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5 tips on how to be more sincere

1. Rajab 1435

Salam Alaykum,

the past month had the theme of being more sincere. Due to me being a bit busier than I anticipated and less organised most of the posts in this series were written and posted over the last week, instead of being spread over the month.

In the post Sincerity, I went through the importance of being sincere and its definition, while in the post Aufrichtigkeit gegenüber Allah swt. I went over what it meant to be sincere to God and why we should be. He swt. is the light of the heaven and the earth, there is no other source of light except Him, so why waste this life trying to fill the void, the yearning in our life, when nothing can fill it except Him?  In Sincerity towards people,  I tried to explain that we as Muslims should feel a sincere care for our fellow human beings, I would even go further and say, that we have a duty towards the mental and physical well-being of all people. Allah swt. honoured the children of Adam, so why don’t we?

In this last post of this month, I’d like to go into some practical tips on how  one may become more sincere in ones actions.

1. Be conscious of Allah swt.

This is the goal, having Taqwa of Allah swt. in every action that we do, it is the way to ensure that we are sincere in our actions. Having in the back of our minds, that Allah swt. is there that we will meet Him and will be asked about how we spent every single breath in this life, even though He swt. already knows, He the most Just of Judges. Every single Prayer, every single supplication, every single act of Dhikr that we perform should remind us. The more we increase the acts of worship in our lives the more connected we become to the light.

2. Sincere Supplication

Supplication, Dua’ is the weapon of a believer in every situation. Allah swt. is the controller of our hearts. The Prophet saw. used to supplicate “Oh turner of hearts, keep our hearts firm on your religion” [Muslim] So why do we not turn and ask the One who controls our hearts to make us sincere in our actions. Umar ibn Al-Khattab ra. used to say: “Oh Allah! Make all of my actions for your sake only!”

3. Doing Actions privately

We as humans seek to be appreciated, to be praised for our actions, it makes us feel good, feel needed, of use etc. Praise is however poison to our intentions, we begin to do our actions because we want to be praised. Our intentions become corrupted, and we fall to the danger of our deeds not being accepted.

In a hadith, which is one of the ones that many people will know, regarding sincerity and one of the scariest. In this narration on the authority of Abu Hurairah ra. the Prophet saw. said, “Three categories of people will be the first to be thrown into Hell-Fire: a scholar who taught people merely to be praised as a scholar; a generous person who gave charity just to be called generous; and a person who participates in Jihad to be recognized as brave.”

Deeds that are done in private are more likely to be sincere, so let’s do more in private, when no one sees our long Sujuds, our tears as we make dua’ or our charity. As narrated in the Hadith of Abu Hurairah ra. among those 7 groups of people that are granted the Shade of Allah swt. on the Day of Judgement are “…a person who gives a charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand might not know what the right has given; and a person who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes well up.” [ Bukhari and Muslim]

4. Check your intentions

Check your intentions regularly, when beginning a task ask yourself who you are doing this for, for Allah or for the people. If there is doubt, then renew your intention right there and go ahead with the task with full confidence, knowing it is solely for Allah. If you are doing a task and you hear the whispers of Shaytan as people watch you, and you unconsciously make your prayer just a tiny bit longer. Renew your intention, and make it longer, as it was attributed to Imam An-Nakhai rah.“When Shaytan comes to you while you are in prayer and says: ‘You are showing off,’ make it longer.” It is his will that we abandon the task. When you have completed the task, ask Allah swt. for the acceptance of the task.

5. Make it  (the task) regular

Regularity is a sign that we are committed to an action, that we indeed value it, finding pleasure in obedience to Allah swt. in serving Him, as every action that is done for His sake is an ibadah, a worship. In a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah ra. the Prophet saw. said”The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire).” They said, “Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” He said, “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” [Bukhari] In another Hadith Aisha ra. was asked, “What deed was the most beloved to the Prophet?” She said, “The regular constant one.” [Buhkari]

Final “Word” and Tips

These are my tips to become more sincere. These posts are first and foremost for me, to remind myself, to learn and improve myself and I hope that they are of some benefit to you too, inshaAllah.

Some final tips from me, firstly don’t act different around people, whether they approve or not, whether it is to act more piously or less. Be moderate, that is what the religion teaches us, do things as you can and improve steadily, don’t overburden yourself. Take it easy, don’t be too hard on yourself, we all are work in progress.  Have resolve and be resolute in what you are doing and try to constantly ground yourself.

Abu Bakr ra., and with this I end this long post, used to supplicate: “Oh Allah, make me better than what they think of me, and forgive me for what they do not know about me, and do not take me to account for what they say about me.”

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

#Be more Sincere

Sources and further read:

OnIslam | MuslimMatters | IOU | Sunnipath | Muslimlinkpaper

5 Broken Cameras

5_Broken_Cameras

I finally watched it, I am ashamed to say, with all the opportunities I have had.
Muslims wherever they are, whether in the Philippines or in Palestine are close to my heart. So I ask myself if I am truly truthful, what have I done for them?

As Muslims we are told to be like a singular body, the Prophet saw. said:

“The similitude of a believer in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of a body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.”

So what if you were able to remove the pain somehow, or at least help to lessen it, wouldn’t you do whatever is necessary to relieve yourself of the pain? Wouldn’t you do whatever comes to your mind, even old house remedies, to reduce the sleeplessness and fever?

I ask myself, what have I done to relieve the aches in any of my limbs ? At this moment in time I’m asleep, I have forgotten the pain. I let it become worse and didn’t seek out any help, even though it was offered to me.

I have seen many clips and documentaries on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before, but 5 broken cameras is different. Different in that it gives us a view of the normal life of a family in Bil’in. We witness how the son (Gibreel) of the film-maker (Emad Burnat ) grows up, one of his first words being “wall” and “army”.

One of the most saddening parts of the film is when Gibreel (4 at the time) asks, “Daddy, why don’t you kill the soldiers with a knife?”. Emad tells us, “We all lose our childhood at one point.” We gain an insight into life in the village and their struggle through his lenses.

These are my brothers and sisters in Islam, Jibreel is just around a year older than my own little sister. I felt like crying at the loss of his innocence. I can’t imagine how hard it must be as a father to live through that and teach your child what it means to live and die.

Imagine your own brother, your sister, someone you feel close to, only know the inside of a cage. A cage which over the years continues to shrink more and more.

Whereas seeing the sea, is nothing special for us. Freedom, something we take for granted. We are not being killed or shot at by soldiers for trying to lay a claim on what is ours. We aren’t beaten up by settlers taking our land.

“Clinging to non-violent ideals is not easy, when death is all around you”, Emad tells us in his monotone voice, “When someone dies anger grows”. Especially when that someone is close to you, like Bessam Abu Rahmeh was to him.

“So I film to heal…It helps me to confront life.”

The film won a Sundance film festival award and was also nominated for an Oscar (Mar 2013).  I have a lot of respect for him and the Palestinian people in general. 

May Allah swt. give them strength,  an end to this struggle and Jannatul Firdaws to the martyrs.

May Allah swt. give me the strength and courage to stop being just a once in a while slacktivist and do something for change however small it is.

Amin.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman