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 9 – The Rejection of Insincere Deeds
عَنْهُ عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ سَالِمٍ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع يَقُولُ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ أَنَا خَيْرُ شَرِيكٍ مَنْ أَشْرَكَ مَعِي غَيْرِي فِي عَمَلٍ لَمْ أَقْبَلْهُ إِلَّا مَا كَانَ لِي خَالِصا
Hadith #8: Imam Sadiq (a) – Allah (swt) has said: I am the best of partners, so anyone who associates partners with me in any deed, I will not accept it unless it is done for me sincerely.
There are a number of traditions like this which say anyone who associates a partner in Allah’s worship, and brings an obstruction in their sincerity, their deed is not accepted by Allah – since it isn’t for Allah at the end of the day.
But what we need to know is that this association of partners is only problematic and against sincerity when it concerns the nature of the worship and deed itself. Let’s explain this a little – what do we mean?
Interference with one’s worship can happen in two ways:
1) Once it is when you are interfering with the very essence of that worship. So for example, you are meant to pray sincerely for God, but you alter your prayers a little, you make your recitation sound extra loud so others around can hear you, or you start to prolong your Sajda so people say wow this is such a great worshiper. Or maybe you want to do Amr bil Ma’ruf and enjoin someone towards the truth, but you wait for the right moment till people can all see you do it, and then you decide to do it – so you can win compliments in the eyes of people. Such interference directly impacts the worship itself.
2) But at other times, the interference has to do with something external and does not harm the essence of your worship nor your sincerity. For example, if you live in dorms and you need to pray – but your roommate is sleeping. For his comfort and so to not disturb him, you decide to pray in the living room – there is nothing wrong with that. Or you are outside and it is burning hot, so you decide to pray under the shade of a tree.
This type of interference does not harm the act of worship, because if you really pay attention, you’ll realize you are still praying for Allah – you aren’t praying for the comfort of this individual. Yes, you chose to pray in a different location or a different time so you don’t disturb or harm others or yourself, but that is different than you praying in front of others when you want to be show off through that very prayers itself.
Now through out these episodes, we’ve seen how important maintaining sincerity is in our actions and deeds, all of these are an elaboration and a commentary on that initial revelation Allah sent to Adam that all goodness is in 4 words. Now given its significance, we are also told by the Imams that someone who is able to maintain sincerity and perform an act without allowing the interference of anyone or anything else in their deeds, should know that this is itself great blessing from Allah (swt) – and this is exactly what we will expand on in the next tradition from Imam Sadiq (a).
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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.