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Islamic Education- Knowledge of Hearts- Lesson (34-54): – Al Ikhlas (sincerity) 1- Sides of Ikhlas
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  

Al Ikhlas (sincerity):

 Dear brother, Al Ikhlas is an obligatory act which should accompany all deeds and sayings in Islam.
  Ikhlas is the heart’s act of worship, whereas carrying out Allah’s commands is the Jawareh’s (faculties ) act of worship.
This means: the human from outwards is compliant to Allah’s commands and from inward is but Ikhlas, and the latter is the spirit of the religion, and anything without a spirit is a meaningless dead corpse.

Sides of Ikhlas:

1- Sincerity of religion:

  There are six sides to Ilklas:
 The first side: The sincerity of religion. Allah says:

﴾Say (O Muhammad): "Allah has spoken the truth; follow the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism, i.e. he used to worship Allah Alone), and he was not of Al-Mushrikun." (See V.2:105)﴿

[Aal-‘Imran, 95]

﴾And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him﴿

[Aal-‘Imran, 85]

  The truth is one, The Almighty Allah says:

﴾And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him﴿

[Aal-‘Imran, 85]

 Hence, you should follow the divine instructions and the right religion (Islam).

Ikhlas is to stick to the truth rather than your own interests:

  Dear brother, Ikhlas is to be with the pure Haq (truth), as there is falsehood which is coated with Haq, and there is Haq which is mixed with falsehood, yet only the pure Haq is what your Ikhlas guides you to:

﴾As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah's Religion - Islamic Monotheism).﴿

[Al-Ankabut, 69]

  Interests contradict with Ikhlas.
  If a man has any interest in something and he will benefit from this thing in a way which displeases the Almighty Allah or it drives him away from the prophet’s Sunnah, he shouldn’t hang on to it, because if he does, he will be considered without Ikhlas, and thus, Ikhlas is to be with the right wherever it is even if it is condradicts with your own interest.
  The problem lies in interests, as people hang on to anything which brings them tangible benefits, and they fight for it.
  One might be undoubtedly convinced that he is not on the right path, yet he hangs on to it since it brings him lot of gains.
  Therefore, Ikhlas is to be with the truth even though it is against your own interest or it causes losing all your gains, Ikhlas is to be with the truth.

2- Sparing religion from desires and innovations:

  The second side of Ikhlas: Ikhlas is sparing the religion from sectarian division, corrupted desires and misleading innovations, Allah says:

﴾Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad) have no concern in them in the least.﴿

[Al-An’am, 159]

  The Almighty Allah says:

﴾The believers are nothing else than brother (in Islamic religion).﴿

[Al-Hujuraat, 10]

  What pleases Allah is that you belong to the group of believers instead of forming your own small group while accusing sh3er of Kufr. This act displeases Allah the Almighty, and by this kind of act you are sowing dissension between Muslims, you are disuniting them, you are turning their one unity into sects and parties and they will become weaker which strengthens their enemy.
  This is the greatest problem from which Muslims are suffering nowadays, as every party claim to own the truth accusing the rest of falsehood. However, the true faith is manifested in a sound Aqidah, sincere inward thoughts and upright actions.
  Your brother in Allah’s cause is everyone, whether he is in your mosque, in another mosque, from your group or from another group, as your belonging should be to the group of believers not to small bubbles which are so small comparing to the world of Muslims.
  So this Ayah covers the second side of Ikhlas which is the Ikhlas by sparing the religion from sectarian division, corrupted desires and misleading innovations

﴾Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad) have no concern in them in the least.﴿

[Al-An’am, 159]

The messenger PBUH disowned people of innovations:

  Aishah said, May Allah be pleased with her, I asked the prophet PBUH about those and he said:

((Those who divide their religion and become sects, they are "the fads and whims owners and owners of this nation astray, they do not have repentance I am not of them and they are not of me.))

