Al-Salam ‘Alaykum, this is Syed Ali Imran – and you are listening to the Forties podcast, brought to you by Mizan Institute.
This is episode 19 – Weighty Rewards for Sincerity
وَ عَنِ الْعَسْكَرِيِّ ع لَوْ جَعَلْتُ الدُّنْيَا كُلَّهَا لُقْمَةً وَاحِدَةً لَقَّمْتُهَا مَنْ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصاً [خَالِصاً] لَرَأَيْتُ أَنِّي مُقَصِّرٌ فِي حَقِّهِ وَ لَوْ مَنَعْتُ الْكَافِرَ مِنْهَا حَتَّى يَمُوتَ جُوعاً وَ عَطَشاً ثُمَّ أَذَقْتُهُ شَرْبَةً مِنَ الْمَاءِ لَرَأَيْتُ أَنِّي قَدْ أَسْرَفْتُ.
Hadith #18: If the whole world were to be made into one single bite, which I then fed to someone who worships Allah with sincerity, I would see myself as negligent in his right.
In other words, the worldly rewards and opportunities are too trivial and petty to be given as a reward for someone who’s sincere. The Imam (a) is saying if I were to give the whole world to someone for being sincere in worshipping Allah (swt), I’ve done a disservice to this sincere person, because this world is not worth anything as a reward for their sincerity. This is the high value of being sincere – this is what we alluded to in the previous episode as well, that the best reward for sincerity can only be given in the hereafter and that the rewards of this world are temporary.
And we see this in the lives of the Prophet (p) and Imams (a) as well, each of them displayed such an intense amount of sincerity, and though they were blessed in this world as well, but the blessings and rewards of this world were worth nothing in return of what they did. In fact, we see Imam ‘Ali (a), the Imam who when in the middle of battle, someone spits on his face, the Imam (a) pauses for a moment to calm his anger, so that he doesn’t mix his anger with his sincerity when fighting in the way of Allah, when striking back at the enemy. This was the height of sincerity, even during battle, yet we see that the life of the Imam (a) was rather a tough life. This is something he himself says, when he said, I was so patient and endured hardships, that it was as if I had a thorn in my eye, and a bone stuck in my throat.
Likewise, the rest of the Imams, who were exemplars when it came to sincerity, but we see that their lives were spent in prison, while others were killed, and some were poisoned. If the reward for sincerity was meant to be given in this world, their lives would not have had this many difficulties and hardships.
In the next episode, we’ll go over a ḥadīth by the Prophet (p) where he says that intentions are the ultimate criterion for sincerity.
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Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.