The most important pillar for the reformation of individuals is the reformation of their minds. If man’s actions are for the sake of Allah the Almighty and to show obedience to Him, or at least, to obtain the reward of the world to come and to be saved from its punishment, they will bring about well-being and felicity in both the worlds for him, and he will he fruitful for the society, On the contrary, if his actions are only for material goals, they will not have elevated results.
Indeed the most excellent aim behind people’s efforts is that which is for the pleasure of Allah, the Most High. A society with such a prominent goal does not yield to any kind of aggression and transgression, nor does it surrender to immorality. For this reason the Holy Quran and the Islamic traditions lay stress on the reformation of the mind.
Allah the Most High said: “Surely sincere obedience is due to Allah (alone).” (39:3)
He also said: “And they are not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, to be upright, keep the prayer and pay the poor-rate; and that is the right religion.” (98:5)
He also said: “Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord.” (18:110)
He also said: “And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to (His) servants.” (2:207)
He also said: “And the parable of those who spend their property to seek the pleasure of Allah and for the certainty of their souls is as the parable of a garden on an elevated ground, upon which heavy rain falls, so it brings its fruit twofold; but if heavy rain does not fall upon it, then light rain (is sufficient); and Allah sees what you do.”(2:265)
He also said: “And whatever good thing you spend, it is to your own good; and you do not spend but to seek Allah’s pleasure; and whatever good thing you spend shall be paid back to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” (2:272)
He also said: “There is no good in most of their secret councils except (for he) who enjoins charity or goodness or reconciliation between people; and whoever does this seeking Allah’s pleasure, We will give him a mighty reward.”(4:114)
He also said: “Whoever desires the gain of the hereafter, We will give him more of that again; and whoever desires the gain of this world, We give him of it, and in the hereafter he has no portion.”(42:20)
He also said: “Whoever desires this world’s life and its finery, We will pay them in full their deeds therein, and they shall not be made to suffer loss in respect of them. These are they for whom there is nothing but fire in the hereafter and what they wrought in it shall go for nothing, and vain is what they do.”(11:15-16)
He also said: “Whoever desires this present life, We hasten to him therein what We please for whomsoever We desire, then We assign to him hell; he shall enter it despised, driven away. And whoever desires the hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted.”(17:18-19)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “Indeed, actions are evaluated with intentions, and man is rewarded due to his mind. So if one sets out for jihad to make Allah pleased with him, one will have what is with Allah; and if one goes to the battle-fronts for material benefits or spoils, one will not have more than that.”
He (S) also said: “Any one who learns a science to attract the attention of people to himself will not scent the odor of paradise.”
He (S) also said: “Indeed, every truth has a reality; and a servant of Allah does not attain the reality of sincerity except when he does not like to be praised for anything he does for Allah.”
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) the Commander of the Faithful said: “Salvation can be obtained by sincerity alone.”
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said: “If a servant of Allah performs a religious duly for His sake and for the world to come, but he mixes it up with someone else’s pleasure, he makes the latter a partner with Allah.”
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Surely Allah will raise people on the Day of Judgement according to their state of mind.”
Concerning “Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join anyone in the service of his Lord,”1 he (a.s.) said: “When somebody does a righteous work not for the sake of Allah, but for self-praise, so that the people may hear of it, he has fallen into shirk (polytheism).”
He (a.s.) also said: “Any one who learns the traditions of religion for the benefit of this world, will not have any share in the world to come. But anyone who learns them for the reward in the world to come, Allah will give him in both the worlds.”
He (a.s.) also said: “All kinds of showing off of one’s spiritual deeds are shirk (polytheism). Indeed, anyone who works for people, his reward is with people; and anyone who works for Allah his reward is with Allah.”
He (a.s.) also said: “Allah says: ‘I am the Most Independent of partners; so I accept of the people’s actions those which are for Me alone’.”
He (a.s.) also said: “Your sincere action is that for which you want to be praised by no one except by Allah.”
- 1. The Qur’an, 9: 110.