For His Sake

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

A week or so before my departure, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus began a series of classes on Imam Al Ghazali's book Ayyuhal Walad. Alhamdulillah, I had the opportunity to attend the first two lessons, I believe, but it troubled me that I would miss the rest of the classes as he mentioned in the introductory lesson that we would learn why some people might spend their lives doing good works yet they would not be accepted by Allah.

For some time, I worried about what he said as I wondered which pursuits would engage my time and what would prevent them from being accepted by Allah. Surely, anything unacceptable to Him cannot be part of one's life ambitions, yet even doing good had the potential of being weightless. Sometime since then, the obvious key (at least as I see it, but then I really should listen to the recordings to find out) behind his words were illumined for me, al hamdu lillah wa ash shukru lillah.

My father always says, "You're either doing something that is pleasing to Allah or pleasing to Shaytan, so choose that which is pleasing to Allah." But what is pleasing to Allah? It is not only to do that which is good, but it is to do that which is good for His sake alone. Hence my love of the words, "It's about Allah, and nothing else."


A co-worker recently suggested that my commitment to additional work was mutually beneficial. I understood how it would benefit others, but I curiously asked her how it would benefit me. She told me that it would look good on my employee record. I wondered, then, how many others care what their employee records say. It seems it is not sufficient for one to only do his best but he also seeks comfort in knowing that those who have the power to praise or criticize him see him as an asset. Perhaps this is because it is nice to feel valued or perhaps it is because for some it could be the difference between having a home and living on the streets.

But what about our life-long record which is compiled by angels at the command of the Lord of all that exists? Where is our concern for its contents?

وَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِىَ كِتَـٰبَهُ ۥ بِشِمَالِهِۦ فَيَقُولُ يَـٰلَيۡتَنِى لَمۡ أُوتَ كِتَـٰبِيَهۡ
But as for him who is given his record in his left hand, he will say: Oh, would that I had not been given my book. 
(25:Al Haaqqah-69)

The greater understanding, as I see it, is to know that Allah alone is our provider. We do not depend on others for our sustenance nor do we work for their pleasure. We depend on Allah alone for each and everything and we act for His sake alone. Is this not part and parcel of what it means to be a Muslim? We cannot fear that we will miss anything as nothing will come to us except that which He wills. 

 ما شاء الله كان و ما لم يشأ لم يكن و لا حول و لا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم
Whatever Allah wills will be, and whatever He does not will will not be, and there is no power or might except with Allah the Most High, the Great.


Living our lives in isolation makes it easier for us to remember to adorn our acts with worthwhile intentions, for the sake and pleasure of Allah alone. It is easier to submit our affairs to Him and to affirm His complete control over the dominions of the Heavens and Earth. The greater difficulty, I find, is understanding "for the sake of Allah" in relationships where expectations are seemingly intrinsic and the potential for disappointments are great. But that is another topic for another day, inshaAllah.

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]