How Does One Attain Sincerity?
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
from Al-Fawaa’id [218-219]
cannot coexist in a heart that contains the love of praise and commendation and
the yearning to possess that which is owned by the people save in the manner
that fire and water or a lizard and fish may coexist.
If your soul directs
you to seek sincerity then first turn your attention towards your yearning and
slaughter it with the knife of renunciation. Then turn your attention towards
praise and commendation and forsake it with the asceticism of those who loved
the world for the sake of the Hereafter. When your slaughtering of your yearning
and the renunciation of praise and commendation becomes firm then attaining
sincerity will become easy for you.
it is asked: what may facilitate the act of slaughtering ones yearning and
renouncing the love of praise and commendation?
I would reply: as
for slaughtering your yearning then this is made easy by you having certain
knowledge that there is nothing that one would desire except that its treasures
are in the Hand of Allâh alone and none has power over it save Him. There is no
one who may bestow these things to a servant except for Allâh.
for renouncing the love of praise and commendation then this is made easy by
your knowing that there is no one who can praise you such that it would benefit
you, or censure and vilify you such that it would harm you save Allâh alone.
This is what occurs in the hadîth in
which the Arab said to the Prophet ,
“my being praised is adornment and my being vilified is disgrace,” to which
said, “that is (for) Allâh.”
[Reported by at-Tirmidhî [no. 3266] with a sahîh
isnâd from Barâ‘a bin Āzib (RA).]
renounce the praise of one whose praise cannot beautify you and the vilification
of one whose censure cannot disgrace you! Instead desire the praise of the One
whose commendation contains perfect beauty and the One whose censure contains
total disgrace. This cannot be attained except after patience and certainty for
when there is no patience and certainty then you are like one who wished to
traverse an ocean without a vessel to carry him!
patient! Indeed the Promise of Allâh is true and let not those who are devoid
of certainty discourage you from conveying (the message).” [al-Rûm (30):60]
have made from amongst them leaders, guiding under Our Command when they were
patient and believed in Our Signs with certainty.” [al-Sajdah (32):24]