[Muslim by Aisha]

 People of innovations bring to Islam what doesn’t belong to it; they change the Aqidah and the acts of worships of Muslims. They innovate acts of worship which don’t belong to the prophetic Sunnah, as the latter is a balanced method from Allah, The Ever-Wise, The All-Knowing, The All-Aware and the Creator of universes.
  By dividing, adding and omitting from the religion, one will be accusing Islam of lack or excess, and as long as man is innovating (from his own), his innovations will be invalid.
 The following Ayah clarifies that:

﴾But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them﴿

[Al-Hadid, 27]

 Because what they innovate is beyond their scope.

Why do people have Sexual tendencies:

  Allah’s decree meant for sexual tendencies to be deeply rooted in the self in order to maintain the continuity of mankind lest they become extinct.
  Why should one prevent people from getting married? Why should one make people adopt monasticism and asceticism and be devoted only to worshiping The Almighty Allah?
  This was not ordained by Allah, was not allowed by Him and this contradicts with the structure and nature of the self.
  Hence, this monasticism was innovated by them and was never described for them to please Allah, but when they imposed it on themselves, they claimed pleasing Allah therewith, but since it was not imposed by Allah, they did not observe it with the right observance. This is the reason behind the extreme perversion amongst those people, for when they turned away from marriage, they fell victims of serious perversions.
  The prophet PBUH said:

((Those who divide their religion and become sects, they are "the fads and whims owners and owners of this nation astray, they do not have repentance I am not of them and they are not of me.))

[Muslim by Aisha]

 The other Hadith:

((The Jews split into seventy-one sects, or seventy-two sects, and the Christians similarly, and my Ummah will split into seventy-three sects. All of them are in the Fire Except one sect." The companions asked: "And which is it O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "What I am upon and my Companions.))

[Tirmizi by Abdullah Ibn Umar]

  A sound creed is more serious than a righteous behavior:
  The prophet PBUH said:

((The best of people are my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them.))

[Bukhari by Umran Bin Husane]

  The prophet PBUH testified that three generations will be commended , they are his generation (the companions), those who followed them and those who followed the companions’ followers. Amongst these three generations, the religion was rightly interpreted and applied. Be aware, every contemporary perception of the religion, far from the one of those three generations, is condemned and is not but a deviation from the main stream of Islam.
 Follow (the prophetic Sunnah) and don’t innovate, make things easy and do not make them difficult, cheer the people up by conveying glad tidings to them and do not repulse (them).
Beware of innovation and misguidance, for every innovation is a bidah (deviation), and every bidah is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the hell fire.
  Beware of pretentiousness and rhetoric, for the worst amongst people are the pretentious and the ranters .
  Whoever wants to be in the middle of Paradise, then let him adhere to the Jamaa'ah (group of believers) and whoever deviates, he deviates to the Fire.
  In a statement ascribed to Satan he says: “I inauthord Muhammad’s Ummah (nation) to sin, but they broke my back with seeking forgiveness (from Allah)”.
  Seeking forgiveness is man’s lethal weapon against the temptations of Satan.
  Our master Ali, May Allah be pleased with him, says:
  “Two persons broke my back in the world: a bleak hearted ignorant worshipper and a knowledgeable transgressor scholar who makes people turn away from his knowledge because of what they see of his immorality.”
  A person with academic knowledge in Elm Usool Addeen (science of fundamentals of Islam), whose words make a difference, whose elaboration for any text is creative and whose books are widely spread, might surprise you with a private life that is umcommitted to the religion, for he fulfills his desires, and may commit sins, in this case, despite all his knowledge, specialty, superiority, eloquence, strong memory and authored books, people break away from him because his life style is not with equal measures of his knowledge.
  An anecdote says that a very stylish man bad-mouthed someone, so another man said to him:  Either you dress up the way you speak, or speak the way you are dressing.
  This stylish look needs a glib tongue.
  Also an exalted level of a person, with academic knowledge in Elm Usool Addeen (science of fundamentals of Islam) who has a creative way to explain Islam to sh3er, doesn’t go along with innovations, Fisq (debauchery), Fujoor (whoredom) or dissoluteness.
  The first man (according to our Master Ali) is the knowledgeable transgressing scholar who makes people break away from his knowledge for what they see of his immorality, but the second man (Ali mentioned) is more dangerous to Islam, for the innovating worshipper is an upright person, yet he brings to Islam what doesn’t belong to it, and his danger lies in marketing this innovation of his, amongst Muslims, using his virtuousness and righteousness.
  In fact the sound Aqidah is a more serious matter than a righteous behavior, simply because the innovator doesn’t repent because he thinks he is the only right person and what everybody else follows is void. Moreover, the innovator accuses sh3er of deviation, and his pretentious righteousness attracts people to him despite the fact that he is an innovator.

