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Acts of Heart Part 4   Keep in Mind that there are Three Levels of Intention


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Part 4


Keep in Mind that there are Three Levels of Intention

When monitoring the acts of your spiritual heart, be aware of your personal intention for each action that you are about to carry out.  Don't settle for less than the best intention.  If need be, delay your act until the best intention is sincerely in your heart. Ask Allah to make your intentions pure.  If this is difficult for you, then consider whether there is an alternative act that would please him more and come more sincerely from your heart.

Level  (1) The deed is done only with an eye to gaining some worldly benefit, such as a person who leads people in Prayer just to get money. This person has committed a sin.

The Prophet  () said:

"Whoever learnt knowledge by which the Face of Allah is sought, but does not do so except for attaining a goal of this world, (he) will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection." (Abu Dawud)

Level (2) The deed is done for pleasing Allah as well as for gaining some worldly benefit. This person's belief and sincerity may be decreased through performing this deed with mixed intentions, such as when a person goes on hajj for the sake of trade at the same time as performing his obligatory [or optional] hajj. This person's reward is based on his sincerity in the eyes of Allah.

Level (3) The deed is done for Allah only but the person accepts, in good conscience, money or something else to help him perform this deed, for example accepting gas money to get to and from the place where he is to lead the Prayer. This person's reward is complete and what he took in exchange does not have a negative  effect.

The Prophet  () said:

"That for which you are most entitled to take a wage is the Book of Allah." (al-Bukhari)


Know that the People who are Sincere in their Deeds are on One of Three Levels.

Again, examine the acts of your heart (Part 1) in each case and seek Allah's pleasure in becoming the most beloved of his servants.

1)    Those who do good deeds solely to get rewarded by Allah —or out of fear of being punished by Allah. Know that good deeds are rewardable, but that motivation out of fear is the lowest level of sincere intention.

2)    Those who do rewardable deeds out of being grateful to Allah and desiring to obey Him. This is the midway level of sincere intention.

3)    Those who do obligatory actions, or any other preferred or allowed actions, out of love and glorification of Allah. This is the level of the Siddîqîn (the truthful ones) and it is the highest level of sincere intention.


Purifying the Heart: Stand Ready for Repentance

Keeping the heart pure means being ready to repent of anything connected with a less than the most sincere intention to please your Lord.  It is obligatory that one repent immediately after realizing one's mistaken deed or faulty intention.

One must not become discouraged at his inability to stamp out his wrongdoing once and for all. Rather, we must simply accept the fact that committing sin is a part of our human design.

The Prophet  () said:

"Every son of Adam repetitively commits sins, and the best of those who repetitively commit sins are the ones who often repent." (al-Tirmidhi)

He  () also said: 

"If you weren't to commit sins, Allah would have wiped you out of existence and replaced you by another people who would commit sins. They would ask forgiveness from Allah and He would forgive them." (Muslim)

The real problem for us is in keeping the acts of our spiritual hearts pure and free of the black marks which we can so easily accumulate when we persist stubbornly in committing sins and when we delay in seeking repentance for them. An ongoing 'maintenance' of our hearts is crucial.

Satan wishes to ensnare mankind by tempting us, most especially to fall into any  of the following pitfalls. He prefers for us the most sinful, first and foremost, and, if he is unsuccessful in that, then he tries the next most serious, and so on.


Look Out for these Seven

Keep in mind these seven, which are listed in descending order from the most serious sins to the lesser:

1)    Associating partners with Allah in polytheism/idolatry (Shirk) and disbelief (Kufr) in the universal sovereignty and exclusivity of our Creator and merciful Lord

2)    Innovation in religion (Bid'ah) and leaving off from the way of the Prophet () and the way of his Companions

3)    Committing the greater sins (Kaba'ir) 

4)    Committing the lesser sins (Sagha`ir)

5)    Inciting to an overabundance of the allowed things

6)    Inciting to do certain acts of obedience when there are other acts more obligatory and greater in reward

7)    Inciting the devils of men and jinn to annoy and bother the Muslim


We continue in Part 3 with the seriousness of wrongdoing, its effect in weighing down and blackening our spiritual hearts, the effect of repentance in cleaning the heart, and how to be clear regarding the sincerity of one's repentance.


for more Islamic articles please visit Firdaws Academy


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