Praise be to Allah and may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his family members, his companions and his lovers.
Thereafter, in this episode we will mention the characteristics of the sincere preachers.
As far as the previous statement has elucidated the importance of the sincerity and the value of intention, the preachers must be aware of the effectiveness of the sincerity and they should be conscious of the following facts:
First: The preachers should intend through their preaching the pleasure of Allah Almighty and to keep themselves far from various mundane purposes.
Second: Their all actions, works and social behavior should be according to the law of Allah (Islamic Shari`ah).
Third: They should account themselves frequently and on regular basis; they should ask themselves what actually they want from the invitation? And what they mean from their preaching and guiding the people to Allah?
Fourth: The preachers should check their actions whether their words coincide with their experience or not?
Fifth: They should be wary of the plots of devil, self-delusions, desires, charm of self-conceit and pitfalls of hypocrisy. (1) As these are the biggest traps and the greatest dangers for a Muslim.
Sixth: The preachers always should think positively about every Muslim and never should mistrust them or their actions, as was mentioned in the blessed Hadith that says: “There are some men who stayed in Al Madinah but they are with us wherever we march and whichever valley we cross. They have not joined you in person because of their illness.'' (I.e. they share the reward with us). (2)
If the inviters to Allah Almighty perceive these facts and become characterized with these qualities they can walk honestly in the way of Da`wah with pure intention and they will proceed sincerely in the path of invitation to Allah, eventually, Allah (Glory be to Him) will create reformation of human-being on their hands and people would be guided to the right path and their obligations would be fulfilled, rather, people would be influenced by them by the will of Allah and people will respond to their calls and they will accept the guidance of Allah (Glory be to Him) with their free choice and their mere independent will.
Why sincerity is necessary for the preachers?
Undoubtedly, the work of spreading Islam and returning Islam to lead the human life through its faith, law, moral values and civilization is a sort of worship that nears a person to Allah (Glory be to him). On the other hand, the preaching is a form of jihad in the way of Allah, so purifying the intention for Allah Almighty in that worship and in this Jihad is the basis of acceptance and success together. In fact, mixed intentions spoil the work, contaminate the soul, weaken the will and waste the reward, while, the sincere intention uprights the work, strengthens the determination, paves the way and helps to remove the obstacles. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “If they both wish for peace, Allâh will cause their reconciliation.” [Surat An-Nisa’: 35] This Verse denotes the importance of the intention or determination in accomplishing the desired goal, as intention is the original source that brings support and help of Allah Almighty for the preacher.
It was narrated that Salim ibn `Abdullah wrote a letter to `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz wherein he advised him saying: “You should know that help of Allah for His slave is according to his intention, if the intention is proper then the help of Allah for him is also proper, but if his intention is incomplete then the help of Allah for him is also incomplete accordingly.”
Due to this secret, Imam Al Bukhari has begun his book ‘Al Jame`a As-Sahih’ with the famous Hadith that has been regarded by some scholars of Islam as one third or one fourth of Islam: “Actions are based upon the intentions and each person gets only what he intends. So, whoever migrated for Allah and His Messenger then his migration will be for what he migrated for." (3)
Therefore, a Muslim working for Islam has to look in his heart and examine his intentions and motives if there is any share of devil or worldly desire, he should struggle to purify his heart from this share and he has to free his intention for Allah Almighty only and he should render himself purely to his Lord, as the wife of `Imran said as was quoted in the Glorious Qur’an: “(Remember) when the wife of ‘Imrân said: "O my Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services (free from all worldly work; to serve Your Place of worship), so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing." [Surat A’li `Imran: 35]. This word by the mother of Mary (free from all worldly work) suggests that Allah (Glory be to Him) does not accept any work but if it is pure of any share or worship of others.
