Muslim's Character


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  • Muslim's Character


  • CHAPTER 10

     

    SINCERITY

    Man's Acts depend on his Intentions

    The motivations and the factors which prompt a man to do a job in a better way, to strive hard and bear all the trials and tribulations and induce him to sacrifice his property and life for a thing, are many and varied. One motivation is such that it manifests itself with the man's interest and involvement in his work, while there is another motivation which remains hidden in the interior recesses of the heart and cannot be discerned from outside. Many times the man who performs the act does not recognize it although he is influenced by it and the secret of his acceptance or non-acceptance of a thing is hidden in that. The normal human nature decides what are the general rules of treatment in certain case. You can very easily determine what are the motivations of a particular person in acting in a certain manner by looking him at work. He will be seen either involved in self-love and self-preservation or greed for more wealth would be troubling him, or the feelings of pride and self-importance would be giving him sleepless nights, or hypocrisy, and desire for fame would be inciting him to advance forward. Hear what the people talk about. Take a survey of their daily activities. You will not find anything else the axis of their talk and efforts but their feelings of joy and hatred, pride and conceit. Islam judges the acts and deeds, and decides about their importance on the basis of the intentions, feelings and sensations behind them. For Islam the value of an act depends on the nature of the motivation which prompted the act to be performed. Sometimes a man gives costly donations and gifts so that through these good acts should be attracted towards him and should talk about his generosity, and sometimes his purpose is to give valuable presents to that person who had treated him in a commendable way and had (bilge) him. Both these acts are of charity and generosity, which were guided by, as pointed out by the psychologists, by the man's consciousness directly or indirectly. But Islam does not give importance to charity if it is given in a hypocritical way or for attaining fame, and unless it is given entirely for seeking the pleasure of Allah: "We are feeding you for the-sake of Allah. We do not expect from you any compensation nor thanks.'" (Dahr.. 9) "Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification, and have in their minds no favor from anyone for which a reward is expected in return. but only the desire to .seek the pleasure of their Lord,  Most High, and soon will they attain (complete) satisfaction..'  (A/-Lai/: 18-2/) To correct the inclinations of the heart and to keep . it away from the superficial desires, the Prophet has said:  "The acts depend on intentions. A man will get whatever he had intended for. So the man whose migration will be for the sake of Allah and  His Messenger, his migration will be for Allah and His Messenger. But if anybody migrates with the intention of earning the world or to marry a certain woman then his migration will be counted for the purpose for which he has left his house." (Bukhari) The distance between Mecca and Medina is traversed  by thousands of travelers for different purposes, but the purpose of attaining supremacy for the religion and  for keeping oneself alive is the thing which distinguishes  between a Mahajir (refugee) and a common traveler, although the acts of both the person are the same. The man who left Mecca to go to Medina so that he I may save his religion from the various dangers, and that he may form a new government in a new city, was called a Mahajir (refugee), but another person who traveled for another purpose he has no connection with the hijrat (migration). Purity of Purpose is of Importance The rightness of intention and sincerity are the two things Which elevate a man’s worldly action and make a prayer that is answered. But if there is perversion in the intention and corruption in the heart, a man, in spite of offering prayers, is degraded. He commits sins and inspite of his Showing interest in and taking pains for performing worship is doomed to failure and loss. But as against this many times a man builds high and lofty palaces, Constructs broad and Spacious buildings , lays out a beautiful garden full of fruits, and starts living in this paradise, and he is called a king. But since in his efforts and labor of building these high and lofty palaces, etc. the purpose was to benefit humanity, then for these acts he will be a recipient of an unending reward (sawab). Allah's Messenger has said: “Anybody Who, without Subjecting another person to cruelty Or aggression, builds a magnificent building, or plants saplings without indulging into Cruelty and rancor, he will be getting reward for that till the time Allah's creatures would be benefited by them." (Ahmed) In another tradition it is stated: 'If a Muslim lays a garden or does farming, and if a bird or a man eats something from it, then he will get a virtue (neki) in its place."  (Muslim) Even carnal pleasures are also counted as acts of prayer; if behind them there is righteous intention and clean purpose. When a man goes to his wife so that he may be able to save his chastity, and protect his faith, he gets a recompense for this act. Whatever he feeds his body, or whatever he does to sustain his wife and children, for that also he gets reward, provided there is goodness and righteousness in his intention. Sa'ad lbn Abi Waqas narrates that the Messenger of Allah has said: "If you spend even an ordinary thing for seeking the pleasure of Allah, you get its reward, so much so that even putting a morsel of food in the mouth of your wife is a virtuous act." Another tradition has it : "Whatever you feed your father, it is a charity from you. Whatever you feed your child, it is a means of reward for you, and whatever you feed your servant, it is also a charity from you," (Ahmed) The fact is that as long as man keeps himself as an obedient slave of Allah and his intention is pure and sincere, then all his acts and movements, his sleep and  his waking are considered to be for seeking the pleasure of Allah, And sometimes it so happens that a man wants to perform a righteous act, but on account of his poverty he is unable to do so, then Allah, who knows the secrets of hearts, gives the man desirous of reform the honor of a reformer, the man desirous of fighting in the cause of Allah the honor of a Mujahid (the fighter in the cause of Allah), because for Him high courage and righteous intention is more appreciable than the want of resources. During the days of scarcity and poverty a battle was tJ to be fought. Some people came to the Prophet with a  view to joining his forces and offered themselves to be  sacrificed in the cause of Allah. But Allah's Messenger  did not allow them to take part in the jihad because of  their incapability. They returned with a heavy heart and sorrowfully. They were very much grieved for not being allowed to participate in jihad. About them the following verses were revealed: “ Nor (is there blame) on those who came to you  to be provided with mounts, and when you said: I  can find no mounts for you,' they turned back, their  eyes steaming with tears of grief that they had no  resources wherewith to provide the expenses."  (Tauba: 92) ; Do you think that a firm and strong faith and belief would be wasted? And this burning desire for sacrifice would be just lost? No, never. For this reason the Prophet appreciated their faith, and said to the soldiers going with him: "There are some people whom we have left ,behind in Medina; in whatever place or valley we may camp, they will be with us. For them their excuse is enough." (Bukhari) As their intentions were honest, they were the recipients of the reward (sawab) of the mujahedeen (fighters), because they had stayed in Medina against the wishes of their hearts and with great unwillingness. If this is the achievement of the honest intention  that the person having it is so favored, then the dishonest intention also earns the punishment reserved for the bad deed, although apparently the act was righteous. Such hypocrisy has been condemned: "So woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their prayers, those who (want but) to be seen (of men), but refuse (to supply) (even) neighborly needs."  ( AI-Ma'un : 4-7) The prayer based on hypocrisy is considered a sin, because after losing the essential sincerity it has become dead, and is, therefore, useless. Similar is the case of zakat. If it is paid merely to seek Allah's plea- sure then it can be acceptable to Allah, otherwise it will be a waste: ” Waste not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury-like him who spends his wealth to be seen by men and believes not in Allah and the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a rock on which there is (some) dust of earth.. on it heavy rainfalls, which leaves it a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with anything they have earned." (Baqarah: 264) The heart which is bereft of sincerity cannot be acceptable, as the rock with some dust on it cannot grow any grain when rain falls on it. If the kernel is rotten, beautiful outer skin will not be of any use. However, if the self is full of sincerity, then its blessing helps to make an ordinary thing as weighty as a mountain. If it is devoid of sincerity, then what re- ward can mounds of chaff and husks achieve from Allah ? That is why Allah's Messenger has said: "Make your faith pure; a little (righteous) act will be sufficient to save you from hell." (AI-Hakim) In the hadilh the reward for virtuous acts has been mentioned to be from ten times to hundred times, depending on the performer's intention and sincerity hidden in his heart, which is known only to that Being who knows about all the manifest as well as hidden things. Accordingly the reward increases according to the sincerity and "honesty of the intentions. The external acts of man can neither achieve the pleasure of Allah nor the grandeur of the worldly life. Allah gives his attention to his faithful and sincere slaves and accepts only those of their acts which bring them nearer to Him. As regards the worldly show and human trappings, they have no importance and no value. The Prophet has said: "Allah does not see your bodies nor does he look at your faces, but he sees your hearts."  (Muslim) It is mentioned in the hadith : "When doomsday would occur, the deeds done in the world will be presented to Allah. From them the acts performed for Allah will be separated. And 8J the other acts performed for other purposes will be  thrown into the fire of hell." (Baihaqui One who would adopt these realities in one's life would experience relief and comfort in this world and would also achieve eternal bliss in the Hereafter. He will not be harmed by the loss of anything nor will he grieve for any act. The Prophet has said: "The man who has left his world in the condition that he had performed acts sincerely for the one and only Allah, had established prayer and had paid zakat, then Allah is pleased with him." (Ibn Maja) This hadith is in conformity with these words of Allah: “ And they have been commanded no more than this ; to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion being true (in faith) to establish regular prayer.. and to practice regular charity; and that is the religion, right and straight." ( Baiyina .. 5)

