Can a Pure Intention Be Mixed?

Question:

Is it considered pure sincerity if one intends to seek Allah’s pleasure in some worldly activity when one is also driven by the need to fulfill a worldly need?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Pure sincerity is doing something just to please Allah, not for any benefit in This Life or the Hereafter, and not to avoid any harm in This Life or the Hereafter.

When one works, for example, to please Allah by fulfilling one’s obligations to others, but one also wants money and fears poverty, then this is a mixed intention.

Ibn ‘Ata Illah says, “Just as He does not love ‘mixed actions,’ He does not love ‘mixed hearts.’ He does not accept ‘mixed actions,’ and He does not even turn towards ‘mixed hearts.'” [Al-Hikam al-‘Ata’iyyah]

Explaining these words, Ibn Ajiba says that there are three things that can be mixed with one’s pure intention: showing off to others, self-righteousness, or seeking some kind of recompense. [Iqadh al-Himam, Ibn Ajiba]

Showing off and self-righteousness are completely forbidden and mar an action so much so that they actually turn it into a sin.

As for seeking some kind of recompense does not make the action a sin, but it just diminishes its quality before Allah. If one seeks Allah’s pleasure and some worldly gain is it a genuine mix of worship and non-worship. If however, one is seeking something from Allah (in This Life of in the Hereafter), one is mixing a higher level of sincerity with a lower one.

Ibn Ajiba explains saying, “As for seeking some kind of recompense, then if you demand that from Him, He will demand from you pure sincerity. Every action that has these kinds of things in it Allah does not accept as He does the works of those are close to Him (al-khawass).”

People like me just try and make sure they do not show off, and that a good portion of my worldly dealings has some kind of connection to Allah. I do not always remember, but I do try to remember.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.