In this eye-opening reminder, Shaykh Omar Suleiman (hafizhahullah) explains how, as Muslims, we should be beyond the pursuit of position, rank, status and wealth. He describes how Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab رضي الله عنه held a position of such high esteem with such humble character, how he ruled an empire but never forgot the One that rules the universe, how he was blessed with abundance in what Allah had given him but still never forgot that everything will be accounted for.
He knew that abundance is trial for us, just as is poverty. He saw the dunya for what it really is – and had the admirable quality of being able to treat it with the due significance.
How often do we indulge in feelings of self-worth and pride? How often does an act of worship become an act where we associate others with Allah ta’ala in our intentions?
It is for us to control our nafs, for the nafs is ever-encouraging. To do this, we must work on ourselves, we must work on the root of why we are doing what we are doing. We must not think that purifying our intention once shall suffice forever more – rather this is something that we must strive to do continuously. For Rasoolullah ﷺ said:
إنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ
[Verily, actions are by intentions]
This is an eloquent piece of advice which sounds simple but requires for us to really internalise. May Allah ta’ala bless us with the tawfeeq to humble ourselves before hHim, to not seek acceptance or admiration from the creation, to not do acts of worship for anyone other than Allah and to evaluate ourselves without arrogance and denial.
عَنْ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَبِي حَفْصٍ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ:
إنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إلَيْهِ
It is narrated on the authority of Ameer al-Mu’minin, Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say:
“Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.”
[Bukhari & Muslim]