The Meaning Of Ikhlas (Sincerity)

What is the meaning of sincerity? And if someone intended his worship for other than Allah how was the law?

Noble Shaikh Muhammad bin Shalih Al Utsaimin answers:

Definition of sincerely

Ikhlas (sincerely) means that someone intends to devote his worship to Allah and reach out His heaven. If someone refers to worship for other than Allah, there are details as follows:


If with that worship he wants to taqarrub (get close) to other than Allah. And wants to seek praise from people. This makes the deeds useless and also he perform a shirk. In Sahih Muslim, the hadith of Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, he said that the Prophet Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam said:

قال الله تعالى: أنا أغنى الشركاء عن الشرك، من عمل عملاً أشرك فيه معي غيري تركته وشركه

Allah Ta’ala said:‘ I do not need the people of shirk of what they do. Whoever associates me with something else, I will leave him with his stand‘” (Narrated by Muslim 2985).


If the purpose of worship is to get benefits of dunya. Such as wanting to be respected, wanting to be in position, or wanting assets, not worshiping Allah, so this charity is in vain. And does not draw near to God at all. Based on the word of Allah Ta’ala:

مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لا يُبْخَسُونَ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Whoever wants the life of the world and its jewelry, surely We give them a reward for their work in the world perfectly and they will not be harmed in that world. These are those who have not attained in the Hereafter, except hell, and in the Hereafter they have tried in the world, and what they have done in vain? “(Surah Hud: 15-16).

The difference is the first with the second one, the first one he wants to be praised by others that he is an expert in worship. While the second he does not mean to be praised as worshipers.


If the purpose of worship is to taqarrub (get close) to Allah Ta’ala as well as goals of dunya. For example, someone who doing wudu in order to worship Allah and at the same time wants to clean the limbs. Or someone prays for worship as well as for practicing his body. Or people who fast for worship Allah as well as to lose weight. Also people who performing hajj for worship as well as seeing interesting places on which pilgrims pass. This reduces sincerity. But if the more dominant intention is for worship, the reward of worship is not perfect. But does not make it null and void due to the violation and negligence. As Allah Ta’ala said about pilgrims:

لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلاً مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ

There is no sin for you to seek the gift (sustenance) from your Lord” (QS. Al Baqarah: 198).

If the more dominant intention is for other than worship, then there is no reward for him, all he gets is only dunya value. Even feared that he would get sin. Because he has made worship, which should be the main goal, as merely an intermediary to get despicable worldly things. He is included in the word of Allah Ta’ala:

وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَلْمِزُكَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ فَإِنْ أُعْطُوا مِنْهَا رَضُوا وَإِنْ لَمْ يُعْطَوْا مِنْهَا إِذَا هُمْ يَسْخَطُونَ

And among them there are those who condemn (distribution) of zakat; if they are given a portion of it, they will be happy, and if they are not given a portion of it, they will immediately become angry ”(QS. At Taubah: 58).

Also in Sunan Abu Daud, the hadith from Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu:

أن رجلاً قال: يا رسول الله رجل يريد الجهاد وهو يريد عرضاً من عرض الدنيا. فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: لا أجر له. فأعاد ثلاثاً والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: لا أجر له

There is a man asking, O Messenger of Allah, there are people who go on jihad with the aim of getting worldly things, how is that? Prophet Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam said: ‘There is no reward for him ‘(he repeated these words to 3x)” (Narrated by Abu Daud 2516).

Also in Shahihain, the hadith from Umar bin Khattab Radhiallahu’anhu, the Prophet Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam said:

من كانت هجرته لدنيا يصيبها، أو امرأة ينكحها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر إليه

“Whoever doing hijra because of the purpose of the world, or to marry a woman, then the return of her migration is just what she is aiming for.” (Recited by Bukhari and Muslim).

If the intention of worship with non-worship intentions is of the same magnitude, this needs to be explored more. But what is right in my opinion, there is no reward for him as someone who intends to worship at the same time for other purposes.

The difference between the third type and the two previous types is in the two types before this, the intended non-worship destinations can be seen as a result. The final result of what he wants from his charity can be seen in the tangible results. As if he really wanted worldly things that became a consequence of the worship he did.

What is the benchmark?

If someone asks, what is the benchmark for measuring the dominant intention between intentions of worship and intentions other than worship? The answer, the measure is if he does not really care about anything other than worship this indicates that his intention is for worship, and vice versa. However, intentions are very serious words of heart as well as the danger of the case. Sometimes the intention of elevating people to the ranks of Siddiqin people, sometimes he threw them into the ranks of lowly Safillins. As part of the salaf says:

ما جاهدت نفسي على شيء مجاهدتها على الإخلاص

There is no inner struggle that is the most difficult for me to feel besides the struggle to be sincere“.

So we beg for Allah’s help for me and all of you, so you can give up your intentions and be able to do your deeds in the right way.


Source: Fatawa Arkanul Islam, fatwa 21.

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