Through deviant intentions, righteousness never could dominate the human life, without it no good could be spread, no word of faith could be raised and no flag of virtue could be fluttered. These sublime goals never could be achieved by the worldly and materialistic desires or through a dissembler who does not work but only to show the people or make them hear him or make them talk about him or who always tries to gain the praises of people. The truth, goodness, faith and virtue prevail only through the sincere people who espouse the principles faithfully to Allah and who expects only from Him and fears none but Him. (4)
A true preacher never runs behind the ambitions, his eyes are never snatched by the glitter of fame; his heart is never attracted by the power of wealth or influence. The materialistic world is neither his final goal nor the last destination of his knowledge, rather, his biggest ambition is to be accepted by Allah and to be included in His righteous slaves, His sincere soldiers and His successful group.
In this context, Imam Ibn Al Qayyim says: “Sincerity and love of the praise or thank or greed for people’s reward or appreciation could not get together in one heart just as the water and fire could not become together or the lizard and the Whale could not live together. If you seek sincerity then you must slaughter the greed first with the knife of purity and you must renounce all kinds of praise and all forms of appreciation like the lovers of the worldly interests who abandon the Hereafter totally, if you have slaughtered the instinct of greed successfully and if you have abstained from the praises and thanks of the people then the achievement of sincerity is easy for you.” (5)
Moreover, Al Ghazali says in his beautiful words that deserve to be written in golden letters, after he mentioned the trial of loving prestige or name and fame or praise of people, especially among the preachers and scholars, Al Ghazali says in this connection: “The most vulnerable people to this trial are the scholars, as the main motive for many scholars behind spreading the knowledge is to enjoy the pleasure of power or get the pleasure from his followers and have the benefit of the bliss of praise or appreciation, moreover, the devil deceits them and says: “Your intention is mere to spread the religion of Allah, you are struggling only for Shari`ah that was introduced by the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him). In addition to that, you will note that a preacher considers a favor to Allah when he guides the people or advises the kings and he feels pleasure when people accept his advice or become attracted to him, even though he thinks that his pleasure is only because of his support for the religion, at the same time if anyone among his peers comes to light who is better than him in preaching and Da`wah and if the people leave him and follow the new preacher then he becomes angry and upset. If the motive was the support of the religion of Allah then he should thank Allah Almighty who has appointed someone who supports his mission, yet, the devil does not leave him but adds: your anger and distress are only because the people have turned from you to someone else thus you were deprived of many rewards, as if the people were guided by your words you were rewarded for that, so your distress on your exclusion from reward is also a sort of good action. But the poor does not percept that his submission to Allah and surrendering to the will of Allah is always better, more worthy of rewards and more fruitful in the Hereafter.”
Undoubtedly, knowing the fact of sincerity and working accordingly is a deep sea, wherein everyone is drowned but rare , extraordinary, the exceptional and incomparable that was mentioned in the blessed Verse: [Iblîs (Satan)] said: "By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, except Your chosen slaves amongst them." [Surat Sa’d: 83] (6).
These words deserve to be comprehended by every preacher since these words penetrate into the depths of the souls and they address their secrets.
Perception of this goal is essential for every person especially for those who are engaged in the field of calling to Allah Almighty, a preacher may intend to correct the doctrine of the people or propagate the Shari`ah, or he may intend to restore the glory of the Islamic civilization or he may have similar other goals that he struggles to achieve, but the goal of the goals and the highest goal behind all this is gaining the pleasure of Allah Almighty.
In addition, by the will of Allah we will mention in the following episode the consequences of violating the rule of sincerity.
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family members and his all companions.
(1) School of the Preachers (Arabic): (136, 1).
(2) Reported by Al Bukhari: (4/31 Hadith No. 2839), Book of Jihad, Chapter on (Whoever has been kept from participating in an invasion because of any excuse).
(3) This reference has been mentioned before.
(4) The Intention and the Sincerity, (Arabic) p: (97-98).
(5) See: Importance of Sincerity, Book of ‘Mada’rij As-Salikin’.