Allah, the Almighty, said:

{Most verily, for Allah is the pure (devoted) religion…} [az-Zumar 39:3]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ"

Devotion is the purification of actions from all scum. It is of three levels:

الْإِخْلَاصُ: تَصْفِيَةُ الْعَمَلِ مِنْ كُلِّ شَوْبٍ. وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level involves:

  1. purging the actions from observing them225

  2. surviving the plight of demanding compensation226

  3. renunciation of contentment with one’s actions227

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى:

  1. إِخْرَاجُ رُؤْيَةِ الْعَمَلِ عَنِ الْعَمَلِ

  2. وَالْخَلَاصُ مِنْ طَلَبِ الْعِوَضِ عَلَى الْعَمَلِ

  3. وَالنُّزُولُ عَنِ الرِّضَا بِالْعَمَلِ

The second level:

  1. being ashamed of one’s actions while excelling

  2. topping off the effort while/by seeking refuge from watching it229

  3. seeing one’s actions with the light of tawfeeq as a generous gift from the Source of generosity

الدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ:

  1. الْخَجَلُ مِنَ الْعَمَلِ مَعَ بَذْلِ الْمَجْهُودِ

  2. وَتَوْفِيرِ الْجُهْدِ بِالِاحْتِمَاءِ مِنَ الشُّهُودِ

  3. وَرُؤْيَةِ الْعَمَلِ فِي نُورِ التَّوْفِيقِ مِنْ عَيْنِ الْجُود

The third level is purifying the action by escaping from the action:

  1. by allowing it to follow the guide of knowledge (the religious decrees)

  2. while you watch the hand of Allah (the universal decrees)

  3. being free from the captivity of all forms230

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: إِخْلَاصُ الْعَمَلِ بِالْخَلَاصِ مِنَ الْعَمَلِ

  1. تَدَعُهُ يَسِيرُ سَيْرَ الْعِلْمِ

  2. وَتَسِيرُ أَنْتَ مُشَاهِدًا لِلْحُكْمِ

  3. حُرًّا مِنْ رِقِّ الرَّسْمِ

225 By beholding their origin and creation by Allah and likening oneself to the leaves of the trees moved by the wind in whichever direction it blows. Ibn al-Qayyim says that observing al-jabr (determinism) here is good for the heart.
226 Serving God because He deserves our service and because His pleasure is our ultimate pursuit.
227 Whereby one would never see themselves good enough in their service of their Creator and Sustainer.
228 At-Tirmidhi reported from ‘Â’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her):

"سَأَلْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ  عَنْ هَذِهِ الآيَةِ‏:‏ ‏(والَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوْا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ‏)‏ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ أَهُمُ الَّذِينَ يَشْرَبُونَ الْخَمْرَ وَيَسْرِقُونَ قَالَ ‏"‏ لاَ يَا بِنْتَ الصِّدِّيقِ وَلَكِنَّهُمُ الَّذِينَ يَصُومُونَ وَيُصَلُّونَ وَيَتَصَدَّقُونَ وَهُمْ يَخَافُونَ أَنْ لاَ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ‏"

“I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about this âyah:

{And those who give that which they give with their hearts full of fear...} [al-Mu’minoon 23:60]

‘Are they those who drink khamr (wine, alcohol) and steal?’
He said, ‘No, O daughter of aṣ-Ṣiddeeq. They are those who fast, pray, and give charity while they fear that their Lord will not accept it from them:

{It is these who hasten to do good deeds, and they are the foremost of them.} [al-Mu’minoon 23:60]’”
229 As if you do the good deeds and perfect them, but beware of seeing that perfection—seeing it will spoil the perfection and could destroy you.
230 All the manifestations of His omnipotence and might in this dunyâ, including your own service, are but the manifestations of His omnipotence and might, so let your heart be attached to Him, not them.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj