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Seeking Sincerity: How Can One Strive To Have One’s Actions Accepted by Allah Most High?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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Question: Assalam Aleikum,

It is scary to imagine that you might THINK you’re doing something for Allah but that’s not the case–that one’s actions may be insincere and therefore not acceptable to Allah. In that sense, is it reasonable to say that there’s nothing we can do beyond praying that Allah accepts our deeds?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

There are means to take to have sincerity, these include:

(1) Seeking beneficial knowledge, through reliable sources;
(2) Keeping the company of the sincere—both learned scholars of guidance, as exemplars, and good friends as company;
(3) Acting on one’s knowledge, with consistency, gradualness, and striving to make one’s private and public actions and states the same;
(4) Turning to Allah before every action;
(5) Remembering Allah during one’s actions;
(6) Asking Allah for acceptance after one’s actions;
(7) Frequent supplication for next-worldly matters and the states beloved to Allah—such as sincerity;
(8) Keeping one’s tongue moist with remembrance of Allah.

These are eight matters from “striving for the sake of Allah.” Allah Most High promises, “Those who strive for Us, We shall surely guide to the paths leading to Us. And Allah is indeed with the people of excellence.” [Qur’an, 29.69]

Please see also: A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines and: Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad – Hypocrisy and Sincerity – A Talk and: A Reminder for Teachers: The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others – Imam Dhahabi

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Strengthen My Faith and Truly Repent?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question:1) How can one be firm in faith? What causes faith not to stay firm in the heart?

2) I know we have to repent immediately for sins but my repentance is not sincere as there is no strong remorse, so how can I truly repent? Please help me.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. You have asked a very important question – many of us are concerned about how to make our faith firm in our hearts, and how to truly repent. May Allah bless you manifold for your deep concern about such weighty matters.
Turn to Allah in Sincere Supplication
My first suggestion is for you to turn directly to Allah using this beautiful dua every time you start to feel a dip in your faith, and after each prayer:
Shahr ibn Hawshab (Allah be well-pleased with him) said, “I said to Umm Salama, ‘O Mother of the believers! What was the most frequent supplication of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, when he was with you?’ She said, “His most frequent supplication was, ‘O Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm in Your deen!’” [Tirmidhi]

‏يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك‏
Ya muqallibal-qulubi, thabbit qalbi ‘ala deenika

Faith and Knowledge
Ultimately, it is not knowledge, books, or teachers who can grant you lasting faith, but it is only Allah’s Mercy which descends and makes faith firm in your heart. Make it a point to study at least one book on belief with a qualified teacher (e.g. The Creed of Imam Tahawi) to strengthen your understanding of our belief as Muslims. I recommend the course on Islamic Belief on SeekersGuidance.
Attaining solid faith is a lifelong journey, so be kind and patient with yourself as you strengthen your faith. We live in a time of instant gratification, so remind yourself that attaining lasting faith is a tremendous gift which cannot be attained simply because we want it right now.
Keep your faith on the increase through daily good works using all of your limbs e.g. kindness with your tongue, charity with your wealth, service with your limbs. Link all of your actions to attaining Allah’s pleasure, and inshaAllah, your faith will strengthen. Do your best to avoid sin, because that darkens the heart and is a blow to your faith.
Repentance
Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly).” [Bukhari and Muslim]
On the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) say: Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it. [Tirmidhi]
Know that Allah loves the repentance of His servants, and it is a sign of His Concern for you that you wish to make good your repentance. Attaining deeper levels of repentance takes continual practice. Please explore this brilliant reader on repentance. I pray it is of benefit to you.
To cultivate your heart, commit to saying “astaghfirullah” a 100 times every day. Pick a time where you can sit, face the qibla, be in a state of wudu, and be truly be present with your Lord. Before or after Fajr, or Isha prayer are often times of quiet. Even if it feels dry on your tongue, persist until it comes alive in your heart, and then all of your limbs will follow. Strive to rise before Fajr prayer, even if it’s for five minutes, to cry out to your Lord.
May Allah bless you and all believers with lasting faith, sincere repentance, and hearts alive with remembrance of Him.
Please refer to these following links:
Doubts About Islam: I Don’t Find Any Observable Effect or Peace in My Worship
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
Weak Iman, Misgivings, and Loving the Messenger (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace)
I Have Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) About the Soundness of My Faith and My Marriage
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

A Reader on Thankfulness to Allah and True Gratitude

“Should I not be a thankful servant?”
The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him)

What is Thankfulness?
Thankfulness to Allah – Reality, Aspects, & Expression of True Gratitude
Neediness & Thankfulness: Two Keys to Divine Assistance
Thankfulness to Allah – from Imam Ghazali’s al-Arba’in fi Usul al-Din
Concerning Thankfulness – Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (Allah have mercy upon him)
Thankfulness as a motive in our worship
Quranic Reflections – Why We Worship Allah: Lessons from the First Divine Call
Seek, Act and Strive – Advice from Habib Ali Al-Jifri for Seekers of Knowledge
Daily Qur’an Reflections: (20) Marvel of Creation, Thankfulness, Guidance, and Seek the Next Abode
Closeness & Thankfulness – Eid al-Fitr Khutba
How to grow in Thankfulness?
Ramadan Reminders 23: Growing in Thankfulness to Allah Most High by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
IslamCast Daily Hadith – 027 – Looking at those less fortunate

A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines

“Actions are lifeless forms whose souls are the secret of sincerity in them.”

Sidi Ibn Ata’illah (Allah have mercy upon him)

Sincerity & Intention
Intention: Validity And Sincerity
Actions Are Rewarded Due To Intentions
Should I Remove the Hijab Because I Am a Bad Example for Others?
Good Deeds & Salvation: Putting Our Works Into Perspective
The Difference Between an Oath and an Intention
Prophetic Sunna of Making One’s Actions Firm – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Intention & Closeness to Allah
IslamCast Daily Hadith – 1 Intentions and Closeness to Allah
Seeking Allah in All One’s Actions – Magnifying, Multiplying, and Recording Intentions in Islam 
Thankfulness to Allah – Reality, Aspects, & Expression of True Gratitude – Faraz Rabbani
Intentions & Acts of Worship
The Prayer for Drinking Coffee – The Power of Purpose and High Intentions
Is It Valid to Combine Multiple Intentions in One Prayer?
The Intentions for Seeking Knowledge – Imam Abdullah al-Haddad
The Intentions of Marriage – Shaykh Ali bin Abu Bakr al-Sakran
Intention for Sending Blessings upon the Prophet
Drinking Wine With Good Intention?
Intention, Sincerity & the Heart
How Can I Increase My Iman and My Sincerity By Doing Things For the Sake of Allah?
Contentment, Reliance on Allah, and Pure Intention – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Imam Nawawi On Fighting The Ego (Nafs)
A Reminder for Teachers: The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others – Imam Dhahabi
The Purpose of Spiritual Routines
The Aim, Purpose, and Consequence of Consistent Spiritual Routines
Ramadan Reminders 26: Elements of Success: [3] Good Habits – Routines – Consistency – Gradualness
Related Courses
Principles of Islamic Spirituality
Seeking Allah: Imam Muhasibi’s Treatise of the Seekers of Guidance Explained
Purification of the Heart & Praiseworthy Character (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
Further Reading
Sea Without Shore: A Manual of the Sufi Path – Shaykh Nuh Keller – Now Available – SunnaBooks
Imam al-Haddad’s Advice to the Spiritual Wayfarer – Muwasala
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s Commentary on the Hadith of Gibril
On Reflection (fikr) – Imam al-Haddad (Book of Assistance)

Misgivings Regarding Intentions and How to Memorize Qur’an

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Im always getting doubts about my intentions, how do I know they are sincere? I keep getting shirk thoughts. For memorizing the Quran I basically don’t even tell my family that I want to memorize because I think I will be insincere. And can I memorize on my own without a sheikh? And in what order is it recommend to Memorize Quran which is easiest.
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The basis is that we ignore misgivings.
Sincerity is something we are all striving for. We recognise our shortcomings, repent for the way things are, and then renew our resolve and intention and continue our efforts. The believers are people of action. The devil can easily trick us into making us doubt our intentions in everything such that we are left with nothing. Seek refuge in Allah, repent and renew your resolve regularly, and ask Allah for tawfiq and sincerity.
Please see: POSTS TAGGED ‘SINCERITY’ and: Intention: Validity And Sincerity and: The Reality and Importance of Intention and: Should I Remove the Hijab Because I Am a Bad Example for Others?
And consider taking: Purification of the Heart & Praiseworthy Character (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
As for your specific questions:
(1) You can begin to memorize, but you should seek out a teacher. It is easy to delude oneself into thinking one has memorized correctly when the reality is otherwise.
(2) One suggestion would be to start with shorter surahs from the 30th Juz’, and then progress to the 29th Juz’, then 28th and so on. Once you are able to memorize quickly and comfortably, and have strong aspiration (himma), you can start from the 1st Juz’.
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Increase My Iman and My Sincerity By Doing Things For the Sake of Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Assalam Alaikum.

