Attaining Sincerity towards Allah

Allah mentions something vital in the following ayahs:

The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children

But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.”

And Paradise will be brought near [that Day] to the righteous.

And Hellfire will be brought forth for the deviators,

Surah Ash-Shu’ara, Ayahs 88-91 (26:88-91) Translation: Sahih International

No children or wealth will be of any use on the Day of Qiyamah as we will be judged based on our individual deeds and each of us are responsible for our own Imaan and alms. Scholars have agreed that Allah is never going to accept any form of intentional shirk on the Day of Judgement if one dies upon associating anyone or anything with the Almighty. This can be concluded from the following verse:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 48 (4:48) Translation: Sahih International

If one has knowingly engaged in extreme form of shirk, for them only sincere repentance can save them from Hellfire and on the Day of Resurrection, no amount of wealth or his children is going to avail on this behalf. In another ayah, Allah says:

And it is not your wealth or your children that bring you nearer to Us in position, but it is [by being] one who has believed and done righteousness. For them there will be the double reward for what they did, and they will be in the upper chambers [of Paradise], safe [and secure].

Surah Saba, Ayah 37 (34:37) Translation: Sahih International

A person who has believed, done good and lived according to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), we have done enough to achieve Jannah- it’s that simple.

And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed.

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 124 (4:124) Translation: Sahih International

For believing and doing good, we need to cleanse our hearts, so how are we going to achieve that at first? Let’s discuss the matter.

At first we need to believe in all the Shariahs and commands provided to us to Allah and also need to follow them without having a speck of doubt in our hearts. Not necessarily we have to live our life in seclusion, doing dhikr all day and thinking we are coming nearer to our Creator- that again is too extreme and Islam never promotes extremism. All commands need to be followed according to the Sunnahs because that is the right and the only way to live.

Doing good is very easy- all it takes is ‘pure willingness’ and everything will go smoothly. This goes true for all types of people- let him/her be rich or poor. All the Sunnahs are easy to achieve and are oriented both for the rich or the poor and they have been designed to be within our reach as Allah has promised us:

Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 286 (2:286) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Now, let’s take a rich man, who hasn’t been able to achieve anything worthwhile in the Dunya except for acquiring wealth, on the Day of Judgement if he intends to fool Allah by saying he did it for the sake of Allah, he won’t be saved. Same goes for anyone who does good for his or her own sake rather than for the sake of Allah. One Hadith explains this occurrence quite well:

Narrated Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu Anhu): I heard Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying:

The first of the people whose case will be decided on the Day of Judgment will be a man who died as a martyr. He will be brought forth. Allah will make him know about His blessings (Which He had bestowed on him in the world). The man will acknowledge them. Then Allah will ask him: What did you do with them? He will say: I fought in Your way until I died as a martyr. Allah will remark: You are lying. You fought so that you may be called a brave warrior. Then orders will be passed against him. So he will be dragged along on his face and cast into Hell.

Second will be a man who studied (religious) knowledge. Then he taught it to others and recited the Qur’an. He will be brought (for judgment). Allah will remind him of His favours (showered on him in the world). He will admit them (having enjoyed them in his life). Then Allah will ask him: What did you do with them? He will reply: I acquired knowledge and imparted it and also recited the Qur’an for Your sake. Allah will observe: You have told a lie, for you got knowledge to be renowned as a scholar; and you recited the Qur’an to be marked as Qari (one who recites the Qur’an according to the rules). Then orders will be passed against him. So he will be dragged along on his face and thrown into Hell.

Third will be a man to whom Allah had made abundantly rich and granted him every kind of wealth. He will be brought for Judgment. Allah will let him know about His gifts conferred upon him in the world. He will recognize them. Then Allah will inquire: What did you with them? He will say: I left no way in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. Allah will say:  You are lying, You did so to be described as generous (in the society); (It means you got your reward in the world according to your intention). Now you deserve nothing in the Hereafter except Hell). So orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged along on his face until he will be hurled into Hell.

References: Sahih Muslim & Sunan An-Nasa’i

According to reports, Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) was given 1,000 livestock and even after receiving such a tremendous amount of wealth, he never grew conceited, he was always grateful and humble. It was from his bloodline, the Zamzam well was born, Mecca was flourish, the Holy Kaaba was built and the practice of performing Hajj was reintroduced. He was the Caliph of Mecca with the people paying him a tax for administering the entire Mecca. He was wealthy, successful yet he never deferred any commands given to him by his Lord. He was the “friend” of Allah which Allah clearly testified in the Quran.

Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend.

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 125 (4:125) Translation: Yusuf Ali

One time, an angel wanted to test the Imaan of Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) in order to prove Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) as the rightful friend of Allah. It happened during the time when Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) used to graze his cattle on the meadows and no one except for him was a Muslim. The angel disguised himself as a human and presented himself to Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām). Then the angel uttered the word, “Allah”.

Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) upon hearing the angel’s word rushed towards him and asked, “Can you once more repeat the name of my Lord?”

The angel agreed but only on one condition, Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) had to give all his cattle to the angel. Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) accepted the angel’s offer immediately. Then the angel uttered the name of Allah once more. Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) gave the angel all his cattle. Then Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) wanted to hear the name of Allah for the third time.

The angel asked, “What else can you offer me? You no longer have any cattle.”

Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) replied, “If you utter Allah’s name, then I will serve you as a servant”

The angel then finally revealed his identity and then Allah bestowed more wealth for Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām) because of his desperation in spreading Islam across the globe.

Note: I did not find any reference to this incident anywhere in the Internet. The Imam when narrating this tale, mentioned that he found this incident in a “Kitaab” but did not mention the name of that book. I have quoted down the exact story as he have mentioned without any fabrications and I am relying upon Allah for the authenticity of this story.

Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Allaih), also used to be significantly affluent. He used to export livestock and clothing across the Middle East during that time. That man was so pious that Allah gave him the blessing of staying clean while being asleep. For about 40 years, Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Allaih) used to pray the Fajr with the wudu done at the time of Esha. This meant he used to spend the night-time in praying Tahajjud.

Doing Hajj and giving Zakah is Fardh on the rich and finding excuse against one’s negligence over the obligatory duties won’t suffice on the Day of Reckoning. The wealth bestowed to us doesn’t belong to us, they are actually under the authority of Allah and if someone fails to understand the significance of Hajj and Zakah then that person will be losing out in the Hereafter.

Abu Bakr Al-Isma‘eli Al-Hafiz narrated from the Hadith of Abu ‘Amr Al-Awza‘i: Ismael Ibn Ubaydullah Ibn Abi’l-Muhajir told me: ‘Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Ghanm told me that he heard Umar Ibn al-Khattab (Radi Allahu Anhu) say: Whoever is able to do Hajj but does not do Hajj, then it is all the same whether he dies as a Jew or a Christian.

Reference: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, (2/85). This is a Sahih Isnaad going back to Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu).

If we give Zakah dutifully, there won’t be any poor people in the community. Whatever we earn and spend should be done for the sake of Allah, then all our worldly affairs are going to be turned into Ibadah. Making wealth for the sake of health, shelter and clothing- without these we won’t be able to worship Allah properly, or feed our spouses or children- all these can be turned into forms of worship for the sake of Allah. All it takes is the niyah or the intention of satisfying Allah.

Do everything up to your own effort and then leave the rest to Allah. We can’t govern everything according to our will, so after giving our hard labor, we should be relying on Allah, only then our heart will grow pure.

Another important thing in our religion is to mix with the right kind of people. They can either reignite or burn away our Imaan. Here is a beautiful Hadith illustrating the concept:

On the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (Radi Allahu Anhu), the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell.”

References: Sahih Al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim

Befriending those who are nearer to Allah is a fundamental practice in Islam as we will be with the ones who we have considered as friend on the Day of Judgement, what truly lies in their hearts is not an issue to be dealt by us but at least we can learn something good if they seem righteous and are regular practicing Muslims.

Doing businesses honestly also adds up in the process of cleansing our hearts. Whereas, those who are regarded as dishonest merchants, for them Allah has reserved painful punishments for deceiving people for the sake of making unethical profits.

It was narrated from Rifah Ibn Raafi’ (Radi Allahu Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The merchants will be raised on the Day of Resurrection as evildoers, apart from those who fear Allah and are honest.”

References: Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1210, Al-Daarimi (2/247), Sunan Ibn Maajah, Hadith 2146 & Ibn Hibbaan (11/276). Imam Al-Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah Allaih) said: It is Hasan Sahih. Imam Al-Hakim (Rahmatullah Allaih) said: Its Isnaad is Sahih & Imam Al-Dhahabi (Rahmatullah Allaih) agreed with him.

In another Hadith it is mentioned:

It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (Radi Allahu Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The honest, trustworthy merchant will be with the Prophets, Siddiqs and Martyrs.”

References: Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1209. Imam al-Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah Allaih) said: This is a Hasan Hadith but we know it only through this Isnaad. Imam Ibn Taymiyah (Rahmatullah Allaih) said its Isnaad is Jayyid, as noted in al-Mustadrak ‘ala Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (1/163).

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (Rahmatullah Allaih) said:

These reports may be reconciled in several ways. We say:

We do not say that trade is better in all cases, rather trade may be used to seek sufficient provision or more than what is sufficient.

If it is used to seek more than what is sufficient and to increase and accumulate wealth that is not spent on good works and charity, then it is blameworthy, because it is focusing on love of this world which is the root of all evil. If the person also mistreats others and deceives them, then it is wrongdoing and evil.

But if it is used to seek sufficient provision for oneself and one’s children, then engaging in trade as a means of keeping oneself from asking others for help is better.

