Ep. 38 The Forties – Reaching the Reality of Sincerity

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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 38 – Reaching the Reality of Sincerity

قَالَ ع‏ إِنَّ لِكُلِّ حَقٍّ حَقِيقَةً وَ مَا بَلَغَ عَبْدٌ حَقِيقَةَ الْإِخْلَاصِ حَتَّى لَا يُحِبَ‏ أَنْ‏ يُحْمَدَ عَلَى شَيْ‏ءٍ مِنْ عَمَلِ اللَّه‏

Hadith #37: The Prophet (p): Every truth has a reality, and a servant will not reach the reality of sincerity until they reach a stage where they do not love to be praised for an act they have done for the sake of Allah (swt).

In the previous episode we spoke about three signs of a show-off, and one of the signs was that a person who loves to be praised for everything they do is exhibiting signs of riyā’. In this episode, the Prophet’s (p) narration tells us that such a person who exhibits this sign will never be able to perceive and reach the reality of sincerity. They will never be able to taste true sincerity, until they lose this feeling of love and desire of being praised for their worship and acts they should be doing for the sake of Allah (swt).

We have already learned that sincerity has different degrees – especially in the first few episodes of this series, and this narration is saying that such a person who has such a feeling will never be able to reach its higher levels. It is possible that a person does an act solely for Allah and the act is correct, but then they have this desire in their heart seeking people’s love, praise and approval for it – this is enough for a person to be deprived of reaching those higher levels of sincerity. Of course, if the very act is being done for the sake of seeking people’s praise and approval, then that will invalidate the whole act to begin with and that is a very clear instance of riyā’ and the person can be punished by Allah (swt) on the day of judgement.

In the next narration we will read another tradition in light of what we have discussed in this and the previous episode, and tie things together regarding this idea of being praised by people or feeling happy knowing someone has seen you worship. As we have alluded to already, it is possible that such a feeling is not necessarily riyā’ since you may not be doing the act for this specific reason, but the feeling itself shows there is a lower degree of sincerity, hence why it is called a sign of riyā’ and not riyā’ itself – the next narration from Imam Baqir (a) will make this point explicitly clear.

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