Those who journey with the utmost sincerity;
Following the legislation by which faith is measured.
These two principles, sincerity (ikhlas) and conformity (mutaba’ah) are a prerequisite for every act of worship, inward or outward, to be valid. Every act that is not done intending the Face of Allah is futile; and every act that does not conform to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (salallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) is rejected.
It is only when an action combines sincerity for the One being worshipped-which means intending to seek the Face of Allah when performing the action- and conformity with the Messenger- by doing those actions that have been prescribed and legislated-that an action becomes acceptable.
Ibn-al-Qayyim, May Allaah have mercy upon him said: “It has been said “Sincerity is to forget the creation seeing you because of continually looking towards the Creator. Whoever adorns himself before the people with what he does not posses, has fallen from Allaah’s Grace.” “From the words of Fudayl are: “Leaving an action for the people’s sake is ostentaion (riya’), whereas doing an action for people’s sake is shirk. Sincerity is where Alaah saves you from both of these.