Ramadaan Series {Day 16 Bonus} – Short Itikaaf During Ramadaan

Intend itikaaf by staying in the Musjid even for a few hours as according to some scholars there is no time limit for itikaaf.

Rectifying Our Intentions

Du’a of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab (ra)

اللهُمَّ اجْعَلْ عَمَلِي كُلَّهُ صَالِحًا وَاجْعَلْهُ لِوَجْهِكَ خَالِصًا وَلَا تَجْعَلْ لِأَحَدٍ فِيْهِ شَيْئًا

Al’lahum’ma-ja’al ‘amalee kullahu saalihan wa-ja’alhu liwajhika khaalisan wa laa taj’al liahadin feehee shay’a

Oh Allah, make all of my actions righteous, make them purely for your sake & pleasure, and don’t allow anyone else to have a share of them.

If this is ‘Umar (ra) making this du’a then how great is our need to ask for sincerity!

The Importance of Ikhlaas (Sincerity)

Some ulama mention that the Sahaaaba used to do a lot of evil yet they still remained in a good state with their ikhlaas. This means they actually believed in what they were doing and were very truthful and honest.

Due to this sincerity and honesty they became Muslim. Allah sent the message to them and allowed them to conquer the world in a short space of time!  And they were the simplest of people!

What is Sincerity?

  • Some of the righteous of the past mentioned that sincerity is that you ask no one to witness your deeds except Allah!
  • Others said that sincerity is when one remains blind to his own good deeds.
  • Others mentioned that sincerity is when one’s outward actions conform to one’s inward thoughts.
  • Others said that sincerity is a secret which Allah placed in the hearts of those whom He loves!

How difficult it is to remain sincere!

Anything Done for the Aakhirah Will Increase

The Prophet (saw) had a camel called al Adbaa and he would race people and beat them. Once, a Bedouin came with a young camel below six years of age and beat the Prophet (saw). The Sahaaba were affected. The Prophet (saw) said, it’s Allah’s Law that everything which rises in the dunya, Allah will bring it down.

[Bukhari]

We Learn:

When you reach your peak, you’re going to go downhill, physically or otherwise.

He (saw) mentioned anything of the dunya will go down but he didn’t say the Aakhirah! So, anything done for the Aakhirah will not go down, rather it goes up, such as a project or something left behind as a legacy!

When something is done for Allah, with sincerity, knowledge and emaan, it’ll increase.

Never Judge People

What do we say / learn from the following two people?

  • A Muslim that drinks alcohol in the streets
  • A teacher who doesn’t take money.

A brother drinking alcohol is from the major sins; yet he may love Allah and perform many righteous actions as per the Sahaabi who would drink alcohol and get punished, yet we are told he loves Allah and His Messenger!

  • Alcohol might be his weakness.

Someone may not drink alcohol but may have ujb! Or jealousy! Which are far more dangerous!

The teacher not taking money doesn’t mean he is being sincere at all! There is no link! He might not take money so people say, wow, mashaa Allah tabaarkAllah, he teaches and doesn’t take money! And someone may take money to survive financially but he has a lot more sincerity!!

Never look down on others. He might have a weakness in public, but you might have dozens worse in your heart.

  • For example, a person may have a beard, yet a heart full of jealousy and love for fame and wanting to be known.

How important it is to read and learn about the heart.

How hard it is to work on sincerity. Always accuse your intentions.

Signs of Sincerity

Some of the scholars of the past have said that sincerity has three signs:

  • That praise and blame of the common folk become equal in your eyes.
  • That you become oblivious of your own good deeds after doing them.
  • That you forget about your reward for your good deeds in the Hereafter!

Shedding Tears for the Sake of Allah

Ibn al Jawzi (rh) mentions about those that cry in front of others, even though they are able to stop themselves, are showing off!

When the people of the past felt they were about to cry, they would get up and leave.

Praying in Our Homes

Ibn al Jawzi (rh) mentions that Shaytaan has overcome people to such an extent that one makes every prayer which they pray in the Musjid, including the optional prayers and leaving nothing for when they are alone at home.

Making A Lofty Intention and Then Taking Action

Make the intention to be a master in all of the Islamic sciences insha’Allah! It’s possible. There are some in our times who are aiming for it and we can join them too!

The path is long but it’s possible! It can’t be stressed enough the reading of books of Hadith to increase one’s emaan, even with very basic sharh (commentary) as the Hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) mentions, the one hearing may understand better than the one who says it!

Actions Behind Closed Doors

Remember that your actions behind closed doors determine how solid you are in public, in spirituality and in acceptance.

An example of this is al Nawawi (rh) and some of his books. He didn’t write all of 40 Nawawi, he added 16 Hadith and there are many arbaeeniyyat, yet his works have recieved mind blowing acceptance.

Even though he had a few mistakes in aqeedah, these are totally overlooked as he was an Imam and also due to his acceptance. The scholars use this as an example of his phenomenal sincerity.

And the asl of good deeds is to be done in secret but this doesn’t mean you miss out on doing good deeds in public.

This raises the question then, how comes we know about the Salaf and their private actions? The answer is that when someone is sincere, Allah reveals the person’s good no matter how much he tries to hide it.

What Is A Form of Sincerity?

Sincerity is to protect one’s action from being observed by the people! Meaning you don’t need to tell everyone every good you do!

“They listen to the doctors and not eat meat due to the risks of cholesterol. But they don’t listen to Allah and they eat the flesh of their brothers by *backbiting* and so be sinful.”

