with Allah shall remain and everything else shall perish. Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah said, Deeds without sincerity are like a traveler who carries dirt in his water-jug. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit.

Conclusion:
Today we talked about sincerity as the soul of our all actions. It is the movements of our body coinciding with our hearts actions but if our body does something contrary to what is in our heart than that is not ikhlas, it is hypocrisy which is the opposite of ikhlas. It is so important because it is the command of Allah (s.wt) and prerequisite of all our ibadaat. A sincere person gets great reward even for his intentions and a person who is insincere will be deprived despite all his action that he did with insincerity. Everything that is loved - if it is not loved for His sake then this love is nothing but distress and punishment. Every action that is not performed for the sake of Allah is wasted and severed. We should expect all rewards from Allah (s.w.t) because- Allah (s.w.t) says in Quran )(
"There is not a single thing except that its depositories and treasures are with Us." [Al-Hijr (15): 21)

How to attain sincerity:

We should make dua to Allah (s.w.t) to give us the treasure of sincerity. Al-Imam Ahmad said: "Before you do anything, check your intention (niyyah) - ask yourself before performing an action: "Is it for the sake of Allah?" We should look at our actions are they same in private and public or not. After completing a job and assignment we should see do we boast about our role in it or we expect reward from Allah (s.w.t) - if we have good intentions before starting a task. - our Habits are changed by acts of worship we perfect our duty in private and in public. - we dislike being praised by others, and we make dua Du`aa: O Allaah, forgive me for what they do not know about me, and make me better than what they think of me. - we welcome advice from friends. - we do not not seek leadership and not nominate ourselves for positions of authority. - we are constantly mindful of ones shortcomings, and to advise or wish others well. - we feel that our contribution is minimal compared to others. -we love performing the Fajr, Ishaa, and night prayers. and prefer giving charity in secret. We conceal our good deeds from others. Then we are good to go inshaAllah

These were some of the criterias that indicate to us whether we are on the right track to sincerity and the pleasure of Allaah Almighty or notWe should always focus on our actions of the limbs as well as the heartThe moment we thought we are sincere that is the point we will lose it. We should

always fear for our intentions and renew them as we check our facebook account every now and then I implore Allaah Almighty to make us among the sincere, who are mindful of Allaah without others knowing about it.