بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Being Muslims, we have been taught, advised, told and reminded that we need to have the correct intention in everything that we do. To get the best of rewards, we need to do everything for the sake of Allah.
When we seek knowledge, we seek knowledge for the sake of Allah swt.
When we teach, we teach for the sake of Allah swt.
When we go to work, we go to work for the sake of Allah swt.
When we get married, we get married for the sake of Allah swt.
When we love, we love for the sake of Allah swt.
When we live and die, we live and die for the sake of Allah swt.
However, several events and happenings around the world recently have made me thought and pondered about how the concept of “for the sake Allah swt” has been wrongly portrayed by some. It has been misrepresented and misunderstood.
At the global level, we have the ISIS group who are attacking, kidnapping and killing innocent people, claiming they are doing them for the sake of Allah swt. We have Boko Haram which have abducted and killed thousands of civilians, seeking the establishment of an Islamic state with their belief that what they are doing is for the sake of Allah. We have the Taliban who deny the rights of freedom, education and of women’s rights because they believe this is based on Islam and it is for the sake of Allah swt.
At the society level, we have people, especially youth, who support and would like to join ISIS and other extremist groups because they perceive, this is a noble act and it is their sacrifice for the sake of Allah swt. We have Muslims who hurt, curse and insult non-Muslims, because they think that such act is necessary, they are doing it in the name of Islam and for the sake of Allah swt.
At the family level, we have fathers who left their wives, children and family members without any proper and sufficient essential nafkah, such as food, money and clothing, for months, to the extent that the family becomes starving and forced to seek help from other people, because these fathers are in a da’wah mission to other places and to them, the family has to understand, they are doing a noble course for the sake of Allah. We have husbands who beat their wives and children so harshly because they believe this is the way to tarbiyyah the wives and children, for the sake of Allah swt.
While at the individual level, a person is trying to exercise the principle of “for the sake of Allah”, but is not sure how. Does it mean “I’m serving my community for the sake of Allah therefore it’s okay for me to neglect my family”? Does it mean “I detach my heart from the natural humanly feelings and love towards my husband, as I think I need to love him for the sake of Allah swt”?. “How should live, love and die for the sake of Allah swt be manifested?”. “Does it go together with other intentions, a dichotomy of some sort or should there be a hierarchy of importance?”.
Meanwhile, some non-Muslims who do not have a clear perspective of Islam, freely condemn and insult Islam as well as Muslims, on the news media, social network and the Internet, bearing in their mind the misconception that Islam is an evil religion because the Muslims (though not all) go for war, create chaos, kill people and destroy peace blindly for the sake of Allah swt.
Reviewing all these happenings and questions, I feel that Muslims, especially the scholars, need to dive deeper into the principle and concept of “for the sake of Allah swt”, not only its surface. A person may say “I’m doing this for the sake of Allah swt”, yet it is actually totally in contrast to the actual, pure teachings of Islam, Prophet Muhammad saw and what have been commanded, taught, required and revealed by Allah swt.
From my experience learning about the teachings of Islam, I often hear talks on the importance of doing actions for the sake of Allah, scholars explaining the beauty, blessings and benefits of doing actions for the sake of Allah swt and calls for Muslims to correct their intentions for the sake of Allah swt in doing anything. But how do Muslims execute this? How do Muslims ensure that their actions are the right ones, hence for the sake of Allah swt? I mean what are the guidelines? Are there any phases or steps to be taken towards achieving it? Is it enough that we just say it in our heart “this is for the sake of Allah” and that’s it? Is it enough to just generally say to another Muslim “Well, as long as your actions are not against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, then you intend them for the sake of Allah swt, hence you’re doing okay”?
I’m not a scholar of Islam. I consider myself a layman, an average Muslim and always a learner. And because of this, I feel that, at this time of confusions, misconceptions, misrepresentations coupled with the spirit of Muslims in search of meaning, clear guidelines and enlightenment, I believe some kind of framework or flowchart need to be constructed so that Muslims can execute the principle and concept of “for the sake of Allah swt” properly and in the right way. This can also be a reference to be conveyed to the non-Muslims so that the fear and condemnation towards Islam can be lessen.
Or perhaps, the clear guideline or framework is already there. I’m sure it must have been done by the Muslim scholars of the past. Or may have been constructed and elaborated by the present scholars to some parts of Muslim community. If it is already there, then it must be made known. It must be spread and shared to the whole Muslim community, especially the common Muslims like me. And if you are reading this concern of mine and could give opinions, suggest and share the right sources of reference on this matter, please do so. I would really like to know.
Or perhaps, to some people, clear guidelines are not needed. And what I wrote here are insignificant.
In truth, the concept of “for the sake of Allah swt” is a very beautiful and meaningful life concept. Any form of misrepresentation of it should be cleared off and corrected. As Muslims, we have the responsibility to do so, for the sake of Allah swt.
p.s: Here’s a link to an article on the beauty of “for the sake of Allah”: For the Sake of Allah