Skip to content

What is Mentioned Regarding Sincerity (Ikhlaas)

What is

Mentioned Regarding

Sincerity (Ikhlaas)

Taken from the Book

‘The Narrations Mentioned by Imaams of the Sunnah in the Chapters of ‘Aqeedah from the Book

Siyaar ‘Alaam an-Nubala

Researched By

Jamaal bin Ahmad bin BasheeraBaadee

Translated by

Abbas Abu Yahya

(1 – 76) Imam Dhahabi said:

‘From Nafi’a bin Jubayr who said:

‘Whoever attends a Janazah (funeral) so that the people can see him, then he should not attend it.’[1]

(2 -77) Dhahabi said: ‘Muhammad bin Abduwayha said: I heard Fudayl say:

‘Leaving off doing a righteous action for the sake of the people is Riyaa (showing off) and doing a righteous action for the sake of the people is Shirk. Sincerity is that Allaah relieves and exempts you from both of those things.’[2]

[1] Dhahabi mentioned it in the biography of Nafi’a bin Jubayr (d. 99 A.H.) Seera 4/542.

It was also collected by Ibn ‘Aasakir in ‘Tareekh Damishq’ and the wording is

‘Whoever does not attend a Janazah except so that the people can see him, then he should not attend it.’


Sincerity is one of the two pillars for the conditions of acceptance of a righteous action.

Allaah said:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًاوَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

<< So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord >> [Khaf: 110]

And Allaah said:

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ

<< Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things. Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;>>

[Mulk: 1-2]

Fudayl bin ‘Aayaad said regarding the saying of Allaah Ta’ala:

<< That He may test you which of you is best in deed. >>

‘The most sincere and most correct, if it was sincere and not correct it would not be accepted, and if it was correct and not sincere it will not be accepted until it is sincere and correct. It is sincere if it is for Allaah, and correct if it is upon the Sunnah.’

Collected by Abu Na’eem in ‘Hileeyah’ 8/95, and Ibn ‘Aasakir in ‘Tareekh Damishq’ 14/140/B.

Shaykh ul-Islaam said:

‘To sum up we have two great principles, one of which is: that we do not worship anyone other than Allaah.

The second is that we do not worship Him except with that which is legislated. Nor do we worship Him with an innovated (Mubtada’) act of worship.

These two principles are fulfillment of the (Shahhada) testification that there is none worthy of worship in truth except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah ‘Ashhadu alla ilaha ‘illa Allaah wa anna Muhammadan Rasoollaah.’

[Majmoo’ al-Fatawa 1/333-334 & ‘Mudarij as-Salikeen’ by Ibn Qayyim 1/83]

From Umar bin Al-Khattab Radhi Allaahu anhu who said the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said:

‘Indeed actions are but by intentions and every man shall have that which he intended.’

Collected by Bukhari in the beginning of his book ‘Saheeh’: ‘The book of beginning of revelation’ and by Muslim in the book of al-Imarah : ‘Chapter the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam saying: ‘Indeed actions are by intentions.’

Ibn al-Qayyim -Rahimullaah- said:

‘Indeed the heart despises Shirk with a great hatred. It also despises cheating and rebelling against the Muslims with Bida’ and misguidance.  Therefore, these three things are full with hatred and corruption, the cure for this hatred and to extract what it has been merged with and that is by having pure sincerity, advising and by following the Sunnah.’

[Madarij 1/90 printed by dar al-Kitab al-Arabi in Beirut 1391 A.H. researched by Muhammad Hamid al-Faqhi.]

[2]Dhahabi mentioned it in the biography of al-Imam al-Fudayl bin ‘Ayaad at-Tameemi al-Yarboo’ee Abu Ali (d. 186 or 187 A.H.) Seera 8/427

Collected by Abu Na’eem al-Hafidh in ‘Hileeyah’ 8/95, and Ibn ‘Aasakir in ‘Tareekh Damishq’ 14/145/B & 131/A and by al-Hafidh al-Mizi in ‘Tadheeb al-Kamaal’ 1104.



Riyaa (showing off) is a dangerous disease, and a chronic illness, it negates sincerity and degrades and diminishes Tawheed, either by a person’s Tawheed being incomplete if the Riyaa is only a little, or in a person’s Tawheed being correct if the Riyaa is a lot.

It is from the character of the Munafiqeen.

Allaah Ta’ala said:

إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ وَإِذَا قَامُواْ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ قَامُواْ كُسَالَى يُرَاؤُونَ النَّاسَ وَلاَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

<< Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allaah, but it is He Who deceives them.  And when they stand up for As-Salât (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allaah but little.>>

[Nisa’: 142]

Ibn Katheer said regarding: << to be seen of men >>

‘Means they have no Ikhlaas nor do they have dealings/interaction with Allaah, rather they show off to the people falsely deceiving them.’

[Tafseer al-Qur’aan al-Atheem 1/568]

Sa’adi said regarding << to be seen of men >>

‘Meaning this is what conceals their secrets, and this is the source for their actions which is to show off to the people and their intent is seeing the people and wanting them to regard you as great and wanting their respect and they do not make their sincerity for Allaah.’

[Tayseer al-Kareem ar-Rahmaan fee Tafseer Kalam al-Manan 2/202]

Shaykh Muhammad AbdulWahhab wrote a chapter in ‘Kitab al-Tawheed’ entitled ‘Chapter: What has been mentioned about ar-Riyaa’ in this chapter he mentions a hadeeth of Abu Hurairah from the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:

 ‘Allaah Ta’ala said: ‘I am the One who is completely free from needing Shirk committed with Me, whoever does an action and associates anyone else along with Me in that action, then I have left him and his Shirk.’

Collected by Muslim

Shaykh AbdurRahmaan bin Hasan ‘Ala- Shaykh said in ‘Fath al-Majeed Sharh Kitab al-Tawheed’ :

‘As for Allaah’s saying: ‘Whoever does an action and associates anyone else along with Me in that action’: means whoever intends someone other than Allaah with his action from the creation then Allaah leaves that person and his Shirk.’

Then Shaykh AbdurRahmaan goes on to quote from Ibn Rajab the division of actions for other than Allaah, the summary of which is the following:

‘1 – Sometimes the intention is pure Riyaa, like the situation of the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites).

2 – Sometimes the action is for Allaah’s sake and Riyaa is involved in the action.  So if Riyaa is involved in the base and foundation of the action, then the authentic texts indicate that the action is null and void.

As for if the base and foundation of the action is for Allaah, then if Riyaa unexpectedly comes upon the action:

a – If Riyaa came to his mind and he repelled it, then this Riyaa does not harm him, and there is difference of opinion about this matter.

b – If he abandons Riyaa, does it cancel out his action or not, so does he get rewarded for his initial intention? There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars. It has been mentioned by Imam Ahmad and Ibn Jareer that they both held that the strongest opinion was that his action is not invalidated by this, but rather he is rewarded for his first intention.’

Then Shaykh Muhammad bin AbdulWahhab brings the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri from the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:

‘Shall I not inform you about that which I fear more for you than the Mas’eeh Dajjal?’ 

They said: ‘Of course O Messenger of Allaah.’

He -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said: 

‘The hidden Shirk, a man stands up to pray and he beautifies his prayer, due to what he sees from people looking at him.’

[Collected by Ahmad]

The explainer of the speech of Ibn al-Qayyim about minor Shirk mentions:

‘As for minor Shirk: it is like a small amount of Riyaa, and a person does it for the creation, for example swearing by other than Allaah, as is affirmed from the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- that he said:

‘Whoever takes an oath with other than Allaah has committed Shirk.’

And the saying of a person to another, ‘Whatever Allaah wills and what you will.’

And ‘This is from Allaah and from you’

And ‘I take help from Allaah and you’

And ‘I have no one supporting me except Allaah and you.

And ‘I rely upon Allaah and upon you.’

And ‘If it was not for you then such and such would not have occurred.’

Perhaps these things could be major Shirk depending upon the one who says it and his intent.’

[Madarij 1/314]

Shaykh AbdurRahman bin Hasan said:

‘In this hadeeth there are many benefits:

The compassion of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- upon his Ummah and his sincerity for them.

That Riyaa is more fearful upon the righteous than the Fitna of Dajjal.

Therefore, if the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- used to fear Riyaa upon the best of the ‘Aawliyaa even though they have strong Eemaan and their knowledge, so for other than the Aawliyaa, those who are many times less than the ‘Aawliyaa are foremost to fear from Shirk, its minor type and its major type.’

[Fath al-Majeed p.329]

Shaykh Muhammad bin Muflah al-Maqdasi said:

‘As for what occurs for some people that when they intend to carry out an act of obedience, something causes them to leave off the action fearing that Riyaa will occur along with this action, then what is necessary is that one should not turn towards this.’

[al-Adab ash-Sharia’ 1/266]

[Taken from the Book: ‘The Narrations Mentioned by Imaams of the Sunnah in the Chapters of ‘Aqeedah from the Book ‘Siyaar ‘Alaam an-Nubala’ Vol.1/p.158]