Monday, March 24, 2014

Deeds & Intentions

"O God! Purify my heart of hypocrisy, my actions of pretense, my tongue of lies, and my eyes of deception. For You know all well the deception of the eye and all that is concealed in the heart."
~ Prophet Muhammad, Kanz al-Ummal of Ali al-Muttaqi
The Islamic definition of a good deed is any charitable act that is done in the Name of God free of all ulterior motives, specially the kind that involves raising oneself in worldly status without piety in heart. Now, if a person is genuinely rewarded by their peers for their deeds, there is no harm in accepting it. However, it is asked of us that we ourselves do not demand any such reward from the people. The deeds of charity that we do are to remain only between God and us. And the rewards we do not get in this life are awarded to us in the next. As Jesus Christ says during the Sermon on the Mount, Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6, Verses 1-4:
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving is secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
This is essential in the Islamic creed, that we are to remember whatever good deed we do is possible only because God has blessed us with the ability to do it. Hence, one should not long for a reward from the people but the Lord Who has allowed us to perform the act. Claiming full credit for a good and righteous deed without paying heed to the Existence of God is considered to be a form of worship that is not directed to the One Worthy of all Worship. Instead, it is as if the person has taken their own soul, their desire for fame, their ego and pride for worship. It is hidden polytheism for it raises the status of own self to the level of a deity, wrongfully, and, therefore, ultimately breaches the Testimony of Witness one utters to declare themselves a Muslim:
"There is no deity but God"
Through the aforementioned prayer, the Prophet Muhammad advises us to cleanse our souls of such hypocrisy and deception so that we may know without the Grace of God we are nothing, and without Faith our deeds are nothing.
"We are all infected and impure with sin, when we display our righteous deeds: they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind."
[Isaiah 64:6]
May God, Exalted is He, protect our hearts from the sin of hypocrisy, our tongue from the sin of treachery and lies, and our eyes from the sin of deception. Amen.

— Fahim Ferdous Promi

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