Reference: Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen (2/79).

When the call to prayer is heard, a businessman is expected to leave his business and rush to the Masjid. Keeping Salah before the business shows one’s dedication towards the Deen. Allah has advised us in the Quran:

O you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salat (prayer) on the day of Friday (Jumu’ah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allah [Jumu’ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salat (prayer)] and leave off business (and every other thing), that is better for you if you did but know!

Surah Al-Jumu’ah, Ayah 9 (62:9) Translation: Muhsin Khan

On the Day of Judgement, there will be 7 types of people who will be sheltered by Allah, they are as follows:

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu), The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the Masjids; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position (for illegal intercourse), but he says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembers Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.'”

References: Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 629 & Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2248.

One of these groups includes the people whose hearts are attached to the Masjid, it is evident that these people live for the purpose of satisfying through Salah- which being the most important Ibadah in our religion. A farmer who is poor and have little, who looks at the sun waiting anxiously for the time of Zuhr to arrive and when the adhan is heard, he loses no time and rushes to the Masjid- this is the type of person we need to learn from regarding sincerity towards the Deen. A person who is enthusiastic to go to the Masjid along with someone who keep an alarm for him to wake up during Tahajjud/Fajr, these are people whose hearts are attached to the Masjid.

All of Allah’s commands are easy to follow. Say you are too poor and broken in spirit to pray, the man who was regarded to be the poorest in the history of mankind was none other than our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) who lived and died among the poor, still he never dared to skip even a single rakah of Salah. Say you are the richest among the Muslim Ummah and you are too busy to pray on time. We got Prophet Suleiman (Alayhi As-Salām), who was not the emperor of the human world but he was the ruler of all the entire animal kingdom as well as the king of the unseen- the wind including the world of the Jinns. It was a gift from Allah for his utmost sincerity towards his Creator. Allah mentions of him in the Quran:

So We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed,

And [also] the devils [of jinn] – every builder and diver

And others bound together in shackles.

We said], “This is Our gift, so grant or withhold without account.”

And indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return.

Surah Sad, Ayahs 36-40 (38:36-40) Translation: Sahih International

Prophet Suleiman (Alayhi As-Salām) can be regarded as the busiest man of all times and even after that he has been regarded as “an excellent servant” of Allah.

And to Dawood We gave Suleiman. An excellent servant, indeed he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah].

Surah Sad, Ayahs 30 (38:30) Translation: Sahih International

So can we declare ourselves being busier than Suleiman (Alayhi As-Salām)? He governed the entire world as well as served Allah dutifully because he was able to govern his time properly, that is the truth- we are unable to govern our time properly just because we are too negligent when it comes to Salah but we get serious when we get to sign a new business contract.

Say you are too sick to pray to Allah. Allah has given us the opportunity to pray to Him even by sitting or lying on our back. Even after that if we make excuses, Allah won’t forgive us unless we are left unconscious or are succumbed in coma. We have example of Ayyub (Alayhi As-Salām) who can be regarded as the most ill-stricken man in human history, his illness was so serious, his skin would peel off from his face which led an ominous odor to follow him but he was always sincere regarding his sincerity to the Almighty.

Yazid bin Maysarah (Rahmatullah Allaih) said: “When Allah tested Ayyub (Alayhi As-Salām), with the loss of his family, wealth and children, and he had nothing left, he started to focus upon the remembrance of Allah, and he said:

I praise You, the Lord of lords, Who bestowed His kindness upon me and gave me wealth and children, and there was no corner of my heart that was not filled with attachment to these worldly things, then You took all of that away from me and You emptied my heart, and there is nothing to stand between me and You. If my enemy Iblis knew of this, he would be jealous of me.

Reference: The Meaning and Explanation of the Glorious Qur’an by Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman. Volume 6. pp. 204.

None of us can say that we are either too poor, busy or sick to pray and we need to remember the fundamental purpose behind all our distresses- they are all trials for us. Also Allah won’t be testing us like the way He tested the Prophets as the people with the most faith will be ones facing the most severe tests.

It was narrated from Mus’ab bin Sa’d that his father, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas (Radi Allahu Anhu), said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’”

Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 4023. This Hadith has been graded Hasan (fair).

We will be tested based on the strength of Imaan and since Allah said He won’t burden us more than what we can bear, we can never expect to be as good as the Prophets so Prophetic trials won’t afflict us in any manner so if we keep on complaining and making excuses, we are in fact fooling ourselves. So free yourself from your own self-delusion, with this we shall be closing the discussion for this week’s Khutbah.

Please support us by purchasing our Weekly Khutbah series. (Links are given below)
May Allah reward us for our dedication towards Islam, Ameen. Let’s all be a part of a well-refined Muslim Ummah!

Weekly Khutbah, Volume 1: https://www.amazon.com/Weekly-Khutbah-2013-2014/dp/1532939736

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