Lessons Learned From Hadith 1

Topic Progress:
  • This hadith emphasizes ikhlas (sincerity – to be truthful and honest to Allah alone, performing an act solely for Allah’s sake whereby no other witness except Allah is sought). Ikhlas is one of the conditions of accepting good deeds. The other condition is that the actions must be done in accordance with the Shariah (Islamic Law).

  • Everything we do has to be intended to be for Allah. This means for anything we do we want to make sure that it will be acceptable to Him and will not in any way interfere with the upholding of His Deen). A good action with the wrong intention will not get us any reward in the Hereafter.

  • To achieve ikhlas, we have to avoid shirk (associating others with Allah, which causes insincerity). Al-Imam al-Harawi said the root cause for insincerity (or shirk) is self-desire (al-hawa). Therefore no action should be done because of self-desire.

Imam al-Harawi states that there are 7 types of self-desires:-

I. To make oneself appear good in the hearts of others
II. To seek the praises of others
III. To avoid being blamed by others
IV. To seek the glorification of others
V. To seek the wealth/money of others
VI. To seek the services or love of others
VII. To seek the help of others for oneself

Ways to obtain ikhlas:

  • Do righteous deeds – the more good deeds we do and hence get closer to Allah, the more sincere we will be.

  • Before we do any deed we should firstly seek knowledge (ilm) – our actions/deeds should be guided by knowledge so that we do them in accordance to the Shariah (Islamic Law).

  • Do not give false impressions – do not make others believe that an action we did was good when it was not.

  • Al-Imam Ahmad said: Before you do anything, check your intention (niyyah) – ask yourself before performing an action: “Is it for the sake of Allah?”

Ibnu al-Qayyim says: Any action we do is subject to three defects:

      • i.Being conscious that others are observing our actions

      • ii.Seeking a return (benefit/reward) for the action

      • iii.Being satisfied with the action


      • If we go to the masjid for the salah and we are early, arriving before the Imam and finding a place in the first saff (prayer row/line), we should not be proud of ourselves and think of ourselves being better than others. We should praise Allah for enabling us to go to the masjid and for being able to perform the salahwithout any difficulties.

      • After every salah, we should tell ourselves that we could have performed it better and try to improve in our next salah.

  • What happens if we were to change our niyyah while performing an action? Ibn Rajab says according to the ulama’ if the niyyah at the end of the action matches the beginning (i.e. doing the action for the sake of Allah), then any changes in the middle of the action will be forgiven or does not matter, insha Allah. However, if the niyyah at the end does not match the beginning, i.e. we do the action for other than the sake of Allah, then we must repent (taubah).

  • There are four things that contradict ikhlas:

i. Ma’siat – committing sins – this will weaken our ikhlas

ii. Shirk – associating others with Allah

iii. Riya’ – performing an ibadah with the intention of showing off to others

iv. Nifaq – hypocrisy

Even though we must always make sure that our actions do not deviate from ikhlas, there are actions, which are automatically considered that of good intentions. For example, seeking knowledge in Islam, helping the community, doing da’wah, etc.