In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
BEING THE THIRD SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF J. ULA, DATED 22ND J. ULA, 1444 AH
(16TH DECEMBER, 2022 CE).
TITLED: THE IMPORTANCE OF SINCERITY IN WORSHIP AND ITS NECESSITY FOR THE SERVANT
All Praises belong to Allah, the Lord of the universe, abundant and blessed praise, as appropriate to the majesty of His countenance and the greatness of His authority. We do not seek other than Him as a lord, and we do not take other than Him as a guardian, and we do not seek other than Him as Lawgiver. We do not associate anyone or anything with him, there is no god but Allah, and we worship none but Him, being sincere to Him in religion even if the unbelievers detest it. He says in His great book:
(وما أمروا إلا ليعبدوا الله مخلصين له الدين حنفاء ويقيموا الصلاة ويؤتوا الزكاة وذلك دين القيمة)
“Even though they were only commanded to worship Allah ˹alone˺ with sincere devotion to Him in all uprightness, establish prayer, and pay alms-tax. That is the upright Way” (Al- ‘Bayyinah: 5).
We praise Him, Glorified and Exalted He is, we thank Him, we believe in Him, and we trust in Him. We seek refuge in him from the evil of our own souls, and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides is the one who is guided and nothing that can mislead him, and whoever is let astray, none can guide Him. I testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone. He has no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and His Messenger. O Allah! May your Blessings and Peace be upon him and his household and companions and those that follow with goodness till the Day of Recompense.
O servants of Allah, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, in the open and secret, in compliance with the statement of Allah, the Exalted thus:
(يَا أَيّهَا الّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ)
“O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Aal-Imraan: 102).
Brothers in faith, this is the third meet in the month of Jumada al-Awwal, the fifth of the Islamic lunar months. The topic of our sermon today is focused on: THE IMPORTANCE OF SINCERITY IN WORSHIP AND ITS NECESSITY FOR THE SERVANT.
Dear brothers in faith, sincerity is a secret between the servant and his Lord, which is not seen by an angel to have written it, nor by a devil to have corrupted it, nor does the desire reaches to have dissuade it. Ensuring sincerity to Allah in all acts of worship is the greatest of the important principles in the religion of Islam, and it is considered the most important deeds of the hearts included in the definition of faith, and the greatest of them in value and status. And more than that, the actions of the hearts are more important than the actions of the limbs, and it is sufficient to say that the action of the heart is the difference between faith and disbelief.
Dear honorable Muslims, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in defining Ikhlas (sincerity): “What is meant by sincerity is seeking the face of Allah, the Exalted with deeds, and purifying it from every personal or worldly object, so that no action is exerted except for Allah, the Exalted and for the Hereafter, and that he does not mix his deeds with what will taint it of the urgent desires of the soul, whether apparent or hidden, including desire for gain, lust, or position, or for money, fame, or special courtesy, or for curing of latent (hidden) hatred, or in response to hidden envy or hidden arrogance, or for other ailments, whims, and impurities, whose various complexes are: seeking the pleasure of anything other than Allah, the Exalted with the deeds, whoever he is, and whatever it is.
Allah the Exalted said: (ألا لله الدين الخالص) “Indeed, sincere devotion is due ˹only˺ to Allah.” (Al-Zumar: 3)
Allah, glorified is He, says: (قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بالْقِسْطِ وَأَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عند كل مَسْجِدٍ وادعُوهُ مُخلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ كما بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ) “Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “My Lord has commanded uprightness and dedication ˹to Him alone˺ in worship, calling upon Him with sincere devotion. Just as He first brought you into being, you will be brought to life again.” (Al-A’raf: 29)
Sincerity: Imam Ahmed, may Allah have mercy on him, defined it as: If you do a deed where you do not desire the world with it. This sincerity requires struggling with the soul. One of the Salaf said: “I have not treated anything more severe upon me than my own intention―verily, it keeps switching upon me.”.
Dear brothers in faith, our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, is the Most Self-sufficient free from all associates. And he knows the deceits of the eyes and what the breasts hide. In the Qudsi hadith, “Almighty Allah says, ‘I am the One Who is most free from want of partners. He who does a thing for the sake of someone else beside Me, I discard him and his polytheism.”
And listen to this great hadith that frightened the righteous and made them cry: On the authority of Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – he said: The Prophet – may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him – said: “Verily, the first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who had died as a martyr. He will be brought forward. Allah will remind him of the favors He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. Then He will ask him: “What did you do to express gratitude for it?” The man will reply: “I fought for Your Cause till I was martyred.” Allah will say: “You have lied. You fought so that people might call you courageous; and they have done so.” The command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. Next a man who had acquired and imparted knowledge and read the Quran will be brought forward. Allah will remind him of the favors He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. Then He will ask him: “What did you do to express gratitude for it?” The man will reply: “I acquired knowledge and taught it, and read the Quran for Your sake.” Allah will say to him: “You have lied. You acquired knowledge so that people might call you a learned (man), and you read the Quran so that they might call you a reciter, and they have done so.” The Command will then be issued about him, and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. Next a man, whom Allah had given plenty of wealth, will be brought forward. Allah will remind him of the favors He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. He will ask him: “What did you do to express gratitude for it?” The man will reply: “I did not neglect any of the ways You liked wealth to be spent liberally for Your sake.” Allah will say to him: “You have lied. You did it so that people might call you generous, and they have done so.” The Command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. So these are the first of Allah’s creation the Fire will be kindled with on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim).
