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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NOTES on Ikhlaas


NOTE on Ikhlaas – an act
of the heart by Se7en



Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem 

Are my intentions alright?

Am I doing it for Allah?

When I’m looking deep deep down inside

Do I have the right niyyah?

-- myna raps


al-ikhlaas – an act of the heart

- we need to understand that good/moral
and bad/immoral actions are what Allah has defined as such – ‘ilm is important
because we discover this by studying and learning this deen

Why is ikhlaas fundamental?

Because Allah has made it fundamental:
Allah does not accept any action without two conditions: I’tibaa and Ikhlaas

(I’tibaa – the action committed must be
in conformity with shari’ law.  in major issues as well as minor,
in ibadaat as well as mu’amalaat. )


What is ikhlaas? (usually translated as

- from the word khaliss – pure, uncontaminated,
unpolluted (“khaliss water”, “khaliss gold” – not mixed with any other
substance or contaminant)

[“they have been commanded to show ubudiyyah
to Allah with khaliss”]

-  when inside our hearts and minds,
our inner selves there is no other motivation to do something good except
Allah.  Anything with  Allah in this desire removes ikhlaas.

- with ikhlaas comes shawq – longing. 
Longing for Allah, for jannah, fear of Allah’s displeasure and jahannam.

- if there is any other presence in the
qalb, any contaminent in our motive/intention other than Allah or present
with Allah – that is not ikhlaas


opposite of ikhlaas: ishraak

but from the Qur’an we know that whosoever
practices shirk, Allah will never forgive it, and that whosoever practices
shirk, Allah will never enter him/her into jannah..

How do we reconcile this with the fact
that all of us have committed

ishraak? -> there are 2 types of shirk:

- shirk akbar [major shirk]

- shirk asghar [minor shirk]

Major shirk - shirk in tawheed of Allah
[rububiyyah, asmaa’ was sifaat, uluhiyyah/ubudiyyah] – whether implicit
or explicit. even slaughtering the wing of a fly in the name of shaytan
is akbar – unforgiveable except with accepted tawbaah

- we need to stop having these grandiose
discussions when we don’t have understanding of the basics of Islam – some
of us are guilty of committing major shirk (something that literally takes
us outside the fold of Islam) but we’re so concerned with other things

– we forget that the only ones who will
be successful on the day of judgement are those who have a qalbus saleem
which comes with tazkiya -> tawbaah is the gateway to tazkiya

“we need tawbaah from our tawbaah sometimes”

Minor shirk - divided into two:

- jaliy [obvious]

- khafeey [tacit, hidden]

this is something abominable, strips all
actions from any reward or benefit.. leaves you bankrupt

shirk asghar also called ar-riyaa’ [from
the verb 'to see', because it’s done for other people to see]

ex.)  learning shariah and teaching
it, when major motivating factor is building a reputation, gaining authority
and respect among people – this is riyaa un jaliy – an epidemic among institutions
of learning.  Imagine Imam Ghazali admitting that all of his work
was not for Allah alone (where does that put me?)

In this situation (riyaa un-jaliy) all
of the amal [action] is invalidated – muhbattah – all reward is GONE (think
about this!)


so why do we commit riyaa’ if we know the
consequences are so severe?

Hubbud dunyaa [love and attachment to dunyaa],
specifically two types:

1. al-maal – possessions, seeking material
ownership of things

2. al-jaah – love to own hearts – wanting
people to love, admire, respect you

this is normal to an extent, natural to
want these things – but must be legitimate – we should not seek these things

in fact, for good people the presence of
a reputation or the absence of one was the *same* for them – it made no
difference in their hearts – that’s one aspect of a nafsul mutma’innah
whether the world blames and criticizes them or praises them – it is the
same for them because they acknowledge that all is from Allah


there are levels of riyaa:

khafeey is when the original motivator
is Allah, but later on other people’s appreciation makes the work easier
for me – when no one notices me, I did it though it was difficult – but
more energy is gained due to people seeing me

An even more hidden riyaa:

the action is for Allah, and when people
see me, my amount of energy does not change - but I feel joy when people
see me.  I don’t *want* people to see me, but when they do see me
perform khayr it makes me feel good, my heart is in a different state

An even more hidden riyaa:

the action is for Allah, and there is no
energy or change in my heart with people, and I hide my good deeds the
way I hide my bad – but I feel like I should be shown respect – feel like
I am entitled to it – expect it.. and feels that inkling of displeasure
when it is not given


Look at how subtle and deep riyaa can be
in the heart!  Indeed it is deceptive…

[This type of shirk will continue to be
in my ummah like the sound of an ant on a barren rock in the darkness of
the night..]  - hadeeth of Rasulullah

so beware of this!!


So how do I stop riyaa?

--- Think *deeply* about the consequences:

- losing the love of Allah

- being punished

- a life with no peace - never being able
to please people because people change – constantly trying to please others,
to get them to have a good image of you, causes hostility for jaa’a [recognition],
pain with competition -  every moment of enjoyment now has murkiness,
anxiety – you're always on your toes, you’re always planning, designing,
trying to keep people seeing you in good light – what kind of life is this? 
no rest, no comfort, no peace...

- “Anyone who drinks from the cup of riyaa
will regret it” – you’re living your life for dunyaa – something deceptive,
fleeting, and not worth that much effort and pain (and sacrifice of eternal
pleasure in jannah)

If this riyaa' is in an something that
is a fard kifayaa or sunnah, stop the action – because fard ayn takes precedent
and it’s fard ayn to have ikhlaas...

But what if you commit riyaa with fard

Constant struggle against the nafs, fight
off contaminants but don't stop


What is the origin of riyaa?

- the nafs likes to be praised.. hubbul
hamd [love of praise]

- desire for what other people have [admiration,
respect etc]

- fear of criticism and rejection

knowing the way the nafs operates helps
us control and struggle agains it.

al madd – to celebrate one’s positive characterestics
– praise and criticism should be on the same level, should have the same
effect on us – because in our hearts we are at peace and know that Allah
knows our true state.

Think about *who* you’re trying to impress
– a person who sees only part of you, who knows so little of you? 
Or Allah, the All Knowing, the All Seeing, the One closer to you than your
own jugular vein??


When you’re praised…

- think.. are you *worthy* of being praised? 
You know the sins you hide though others do not – seek forgiveness for
what the person doesn’t know about you but that Allah knows about you

imam shafi'ii : "i love people of righteousness
and i am not of them" <= if this is imam shafi'ii, who are *we* to accept

- thank Allah for exposing your good and
concealing your bad – and you should try to conceal both

When you’re criticized…

- ask Allah to grant rahma on the one who
gives you the present of your own defeciencies – it keeps you humble and
aware of your true state of self and how you truly look to Allah

- even if someone criticizes you for something
that is incorrect, think about the bad things you've done that he or she
doesn’t know about… you will not be so quick to defend yourself then

Set a contract with you and your nafs every
morning Evaluate your deeds every evening

We need to watch our heart constantly –
have a state of struggle against the nafs until I watch every beat of my
heart for changes in feelings, motives…

this is a gradual endeavor, a lifetime
endeavor - one we need to work on every time our heart beats...


and remember that Allah is pure and only
accepts that which is pure.. so make sure your intentions are khaliss.

wAllahu 'alam..



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