In the second session of the Leadership Legacies we concluded our first prophetic leadership quality: Integrity. We focused on the importance of trust and sincerity and how we can work on perfecting our intentions, as well as the signs of sincerity.
For any action to be accepted by Allah, it must fulfil 2 conditions:
- The intentions behind our actions must be sincere
- Our actions have to be in line with the Quran and sunnah
Some of the signs of sincerity we discussed in the session include:
- The one who perfects their duties in private
A sincere person worships God privately in the same manner he worships publicly. Sometimes, he even worships better when in seclusion so that he does his best to please Allah alone. For example, if we were to lead prayer, would our recitation exceed the recitation we do in our private prayers? We need to be mindful of this and align our private selves with our public selves.
We were reminded of the story of Abu Bakr RA. Who one day Umar RA silently followed to see what he was doing. He saw Abu Bakr enter a house and spend some time in the house and then leave. Umar RA then entered the house and he found a blind lady living there. He asked the lady what the man (Abu Bakr) was doing there and she replied he helped her with household chores and cooked for her. He then asked if he knew who the man was, to which she replied that she didn’t.
- They Dislikes Being Praised
Because of their connection with Allah, they are afraid of being praised, as they are wary of it interfering with their intention. If we are praised by others, it can be easy to forget that ultimately, we are seeking the approval of Allah and need to pray that our actions are accepted by Him. We linked this to the concept of becoming a ‘YES man’, someone who says yes to people just to make them happy (or rather they are scared to say no) and therefore may no longer be doing that action for Allah. That being said, it is important to praise others when you know that praise will not interfere with their sincerity. It is said that “if a believer is praised his faith grows in his heart” [al Tabarani].
- The one who is constantly mindful of their shortcomings and listens to advice
A sincere person is always busy thinking of how to better themself and stop committing sins. In the session we talked through the Johari Window model used for personal reflection and how, in order to improve ourselves we should be constantly reflecting on our own intentions and actions. This includes seeking the feedback of others and asking Allah that He reveals our shortcomings to us so that we are able to improve. The ability to give good advice and feedback is a skill we all need to develop so that we are able to not only improve ourselves, but also help those around us grow.
SubhanAllah, Prophet Muhammad SAW, the most beloved of All, would constantly make dua for forgiveness and guidance and despite being the best of us all, was always mindful of his shortcomings.
“If a person were wise, his concern over his own sins would distract him from seeing the fault of others” (Imam Shafi’i)
When making intentions, of course the best of intention is to do something for the sake of pleasing Allah, so that we are able to enter Jannah and one day meet our Lord. However, our intentions do not need to stop there. If we make our intentions high and lofty, Allah will aid and support us to achieve our goals if we are sincere.
- 1st person – learns Arabic to understand Quran to get closer to Allah (completely valid intention)
- 2nd person – exact intention as above but additionally adds ‘I can assist other people, teach other people Arabic, translate Arabic literature into English, attend Madinah university etc’
Whilst both intentions are amazing, the 2nd person has a much bigger plan behind their action and if sincere, Allah will make it easier for that person to achieve it.
So it is important we develop our intentions, particularly our intention for being apart of Charity Week. We need to think about why unity is pleasing to Allah and how we can use this project to develop ourselves into better Muslims so that we are able to serve our communities better and become closer to Allah.
Finally, we discussed ‘trust’ and what it means to be trustworthy. We talked about how we should aim to be knows as trustworthy and dependable by the people around us, just like Prophet Muhammad SAW was known as As-Sadiq and Al-Amin by the people of Makkah. We all know people in our lives that are extremely reliable and when they offer their help and support, they always come through. This is something we all need to work towards. Before we make commitments to others we need to consider, do we have the ability (time, skill, money) to follow up on that commitment? The last thing we want is for us to fall short on these commitments we’ve made to others, as we do not want others to think our words and promises are just empty.
We also need to break the habit of lying, whether that be white lies or just excuses that aren’t truly valid. It is a habit many of us are desensitised to and when we do it, we feel little remorse. We need to be more conscious of this and ensuring our words are truthful and by purifying our words it will be a way of insha’Allah purifying our hearts.
May Allah make us amongst the sincere and truthful so we can be amongst those who have true integrity of character!