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!
Revelation occurred in the mount of Hira.
Why did the Prophet (saw) isolate himself in Hira?
To reflect, ponder and worship Allah. He (saw) was also tired of the shirk occurring in Makkah.
What can we learn from this?
That we need to spend time pondering and thinking about the signs that Allah has made clear to us so we become closer to Him. To also think about our day in terms of sins we have committed.
Having alone time helps to accomplish this.
The Prophet (saw) would spend time pondering so we ponder too over sins and so on daily.
– 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.
A scholar of the past said:
The seeker of knowledge must make the most of his time and avoid wasting time. Wasting time may take the following forms:
- Failing to review and revise what he reads.
- Sitting with his friends and engaging in idle talk in which there is no benefit.
- The most harmful time waster for the seeker of knowledge is when he has no interest except finding out about people, what they are saying and what they are doing, with regard to a matter that does not concern him. This undoubtedly stems from a weakness of commitment to Islam, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 2318; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
Focusing on who said what and asking a lot of questions is a waste of time. In fact it is a kind of sickness which if it affects a person – we ask Allah to keep us safe and sound – will become his main focus and concern and he may end up showing a hostile attitude towards one who does not deserve enmity, or he may be friendly towards one who does not deserve friendship, because of his interest in these matters that are distracting him from seeking knowledge, on the grounds that this is part of supporting the truth.
But that is not the case; rather this comes under the heading of being distracted by that which does not concern one. But if news comes to you without you seeking it or looking for it, everyone receives news but you should not be preoccupied with it or focus on it, because this causes distraction for the seeker of knowledge and may confuse him, and it opens the door to partisanship and division amongst the Ummah.
Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 143-144