Brothers in Islam, Taqwa (piety) is a word that is simple to utter by the tongue, however, it is heavy in the balance of terms of rewardable deeds and it is located in the heart. The Prophet pointed to his heart three times and said what means: <<Piety is here, piety is here>>.
The heart is the leader of the organs; if the heart is devoted to piety then the rest of the organs will follow its lead, and consequently, the person will become pious; likewise, if the heart is corrupted, the rest of the organs will follow in corruption, and consequently, the person will become a sinner. So fear Allah and work for the Day of Judgement, the day which Allah described in the Qura’n as being: “The day where assets and offspring serve no benefit, only the one who has come with a sound heart will profit”
Dear bothers, it is your duty to work on your hearts and adhere to Islamic manners both outwardly and inwardly. Seek remedy for your hearts by following the Islamic laws and by following the traits of the Prophet in manners and actions. Watch your hearts, as there are diseases that worldly-practitioners have no cure for. If your heart is well in obedience to Allah then your whole body will be well, and your ending will be well too. However, if your heart is corrupted, your whole body will be corrupted and your religious situation will deteriorate. The heart is the leader of the organs from which they take their commands.
Dear brothers in Islam
Amongst the diseases of the heart is ar-riya’. It takes place when a person performs an act of obedience in order to be praised by people. Surat Al-Bayyinah, Ayah 5 means:
[And they were ordered with worshipping Allah, with sincere devotion].
Dear brothers, remember to have the sincere intention when performing the acts of obedience to Allah, the Exalted, and never seek admiration by the people. Moreover, if you perform the good deeds seeking rewards from Allah as well as seeking people’s commendation, you will not get any reward from Allah; rather, you would be sinful for having insincere intention. So watch yourselves, my dear Muslim brothers, and monitor your intentions.
Watch your heart, if you see yourself praying only the obligatory prayers when you are alone, but in the presence of people you would pray the recommended prayers as well, ask yourself: Why do you do this? And if you are praying alone, you would otherwise pray hastily, perform only the requisites and not the recommended matters in the prayer, however, if you are praying in the presence of the people, you would perform the recommended matters, take your time and recite long verses of the Qur’an, ask yourself why do you do this? Are you seeking a high rank amongst the people? Is this what you would prefer rather than having a high rank in the Hereafter? Think about this, humans are just creations like you are, they cannot create harm or benefit, they cannot harm you or benefit you except by the Will of Allah. Allah is the One Who guides the hearts to perform the acts of obedience and is the One Who prevents the hearts from performing them. What is your purpose of doing something that Allah does not reward you for? Is it because you are seeking the praise of the people? Then know that this praise of the people will not increase your sustenance or prolong your life and will not benefit you on the Day of Judgement.
In conclusion dear brothers, guard your hearts against insincerity, train yourselves to be sincere, and seek only the acceptance from Allah, the Creator of good and evil, and do not give any regard to what people may think of you.