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The Foundations of Ibadah
  Ikhlas (Sincerity) : A Necessary Condition of Ibadah
Author: Abu 'Iyad
Source: The Book of Worship
Article ID : IBD010003  [21523]  

As for Ikhlaas, then that is one of the meanings of the testimony "there is nothing which has the right to Ibaadah except Allaah" in that your Ibaadah should be exclusively and sincerely for Allaah Azzawajall. Eemaan by itself is not sufficient for our Ibaadah to be accepted by Allaah. Rather it is necessary that your action is out of Eemaan in Allaah and complete Ikhlaas to Him Azzawajall so that you do not make anyone a partner with Him. The Exalted said:

{Those who have Eemaan and confuse not their Eemaan with Injustice. For them there will be security and they are the rightly guided}[1]

Injustice here means Shirk as was explained by the Messenger (sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam) to the companions (radiallaahu-anhum) and as has been recorded by Bukhaaree in the Kitaabut-Tafseer of his Saheeh.

Allaah Azzawajall has laid down a condition for the perfection of Eemaan, which gives its possessor security, guidance and freedom from Shirk and that is Ikhlaas; the abundance of which is necessary for Ibaadah to be accepted. The Exalted has said:

{And they were not commanded except with this: that they should worship Allaah, being completely sincere in the Deen}[2]

and the Exalted also said:

{Say: Indeed I have been commanded to worship Allaah making the Deen sincerely for Him alone}[3]

and there is also the Qudsee Hadeeth reported by Muslim:"I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having partners. Thus, whoever does an action for someone else's sake as well as Mine, will have that action rejected by Me to him whom he associated with Me"[ 4]

Ikhlaas is the sanctification of your speech and action from every blemish of the soul's desire. For example, desiring your beautification in the hearts of people, desiring their praise so that they say 'a scholar', 'what a brave man' or 'a doer of good'. Also included in this is running away from the criticism of the people (i.e. abandoning certain actions because people may criticise or become angry), seeking people's magnification of yourself, their aid and assistance, the fulfilment of your needs or desiring other peoples wealth and possessions - while being contented with all of that because your soul is deceived and your amazement with yourself.

Know also - Brother and Sister Muslim - that Ikhlaas is not correct until you are truthful in your speech, action, striving and while you desire nothing but the Face of Allaah Azzawajall and the Home of the Hereafter.

The Exalted said:

{And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as it should be strived for while being a believer then his striving will be acknowledged (rewarded)}[5]

There are some other useful definitions of Ikhlaas:

1. It is the freedom of the desire for nearness to Allaah Azzawajall from every blemish or impurity
2. It is singling out Allaah Azzawajall with ones intention in all acts of worship
3. It is forgetting the sight of the creation by continual observance of the Creator
4. It is to hide your good deeds just like you would hide your evil deeds.[6]

So be warned - Brother and Sister Muslim - that no action is acceptable to Allaah if somebody else is given a share in it. Reflect carefully upon the words of Yoosuf bin al Hussain ar-Raazee: "Indeed the hardest thing (to achieve) in this world is Ikhlaas. How many times have I struggled to extinguish riyaa (showing off) from my heart except that it only appeared again in a different colour" [7]

Also reflect upon the words narrated by Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee in his [Mukhtasir Minhaaj il-Qaasideen] "Indeed mankind, all of them, are destroyed except those with knowledge and all those with knowledge are destroyed except those who act upon it and all those who act are destroyed except those who are sincere in their action and all those who are sincere are in great danger (of associating other than Allaah in their actions)".[8]


1 [An'aam 6:82]
2 [Bayyinah 98:5]
3 [Zumar 39:11]
4 Reported by Muslim
5 [Israa 17:19]
6 Taken from the Book [Al-Ikhlaas] by Abu Muhammad ibn Sa'eed al- Baylaawee
7 [Jaami ul-Uloom wal-Hikam] of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee p.
8 [Mukhtasir Minhaaj il- Qaasideen] of Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee p.


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