Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
Eid Ul Adha is next week and we still have a few more days left of the most blessed days in the year: the first ten days of dhul hijjah.
I’ve really been enjoying the following videos on dhul hijjah by Sheikh Haitham Al- Haddad. Check them out inshaAllah:

For me, just like during the last ten nights of Ramadan, in these blessed days I find myself curious as to how other Muslims are utilising these moments for multiple reward. If I see that a sister is paying more attention to her character, I feel compelled to also work on my own. If I find a sister reading more Quran, I feel guilty at the amount I am reading and try to race to catch or even surpass her own amount. It is this type of competition that is halal and recommended amongst the Muslims. And I don’t know about you, but I find that when I compare myself to sisters who are better than me and do more good deeds than I do, then it pushes me to do more.

In contrast, there is a type of competition that I see amongst the Muslims which can destroy any good works and destroys the heart.
Let me tell you something I heard in a lecture once. The Sheikh was talking about sincerity. He asked how do we know if someone is sincere? And he gave the example of two sheikhs. One sheikh, Sheikh A has been giving a circle to his students regularly for some time. The students have benefited immensely. Another sheikh, Sheikh B starts another circle not far from the location of the previous talk. Some of Sheikh A’s students leave his circle and instead start attending the dars of Sheikh B.

Now, if Sheikh A would start to feel angry/upset that his students have gone to another Sheikh for knowledge this is a clear indication that there was a problem in his sincerity to begin with. But if Sheikh A feels happy that his students are also learning and benefiting from someone else, then this is a clear sign of his sincerity.

I give the above example, because we should compete to do as many good deeds as possible. But if we start to feel sadness and envy in our hearts because a sister has gone to another sister for advice. Or sisters leave one circle to go to another then there was a problem in our sincerity.
I think it is a shame if all the ajr (reward) that could have been accumulated has been lost because our sincerity was absent.

If we remind ourselves that something is for the sake of Allah, then it wouldn’t matter if so-and-so sister sets up a circle in the same location as ourselves. We wouldn’t feel jealousy in our hearts if sisters gravitate towards one particular sister and not us. We would be over joyous if another group of brothers and sisters set up a project similar to our own. Its all about intention.

So, here is the litmus test: next time one of the above situations occurs, see how you feel and that should give you some indication as to whether you are sincere. And truly Allah knows what our hearts conceal. If you find that there are negative feelings when there should be positive ones – happy for the sake of Allah, then perhaps its time to take a break and focus on your intention and sincerity.

Wasalamuu alaikum

Umm Raiyaan