 

Hello I am a teenage girl and my iman is at an all time low. I worry about this, yet I still can’t get up to pray. I feel myself falling more and more into the darkness. I also made a promise to Allah that I would read Quran for 45 minutes a day. But now it is so hard to do that.  Must I fulfill my promise?  Also, please help me find some way to do things just for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of others.  I think I have done good actions in the past, but a  lot of them were because people were around me.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

Wa alaikum assalam Sister-in-Islam,

Thank you for your question.  If we could see the love and mercy of Allah Most High surrounding us and carrying us through each moment, even when we are at the lowest point in faith, we would never lose hope that Allah wants good for us.

Even when outwardly, things seem to be going wrong, yet inside, you are filled with regret, and inspired to nothing more than longing for change in yourself, then know that Allah is trying to bring you closer to Him by making you realize your neediness to Him.  He’s showing you how to come to Him, so seek refuge in His mercy from your mistakes, admit your dependency on Him, ask Him for His aid- and then take baby steps towards Him.

Do not despair of Allah’s mercy.  Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “Oh My servants who have transgressed upon their own souls!  Do not despair of the Mercy of Allah!  Indeed Allah forgives all sins.   Truly, He is the Oft-Forgiving and Compassionate.” [Qur’an 39:53]

Despair is how Shaytan tricks good believers into thinking they can’t come up.  Although making a promise and breaking it is wrong, you’re intention was to improve.  Return to Allah in repentance sincerely, but do not focus on “things” and “acts” to do.  Focus on the state of your heart with Allah in fulfilling your basic duties such as prayer first.  Take on small extra worships as you feel grounded, and if you falter, don’t lose hope.  Reflect on Allah’s love for you, and make remembrance of Him in gratitude.

Shaytan will also say that you only did good things in the past to show-off, so your acts are all nullified.  Don’t listen to this, rather commit yourself to sincerity from today.  Try to do things in private if you can, and do not increase or decrease your regular worship whether people see it or not.  If good company encourages you to seek Allah more, this is not shirk or hypocrisy, rather the blessings of community, so seek out practicing, believing sisters to be around.  Seek knowledge to promote your inner growth.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is the Prayer of Someone Who Only Prays Fajr Prayer Valid?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbbani

Question: Is the prayer of someone who only prays Fajr prayer valid?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Validity (sihha) relates to fulfilling the obligatory conditions and integrals. Acceptability (qabul) relates to sincerity (ikhlas) in the specific action.

Yes, it is hoped that the Fajr would be accepted–but sincerity would also entail striving to perform the remaining prayers, as soon as possible. Every step on takes towards Allah is multiplied beyond measure by Allah.

Allah tells us in the authentic hadith qudsi, “Whoever draws close to Me by a handspan, I draw close to them by an arm’s length. Whoever draws close to Me by an arm’s length, I draw close to them by two arm’s lengthens. And whoever comes to Me walking, I rush to them.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Maja)

And Allah alone gives success.

Related Answers:

Intention: Validity And Sincerity

Actions Are Rewarded Due To Intentions

The Reality and Importance of Intention

Religion is Sincere Concern – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (Radical Middle Way)

A Reminder for Teachers: The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others – Imam Dhahabi

The Rulings of the Sacred Law

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

A Reminder for Teachers: The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others – Imam Dhahabi

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

Imam Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi writes,

“It is incumbent upon the scholar to speak with intention and high purpose. If they become impressed by their own speech, they should become silent; and if impressed by their own silence, they should speak. And they should never tire of taking themselves to account, for the ego loves prestige and praise.” [Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 4.494]

al-Rabi` ibn Khuthaym (Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Everything that wasn’t done for the sake of Allah Himself amounts to nothing.” [ibid., 4.260]

Sa`id ibn al-Hadad (Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Nothing diverts from Allah as much as seeking praise and seeking prestige.” [ibid., 14.214]

Shatibi (Allah have mercy upon him) said about his great work in the science of Qur’anic recitation, “Anyone who reads this poem of mine will be granted benefit by Allah, for I authored it for His sake alone.” [ibid., 21.263]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Related SeekersGuidance Content:

SeekersGuidance Blog Posts on Sincerity

Characteristics of a Successful Muslim – Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi

SeekersGuidance Answers on Sincerity

Related SeekersGuidance courses:

Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine ProvidenceShaykh Yahya Rhodus · 12 downloable lessons · 3 live sessionsBased upon Book XXXV of Imam al-Ghazālī’s magnum opus “The Revival of the Religious Sciences” (Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn), this course explains the reality of faith in Allah’s Unity (Tawhīd) and trust in His Providence (Tawakkul), and how to attain these vital states of the heart. This course, dealing with two essential aspects of faith, illustrates how religious knowledge and one’s state of being are both crucial to be able to attain true faith and trust in divine Providence.

