The Intention of the Bearers of the Quran
The teacher and the reciter should engage in the recitation of the Quran for the purpose of gaining the pleasure of God Most High. God Most High says, And they were ordered no more than to worship God sincerely, keeping religion pure for Him, being upright, to establish the Prayer, and to give obligatory charity. And that is the worthy religion (Quran, 98:5), [“worthy religion” here] meaning the undeviating creed.
It is related in the Sahihayn that the Messenger of God (God bless him and grant him peace) said, “Actions are only [valued] according to their intentions, and each person has only what he has intended.” This hadith is one of the foundations of Islam.
Ibn ‘Abbas (God be pleased with them both) said, “A man is protected only to the degree of his intention.” Another has said, “People are only given to the degree of their intentions.” We relate that the master Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayrl (God Most High grant him mercy) said, “Sincerity is to single out the Real [God] in obedience with full intention: meaning, through obedience, a worshipper desires only to draw near to God Most High — nothing else: not ostentation for the sake of others, gaining praise with people, loving praise from them, or something else that shows [an objective] other than drawing closer to God Most High.”
He said, “It is correct to say that sincerity is purifying the action from being observed by people.” Hudhayfa al-Mar‘ashl (God Most High grant him mercy) said, “Sincerity is the worshiper’s actions being identical in what is manifest and what is hidden.” Dhu’l-Nun (God Most High grant him mercy) said, “Three signs of sincerity are when praise and blame from the masses are equal; forgetting to see your involvement in deeds; and wanting reward for one’s action in the Hereafter.”
Al-Fudyl ibn Tyad (God be pleased with him) said, “Leaving an action for the sake of others is showing off. Acting for the sake of others is [a kind of] idolatry. Sincerity is God protecting you from the two.” Sahl al-Tustarl (God Most High grant him mercy) said, “The astute have looked into the meaning of sincerity and have found none other than this: that one’s motion and stillness, in what is secret and what is public, be solely for God Most High. He mixes nothing with it: not ego nor whim — nothing of this world.” Al-Sarl (God grant him mercy) said, “Do not do anything for the sake of others, and do not abandon anything for their sake. Do not cover anything for them, and do not reveal anything for them.” Al-Qushayri said, “The most superior truthfulness is when the secret and public are equal.”
Al-Harith al-Muhasibl ( God grant him mercy) said, “The truthful one is he who has no concern if the estimation people have for him were to depart from their hearts — so as to maintain the soundness of his own heart. He does not like people inspecting an atom’s weight of his excellent actions; but he does not mind people inspecting his evil deeds. If he were to dislike the latter, this would indicate that he loves greater esteem on their part, and this is not the proper behavior of the truthful and trusting saints (Siddiqin).” Another said, “If you seek God Most High through truthfulness, He would give you a mirror by which you could see every wonder of this world and the next.”
Source: Etiquette With The Quran by Imam An-Nawawi
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