Honest to God

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Honest to God

Honest to God

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“Truly my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” (6:162)

Ikhlas, or sincerity, is not only a noble character trait, but it is also very important in the practice of our faith. It is a quality that shows high spiritual refinement and devotion to Allah (SWT), and it is something we should all aspire for in our everyday living. Ikhlas literally means "the purity" or "the refining” of our speech and actions solely based on the love for Allah (SWT). We practice ikhlas because of our love and gratitude to Allah (SWT) rather than wanting rewards from him, or for the sake of pleasing ourselves or others.

Doing good deeds is pleasing to Allah (SWT). However, we must be mindful that when we do good, we can sometimes feel pride, or ujb (self-love), and even commit riyaa, showing off. Good deeds are considered even more special and more pleasing to Allah (SWT) if we do them for His sake alone and keep them hidden. Doing good deeds in secrecy protects us from showing off, which can cause us to lose the reward of that effort. After all, Allah (SWT) sees everything in our hearts. In the noble Qur’an we are told, “And whether you hide what is in your breast or reveal it, Allah knows it…” (3:29). In our first story, “Mom’s Secret,” Amin discovers his mother’s secret ibadah (worship) in the middle of the night and learns that keeping some things private between you and Allah (SWT) is super special.

Our second lesson is that we should not worship Allah (SWT) just because we want something from Him. Our ibadah should not be self-focused and transactional, meaning that we worship because we want something in return. Rather, we should worship Allah (SWT) because He deserves to be worshipped. In our second story, “A Special Cake,” Amira embarks on baking Shireen’s favorite cake to gift it to her during Ramadan. Amira realizes that when we love someone, we do what pleases them in the same way that we fast because we love Allah (SWT).