Having Ikhlas (sincerity) is being pious

Philosophy Contributor
Arabic calligraphy Al Ihlas
Arabic calligraphy from the Quran - Al Ihlas © Zamir Kadyzhev | Dreamstime.com

As Muslims, we should strive to be sincere in our deeds. The term ‘Ikhlas’ describes the concept of sincerity. We should aim to enhance the sincerity of our deeds in order to please our Lord. Doing so will help us in this temporary life as well as in the Aakihrah (Hereafter). Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an:

“And they were not commanded except with this: that they should worship Allah, being completely sincere in the Din.” (Quran 98:5)

We learn from the above verse the importance of Ikhlas. Allah tells us that we were commanded to worship Him, but He also said that our worship should be completely sincere. Therefore, we should be careful not to become distracted or heedless in our worship.

For example, when we are praying or reciting the Qur’an, we should be trying our best to keep our focus on our Lord and remember that our intention when doing these good deeds should purely be to please Allah. If we are not thinking about Allah when doing these good deeds, or we are just doing so to seek praise from people, we are being insincere.

We read in a hadith that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“Religion is sincerity, religion is sincerity (Al-Nasihah), religion is sincerity.” They said; “To whom, O Messenger of Allah?” He (SAW) said: “To Allah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the imams of the Muslims and to their common folk.” (An Nisai)

This shows us that having Ikhlas is crucial. Our overall Imaan (faith) is based on us being sincere in our worship of Allah. Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an that we will be rewarded greatly for having Ikhlas. He says:

“But the sincere servants of Allah—for them is sustenance determined.” (Qur’an 37:40-41).

We believe that sincerity will protect us in the temporary life as well as in the Aakhirah. When we ponder on this, we realise why this is. Of course, the more sincere we are, the more our focus on pleasing Allah will develop. We will no longer be as focused on seeking praise from others and we will be less likely to become distracted by worldly matters during our worship. Allah says:

“Then see what was the end of those who were warned, except for the sincere servants of Allah.” (Qur’an 37:73-74)

We believe that one of the reasons we experience hardships is that Allah is testing our sincerity. If we are truly sincere, we will have trust in Allah regardless of the difficulty we are going through. Instead of giving up, the hardship should only increase our focus on Allah and our concentration in our worship. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Do the people think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe,” and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” (Qur’an 29:2-3)

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