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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!