    Sincerity is the Desired Thing

    In the times of scarcity and adversity the rays of sincerity throw their light with full force. At such times man separates himself from his carnal desires and yearnings. He severs his relations with their defects and errors. He repents before Allah and weeps and wails and prays for His blessings. He shakes from the fear of Allah's wrath. The holy Quran has drawn a very fine picture of such a man, who is surrounded by adversities, who out of fear has forgotten all his mischief’s and is appealing  to his Merciful Lord so that He may lift him out of this mire: "Say: 'Who is it that delivers you from the dark recesses of land and sea, when you call upon Him in meekness and silent terror.. if He only delivers us from these (dangers), (we vow) or shall truly show our gratitude?' "Say:' It is Allah that delivers you from these all (other) distresses; and yet you run after false gods' ?" (AI An'am: 63-64) This sincerity is temporary. Those conditions which befall a man and sometimes do not befall, how can they be called moral conduct? Allah wants that He should be truly and correctly known and recognized and should be respected and honored in good or bad condition, as deserving of Him. People should give their due place to honest and sincere intention and good conduct in their lives. Their attachment to these qualities should be strong and should not break at any time, and they should not make any other thing but selfless- ness and Allah's pleasure as an ideal to follow in their life. This heat of sincerity dies down gradually as passion for greed for wealth, self-love, egotism, hunger for position and office, hypocrisy and desire to be famous  increases. But to Allah only that act is desirable which  is free from all these undesirable impurities: "Surely, pure religion is for Allah only." (Zumar: 3) The example of the superior nature is like that of a ripe fruit, which requires to be protected from diseases and mishaps in order to preserve its sweetness and cleanness. For this reason Islam has considered hypocrisy in righteous acts as most abominable and has declared it as shirk, associating some one else with Allah. The truth is : this hypocrisy destroys all acts as white ants destroy slowly all things they come in contact with. When the habit of hypocrisy takes roots in any man's dealings, as germs of an infectious disease spread in the society, then it becomes a sort of idolatry and throws its practitioner into the fire of hell. The Prophet has said: "A little hypocrisy is also polytheism. He who is hostile to Allah's friends, he openly declares a war against Allah. Allah likes those who are righteous, who fear him and who pray secretly, those who would not be missed if they disappear and would not be recognized if they are present. Their hearts are the lamps of guidance. They remove darkness from every piece of land." (Hakim) Ibn Abbas narrates that one man asked the Prophet: "0 Messenger of Allah! I take up a stand with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure, and I wish that the people of my country should see it. What do you think of it 1" The following verses were revealed before the Prophet gave an answer: "Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord. admit no one as partner."  (Kahf: 110) The severe criticism and attacks which Islam has unleashed on the evils emanating from hypocrisy and want of sincerity is because it is a kind of corruption that is not discernible, and keeps the carnal desires and the wicked wishes of the self hidden. The evils which can be seen give rise to other evils, and increase the rate of corruption of the society considerably. Such evils are considered very low and mean, and on account of this consciousness and feeling it is quite possible that the man who commits them may give them up sooner or later, and may turn a new leaf. But that sinning which puts on the garb of worship has its evils hidden from the sight of the sinner himself and the society is also not able to recognize it. It is so because such a criminal remains absorbed in the ramifications of his acts. He is under the impression that he is also working for the pleasure of Allah, then how can he realize that he has committed a sin? And how can he turn away from a thing which he considers righteous? As regards the general society, it is harmed more by:  the learned (ulema) hypocrites than by the poor and d needy people, who are the habitual criminals of this type. Want of sincerity in the talented people makes their ability a curse for the country, and such a society suffers a set back instead of making progress. It is also true that to pollute a virtue with the impurities of the self is to downgrade its value. This is another crime which is committed for want of sincerity. The man wants to please other men and is neglecting to seek the pleasure of his Lord; he does not understand, on account of his foolishness, as to what his sin signifies. He is turning away from the Being who is Most Powerful and who is Independent of everything, to those , beggars who have neither power, nor riches. That is why Allah's Messenger has said: "When on the Day of Resurrection, about the occurrence of which there is no doubt, Allah will gather all the people who came first and last, a caller will give a call: 'Whoever has associated another with Allah in his acts should seek his reward from that partner because Allah is more free from partnership than all the partners." {Tirmizi)

    Soldiers should Prove their Sincerity of Action

    Whether it may be a common soldier or a commander, the soldiers should keep their jihad free from all the impurities of worldly show and trappings, because they have attached their life and death with a sacred duty, compared to which ranks, medals, honors, salaries, etc., have no value They should give preference to whatever is with Allah, and should sacrifice their desires for pure devotion and sincere submission. It is narrated by Abdullah bin A'mar bin A 'as that he said: - "O Messenger of Allah! show me the difference s between jihad and battle." The Prophet replied: O ,. Abdullah bin A'mar I If you fight displaying patience and for seeking the pleasure of Allah, then He will lift you in the same state; and if you fight with pride on the largeness of your numbers and to show , to the people, then Allah will lift you in the same state. O Abdullah bin A'mar! In whatever condition you fight or you are killed, Allah will lift you in that condition." (Abu Daud)

