041 Being sincere in one's faith and deeds
The most important thing needed for a human is "Ikhlas" after a right and complete "faith". It means being sincere in one's faith and deeds. A person who is not sincere with their faith and deeds will not sufficiently be able to benefit from various kinds of worldly favors and they will also be disappointed in their afterlife.
Himself of Almighty Allah, undoubtedly, is the biggest reality in the absolute sense. Allah (swt) has created all the material and spiritual realms based on reality, truth and justice; and He has wanted all the human beings to be complied these ephemeral truths that He has created; to be stayed away from superstitions, lies, artificiality, falsity and injustice; not distort the order that He has created; and to avoid from doing mischief on the face of the world.
"Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order," [Araf, 56]
"And weigh with scales true and upright. And withhold not things justly due to men, nor do evil in the land, working mischief." [Shuara, 182-183]
Dear readers, "Islam" means believing in Allah, submitting to His will, recommendations and commandments, and living in harmony with the order which He has created and continues to manage. Islam is about living truthfully. It is about walking on the path of justice and righteousness all the times. One enters the path called "Sirat al-Mustaqim" (the straight path, the right path) by submitting to the will of Allah, complying with His orders and recommendations, all of which are real, right and fair. From that moment on, the door of all kinds of worldly and otherworldly beauties will be opened to that person. The more an individual is sincere in their faith and submission, the higher the amount of these favors and beauties will be.
Therefore, dear readers, sincerity is the most important characteristic which an individual needs to have following "faith". In the religious terminology, this sincerity is called "ikhlas".
Actually, the most important rule that a believer should observe is the principle of righteousness and fairness of Islam. Even if an individual who has not completely grasped this truth might claim that they are Muslim, they barely have an actual connection with Islam. Faithfulness, honesty and righteousness in one's faith, deeds and words are extremely important in the context of religion which is an eternal universal system of goodness of Allah (swt); because this principle is the core of Islam.
Sufyan ibn Abdullah al-Sakafi said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me such knowledge of Islam that it will suffice me and I will never need to ask anyone else about Islam.” He answered, “Say, ‘I believe in Allah,’ and then be completely honest in everything." [Muslim]
Safwan ibn Sulaym (r.a.) said:
As can be easily understood from these hadiths, the gist of Islam is believing in Allah (swt) and then keeping away from lie and hypocrisy, that is, being completely right.
Our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) declared that one who states "Kalima Shahada" will certainly enter the paradise after suffering for their sins.
"One who sincerely says "Ashadu an la ilaha illallah, wa ashadu anna Mu?ammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu" (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger) will enter the paradise" [Tabarani]
"One who sincerely professes kalima shahada (the testimony) from their heart will enter the paradise." [Tabarani]
"One who says 'la ilaha illallah' believingly and lovingly will reach the paradise." [Ibn Hibban]
"One who sincerely says 'My creator is Allah, my religion is Islam and my prophet is Muhammad' will certainly get in the paradise." [Hakim]
Dear readers, a complete "faith" is the beginning of all the goodness. And sincerity with one's faith is a great blessing altogether for any person. One who is sincere with their faith will be also sincere with their deeds and words.
Faith is a matter of heart. Just like each situation in heart has an external reflection, faith also has some external indications. With the following hadiths, our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) revealed the relationship of the heart with human deeds and words:
"The heart is the ruler of organs. When the ruler is good, those who are under its command are also good. When the heart is corrupted, those under its command are also corrupted." [Bayhaqi, Ibn Adiy]
"When the heart is corrupted, the deeds of the body are also corrupted." [Bayhaqi]
"There is such a piece of flesh in human body that when it is good, then all the other organs will be good and when it is bad, all the organs will be bad. That piece of flesh is the heart." [Bayhaqi]
"Unless the heart of a servant is honest, their faith will not be right. When their tongue is not right, their heart will not be right." [Ibn Hanbal]
"A person whose heart does not suit their tongue or whose words do not suit their deeds cannot be a believer." [Isfahani]
And the following hadith of our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) reveals the fact that the most effective criterion showing if a person is sincere with their faith is avoidance from forbidden deeds:
"One who sincerely says 'La ilaha illallah' will go to the paradise. Sincerity keeps one away from forbidden deeds." [Tabarani]
Please see the following hadiths:
"Act sincerely! Allah (swt) will only accept those deeds which are sincerely carried out." [Daraqutni]
"Allah (swt) will only accept those deeds which are carried out by sincerity." [Nasai]
"In anyone's prayer, only those sections which are made with sincerity will be noted. A prayer in which the heart is not present will not be taken into consideration by Allah." [Wasilat-un Najad]
"Perform your prayers with sincerity; even if a few deeds performed sincerely will help you on the Day of Judgment." [Abu Nuaim]
"Sincere deeds will suffice however little they are." [Daraqutni]
“Good news to those who perform their prayers with sincerity! They are the stars of the right path. They terminate the darkness of mischief." [Abu Nuaim]
"In the world, only those deeds which are sincerely performed for Allah (swt) are valuable." [Bariqa]
"Those who are patient and sincere will go to the paradise without being called to account." [Tabarani]
"Allah (swt) helps this community only by reason of the prayers, ritual worships and sincerity of the weak ones." [Nasai, Tirmidhi].
