By Husain Zakariyya Yawale.
“And they were not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and that is the right religion.”(al-Bayyinah: 5)
n the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time.
Last week we opened our discussion with first two of the four: knowledge, taste, accomplishment and sincerity. Today by the leave of Allah we will proceed to explain the remaining two. But, for the purpose of continuity, let me briefly remind you of those two.
Under the principle of knowledge we have agreed that learning as the only process left behind the Prophets of Allah, may Allah be pleased with them. There is no more revelation from Allah to any creation and whoever may be! To this end, seeking, searching and learning of knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. Ignorance will forever remain execrable and blameworthy!
“And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.”(al-Isra’: 36)
Thus, ignorance was not, is not and will not be accepted by law as an excuse for conjecturing anything in the rights of Allah or His Prophet. Similarly, Allah will never accept any act of worship founded on assumption, ignorance, postulation and supposition.
Secondly, the principle of taste consists of the feeling of pleasure, enjoyment and looking forward to doing the same over and over. The fact that you correctly know an aspect of ibadat and your engagement in any of it does not fulfill the basic criteria of its acceptability by Allah; you must continuously like what you are doing or saying in all circumstances; before, during and after. As soon as you perceive any of its aspect as a burden, liability or straining, that aspect stands rejected, repulsed and rebuffed by Allah!
Now let us continue with the third and the fourth principles viz: accomplishment and sincerity.
3. Accomplishment: The principle of execution involves doing or carry out the learned or acquired skills or rudiment to the later. It means the state of being enthusiastic, passionate and whole-hearted during the process of performing the rites and any act of ibadats. Knowing and not doing is not enough a duty worthy of recompense before Allah.
In Islam, only a living and visible Satan will implore his followership to doing only what he says, and pay no attention what he does! In Islam, knowledge is judged by both utterances and actions. If someone claims of having knowledge or is identified as being educated or knowledgeable, the instruments of judging him are his scholastic achievements or his erudite speeches, but his actions in conformity of his claim plays most decisive criteria. Allow his actions qualify or disqualify him.
Thus, the state of having virtuous knowledge, the state of having commensurate passion for what has been acquired and the enthusiasm for acting upon them are still not enough criteria for the acceptance of one’s submissions to Allah. In other words, the combination of worthy education, the love of it and the practical demonstration is not worthy of approbation in the sight of Allah, let alone satisfactory. To us mortals who are satisfied with the apparent and outward of one’s saying and doing, they are not enough to win Allah over, notwithstanding the nature of their natures. There is another principle on which all other vitreous deeds and speeches are dependent upon; sincerity.
4. Sincerity: This is the most important and the most decisive criteria fulfilling the acceptability of one’s deeds. It means the inner motive of everyone’s deeds and utterances towards the realization of the face of Allah, the Most Exalted! It is a secret between Allah and His servants. Even the angels who are saddled with collection of our outward deeds do not know the state of the servants of Allah.
Thus, culpability of committing sin can only be judged by Allah, and no one! What we are permitted to adjudge of one’s deeds is only the apparent and outward. We are not liable by law to pass any verdict on account of our perceptions that the culprit has hidden motive to perpetrate the offence in question.
That means, two or more people can act simultaneously in a given deed like Salats, Hajj, Fasting or any act of worship in congregation, and at the same time big disparity occur as a result of individual differences of internal motive or sincerity.
Similarly, a good intention, motive and objective that coincides with virtuous deeds that was based on worthy knowledge abated by enjoying it, makes the deeds acceptable by and rewardable by Allah. Similarly, any with the same premise but ill motivated or meant to score double objectives renders the whole act of ibadets worthless and void! Hence, bad intention renders good deeds null and void, and complete waste of time and energy and wealth, where applicable. On the contrary, a bad deeds founded on assumptions or postulations, or simply performed wrongly, cannot be accepted by Allah, notwithstanding a good and sincere motive and intention! Thus bad intent spoils worthy deeds, but sincere objective is ineffective in changing bad deeds into satisfactory one.
In essence, sincerity refers to sincerity and purity of intention and motive in worship of Allah. Allah says:
“They have been ordered no more than this: To worship Allah sincerely, being true (in faith), to establish the prayer, and to give zakah. And that is the worthy religion) (Al-Bayyinah: 5).
And He says:
“Say: “I am but a man like yourselves but to whom it is revealed that your Lord is only One God. So whoever hopes to meet his Lord let him work righteousness, and let him not associate anyone with Him in worship” (Al-Kahf: 110).
In a more precise sense, it signifies purifying our motives and intentions so that our activities are not polluted by anything other than seeking the pleasure of Allah. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah is Pure and He accepts only that which is pure” and “He accepts only that which is pure and done solely for His sake alone!”
This has made us to understand that if a person forsakes an act to attract commendation from people, such person is being pretentious. Whereas if does it only because of people such intention has ditched him into committing the highest sin on earth; shirk or associating partners with Allah. However, sincerity or ikhlas, frees the burdens of both of the aforementioned sinning.
In the final analysis, any act of worship that is obligated or recommended by or His Apostle must fulfil the four adumbrated principle which we called indispensable before he or she expects from Allah acceptance and recompense in both worlds. Take it or leave it! If anyone worships Allah ignorantly or presuming what he performed conforming with the command of his or her Lord, perceiving what he or she does or says as tasking or burden, performs or utters at his or her will in utter disregard to the prescribed times of his or her Lord or intending others than his or her Lord, and above all hoping his nor her Lord along with others, that deeds and saying is rendered useless, worthless and null and void!
May Allah grant us pure intention in all that we do and say for the sake of Allah in return for His favours in both worlds!