ON SINCERITY (IKHLAS) Part 1

Translated from 'Nuzhat al-majalis wa muntakhab al-nafa'is' [The Pious Gatherings and the Select Precious Matters] by Abd al-Rahman al-Sufuri [d. 1489 M] (Damascus and Beirut: Dar al-Iman, 1985).

God Almighty said: "And whoever hopeth for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer of the worship due unto his Lord." The Prophet (s) said: "Verily actions are according to intentions, and every man has what he has intended." Ma`ruf al-Karkhi (rah.) said: "Whoever acts in order to receive a reward, he is one of the traders (tujjar), and whoever acts out of fear of the Fire or aspiring to Paradise, he is one of the slaves (`abeed), and whoever acts for the sake of Allah, he is one of the free men (ahrar), and this is the highest rank." Uways al-Qarani said (r): "Hidden invocation (al-du`a fi dhahr al-ghayb) is better than visiting and meeting," that is: because hypocrisy (riya') might enter in the latter two.

Hujjat al-Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (rah.) related in the 'Ihya', that a certain man in the middle of his worshipping heard of a people who worshipped a tree. He went out of his house to cut it down.

Iblis said to him: "If you cut it down they will worship another; so return to your worship."

But he replied: "It certainly must be cut down."

Iblis opposed him, so the man wrestled him down. Iblis said: "You are a poor man: return to your worship and I shall place two dinars under your head every night, and God willing I shall send someone else to cut down that tree. What do you care as long as you yourself don't worship it?"

The poor man acquiesced and returned home. The next morning he found two dinars under his head and so on the second day. But on the third day he found nothing. When he saw this he went out again to cut down the tree.

Iblis confronted&127 him and this time it was he who wrestled the poor man down. The latter asked: "How did I manage to overcome you the first time while you overcame me the second?"

Iblis replied: "Because the first time your anger was for God's sake, whereas the second time it was for the sake of two dinars."


A man went out to fight in the way of God (li al-jihad). He bought a nose-bag (for his horse) for a certain benefit. He saw two angels in his dream, one saying to the other:
"Record so-and-so as a fighter for Allah (mujahidan);
record so-and-so as a tourist (mutanazzihan);
record so-and-so as a show-off (mura'iyan)."

Then the angel looked at the man and said to the other angel: "Record this one as a trader (tajiran)."

The man said:
"I said: Allah, Allah! I did not go out except as a mujahid!"

The angel replied: "You bought a nose-bag yesterday intending to make a benefit thereby."

The man said: "Upon hearing this I began to weep."

So the angel said to his companion: "Record him as a mujahid, except that he bought a nose-bag on his way in order to gain, until Allah judges."


The Prophet (s) said: "Ibrahim (a.s.) Did not lie except in three things, two of them regarding Allah's essence (dhat): when he said, "(I see in the stars that) I am sick", and when he said: "It is the biggest one among them who did it".

Ibn al-`Arabi (not Muhyiddin, but al-Qadi Abu Bakr, another sufi shaykh) said regarding this: "He did not count Ibrahim's saying (about his wife): "This is my sister" as regarding Allah's essence, because Ibrahim was greatly interested in preserving the integrity of his bed and protecting his wife. However, only a purely single-minded act (al-`amal al-khalis) is considered to regard Allah's essence. Ibrahim's saying: 'This is my Lord' at the sight of the heavenly bodies is not taken under consideration, because he was a child at the time and therefore not legally responsible."

(Muhammad ibn Musa) al-Damiri (d. 1405 M) mentioned in his book 'Hayat al-Hayawan' [The Life of Animals, a zoology book] that when Adam (a.s.) fell to earth wild animals would come to him to greet him, and he would make an invocation on behalf of each species for whatever befitted it. Once a group of gazelles came to him. He invoked on their behalf and stroked their backs. Upon this the musk-sacks (nawafij al-misk) appeared upon their backs. Another group asked them for the reason for this and they explained: "We visited Adam and he invoked on our behalf and stroked our backs." So the second group went to him. He invoked for them and stroked their backs, but they did not find anything. They returned and said to the first group: "We did as you had done and saw nothing of what befell you." They replied: "We visited him for Allah's sake, and you visited him for the sake of musk."

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet of Perfect Sincerity, his Family, and his Companions.


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