We seek refuge in Allah from the condition of the people of Hell. These three people did great deeds that if they were sincere in it, they would have attained the high ranks in Paradise, but they intended the world with the deeds of the Hereafter, so their fate would be of those who be burnt in Hell.
Dear Servants of Allah, one of the greatest reasons for the absence of sincerity in the actions of many of us is the pursuit of the world and the love of praise. Sincerity does not reside in a heart filled with love for praise and greed for what is in the hand of men. Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “If your soul tells you to seek sincerity, then confront greed first, slay it with the knife of despair, and confront praise and commendation, and abstain from them both, abstinence of the lovers of this world in the hereafter, if slaying greed and abstaining from praise and being commended becomes righteous to you, sincerity will be easy for you”
And among what would help us to leave greed in the love of the world and makes it easy for us, is our certainty that all good is in the hands of Allah, the Exalted, no one else possesses it, whoever wants it should ask Him for it. But for abstaining from praise and commendation, what facilitate it is your recognition that there is no one that his praise will benefit and beautify, or that his condemnation could harm or shame except Allah, the Exalted.
O servant of Allah, abstain from the praise of the one whose praises neither beautifies you and from the condemnation of the one whose condemnation does you no harm. Desire the praise of he in whose praise is every adornment, and shame in his condemnation. And be one of those who do good deeds and do not seek from people reward or thanks.
Also, part of the things that help achieve sincerity is to remember that Allah does not accept good deeds unless it is accompanied with sincerity to Allah, the Exalted. The Prophet – may peace and blessings be upon him – said: “Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended.” Narrated Abu Umaamah- R.A- He said, the Prophet- peace be upon him, said: “Allah does not accept any deed, except that which is purely for Him, and seeking His Face.” (Al-Nasa’i)
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, that revealed the Qur’an in classical Arabic, the most eloquent of the world’s language. He says: (إنَّا أنزلناهُ قُرْآناً عربيّاً لَعَلَكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ) “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran1 so that you may understand” (Yusuf: 2). We praise Him- Glorified and Exalted is He- we thank Him, we believe in Him, and we trust in Him, We seek prayers of blessings and peace upon the most honorable of the Messengers, our Master and leader, Muhammad, his family and companions, and those who follow them until the Day of Judgment.
As to what follows:
Dear respected servants of Allah, we are duty bound at this moment to mention that the United Nations have dedicated a day for the World Arabic Day, which is the 18th day of December, which coincides with the Sunday ahead of us. Thus, it is upon the teachers and speakers of the classical Arabic language to commemorate the day in the appropriate manner.
Brief History of the World Arabic Day:
It was decided to celebrate the Arabic language on this date because it was the day the United Nations General Assembly issued its Resolution No. 3190 in December 1973, based on which the Arabic language was formally included among the official and operational languages of the United Nations. After a proposal submitted by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the session of the Executive Council of UNESCO.
The issue of the use of Arabic as a working language in the sessions of the Executive Council was included in the agenda in 1974 at the request of the Governments of Algeria, Iraq, the Libyan Arab Republic, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, the Arab Republic of Egypt and Lebanon.
Official languages of the United Nations: The six official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The two translations in both texts and oral simultaneously from one of these languages into another represents an important factor in the operations of the United Nations, as they are the means of clear and concise communication on issues of global concern.
The importance of the Arabic language:
The importance of the Arabic language is evident in the following points:
1- The Arabic language is the language of the Qur’an. The revelation of the Qur’an is regarded as heavenly miracle and universal message from Allah to mankind in this language is the most important thing that highlighted its status, where the Arabic language carried the role of the best means of conveying the highest meanings in this great book, and it was preserved by memorization through the ages, and because of the advantages that some studies mentioned, such as its absence from all defects that could lead to the extinction of languages and their disappearance over time.
2- The Arabic language was the first civilized language in the world for a long time.
3- The ability of the Arabic language to help express the different fields of knowledge, because of its characteristics, expressions, structures, imagination, and many other features. The fact that the Arabic language is a tool for acquaintance and communication between millions of people in all parts of the world. The Arabic language is characterized as firm in its roots and renewable due to its many characteristics and advantages.
4- The Arabic language helps to perpetuate the Arab culture among the different groups, and to maintain communication between generations.
5- The Arabic language facilitates the transfer of the teachings of Islam and the civilizations that emerge from it.
6- The Arabic language is one of the best ways to record ideas and feelings.
I say this saying of mine, I seek forgiveness from God the Great for me and for you, so seek forgiveness from Him and repent to Him, for He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.