The Hindrance of Ikhlaas: Love for Fame and Wealth:
The biggest amal (deed) of a man is that of ikhlaas (sincerity-for sake of Allah SWT alone). With ikhlaas, a small deed performed becomes a means of amassing great reward. When a big amal is done ostentatiously, it doesn’t carry any weight or reward. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mubarak (RA) said, “Many small deeds earn great rewards because of ikhlas and many big aamaal become small due to improper intention”. A man becomes mukhlis (a sincere person) only when he loses any value for love of fame and wealth. It is difficult to achieve ikhlas with the love of world. Fame and money are two big branches of the love of world. When a man loses worth for these two aspects in his heart, he becomes a mukhlis. He would neither be a yearner of fame nor of wealth. He would be only yearning for Allah’s pleasure. Even the small amal of a person who is fortuned with ikhlaas does not remain small. The ikhlaas adds weight to the amal making it heavier than the mountains. But there is a huge sacrifice behind this ikhlaas which is to lose yearning for fame and wealth which is not a small feat. It is not a small task to get rid of love for fame and wealth from one’s heart.
Fame and Wealth are Highly Unsteady:
The acceptance of amal is to do with ikhlaas. When there is ikhlaas in an amal, it becomes eligible to be accepted. Many waste the rewards for their amals because of improper intention. Great deeds are carried out, great services are done but due to negligence of intention and ikhlaas, the hard work goes wasted. People become exhausted by performing aamaal but they gain nothing due to negligence. Before doing a deed, you can at least ask your heart, “Why you are doing this?” After completion of that deed, beg and plead to Allah SWT to accept it. This will ensure to get it accepted inshaaAllah. Please Allah SWT. The reality of fame and wealth is that they are very unstable. The yearner of fame is always reliant on others. If others praise him, he considers himself worthy and if others consider him disgraces, he becomes humiliated. The wealth has a similar trait, it won’t stay with anyone permanently. In fact, the aamaal based on ikhlaas is more steady and permanent as it keeps progressing with reward and acceptance both from Allah’s side and the side of creations.
The Weight of Ikhlaas:
As many people lose the rewards due to negligence of intention, they should be reminded of ikhlaas very often. The inducement of Ikhlaas should continue. Very big hospitals are built, masaajid are built, and religious institutes are built but if the intention behind all this is fame, then what is the use? All these acts are great but as the one doesn’t know what ikhlaas is, how to make the proper intention and what the base and soul of aamaal is, he just wastes the rewards. The correctness of intention is such a great wealth by which a permissible act becomes an act of worship. Ikhlaas is to do an act for Allah SWT. A permissible act done for Allah SWT becomes a worship. A simple act of ibaadat done with ikhlaas becomes mountain-like and heavier than mountains. Hajj is such a great worship but when done with improper intention one gets nothing but exhaustion. So is fasting if done for ostentation, one gets nothing but hunger and thirst. Thus great aamaal go wasted because of incorrect intention. Today we have aamal but no khuloos (sincerity, purity).
Ikhlaas Purifies the Heart from Spiritual Diseases:
Unless the fame and wealth, the two big branches of love of world fall before your eyes, you cannot get ikhlaas. It is very difficult to attain ikhlaas without losing the above two aspects. When the fame or wealth stands before the aamaal, it dissipates all the rewards. One worked hard and assiduously but wasted the aamaal. What a great loss! Ikhlaas becomes a means for purity of heart from rancor, malice and other spiritual diseases and becomes a source of acceptance of aaamaal. When a man is mukhlis free from love for fame and wealth, he won’t have rancor, jealousy and malice for anyone in his heart as all these diseases or thorns grow on the tree of worldly love. When there is no worth for the world in his heart, how will he get rancor or malice? All these thorns come only on the tree of worldly love. When a man gets ikhlaas and he wants to please Allah SWT alone, his heart will remain pure from all the above diseases. Ilkhaas becomes a means for destroying sins. Hazrat Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) said, “When a man constantly do aamaal with ikhlaas, Allah SWT eliminates his major sins”. SubhanAllah! Such is the strength in ikhlaas.
