THE BEST DEED

The key to your station with God is ikhlas (sincerity).
There is a frightening hadith about a scholar, a martyr and a charitable man on the Day of Judgment.

They all expect to enter Paradise because of their good deeds.

Instead, they are sent to the Fire, because their deeds were done with the intention of pleasing people – not pleasing God.
They wanted people to see them as they were doing good because they wanted people’s praise.

What Is Ikhlas?

Ikhlas (sincerity) is to do everything, internal and external, only desiring the pleasure of God. It is to forget the eyes of the people, and whether they view your deeds or not, with the only thing on your mind that God is watching you. There are beautiful verses in the Quran in this regard, where God describes the righteous in Paradise:

{They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude} (Al-Insan 76:7-9)

Imam Al-Ghazali said that: “If you want to know whether something you did was purely for the sake of God or not, you should test your reaction when someone acts ungratefully. Do you feel self-righteous, like you were doing the person a favor? Do you feel angry that they did not appreciate your work? It may not mean that your act was ostentatious, but it points to the fact that it was not solely for the sake of God. We were expecting, at the very least, recognition and respect from the person as a result of the good we did to them.

We all know the famous story of the prostitute who was rewarded with Paradise for giving water to a dog – but what truly got her into Paradise? Was it just that simple act? It could not have been, because as we mentioned above, there are scholars, martyrs and charitable people who will be thrown in hell because they were insincere. But she was helping the dog for God only. Look at how your intention elevates your deeds. This is why the scholars have said that it is the most important act of worship of the heart – to have the driving force of your acts be to please God.

This is closely linked to sincerity – that you are worshipping God as though you see Him and you know that He sees you. Khurram Murad states: “Purpose and intention are like the soul of a body or the inner capability of a seed. Many seeds look alike, but as they begin to grow and bear fruit, their differences become manifest. The purer and higher the motive, the greater the value and yield of your efforts.” (63)

Sincerity is the foundation of any work that we do – if the foundation is corrupt, then the building can easily be broken. Does this only apply to specific acts of worship or can it also apply to regular habits?

God says in the Quran: {Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds} (Al-An’am 6:162)

This verse tells us that everything can be for the sake of God. Moreover, Khurram Murad reminds us of something crucial. He states:

“People are in the habit of classifying life’s activities into those which are mundane and those which are religious. Remember, though, only those things done for the sake of Allah are the ‘religious’ things. Everything that is done for other than Allah – however ‘religious’ it may seem – is a worldly act… If he earns thousands of pounds to support his family and to spend for the cause of Allah, seeking only Allah’s pleasure, it is a highly spiritual act.”

Even your sleep can be for God; if you say you will sleep at a certain hour so you can wake up for Fajr prayer, then your sleep is for God. Imagine being rewarded for 6-8 hours of sleep!

Source: http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/living-islam/growing-in-faith/452831-sincerity-the-foundation-of-perfect-deeds.html

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