Sermon Delivered on Friday 16 JUMADAL-ULAH, 1437 AH (26TH FEBRUARY, 2016)

TOPIC OF THE SERMON: The Necessity of Sincerity (Al- Ikhlas) in Deeds


As- Salaam alaykum warahmotu llah wabarakaatuh!

Thanks and adorations are due to Allah (S.W.T), the One and Only, the sublime and self-subsisting, He does not beget son and not begotten by anyone and no one can be likened to Him. I appreciate Him, I adore and glorify Him. I seek for His forgiveness and mercy. I beseech Him to shower His infinite mercies and blessings upon the soul of noble Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), may the blessings be extended to his family members, companions, those who supported him in the course of Allah (S.W.T) even at the critical times, and the generality of the Muslim world over.    

Oh servant of Allah, fear Alláh the Exalted and hold to Ikhlas (sincerity) for Alláh’s Face in your actions and statements. Al-Bukhári and Muslim narrated that 'Umar (R.A) said, "1 heard the Messenger of Alláh say:

"Verily, the reward of deeds depends upon the Niyyah (intentions) and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended." Therefore, every action that was not performed for Alláh’ sake only, is annulled and fruitless in this life and the Hereafter.

Implication for the word An- Niyyah

There are two implications for the word Niyyah according to the scholars. One of them pertains to distinguishing acts of worship from acts of habit. For instance, there is a difference between taking a bath to remove impurity and taking a bath to cool off or to clean the body. Further, there is a different Niyyah for Zhur prayer than Asr prayer and fasting during Ramadhán in contrast to fasting in other months.

The second meaning for Niyyah pertains to distinguishing between the intention behind the act, if it is directed to Alláh Alone or to Alláh and others. This meaning carries with it happiness or misery and reward or punishment. Two different persons might perform the same act, paying equal effort to it. Yet, one of them earns a reward while the other earns no reward, or he even earns punishment, because the intentions were different in each case. In this respect, Allah (SWT) says:

‘‘Whoever desires the quick passing of this world, we readily grant him what we will for whom we like. Then, afterwards, we have appointed for him Hell; he will burn therein disgraced and rejected (far away from Alláh’s Mercy). And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it (i.e. does righteous deeds of Alláh’s obedience) while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Alláh - Islámic Monotheism) - then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, (thanked and rewarded by Alláh)." (17:18,19)

The prophet SAW was reported to have said: "Verily, Alláh only accepts what was performed in sincerity to Him seeking His Face."

The look of reward for showing off in deeds on the day of Judgment

He (SAW) was also reported to have said:

‘The first person who a sentence passed against him will be found guilty on the Day of Resurrection, is a man who died as a Shahid (martyr). He will be summoned, and Allah will remind him of His bounties on him, and he will attest to them. Allah will ask him, 'What have you done in return?' The man will say: 'I fought for Your Sake, until I died as a Shahid.' Allah will say:

'You have said a lie! You only fought so that it will be said: '’He is brave” and it was said (meaning, you have received your payment)!' Then, he will be sentenced to be dragged on his face until he is thrown in the Fire. Also, a man who learned knowledge and taught it, and who also read the Qur’an, will be summoned, and Allah will remind him of His bounties on him, and he will attest to them. Allah will ask him, 'What have you done as regards them?' He will say, 'I have learned knowledge and taught it, and I also read the Qur’an for Your sake.' Allah will reply, 'You have said a lie! You only learned (the knowledge) so that it will be said, 'Aalim (a scholar)', and you have read the Qur'an so that it will be said, 'Qarii (a reader of the Quran).' And it was said!' He will be sentenced to be dragged on his face until he is thrown in the Fire. And a man whom Allah has given abundance (in wealth and provisions) and different types of possessions will be summoned and Alláh will remind him of His bounties on him and he will attest to them. Alláh will ask him, 'What have you done as regards them?' He will reply, 'I left no path that You like spending on, but I spent on it for Your sake.' Alláh will reply, 'You have said a líe! You only spent so it will be said, 'He is generous.' and it was said.' Then he will be dragged on his face until he is thrown in the Fire."

When Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan, heard this Hadith, he cried and said, "Alláh and His Messenger have said the truth."

"Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them, We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire." (11: 15-16)

Imam Ibu Rajab said:

"Know that performing deeds for other than Alláh is of different types. Sometimes, this action might be to show off in its entirety, and thus, one seeks to be seen by the creation for a worldly gain. For example, this is the state that the hypocrites pray in."Just as Alláh described them:

"And when they stand up for Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men." (4: 142)

Further, Alláh described the acts of the disbelievers as being all for showing off, when He said:

"And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men." (8:47)

Manifestation of Show off (Ar-riya’)

The boasting and showing off described here appears in nearly all aspect of good deeds including salat and fasting performed by a believer. This is why the Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said:

“hidden shirk occurs when a worshipper rises up for salat and he perfects his salat just because  he is aware that people are watching him” reported by Ahmad.

Showing off might appear more in the acts of charity and Hajj, because these latter acts are carried out in public and bring benefit to people, making it hard to observe perfect sincerity while performing them. However, if showing off appears in these acts, it will annul them and earn one Alláh's anger and torment, as is known to Muslims.

Sometimes, the act might be for Alláh and is mixed with showing off. In this case, there are authentic texts asserting that if the intention of showing off was present at the time one intended to perform a righteous act, the act itself will be annulled and fruitless. *But when the act was started to gain Alláhs reward alone, but changed in the process to include an intention to partially show off, there are two results for this situation:

  1. If the person is able to repel such thoughts, then it will not annul the act.
  2. If the person is unable to repel it, he will not lose the whole reward but will have the reward reduced, no doubt.

Abandoning good deeds in fear of showing-off (ar-riya’)

At times, shaytan visits a Muslim who intends to observe salat or recite the Qur’an with people around him. Shaytan will now whisper into his hear that: “should you do it, you will fall into riya’ and as a result, a Muslim will abandon the good deeds because he does not want to commit ar-riya’. This stand is a big mistake and it is therefore not good of a Muslim to shun observance of a particular meritorious act in fear of ar-riya’ otherwise, one will just be romancing ash-shaytan.

Remedies for showing-off (ar-riya’)

  1. Struggling with one’s heart in committing and dedicating good deeds to Allah (SWT) absolutely and ward-off whispering of Shaytan.
  2. Acknowledgement that those who are watching him while observing good deeds could not reward or castigate him.
  3. Seeking support of Allah (SWT) to subdue evils of Shaytan and to strengthen him over ar-riya’.


O slaves of Allah! Worship Alláh Alone in sincerity and stay away from Riyá' (showing off) and evil intentions. Alláh does not look at your shapes and wealth, but rather at your hearts and actions.

Oh Allah! Shower your blessings on Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W), his households, companions, Muhajirun, helpers and generality of the Muslims. Oh Allah! shower your mercy on Nigeria, touch the minds of our leaders, cause them to realise the truth and their responsibilities and actualise them, protect and support the masses and suppress all insurgencies in the country.. Oh Allah! Continue to support the NASFAT, guide and strengthen the new Governing Council, Principal Officers and the Management of Fountain University, make their administration beneficial to staff members, students and generality of Muslims. Oh Allah make us sincere and successful Muslims, strengthen us over our enemies, subdue the power of enemies of Islam. Oh Allah grant us long lives and sound health, make it easy for us to follow your path and to move away from acts that can fetch your anger. Oh Allah, grant us success in this life, success on death day, success in the grave, success in the hereafter and make al-Jannah our final abode (aamiin).  

Fa salaam alaykum wa rahmatu llah wabarakaatuh



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