The definition of Ikhlaas
Ikhlaas means to have the intention of only Allah in one's acts of obedience. The motive must be only the Proximity and pleasure of Allah. This motive must not be contaminated with personal motives of gain or the pleasure of others
The nature of Ikhlaas
The moral guidance furnished to mankind by the sacred Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) attains fulfillment, in our humble view, in the teaching of Sincerity (Ikhlaas in Actions) and Lillahiyat (Single-minded Devotions). Or, in other words, sincerity and single-minded devotion t Allah mark the culminating lesson of the Book of Morality, and the highest stage of moral and spiritual advancement.
What Ikhlaas and Lillahiyat denote, in short, is that every good deed should be performed for the sake of Allah and for his propitiation, i.e., so that our Lord and Master might be pleased with us and bestowed his good graces and we remained safe from His indignation
The Holy Prophet ((صلي الله عليه وسلم)) has stressed that single-minded devotion is the most essential part-the inner reality – of all good and virtuous acts and behaviour. Should the apparently good deeds and morals be bereft of the spirit of sincerity and soundness of intention and prompted by any other urge, desire of motive, apart from the seeking of Devine good pleasure and reward, such as, the earning of good name, they would carry no merit in the sight of earning of Allah.
To put it differently, the countenance of the Lord and the reward of the Hereafter that are the real fruit and outcome of all good deeds and ought to be the chief aim and objective of all believing men and women are not gained simply on good-doing, but when these acts, also, are performed with the intention of earning the favour of Allah and the reward of the hereafter. It could, of course, mot be otherwise, for do we not follow the same principle in our own affairs? Suppose anyone serves us devotedly and does all sorts of things for our comfort, but, somehow, we realise that there is mo sincerity in his heart and his attachment and dutifulness are motivated by a selfish desire, will it make a favourable impression on us? The same is the case with Allah with the added difference that while we do not know what in hidden in the hearts, Allah in presents everywhere, at once, and sees all things. Thus, He only accepts the deeds of bondsmen who perform good and virtuous acts for His sake and confers His blessings on then. And the full display of His Mercy and Benevolence will take place in the Hereafter, which is the place of Final Requital. On the contrary, those who practice virtue and do good deeds to make a name or with a similar purpose may gain their objects in this world, but they will remain deprived of the beneficience of the Lord and it will be made wholly manifest on the Last Day.
Of fundamental significance, in this regard, is the well-known saying of the Prophet: Actions are but judged according to the intentions." we have placed it at the head of the present book along with detailed explanatory note. It will be unnecessary to go over it here, once again, but a few other Traditions of a like nature are reproduced below.
The benefits of IkhlaasNo matter what type of righteousness an act may be and no matter how little it may be, if it is accompanied by Ikhlaas, it will be permeated with barkat even if there is no helper. Thawaab will increase in proportion to the degree of Ikhlaas.
The secret is the degree of Ikhlaas. The Ikhlaas in the sahaabah is far superior to the Ikhlaas in others. Their reward is in terms of their sincerity and love.
The highest stage of Ikhlaas is the rendering of an act for the sake of only Allah Ta'ala, creation having absolutely no connection in one's motive. A lesser degree of Ikhlaas is that the act is rendered to please people but it was not motivated by any desire for worldly gain. The motive was merely to please others. The third degree of Ikhlaas is to render an act without having any motive. The motive is neither the Deen not the world. This too is Ikhlaas, i.e. the non-existence of riyaa (show).
Allah Regards What Lies In The Hearts
ان الله لا ينظر الي صوركم واموالكم ولكن ينظر الي قلوبكم واعما لكم
It is related by Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: "Allah does not regard your fine visages or wealth, but of your hearts and deeds." (Muslim)
It shows that Devine favor or acceptance does not depend on anyone's form and figure or wealth, but on the state of his heart and mind. Allah judges and requires only on the basis of our motives and intentions.