How is Ikhlas (sincerity) strengthened?

Details of the Question

How is ikhlas (sincerity) increased, obtained, strengthened and kept?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Ikhlas means to do everything for Allah.

To have the consciousness that Allah’s consent is the most privileged issue depends on knowing Allah, who is Rahman (the Compassionate), Rahim (the Merciful), Alim (the Knower of All), Hakim the All-Wise, Qadir (the Able) and Azim (the Great), closely.

To know Allah, who is the owner of Paradise and Hell, the only judge of the great court, who is everywhere with His endless knowledge and power, closely will make man travel between hope and fear. During this travel, man will deeply feel the necessity of obeying the orders and prohibitions of Allah, who is so great and  magnificent, who has so many boons and bounties, so much mercy and compassion, wrath and penalty and who owns Paradise and Hell in order to attain His consent.

Thus, the first condition of ikhlas is investigative belief.

The second condition is deeds of taqwa.

“A person should understand that what gains sincerity for his actions is his doing them purely because they are a divine command and that their result is divine pleasure, and he should not interfere in God’s business.” (Lem'alar,133)

The third condition is to remember death a lot and to think that the world is ephemeral and that he can die any time.

“Remember death a lot.” This hadith teaches us ikhlas and taqwa.

The following statement of Badiuzzaman is a nice answer to the question:

“O my companions in the service of the Qur’an! One of the most effective means of attaining and preserving sincerity is “contemplation of death. Yes, just as worldly ambition damages sincerity and drives a person to hypocrisy and the world, so the contemplation of death causes disgust at hypocrisy and gains sincerity.

That is, to think of death and grasp that this world is transient, and so be saved from the tricks of the soul.” (Lem'alar,163)

Man will keep his sincerity if he acts in accordance with the conditions mentioned above.

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