Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)
Many people misunderstand Ikhlaas (Sincerity). They think that Ikhlaas means that no one should know about or see the person’s actions.
Ikhlaas does not mean to hide. It is to do solely for Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu, seeking His Pleasure alone.
The intention when undertaking any deed should be for Allah Ta’ala and not for show (Riyaa). Our hearts must be pure of all objectives except for Allah Ta’ala.
If we do for show, then Allah Ta’ala will say on the Day of Qiyamah: ‘Go to those who you showed off your deeds to, in the worldly life, then see if you can find any reward with them!’ ...Then all will be lost and our efforts will be in vain. May Allah Ta'ala protect us and protect our deeds.
Our Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would say: “For others to see one's action is not wrong, but for one to show (i.e. do out of Riyaa) is wrong.”
Hadhrat also presented the following example, by way of understanding:
"If Saudi Airlines is landing at the O R Tambo Airport and the captain, who is a Muslim, announces: “We are all Muslims, and have just returned from performing Hajj. Our plane has the best wheels in the world. No other airline has wheels such as ours. However, we will not show them to anyone. To show them will be boastful. So we will land without taking out the wheels!”
All will say: “Please keep your Ikhlaas – of that level – for Tahajjud or for Makkah Sharief, but here, please take out the wheels. If not, we will go up in flames.”"
Hadhrat would say that some people overdo their Ikhlaas – meaning they do not understand the reality of Ikhlaas, and thus seek to hide everything.
If Ikhlaas meant that no one should know of our A’maal (actions) or see our A'maal, then the Fardh Salaah would not have been made Waajib (obligatory) with Jamaat, nor would Hajj have been made Fardh. …Everyone would have been ordered to make their Fardh Salaah at home, hiding away.
Hajj would then not entail spending 5 days with millions of other Muslims, engaging in the rites of Hajj and other Ibaadaat openly.
There is a Hadith, wherein Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Perform Salaah as you see me performing Salaah.”
Regarding Hajj, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Take from me your rites.”
We learn how important it is to see - so that we can practise correctly.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) taught the Ummah practically all aspects of Islam. After him, the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhum) were the teachers of the Ummah, teaching us how to carry out our Ibaadaat – and this is Allah Ta’ala’s system, that to learn Dien, we have to see how our seniors practise on Dien.
We find in various narrations, the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu 'Anhum) showing others how to perform different acts of Ibaadah (worship), to teach them.
On one occasion, a Sahabi (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said to his companions: “Shall I perform Wudhu for you in the way that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would perform Wudhu?” He then took some water and performed Wudhu whilst they observed.
So in this manner, we learn Wudhu, Salaah, Hajj and so forth.
If everyone were to hide, then the practical side of Islam would be lost to us. We would be doing things based on our own understanding.
There is a need for the Sheikh or the Ustaadh to set an example : We learn from him by seeing his actions.
On one occassion, at our annual Jalsa, our Sheikh (Rahmatullahi 'alayh) was also present. After the Maghrib Salaah, the people were taking their places before the commencement of the Jalsa. Despite the huge crowd, Hadhrat Moulana, undeterred by the people around, performed his Awwabeen - tranquilly. This was his habit - and he did not forego his habit to hide it from the people.
Of course, in order for us to nurture and maintain sincerity and save ourselves from the tricks of nafs and shaytaan, we should try to keep our deeds, a secret from others, and hidden as far as possible. We should not make a show of what we do, nor should we unnecessarily and deliberately do our actions in front of people or talk about what has been done or is being done. This would then be Riyaa and a great sin.
After the demise of Zubaidah, the queen and wife of Harun Ar-Rashid, someone saw her in a dream and asked how she faired before Allah Ta’ala. She said that Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu had given her very high stages and great ni'mats of Jannah. The person asked if that was on account of all the social work she did in her life time. …Zubaidah had built a canal for the people of Makkah Sharief and had engaged in various great works. She replied: “No! On account of certain intentions which were hidden in my heart and no one knew of them!”
Imam Shaafi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said that every person should have certain ‘A’maal (actions) which are known to only Allah Ta’ala, even if these are Mustahab or Nafl! These secret good deeds will, Insha-Allah, help him tremendously on the Day of Qiyamah!
What has worth by Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu is sincerity! Imaan without sincerity is Nifaaq (hypocrisy), and A’maal without sincerity is Riyaa (show) – Shirk-e-Asghar, the minor Shirk.
There are so many extremes which we fall prey to. A person who is sincere thinks that he is not sincere, while a person who is a show-off makes his outward sincerity the cause and basis of his show and ostentation!
It is due to the inherent weakness of the nafs that a person should consult with his Sheikh, regarding his A’maal. This is for the purpose of Islaah. He should be honest in respect to his intentions when undertaking his deeds – because the nafs, by nature, wants to be credited and seeks attention also.
Alhamdulillah, our Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi 'alaih) explained and corrected us in regard to these matters.
May Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu guide us, give us the correct understanding, forgive us and grant us the reality of Ikhlaas. Aamien.
 Musnad Ahmad
 Sahih Bukhari