The opposite of sincerity is "Riya" (hypocrisy). Riya means two-facedness, dishonesty, insincerity with one's faith, deeds and words, trying to cheat people and carrying out one's deeds and prayers only ostensibly.
In Islam, which is a religion of righteousness, hypocrisy and fakers are severely reprimanded; and it has never been tolerant of them. Our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) qualified hypocrisy as the smaller polytheism:
"When he said, 'The smaller polytheism is what I am afraid of the most regarding you’, Ashab al-Kiram asked, 'Oh, the Messenger of Allah, what is smaller polytheism?' In answer, he said, 'It is hypocrisy. In other words, it is performing one's prayer just as a display against others. When Allah (swt) will requite for everyone's deeds on the Day of Judgment, He will say to those who performed their prayers in ostentation: 'Now go to those for whom you ostensibly performed your prayers. Let's see if you can find anything that they could possibly give you?'" [Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad]
"It will be said to those who profaned their prayers with hypocrisy, 'Go now and ask the requital of your prayers from that person for whom you performed those prayers!'" [Ibn Majah]
Our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) also prayed with the following words:
"Oh my Allah! Save my heart and my deeds from hypocrisy, my tongue from lies, and my eyes from betrayal!" [Khatib]
Also see the following hadiths:
"The faith of the following three people has reached completion: 1-One who walks on the path of Allah (swt) without fear of being criticized by anyone, 2-One who does not adulterate their deeds with hypocrisy, 3- One who prefers a deed for the afterlife to a deed for the world." [Daylami]
"In the end times, hypocrites will emerge who abuse religion for worldly interests. They will sound sweeter than honey. They are wolves in sheep's clothing." [Tirmidhi]
"Do not attend the conversations of every scholar! Only attend the conversations of the scholar who warns against the five things and invite you to the other five! 1-From hesitant belief to sure faith, 2-From hubris to humility, 3-From hostility to benevolence, 4-From hypocrisy to sincerity, 5-From worldliness to asceticism." [I. Asakir]
Dear readers, two-facedness in faith, that is, deceiving people based on a disbelief in Allah (swt) under the disguise of belief is called Nifaq (Factiousness). Two-faced person is called Munafiq (hypocrite). Our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) told that some situations are symptoms of Nifaq:
"There are three signs of hypocrites (munafiqs): They will lie when they speak, they won't keep their words, and they will misappropriate any trust." [Bukhari]
"Not keeping one's word is a sign of hypocrisy (nifaq)." [Ibn al-Najjar]
"Another sign of hypocrisy is lying." [Bukhari]
"A believer will talk after reflection but a hypocrite will talk without reflection." [Haraiti]
"A believer will eat with a single stomach while a hypocrite will eat with seven stomachs!" [Bukhari, Muslim]
A believer is one of compatibility. They will provide their friends with comfort. A hypocrite, however, is incompatible and they will cause discomfort against their friends." [Daraqutni]
"A believer will perceive their sin like a mountain which is about to collapse on them. A hypocrite will consider it a fly on their nose which is about to go away." [Bukhari]
"A believer will shoot ahead to greet while a hypocrite will wait to be greeted." [Daraqutni]
"The sign which distinguishes us from hypocrites is to perform the isha and the morning prayers with community. Hypocrites will not continue attending these prayers." [Bayhaqi]
Dear readers, nifaq is worse than denial, it is the eternal disaster of a hypocrite (munafiq). See the following Quranic verse:
“The hypocrites (munafiqs) will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper wilt thou find for them;" [Nisaa, 145].
Therefore, if we carry any sign of hypocrisy, we must leave it as soon as possible and try to get rid of that. Our Master the Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
"One who remembers Allah (swt) will get rid of hypocrisy." [Ibn Shahin]
"One who catches up on the first takbir of the Morning Prayer will be given two warrants: The warrant of salvation from hell and the warrant of being free from hypocrisy." [Abu Sheikh]
"One who says salawat for 100 times everyday will get away from hypocrisy and the fire of hell and be together with martyrs on the Day of Judgment." [Tabarani]
On the other hand, one should try to stay away from anything which increases hypocrisy in one's heart.
"Avoid listening to instruments and songs as these two will feed hypocrisy in the heart just like water feeds a vegetable." [Ramuz Al-Ahadis]
"Music will increase hypocrisy in the heart." [Bayhaqi]
"Songs, games and entertainment will feed hypocrisy in the heart just like water feeds grasses. I swear in the name of Allah (swt) that the Quran and dhikr will grow faith in the heart just like water feeds grasses." [Ramuz Al-Ahadis]
May Allah (swt) accept us among those distinguished servants who are sincere with their faith, deeds and words, keeping away from lying, hypocrisy and ostentation, and owning a complete faith.
Be entrusted to Allah.
Dr. Ismail Ulukus