By Shaikh Ahmad Farid
Description: Ikhlas is the purity of intention for ones action which is an essential condition criteria commanded in Islam in order deeds to be accepted by Allah The Exalted, without which one recieves nothing.
The term Ikhlas is the purity and sincerity of intentions. It means the purification of one's intentions in all matters of deeds in order to draw closer and acceptable by Allah Almighty. Ikhlas entails to single out for Allah alone with any act of obedience. It is to constantly looking towards the Creator.
The Essential of Ikhlas.
It should be noted that in the Islamic doctrine ikhlas [sincerity] is indeed a condition for Allah the Almighty to accept the righteous actions that are be done in accordance with guidance from Sunnah of Allah's Messenger SAW and as that legislated by Allah. Allah, the Most High has commanded us with His saying:
"And they have not been commanded except to worship Allah alone, having ikhlas (purity of intention) in their Religion and not setting-up partners with Allah in the worship of Him." [Surah Al-Bayyinah 38:5].
"Except for those who repent, mend (their lives) hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion as in Allah's sight: if so they will be (numbered) with the believers. And soon will Allah grant to the believers a reward of immense value." [Surah An-Nisa’, 4:146]
Abu Umamah radiallahu 'anhu relates:
Once a man came to Allah's Messenger SAW and said: What do you think about a person who joins us in the fighting only to seek fame and wealth? So Allah's Messenger SAW replied: "He receives nothing!" The man repeated the question three times, each time Allah's Messenger said: "He receives nothing!" Then he said: "Indeed Allah does not accept an action except if it is done with ikhlas (i.e. purely for Allah's sake), seeking nothing but His Face." [An-Nasa'ie (6/25), authenticated by al-Hafiz al-'Iraqi in Takhrijul-lhya (4/28).]
Zaid ibn Thabit radiallahu 'anhu relates:
The Prophet SAW said: "May Allah brighten whosoever hears my words, memorizes them and then conveys them to others. Many a carrier of knowledge does not understand it, and many a carrier of knowledge conveys it to one who has better understanding. There are three things which the heart of a Believer has no malice about: Ikhlas for Allah in one's action; sincere advice to the Muslim leaders; and clinging to the Jama'ah." [ Ahmad (4/80) and Ibn Majah (no.230):authenticated by al-Albani in as-Sahihah (no.404).]
The meaning of the above being that these three matters strengthen the heart. And that whosoever adopts them, then his heart will be purified from deceit, corruption and evil. And no servant can be free from Satan except by having ikhlas , as Allah the Mighty and Majestic said:
"Except those of Your servants who have ikhlas ." [Surah Sad 38:83].
“Not (so do) the Servants of Allah, sincere and devoted.” [Surah As-Safaat37:160]
It has been related from one of the pious people that he said: "O my soul! Have ikhlas and then you will be purified."
Thus, whenever any share of this world - in which the soul takes comfort and the heart inclines towards, either greatly or slightly - enters into our actions, then it mars the purity and ruins the ikhlas . For man becomes preoccupied with his portion of the world and becomes immersed in his desires; and very seldom are his action, or acts of worship, free from temporary objectives or desires of this kind.
It has been said: "Whosoever secures in his lifetime even a single moment of ikhlas , seeking the Face of Allah, he will be saved." This is because ikhlas is something very precious, and cleansing the heart from impurities is something difficult.
Ikhlas is the state of purification ones heart from all forms of impurities , whether large or tiny, with the sole intention for Allah’s sake, void of all other motives, except that of Allah the Exalted alone. It is the matter of a total love to Allah; and that is so absorbed in thinking and actions, all about the Akhirah (Hereafter) and instead his heart for the worldly matters. Even when he is eating, drinking or answering the call of nature, the existence of ikhlas t in his actions and truthful intentions.
However, whosoever is not guided in this state of direction, devoid of ikhlas the door of Allah acceptance would be closed to him except he Allah forgive him. Likewise, whosoever is overwhelmed with the love of Allah and the love of the Hereafter, then the actions he does would be characterised with ikhlas . Conversely, the person's soul is overwhelmed with the dunia [worldly matters], not for the sake of Allah, then the actions would not be accepted by Allah.
The cure for loving this world is to break these worldly desires that the soul has, curing-off the greed it has for this world and purifying it for the Hereafter. This will then become the overwhelming trait of the heart and with this state achieving ikhlas will become much easier. For how many actions there are that a person does, thinking that they are done with true ikhlas [sincerity], seeking only the Face of Allah, but he is deluded, for he does not see the defects in them!
Thus it has been related about someone that he used to always pray in the first row of the mosque. One day he was delayed in coming to the Prayer, so he had to pray in the second row. Feeling embarrassed at praying in the second row, the man realised that the satisfaction and pleasure of the heart that he gained from praying in the first row was due to him seeing that the people used to admire him for it. This is a very fine and subtle point and actions are seldom safe from it. Indeed, very few are there who realise such subtleties, apart from those upon whom Allah the Most High has blessed and helped. Rather, those who are negligent of such matters will see their good deeds appearing as evil ones on the Day of Resurrection, and they are the ones who are referred to in Allah the Most High's sayings:
"And there will become clear to them that which they were not expecting. For the evil of their deeds will become apparent to them." [Surah Az-Zumur 39:47-48].
"Say: Shall We inform you about those who will lose most in respect to their actions? Those whose efforts have been wasted in the life of this world, whilst they thought that they were doing good actions." [Surah Al-Kahf 18:103-104].
Say: "My Lord hath commanded justice; and that ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere as in His sight: such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return." [Surah Al-A‘raf, 7:29]
Some Sayings Concerning Ikhlas
Ya'qub rahimahullah said: "A mukhlis (one who truly has ikhlas ) is someone who conceals his good actions, as he conceals his bad ones."
As-Susie rahimahullaah said: "True ikhlas is not to see your ikhlas . Indeed, whosoever identifies ikhlas in his ikhlas , then he is in need of having ikhlas in his ikhlas !" And what this indicates is to purify one's actions from being amazed with oneself. Since whosoever considers his ikhlas , being amazed with it, has fallen into great danger. For ikhlas is to be pure and free from such dangers of being amazed with one's own actions.
Ayyub rahimahullaah said: "Having Ikhlas [sincerity for Allah the Exalted] in the intentions for any action, is much more harder than performing the action itself."
One of the Salaf, Pious Predecessors said: “To have true ikhlas even for a short time, is to be saved. However, ikhlas is very rare."
Suhail rahimahullah was asked: What is the thing most difficult for the nafs [soul]? He replied: "To have ikhlas , especially when the soul is not disposed towards it."
Al-Fudail ibn 'Iyyad rahimahullah said: "Abandoning action for the sake of people, is to seek their admiration. To do an action for the sake of people is to commit Syirik [to associate in the worship of Allah, others along with Allah]. Indeed ikhlas is when Allah saves you from both of these states."