Just as I thought I was preparing myself for a Halal High (Ramadhan version), I slipped. Sigh. I had to give myself a few days to get back on track.
What was it that went wrong?
Intentions. Sincerity. The lack of it.
I struggle with it, as we all do sometimes. Sure, we all start off good projects having pure intentions. The harder part is keeping to it. It’s just so easy to lose the plot when you have an audience. Because that’s when the “holier than thou” attitude kicks in. That’s when pride butts in. That’s when arrogance begins to show.
Alhamdulillah, I’ve been blessed with many fantastic ideas. I just love when this happens. I get into a kind of frenzy and start imagining the kinds of things I can do. I call it the ‘itch’. I simply cannot stay put until my awesome idea gets spread around. And because this has happened a dozen of times, I’ve noticed a pattern. These ideas almost never bloom into a complete reality. Some do, but I must admit that’s very few compared to the number of ideas I’ve come up with (that remain as theory). As I was contemplating on why I almost never accomplish what I really want, finish what I’ve started.. ,it all boils down to one factor: Sincerity (for Allah’s sake and not the people’s).
Not to boast or anything but yes, I’d been sincere in every project idea I’d developed. There’s always a good reason and cause behind every one of them, alhamdulillah. But maaan.., along the way, the lines get blurred and I am left with my wild imaginations and a different agenda altogether.
And you know what? It sucks having to leave something which could potentially bloom into an amazing project solely for the fear of letting my head get “bigger” than it already is. But when this lack of sincerity thwarts progress.. you know it’s a good sign. Thankfully I’ve learnt to leave something once my agenda sways off to another direction. It’s scary to think what would happen if I carried on, having insincere intentions, launching and running a project. I’d exhaust myself just trying to fit to people’s demands, suiting and constantly changing myself to suit their tongues, their tastes, their “preferences”. It would feel empty. Void of blessings.
You do know the feeling of being surrounded by Barakah, right?
Well then you’ll know when there’s none of that amazing stuff.
I mean, when your intention is only to please people, then Allah will give you just that. But then what’s next? You will always be forced to conform to what they want. And that margin always changes. And trust me, that void will always be there. It’ll grow inside of you.
This happens with small projects like the ones you and I do, as well as huge projects such as the ones carried out by organisations etc. They lose the plot too, sometimes. I’ve seen that happen way too many times.
In retrospect, I see sincerity as the good fuel which Actions run on. We know that in Islam, Intentions play a big role, and a correct intention weighs heavy on the scales, hence will bear fruits which we will see in the Hereafter. I’m sure we all know of that famous hadeeth reported by Saydina Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) who heard the Messenger of Allah, (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say;
“Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose hijrah was to Allah and His Messenger, then his hijrah was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose hijrah was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his hijrah was to what he made hijrah for.” [Agreed upon]
What’s amazing about this hadeeth is the place that it’s given in every book of religious knowledge. Some of what scholars have said about this hadeeth:
- Abdur-Rahman Al-Mahdi said that “Whosoever desires to author a book then let him start with the hadeeth to do with ‘actions are by intentions’.”
- Imam ash-Shafi’i that he said, “This hadeeth constitutes a third of all knowledge.”
- Imam Ahmad said, “The foundations of Islam are upon three ahadeeth and the first being the hadeeth of ‘Umar; ‘Verily actions are by intention’
- Ishaq ibn Rahawayah said, “The foundations of the religion are upon four hadith and the first being the hadith of ‘Umar, ‘Verily actions are by intention’
- Abu ‘Ubayd said, “The Prophet, (s.a.w.), collected all the affairs of the Hereafter in one statement, […] and all the affairs of this world in one statement, ‘Verily actions are by intentions.’ Place them in every chapter.”
- Abu Dawud said that “it suffices man that he knows from all these ahadith [in his Sunan] 4 ahadith, one of it being the hadeeth; ‘Verily actions are by intention’;
- Abu Dawud also said that Fiqh revolves around 5 ahadith, one of them being the hadeeth; Verily actions are by intention’. [source]
Let’s go back to what Allah has said; “That He may test which of you is best in action” [Al-Qur’an 67:2]. Fudayl ibn ‘Iyadh added a comprehensive comment on this verse; “Who is sincere in it and correct in it. And the action, if it is sincere and not correct then it is not accepted. And if it is correct and not sincere then it is not accepted. It is only accepted when it is both sincere and correct. And it is sincere when it is for the sake of Allah, and correct when it is done according to the Sunnah.”
Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal. I look back and thank Allah for the countless times when He caused me to not feel good in my heart despite the action being good, and for putting it in my heart the strength to discontinue the action right away. He gives me time to renew my intentions. To fix them. To get back on track.
I’m aware that some of these projects had other factors that may have contributed to its “failure”, such as lack of financial support, lack of talent and the growing enemy in me: procrastination. But the foundation of it, the main factor, was sincerity. It was what it began with; so it’s downfall is due to the lack of it or the corruption of it.
And by sincerity I mean for the Allah’s sake alone.
With this, I have one request to make. Every time you dear reader, happen to gain something good from reading this blog, in some way, shape or form, please do not let it stop there. Make duaa’ for me- that I be steadfast in prayer and in my deen. And that I be granted what is good in this world and the Hereafter. Jazaakumullah khayran. Know that your making duaa for me results in the angels praying the same for you too ;))
By the way, I like to keep things raw and I love going with the flow. I do realise that I have Ramadhan Lessons 1 and 2 in separate postings but 3-6 in one and there’s no 7 (not because I didn’t learn anything, but the mere fact that I did not write anything down that day), and this one’s Ramadhan Lesson 8. So yes, we’ll see what happens with this “collection”, can we say that? Also, to honour this subject at hand, I will tell you the reason why I’m keeping this raw; with ‘holes’ and all (missing posts and other flaws that might emerge within them). I want every post to be meaningful inshaAllah. So when I look back, only I know the reason why this had 4 days’ of lessons combined into 1, for example. Or why this one’s got this particular topic summed up in only 2 lines while the other is written like a research essay (lol as if!). Maybe I’ll dedicate a post on how and why I came about with this Ramadhan Lesson porject, inshaAllah. I don’t want to promise anything yet, you know what happens when I promise something.. it doesn’t always get fulfilled on time ;P
No but seriously. I am only human. So forgive me for my errors and unfulfilled promises. Please let me know if I have with you, a debt unsettled! Thank you x
p/s: We’re already approaching the 9th day of Ramadhan? How quickly time passes! o.O Slow down, ya Ramadhan… :(