Ikhlaas Eases Difficulties:
There is a hadith that says a prostitute was forgiven for feeding water to a thirsty dog. This act was based only on ikhlaas. No one is watching her except Allah SWT and she is giving water to the thirsty dog to please Allah SWT. She was a prostitute and Allah SWT forgave all her major sins because of ikhlaas. Similarly removal of harmful things from the pathways with ikhlaas becomes a means for forgiveness of sins. We do so many permissible acts to which we are all accustomed such as there is none among us who do not eat or go to toilet or marry or wear dress or apply perfume etc. As we do not make correct intention, these acts do not become worship. By the blessings of proper intention and ikhlaas, these acts could have become worship. Difficulties eases through ikhlaas. It comes in a hadith that three people entrapped in a cave by a huge rock were brought out from the mouth of death by Allah SWT when they sought His SWT help through their deeds which they did with ikhlaas. One pleaded to Allah SWT that he served his parents only to please Him SWT, another said that he invested a small amount he owed a man in business and when he came back to get his due, he gave him back the wealth, cattle and slaves he gained through that business only for Allah’s sake and the third claimed that he had the complete control and strength to commit a sin but he gave it up when he was reminded of Allah SWT. All the three men presented these aamaal before Allah SWT and He SWT moved away the rock enclosing the cave where no air or light entered. There was none who helped them but solely by Allah SWT with His SWT power. Ikhlaas has a great strength. We keep saying we have obstructions in our lives and nothing but only sins are those obstructions that hinder our path. Difficulties are eased by the blessing of ikhlaas.
Ikhlaas Amasses Rewards:
Due to ikhlaas, we can get reward for an act even if we lack the ability to do it. One can even attain the rank of a martyr or a mujaahid by ikhlaas while dying on the bed. There is a narration in sahih Bukhari by Anan bin Malik (RA). Some people stayed behind in Madinah while going for a battle due to some constraints but they got the same reward as those who fought because of their ikhlaas. Their intention was correct, their yearning was true, their aim was firm but they couldn’t go due to constraints and so Allah SWT granted them also the reward. Ikhlaas earns one reward. When an alim or faqih does a mistake but has correct intention, then Allah SWT rewards him even for his mistake. SubhanAllah! This is the wealth of ikhlaas. A man is protected from huge trials because of acts with ikhlaas. Allah SWT saved Prophet Yusuf (AS) from a great trial when it fell on him because he was a mukhlis. Ikhlaas makes a small act big, turns the permissible acts into worship, eases the difficulties and protects one from trials and amasses the reward. There are many aayats and hadith related to ikhlaas. Our beloved Prophet SAW said when a man prostrates with ikhlaas and gets up, his rank his raised to one degree and his one sin is forgiven. With one prostration with ikhlaas, Allah SWT is raising his rank, forgiving his sin and increasing his reward. Our Prophet SAW said when a man wakes up during the night and stands up in seclusion for prayer with eemaan and good expectation from Allah SWT, He SWT forgives all his sins. He is invisible to humans in the night, he woke up only to please Allah SWT, to earn reward from Him SWT and all his sins are forgiven.
If a man goes behind the funeral of a Muslim who is neither related to him by blood or by neighborhood nor has any commitment with attending his funeral but has the only intention to please Allah SWT and he prays janazah salah, stays until the burial, he will then return with two qirat of ajr (reward). The one who returns before burial will earn 1 qirat of ajr and the one who returns after burial will earn two qirat of ajr. The weightage of one qirat is greater than that of mount Uhud as comes in a hadith. Ikhlaas makes the amal heavy. A person might do the same act but if he aims something else, he wastes his amal. O the honorable ones! Ikhlaas is the life and soul of every amal. Ikhlaas is to do only for Allah’s sake and ikhlaas will enter the heart when the yearning for fame and wealth ends. Until a man is greedy of wealth and desirous of fame, it is very difficult to get ikhlaas. These attributes eat up a man’s amal. Before every amal, make the intention to please only Allah SWT and when you complete the amal, make duaa to Allah SWT to accept it. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) were building Kaaba, great act as they will get reward of millions of people doing tawaf around Kaaba and after completion, they were found pleading and begging before Allah SWT to accept their act as He SWT is all hearing Who is hearing their duas and seeing their intention. The soul of every amal is ikhlaas. Sometimes the amal is really big such as building masjid, madrassah, hospital, feeding hundred thousands of people but due to incorrect intention, all goes wasted. First and foremost, shaitan doesn’t allow one to do amal, and if one stands up to do an amal, he doesn’t allow him to do with proper intention. And even if one does with correct intention, before reaching the grave, he makes it go wasted by mixing it with riyaa (ostentation). Let Allah SWT grant lkhlaas in our every single amal. Ameen