Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn, and all that exist). He has no partner. And of this, I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims. (Qur’an, 6:162-163)

In defining Ikhlas (sincerity), Al-Jurjani said it is not to seek any audience for your deeds other than Allah.

Allah said: “Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an, 67:2)

Commenting on this verse, Al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyaadh said, “It is those deeds that are most correct and most sincere.”

The students asked, “What are deeds that are correct and sincere?”

He replied, “If a deed is done sincerely, yet is not done correctly, it will not be accepted. And if a deed is done correctly, but not sincerely for Allah, it will not be accepted. It must be done sincerely and correctly. Sincerely – for Allah alone. Correctly – in accordance with the Sunnah.”

What contradicts Ikhlas
Riyaa’ – to perform an act of worship with the intention of showing it off to people, seeking their praise.

Sum’ah – verbal statements that a person makes for the sake of people. An example of someone making ballooned talks just so others will think highly of him.

‘Ujb – when a person becomes impressed with the ‘great’ deeds he has done.

All these are viruses that can kill our deeds and turn them against us on the Day of Resurrection.

Ya’qoob Al-Makfoof Rahimahullah used to say, “The sincere one is he who hides his good deeds in the same way that he would hide his bad.”

Insincerity is something very dangerous and can lead a person to ruin.

Ibnul Qayyim Rahimahullah said, “Deeds without sincerity are like a traveler who carries dirt in his water jug. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit.”

May Allah make us all from those whose deeds are done in accordance with the Sunnah, deeds that are done sincerely for His sake alone.