Ustadh Faraz A. Khan · 12 downloable lessons · 3 live sessions

This course will help students make the essential connection between sound belief and their daily practice of Islam. Ustadh Faraz Khan will take students through the first half Imam Ghazali’s treatise, The Forty Foundations of Religion. This crucial text provides a detailed introduction to the things that all Muslims must believe about their Creator, then explores how to apply that knowledge in one’s own day-to-day worship and conduct.

The Marvels of the HeartSh. Yahya Rhodus · 12 downloable lessons · 3 live sessions

Knowledge of the heart is the foundation of the Din (religion), therefore this course is a must for all Seekers of Guidance.‘The Wonders of the Heart‘ is the twenty-first book of the third quarter of the Ihya Ulum al-Din. This short course offers a detailed explanation of the text, and explores the meaning of soul (nafs), spirit (ruh), heart (qalb), and intellect (‘aql). These important components as well as other including soldiers of the heart, overall attributes of the heart, the heart’s similitude and Satan’s mastery of the heart, leads one to become well acquainted with their own heart.

Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

file000386365548Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

Despite knowing that the Blessed Night of Power falls somewhere in the last ten days of Ramadan, the question continues to pop up: Which night is Laylatul Qadr? But before we ask such a question it would help to step back and look deep into the spirituality of Islam.

Rather than mechanistically looking at the last ten nights as a gambling of a limited supply of worshiping energy, scarcely interspersed here and there, and wrestling with ourselves on whether tonight is an odd night or an even night depending on which moon-sighting system was used, we can save ourselves some stress by considering Laylatul Qadr and what it means to be a sincere worshiper. At the heart of any act of worship is sincere intention (ikhlas) and in skewing our ibadah in only a few of the last ten nights, hoping to bump into the blessed Night of Power by chance, not effort, we risk damaging that crucial sincere intention, so that even if we do perform ibadah on the Night of Power, we run the risk of a diminished reward.

How does it appear to our Lord, Allah subhana wa ta’ala, to see His servants knit-picking over which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power? Is not the reward generous enough that we should rush to it? If we are being stingy with our worship, then do we truly yearn to seek the Face of our Lord? If we find weakness in our hearts, then these are the tough questions we need to ask ourselves.

We can also ask ourselves: “If tonight were the Night of Power, and I did happen to pray this night, but I neglected worship on all the other of the last ten nights- is this proper adab towards my Creator? Do I expect my Lord’s generosity while I am greedy with my worship? Even with my poor adab, if I were to gain the reward, what sort of relationship is this to have with my Lord? Don’t I desire closeness (qurb) with my Most Merciful Lord?” No matter how tired you are, you will be fully rested the next day, so what does it matter if you are feeling tired in worship when the reward is worth a 1,000 months?

And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety (taqwa) of the heart. (Qur’an, 22.32)

The Night of Power is undoubtedly a tremendous symbol of Allah, and the question of which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power can be answered through the meanings of this verse. Honoring the Night of Power entails not simply worshiping during it, but honoring all of the last ten nights. Seen from this perspective we can ask our nafs rhetorically, “Which of the last ten nights of Ramadan isn’t Laylatul Qadr?” And as Ramadan greets us goodbye in honoring the last ten nights with due worship, we honor the greater blessing that is Ramadan.

May Allah bless us with the fullest reward of Laylatul Qadr, ameen.

Characteristics of a Successful Muslim – Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

 

Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi (Allah have mercy upon him), one of the great imams of the spiritual path from the early Muslims (salaf), said:

 

“Glad tidings be to a servant who has:

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1. Made their occupation worship (`ibada);

2. Neediness (faqr) their longing;

3. Spiritual seclusion (`uzla) their desire;

4. The Hereafter their concern;

5. Seeking a living their means [f: rather than an end in itself];

6. Death their reflection (fikr);

7. Their intention busy with renunciation (zuhd);

8. Killed through abasement (dhull) their self-consequence (`izz);

9. Making their Lord their sole need;

10. Remembering their errors in their solitude (khalwa);

11. Sending forth in ecstasy their contemplation;

12. Complaining only to Allah regarding their strangeness (ghurba);

13. And asking through repentance for Allah’s Mercy.

 

Glad tidings be to one for whom these are their traits; whose regret is over their sins; ever-yearning in need by night and day; weeping before Allah in the depths of the night; calling upon the All-Merciful; seeking the Gardens of Paradise; and fearing the Fires of Hell.” [Related by Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya, 10.58]

 

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