    Employees should Work in the Cause or Allah

    The writing work that the employees do in their offices, the accounts that they maintain, the intellectual energy that they spend. the manual work which they do with their hands, all these activities should be conducted by them in the interest of their country and for seeking the pleasure of Allah. An animal labors for the whole day for its fodder. The efforts and labor of a common man has the value of an animal's labor, and all his work and labor are in proportion to his salary, and that is his purpose and center of activity. But an intelligent and wise man knows the value of his ideas and his acts and employs them in the cause of some great objective. It is very regrettable that the general employees are suffering from this disease. They do not understand anything else but wealth, ranks and promotion. They consider their world and their religion also limited by this circle only, and they think that it is the axis of their happiness and sorrow, action and inaction, desire and ambition, and their lives revolve round that only. Allah's Messenger has said: "When the last period would come, there would be three sects in my Ummah. One sect will sincerely worship only Allah. The second sect will worship as hypocrites. The third sect will worship so that they may defraud others of their wealth. When Allah would gather them on the Day of Judgment and say to the last sect: 'By My honor and grandeur, what did you expect to get from My worship ?’ He would answer: 'By Your honor and grandeur, I was fraudulently taking others' property by that.' Allah would say that whatever he had collected was of no use to him and would command him to be sent to hell.  Then He would address the sect whose worship was governed by hypocrisy: 'By My honor and grandeur, tell Me what was your purpose ?’; He would say: 'By Your honor and grandeur, the purpose was to show to the people.' Allah would say: 'Nothing from it has reached me. Take him away to hell.' Then the Almighty Allah would ask the sect that was sincerely worshipping Him: 'By My honor and grandeur, what did you expect to get from My worship?’ He would answer: 'By Your honor and Your grandeur, You are better aware of the condition of the person who sought Your words and Your pleasure.' Allah would say: 'My slave has spoken the truth. Take him to Paradise'." (Tibrani)

    Teachers and Students should keep the Pleasure of Allah before Themselves

    In the fields of learning and culture deep sincerity is extremely necessary. Knowledge is such a pure and high thing that on its basis Allah granted superiority to man over all the other creatures. Therefore it would be a very mean thing if it is utilized in furtherance of human motivations and if it is reinforced with mischief, corruption, and carnal desires. The world received a great setback at the hands of those learned men who did not possess good moral character, and were deprived of purity and loftiness. Islam has made it compulsory for the teacher and the taught to give proof of sincerity in the matter of knowledge, and should give preference to high values and public interests over all other things. This activity of learning and teaching is however undertaken with the purpose of merely earning wealth. This limits its utility to individuals only. In this way this valuable treasure is wasted, as is seen in the case of lakhs of people. In fact, it amounts to depreciate the value of learning and to waste this great message. Allah's Messenger has said:  “ Anyone who has obtained a learning by which Allah's pleasure could be obtained, but his purpose was merely to achieve success in the world, then on the Day of Resurrection he will not be able to smell the fragrance of Paradise." (Abu Daud) Islam severely disapproves that a man should attain learning and when he gets proficiency in that line, he should start impressing others of his learning and his greatness, and open a battlefield of debates and controversial discussion. It is mentioned in the hadith:  "Do not attain learning in order to express pride before the umma, nor by its help quarrel with the foolish people, nor through it try to overwhelm the meetings, but he who does so, his destination is fire." (Ibn Maja) These religious and worldly learning which are flying their banners over the world have reached this position when they were seekers of truth, and avoided mean purposes. But it does not mean that the u/ema and students must necessarily face trials and tribulations and have definitely to pass through hard times. No, its meaning is never this, for it is not an inevitable demand of the honest intention that the sincere people should be subjected to difficulties and be confronted with adversities. The diseases that are generated for want of sincerity are many. When these diseases grow, they destroy faith; and when they are less in number then they bore holes in it and give a chance to Satan to enter through them. The Almighty Allah is displeased with the slaves of wealth and position because it is determined for a Muslim that he would sacrifice all interests, relations and ambitions in the cause of Allah, and it is not for him that he should go after them and forget his Lord and His pleasure. The magicians of Firaun (Pharaoh) established a perfect example of true belief and high sincerity, when they rejected all the threats of Firaun, and trampled  below their feet the love of wealth and position, and replied to that tyrant king's challenge in these words: "So decree whatever you desire to decree; for you can only decree (touching) the life of this world. For us, we have believed in our Lord; may He forgive us our faults, and the magic to which you did compel us; for Allah is Best and most Abiding." (Taha : 72-73) What a great difference between these two groups! One group disdainfully kicks at the material world, and the other group, in order to reach up to some big personality or to achieve some small gains, makes fun of , its own religion and faith and sacrifices it for achieving success in the world.
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