Allah has categorized sins according to ascending order:

  As we all know, the Almighty Allah categorized sins according to ascending order, for He started with Fahsha’ (all types of indecencies, vulgarities, obscenities etc.) and Munkar (That which is not recognized as good), then Al Ithm (evil) and Udwan (despotism), then Shirk (Polytheism) and finally Kufr (Atheism) which is the mother of all sins:

﴾And saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.﴿

[Al-A’raf, 33]

  The wrong guidance is manifested in building a human being wrongly, to elevate a person to a divine status, to excuse oneself from the divine assignments and to be rigid only in certain ones.
  What hurts more is that every group exaggerates on a side of Islam, becomes proud of it, attracts people’s attention to it and gravely excuse themselves from other sides of Islam.
 The next step is that every group claims to own the truth, and thus we become in front of many religions (instead of one which is Islam):

Each one claims Laila’s love
And Lailah does not admit her love to anyone

Man should belong to the group of believers:

  In order to be popular and noticeable, some people stress on one side of the religion, and every group has a strange way of stressing on that thing and neglecting other sides, thus eventually, every person will claim to own the truth which leads to bloody sectarian conflicts, enmity and antipathy which definitely is to the advantage of the enemy.
  If only Sunnah embraces all of us, and we applied it without innovations, we would become one unity and a tremendous power.
  The innovator always brings to Islam what doesn’t belong to it, claims it is the truth, is armed with aggressive tendency, exalts persons to a divine status, decreases divine assignments or increases them, and thus, the illnesses within Muslims come from all that.
  What hurts most is that these illnesses are transcontinental ones, and they are the same even in the west, so wherever you go even to the furthest countries, you find people of that kind who consider you not a member of their group, moreover, mosques start to belong to groups, and if any non-member of the group enters their mosque, they will raise hell as if he is a non-believer Kafer. These are the illnesses of Muslims.
This brings us to the necessity of belonging to the group of believers in order to make them one Ummah instead of belonging to momentary small bubbles (groups).

3- Al Ikhlas in deeds by freeing them from the hidden rooted illnesses:

  The third side of Ikhlas: Al Ikhlas in deeds by freeing them from hidden illnesses, Allah says:

﴾So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.﴿

[Al-Kahf, 110]

 Whosoever is afraid from standing before the All-Knowing (Allah), let him offer good deeds based on Ikhlas and perfection, let him not take partners with Allah from among people, and let him not make his obedience to Allah a subject of pleasing sh3er.
 The prophet PBUH said:

((Man will be called on the Day of Resurrection in front of all creations by four names of his, so he will be called: O Kafer (atheist), O Fajer (adulterer), O Ghader (betrayer), O Zalem (oppressor), your endeavoring is vain and your deeds are invalid, so go and find your reward at those whom you offered your deeds to))

[Mentioned in relic]

  What hurts most is to see a man striving for another man and endorsing his deeds to someone else, for this is the very Shirk. It doesn’t befit you to be (as a man) but to Allah and it doesn’t befit you to offer your deeds but to Allah, and lest you do you will become a slave to the person you offered your deeds to.

