Prayer without sincerity


Question:
Assalamu alaykum.
Sometimes at the end of a long text message etc., I may make dua for that person at the end of the message. I do this to be seen as respectful and because it seems like a good adab.

But I worry that I might be sinning because my intention is to be seen as respectful and uplift the other person’s mood and make them more likely to consider my message.

Is this sinful? Are my intentions insincere?

Please clarify. Jazakallahu khayran.

Answer:

Wa Alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for writing to us.

Questioning oneself is commendable.
You are to be commended for questioning the intention with which you made a dua at the end of a text message.  It is highly desirable to check the intention with which one performs every action. Many of us may be adding a prayer at the end of a message without realizing that our intentions are not sincere or correct.

Insincerity requires seeking forgiveness.
If one feels that the intention with which one made a dua was insincere, one should repent to Allah out of caution. This is the case if making the dua amounts to using an act of devotion to gain favor from another while praying is heedless of Allah.

If one is partially mindful of Allah and partially concerned with respecting another person, this is not sinful. However, it is still advisable to seek Allah’s forgiveness.

The Prophet’s example
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) even taught us to seek Allah’s forgiveness after a good action which we supposedly did for the sake of Allah only because all our acts of devotion are deficient concerning the majesty of Allah. Therefore, he taught us to seek forgiveness (istighfar) after performing good deeds, such as salah. [Muslim]

Conclusion
In short, we commend you for questioning yourself and taking yourself to task regarding the sincerity of your intention in this matter, which people may regard as mundane. We remind all our readers that it is necessary, as our scholars advise, to check our intentions before, during, and after every action. This is one of the ways to strive to attain sincerity.

Lastly, sincerity cannot be discerned physically – it cannot be seen or touched. It is a state present in the heart of a person, with which Allah favored the pious of this ummah. We must constantly ask Allah to make us of the mukhlisin – the sincere – and remove all false and bad intentions from our hearts.

May Allah make us sincere.

And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.