Definition of Ikhlaas
‘Izz Ibn ‘Abdis-Salaam: Ikhlaas is when the mukallaf (the one who is accountable) does an act of obediance for Allaah alone. He does not intend thereby being honoured and revered by the people, nor obtaining a religious benefit, or repelling a worldly harm. (Maqasid Al-Mukallifeen)
Sahl Ibn Abdillah: Ikhlaas is that a persons inactivity and movements are for Allaah exclusively.
And it is said that this is the definition of a ‘heart for the sake of Allaah’ where a person puts aside every activity he/she may be pre-occupied with (for the sake of Allaah). This is from the completion of Ikhlaas for the sake of Allaah. (Al-Ikhlaas)
It is also said that Ikhlaas is the filtering of an action from the observation (eyes) of the creation.
Al-Haroui said that Ikhlaas is the filtering of an action from every admixture (reasons that may mix with a persons intention of pleasing Allaah)
Some of them said that the sincere one is he who does not mind if he was to exit from the hearts of all the people who used to value him (highly) because he knows the righteousness of his heart lies with Allaah ‘Azza wa Jal. And he does not like that the people would see his action even, if that action was equivalent to the weight of dust specks!
At-Tasturi was asked ‘Which thing is the hardest upon ones self?’. He replied ‘’Al-Ikhlaas, because it (soul) has no share in it.
Sufyan Ath-Thawri said: ‘’I have not addressed a thing that is more difficult upon me than my intention for it continually changes upon me’’.
The high rank of Ikhlaas
Al-Ikhlaas is the actuality of this religion. And Ikhlaas is what formed the Da’wah of the prophet SAW. Allaah says:
وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ
‘’And they were not commanded except to worship Allaah, [being] sincere to Him in religion’’ (Surah Al-Bayyinah Verse 5)
Allaah says in Surah Al Mulk, verse 2:
الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.
Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyyad said regarding this Ayaah: (which of you is best in deed) refers to that which is most sincere and most correct. It was said: ‘Oh Abu ‘Ali (Fudayl’s agnomen), what is meant by most sincere and most correct? He replied: If an action is sincere but, not correct – It will not be accepted. And if an action is correct but, not sincere – It will not be accepted until, the action is both correct and sincere. Sincerity is when the action is for Allaah and correctness is that which is in accordance to the Sunnah.
إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Indeed, Allaah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]’’ (Surah Ma’ida Verse 27)
Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said that mankind are of 3 positions with regards to this ayah: the 2 extremes and the middle path. The Mu’tazilah and Khawaarij (1 extreme) say: ‘That Allaah does not accept from anyone except, those who abstain from the major sins. And the one who engages in major sins does not have any good actions accepted under any circumstances’. The Murji’ah (2nd extreme) say that it will be accepted as long as one abstains from shirk (despite, a person being involved in other sins). The predecessors and Imams (Middle path) say It is not accepted except, from he who fears him (Allaah) with respect to that (specific) action. So, do that which you are ordered to do whilst, being sincere for the sake of Allaah.
Ikhlaas is the cause for great rewards
The prophet SAW said: “A person from my Ummah will be summoned in the presence of all creatures on the Day of Judgement. Ninety-nine scrolls (of his deeds) would be unfolded, each extending as far as the range of the vision can stretch, then he would be asked: ‘Do you deny any of these deeds? Did My preserving scribes wrong you?’ He will reply ‘No my Lord’, It will be said to him: ‘Do you have any excuse or any good deed?’ He will say: ‘No my Lord’ It will be said to him: ‘Yes you have some good deeds. No iniquity will befall you.’A card will then be shown to him, on it will be written: ‘There is none worthy of worship besides Allaah and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ And the scales are brought. He will say: ‘O Allaah! This (one) card alongside these scrolls.’ It will be said to him: ‘No injustice shall befall you.’ The (ninety-nine) scrolls will then be placed in one pan of the scale and the card on the other. The card will then outweigh the records. there is nothing that outweighs the name of Allaah.” (At-Tirmidhi and Al-Haakim who said it is Saheeh according to the condition of Muslim)
The prophet SAW said “Once a dog was going round the well and was about to die out of thirst. A prostitute of Bani Israel happened to see it. So she took off her leather sock and lowered it into the well. She drew out some water and gave the dog to drink. She was forgiven on account of her action”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
The prophet SAW said: ‘’Once a man, who was passing through a road, found a branch of a tree with torns obstructing it. The man removed the thorns from the way. Allah thanked him and forgave his sins.” (Bukhari)
Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah commentating on the hadeeth of the ‘Bitaaqah’ (1st hadeeth re. the card) said: … “So this is the condition of the one who says it with sincerity and truthfulness, as was the case with this person who said it. Otherwise, the major sinners who enter the Fire, all of them used to say ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah’. But their saying of it did not overpower their evil deeds, in the manner that the pronouncement of the companion of the bitaqah (card) did, (due to their lack of sincerity)”.