((…so go and find your reward at those whom you offered your deeds to))

Man should be sincere with the Allah who bestows and protects him:

  The prophet PBUH also said:

((He who so acts to show off, Allah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, and he who does good deeds so that people (may hold him in high esteem), Allah will expose his hidden evil intentions before the people on the Day of Resurrection.))

[Bukhari and Muslim by Jundub Bin Abdullah]

 How many rich people in life are poor in the hereafter, and how many poor people in life are rich in the hereafter and how many eased people are there, while there are sh3er without whom people are eased:

﴾ and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.﴿

[Al-Kahf, 110]

﴾So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.﴿

[Al-Kahf, 110]

  This means that he shouldn’t show off his obedience in a manner intended to attract someone’s attention, for the latter has no control on harming or benefiting him, on protecting him, on giving providence to him, on giving him life nor has he any control on taking it from him, thus, one should be sincere to Him only (Allah) who will value what he does for His sake.

Praising the monotheist versus praising the polytheist:

 Let us move to mentioning some quotes:
  “Whosoever becomes angry when his flaws are mentioned is a hypocrite”
  He is deemed a hypocrite the one who gets angry after you mention his flaws, had he been sincere he would say to you: May Allah reward you for that, by Allah I didn’t pay attention to those flaws.
  So he immediately goes back to the right path.
  “Whosoever offers more after he is praised and offers less if he is not praised is a hypocrite.”
 This person is a slave to praising, he would give more charity when he is praised and would give less if he is not praised and he always longs for praising.
 By the way, let me be accurate on this concept: the believer’s faith increases in his heart after he is praised and it is the increase of gratitude to the Almighty Allah, but if he is not praised, his faith and upright stays as is, whereas praising the person with weak faith makes Shirk increase within, therefore, praising either increases faith or increases Shirk.
  The prophet PBUH said:

((When you see those who shower undue praises upon sh3er throw dust upon their faces.))

[Tabarani by Ata’a Ibn Abi Rabah]

  A man was mentioned before the Prophet and another man praised him greatly The Prophet said, "May Allah's Mercy be on you ! You have cut the neck of your friend."

 “Faith increases in the heart of a believer after you praise him”, so how can we accord between the two?
  To answer that you should know that the Mowahid (monotheist) becomes more thankful to Allah after you praise him, whereas the Mushrik becomes more proud of his Shirk after you praise him.
It is said: “There are people who take partners besides Allah the Almighty, and those will be addressed (On the Day of Resurrection)by the following: O slaves of lusts, get your reward from those whom you offered your deeds to”

4- A sincere person's speech in the cause of Allah:

  The fourth side of Ikhlas:

﴾There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah (charity in Allah's Cause), or Ma'ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allah has ordained), or conciliation between mankind, and he who does this, seeking the good Pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward.﴿

[An-Nisa’, 114]

 All the talking of the sincere person is in the cause of Allah, he/she doesn’t praise him/herself, he/she praises Allah, says the right word, says the word which unites people instead of the word which disunites them, says the word which brings people together instead of the word which disperses them and says the word which exalts him/her instead of saying the word which drives him/her away from the Almighty Allah.
 All the lights are thrown on the divine perfections, prophetic perfections and the companions of the prophet PBUH.
  As for you, stay away from the spot of light (of fame or praise) lest it becomes a lust, and stay away from praising yourself or else you will be in big trouble.
  I used to say: climbing to the summit is very hard, but staying on it is harder.
  Self-admiration is your means to hit rock bottom.
  If you were successful in your work, in your proselytizing (to Allah) and in your charity deeds, you should remain humble as much as you can and you should stay away from the self-admiration ambush.
  When the prophet PBUH enter Meccah after its conquest, he entered bowing (his head down) out of humbleness to the Almighty Allah.

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