Motivational Moments #4
by Mufti Ismail Menk
The Arabic word for sincerity is “IKHLAS.” Sincerity has been interpreted as being upright, truthful, pure, not showing off in one’s intention and conduct. We try to guard our hearts and to keep it as pure as possible.
Sincerity is therefore our intent to please the Almighty with our deeds and our devotion, without any ulterior or worldly motives. We need to be vigilant with our hearts and should only be concerned with His pleasure and His reward. The Almighty is the only One who can judge our actions to determine whether we are sincere. In particular, He knows whether a person commits good deeds out of genuine desire to please Him or merely to attain applause and approval of others.
Intention is everything in Islam. It is really our core. This is because all deeds are based on intention. Depending on the intention, the deed is deemed valid or void. This can make a difference between happiness or misery and reward or punishment. For example, two different persons might perform the same act, paying equal attention to it but one of them earns a reward while the other earns nothing or even punishment for it because the intentions were different in each case.
A Hadith reads, “Verily, deeds are rewarded by intention. And everyone will have the reward for that which the deed was intended.”
The big question is how do we ensure we are sincere to the Almighty in all that we do? Always ask Him to purify our hearts and to keep it sincere. Try to do things privately. Actions done in front of others are more prone to being insincere. In fact, we are told to hide our good deeds as we would hide our sins.
We should never be proud of our good deeds. Believing that our actions might be rejected by the Almighty will remind us to struggle even harder the next time. This should keep our actions sincere. We should therefore worship the Almighty sincerely and stay away from showing off and other evil intentions. We know that the Almighty does not look at our status and wealth, but rather at our hearts and actions.
All said and done, sincerity in intention basically boils down to a matter between you and your Creator; nobody else can know the real intentions why people do what they do, except the Almighty. A sincere person does not consider whether others will praise him or put him down. He doesn’t care about worldly recognition. Everything is done solely for the Almighty. We ask the Almighty to accept our actions and make us sincere in our actions.