Question:

Towards the end of Surah Baqrah (~ayat 266). Allah talks about people doing good deeds and then boasting about it and how his/her deeds will be vanished. There are multiple ahadiths on this topic as well, especially the one about the pious person who will enter hell because he was doing things to show off to people. I have a question: how one can attain sincerity to Allah?

Answer:

All praise be to Allah.

Thank you sister for taking the time to write to us. Guarding and purifying one’s intentions purely for the sake of Allah is one of the most important actions, and not doing so, and showing off, was described by the Prophet alayhi as salam as minor Shirk, may Allah save us from that.

The advice I can give you is:

1.) Always bear in mind that nothing in the universe, no person or creature, can benefit you or harm you in any way save by Allah’s permission. Always know that if you please Allah, even if others are displeased with you, you will attain Allah’s pleasure.

2.) Try your best to do acts of worship in private, and conceal them from others. This will be more pleasing to Allah.

3.) Feeling good about your good deeds is part of the reward of doing them, but beware of others praising you. The Prophet alayhi as salam said, if one praises you, you should throw dust in his face, and some scholars even took this literally. Some ulema stated, this should be a reminder to them and you that they are harming you by this praise. Others said, it would be a reminder for them that we are all created from dust.

Finally, you can repeat the dua: Allahuma innee ‘audhubika an ushrika bika shayan ‘alamahu, wa astagfiruka li ma la ‘alamuh. Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from from making shirk with You while knowing, and seek Your forgiveness for that which I do not know.

May Allah help us attain sincerity in all of our actions.

And Allah knows best.