Sheikh Al-Islam also said regarding the hadeeth of the prostitute and the man who removed the thorns from the way: – ’.. this was due to the sincere eemaan that was present in the heart of the prostitute who quenched the thirst of the dog and as a result, she was forgiven because of it. However, not all prostitutes will be forgiven for quenching the thirst of a dog (due to the lack of sincerity in their heart)…likewise, the man who removed the thorns from the way had sincere eemaan and Ikhlaas situated in his heart, so he was forgiven because of that. For Verily, Eemaan gives preference to the belief and sincerity that lies within the heart’
Ikhlaas is a condition for deeds to be accepted. It was said to some of the Salaf: ‘’The pilgrims are many’’. They replied ‘’The obscure ones are many, the pilgrims are few. What is meant by obscure ones is those who stray from the main objective – to please Allaah. A pilgrim is one who goes for pilgrimage with the aim of pleasing Allaah and with hope that his pilgrimage is accepted. As for those who wish to achieve praise and stray away from these objectives, then they’re intentions are obscure.
There must be 2 great and important conditions available in every act of worship and without these 2 conditions, an act will not be accepted:
1) The one who executes the deed must intend the action for seeking the face of Allaah
2) The action must be in accordance to that which is prescribed by Allaah in his book (Qur’aan) or the prophet SAW in his Sunnah.
If one of these conditions is not present, then the ‘amal (action) will not be valid nor, accepted. And this is indicated through the statement of Allaah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala:
فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلاً صَالِحاً وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدا
So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” (Surah Kahf Verse 110)
Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer RHM says in his tafseer of this ayah: ‘’These are the 2 pillars of an accepted action. That it must be for exclusively for Allaah (Ikhlaas) and correct in accordance to the Sharee’ah given to the messenger of Allaah.
Fruits of Ikhlaas
1) Ikhlaas will be the the cause of relief from distress/hardship.
(i.e. the hadeeth of the 3 individuals who were trapped by a boulder in a cave and sought to relieve themselves by invoking Allaah with a righteous deed done only for his sake [Bukhari])
2) Ikhlaas is the cause of victory
‘’O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allâh much (both with tongue and mind), so that you may be successful. (45) And obey Allâh and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength departs, and be patient. Surely, Allâh is with those who are As-Sâbirûn (the patient). (46) And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the Path of Allâh. and Allâh is Muhîtun (encircling and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do. (47)’’ – (Surah Anfal Verses 45 – 47)
3) Protection against Shaytaan
‘’And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, (guided) slaves. (24)’’ – (Surah Yusuf Verse 24)
4) The sincere one will attain the intercession of the prophet SAW
Abu Hureirah RadiAllaahu ‘Anh reports I said ‘Oh messenger of Allaah, Who will be the most happiest of people via your intercession on the Day of Qiyamah? He replied ‘I thought, Oh Abu Hureirah, that no one will ask me this hadeeth before you, for I see you pay great attention to hadeeth. The most happiest people through my intercession on the day of Qiyamah will be the one who said ‘Laa Ilaha Illa-Allaah’ sincerely from his heart’ (Bukhari)
5) Ikhlaas is the cause of forgiveness for ones sins and the attainment of pleasure
As proven in the hadeeth of the Bitaaqah, prostitute who quenched a dogs thirst and the hadeeth of the man who removed the thorns out of the way.
To be continued, InshaAllah