O son, do you think you could pass this simple test from Imam Al-Haddad on sincerity?
One day one man came to see Imam Al-Haddad seeking his permission to build a masjid, which is a noble thing to do, no doubt. Imam Al-Haddad counseled the man.
"If your intention in building it is purely for the sake of God, then we shall not prevent you from building it, but if it is not, then do not build it!"
"My intention is pure," the man replied. The Imam continued, "Consider then, if you were to build it, expend much effort and spend much money, and then when it is completed, it is not attributed to you but to someone else, so that it is said: 'This is that man's mosque,' and it becomes known as such and you are never mentioned in connection with it, would you find your ego submitting to this?"
The man reflected briefly then said, "I do not see see my ego submitting to this."
[Meaning he is not going to be happy about it, if people did not acknowledge his effort]
Imam al-Haddad then commanded. "Leave it then, for your intention is not sincere."
Sufi Sage of Arabia - Imam Abdallah ibn Alawi al-Haddad
Publisher credit: Fons Vitae
p/s O son, we came across this story while browsing the book tonight and it reminded us of someone. She has been working with an organization for more than a decade and despite her dedication and commitment, none of her superiors bothered to recognize and reward her contribution. At times, she would feel a little sad, but she just kept doing her tasks and accepting her lot. Compare that with someone who receives instant attention and recognition for the wrong reasons, and compare that with someone who tries to claim credit for other people's works. Every now and then, we have got to pause and ask ourselves what is our goal and who is it that we are trying to please? May Allah keep our intentions pure for His sake and His sake alone. May He keep us on the Straight Path. Verily Allah is with those who are patient.