– Sh. Al-Shuraym

 

Sincerity For The Sake of Allah Will Increase You In The Hereafter

The Prophet (saw) had a camel named Al Adbaa and he (saw) would race people and beat them. Once a Bedouin came and he had a young camel below the age of 6 years old and he beat the Prophet (saw) in a race. The Sahaaba were affected by this. The Prophet (saw) said it is Allah’s Law that everything which rises in the dunya, Allah will bring it down. (Bukhari)

We learn from this:
When you reach your peak, you’re going to go downhill, physically or otherwise.

He (saw) mentioned that anything of the dunya will go down. He didn’t say aakhirah! So anything done for the aakhirah will not go down rather it will go up. For example, a project or anything left as a legacy!

When something is done for Allah with sincerity, knowledge and emaan, it will increase.

Never Judge and Always Work on Your Heart

Do we judge a Muslim who drinks alcohol?

A brother drinking alcohol is from the major sins; yet he may love Allah and perform many righteous actions as per the Sahaabi who would drink and get punished. Yet we are told this person loves Allah and His Messenger! Drinking alcohol might be his weakness.

Someone may not drink alcohol but he may have ujb (self amazement) or jealousy which are far more dangerous!

What about a teacher who takes money for passing on knowledge?

The teacher not taking money doesn’t mean he is being sincere at all! There is no link! He might be teaching so people say “Wow, Mashaa Allah tabaarkAllah, he teaches and doesn’t take money!” However, someone may take money to survive financially but he has a lot more sincerity!!

Never look down on others. A brother might have a weakness in public but you might have dozens of weaknesses far worse in your heart. For example, a person may have a beard yet he has a heart full of jealousy and love for fame and wanting to be known.

How important it is to read and learn about the heart.

We are not belittling sins and we still hate those sins but rather we need people to start looking at things from different angles.

How hard it is to work on sincerity.

Always accuse your intentions.

Signs of Sincerity

Some of the scholars of the past have said that sincerity has three signs:
1. That praise and blame of the common folk become equal in your eyes.
2. You become oblivious of your good deeds after doing them.
3. You forgot about your reward for your good deeds in the Hereafter!

Make an Intention For Every Action

Tawus would sometimes take his time replying or talking and when he was asked about this, he would say, would you like if I spoke without an intention?! He would then say he was making his intention and then did the action.

Let us check our intentions before everything we do too rather than hastening to do that action and forgetting our intentions!

Sincerity in Shedding Tears for The Sake of Allah

Imam Ahmad (rh) was asked if one could cry when on a full stomach and he replied he doesn’t think that’s possible. So try not to overeat so one can shed tears easily for Allah.

A scholar of the past saw a man crying in Salaah and he said, this man will be asked what he intended with his crying. A person should do as many good deeds in secret as possible especially things like crying otherwise who are they doing it for?

A scholar of the past mentioned that a person who sheds floods of tears in du’a in witr yet he struggles during the actual tarawih isn’t a good sign.

Sincerity

When you are asked which books you’ve studied, be careful what you say as you’re expected to know that book inside out! Not just study it once, not know and move to the next book. This could signal a person’s lack of sincerity, that he wants to mention all he’s studied.

Sincerity In Learning Knowledge

A scholar of the past would say people have come to know me while I hate to be remembered.

This was due to their sincerity, yet we live in a time where everyone wishes to be known and famous, even students of knowledge!

Intention

The intention doesn’t require uttering at the beginning of the prayer or for other actions. Saying the intention can become an innovation and there’s no evidence for it at all, not from the Prophet (saw) or the Sahaaba and the one who does this is saying that the Prophet (saw) never taught us something!

The Key To All Good Deeds Is Sincerity

The key to all good deeds is sincerity.

There are some other useful definitions of ikhlas:

– It is the freedom of the desire for nearness to Allah from every blemish or impurity;

– It is singling out Allah with one’s intention in all acts of worship;

– It is forgetting the sight of the creation by continual observance of the Creator; and

– It is to hide your good deeds just like you would hide your evil deeds.

Signs of Sincerity

– To have good intentions before starting a task.

– Habits are changed by acts of worship.

– To perfect one’s duty in private and in public.

– To dislike being praised by others, with the Du`aa: “O Allah, forgive me for what they do not know about me, and make me better than what they think of me.”

– To welcome advice from friends.

– To not seek leadership and not nominate yourself for positions of authority.

– To be constantly mindful of one’s shortcomings, and to advise or wish others well.

– To feel that your contribution is minimal compared to others.

– To love performing the Fajr, Ishaa’, and night prayers.

– To prefer giving charity in secret.

These are some of the signs of sincerity (ikhlas). We therefore have to exert ourselves to achieve sincerity because it is a great loss to work hard and end up losing everything.

Intentions

تنوي أن رفع الجهل عن نفسك، وعن غيرك بالدعوة،

وتنوي طلب الثواب

تنوي العمل بالعلم

تنوي الدفاع عن الشرع والكتاب والسنة وحملة الشريعة

و أن تعبد الله بعلم

Having Good Intentions

Remember to try and do something at all times and have a good intention while doing it.

This takes years to master as the people of the past mentioned that they would seek reward even from their sleep, their eating and their drinking!

They also said it was the most difficult thing to be worked on as it always flips on a person.

What intentions can a person make when they sleep?

  • To rest the body to have enough energy to pray qiyam.
  • To wake up for Fajr on time to go to the musjid and pray in jamaat.
  • To carry out your responsibilities as a son, father, husband and so on.

Your first intention must always be to please Allah (swt), then to follow the Sunnah and then the rest.

Any action done without these conditions or done as a habit without an intention isn’t going to be accepted and Allah knows best.