Secrecy is something that exists in the worldy sense but in reality it is non-existent. This is a notion we are all fully aware of due to the fact that Allaah Jalla wa ‘Ala has full knowledge of all things. He says 1,
That any khayr that exists, even the smallest amount in the depths of the heart, it will be shown, you will see it.
Secrets are there to protect yourself and to protect others. However, many of us don’t have the mindset that the deen has secrets and that the people of khayr have secrets, that’s why we want to know everything and anything, we want to share and tell everything and anything and bring out through excessive questioning all the intentions and secrets of a person, everything and anything.
The sahaabah and the salaf raheemahumAllaah they would hide the khayr as they would hide their own sins, they would fear for the khayr to be known as you would fear sins to be known, infact the fear to have the khayr known was perhaps greater. That is a great and noble platform and those who aspire to that level, are working towards a great place to be because in this level is a bond between Allaah and a slave directly. The greatest of people always have these secrets of khayr and their greatest reason for it was the thought that they may be in need of it; they would think, in the aakhira they could be amongst the people of Jahannam subhaanAllaah, may Allaah protect us, i.e. their deeds may become dust and worthless, not accepted by Allaah. When none of the deeds are accepted on that day, perhaps they can bring out these great secret intentions where they intended to serve the mu’minoon, unite the ummah, establish the Deen, elevate a hardship off His slaves etc. and perhaps because of them Allaah will enter them into His mercy for those deeds specifically.
That is the utmost level of doing something for the sake of Allaah. When we read the hadith of the three people stuck in the cave, we see that Allaah through His divine decree, Qadran, brought these people together for humanity at large to bear witness and see the greatness of deeds that no-one knew. The weight of those deeds no-one knew, the quality no-one knew – the intentions – Allaah Himself only knew and He wanted to show the power and authority and the great level of acceptance that those deeds within the hearts have. These 3 individuals when performing these deeds knew exactly what they were doing and they kept it hidden from the people out of hope to preserve it until a great time of difficulty, where it could be valuable – which generally would be qiyaamah as the mind does not expect to be stuck in a cave. Allaah brought them together to show to humanity how special these secret inner deeds are to Himself and how pleased He is with those individuals and how Mericful He is towards those individuals who have that character and those mindsets and understandings.
This Sunnah of Allaah doesn’t change, but how many of us in reality have deeds within ourselves that we intentionally seek to keep as secrets between us and Allaah, not letting anyone know so that on the day of Qiyaamah if, subhaanAllaah and it could be a reality, our deeds are not accepted, then atleast the secrets would come to our rescue. We need to have something within our sleeves to save ourselves, which is why it is so important to have some things which are very secretive within the hearts.
When it comes to the secrets of others, the mu’mineen should not expose one another but rather work to protect each others khayr. When they see a khayr happening from another mu’min, they should protect him and defend him or her. If he does something of khayr, they should not question and persist such that eventually he brings to surface the great secrets that he had kept in the depths of his heart, the intentions. They should do everything they can for evil not to take away that khayr because he’s part of the Ummah, this khayr one way or the other is benefitting the Ummah whether you know it or not. So instead of trying to bring it out – cover him up, for bringing out these deeds may cause him to have ‘ujb, self-amazement, riyaa, showing off, he may eventually have kibr, he may eventually have arrogance and this will destroy him and the people around him. Understand how shaytan works. You may put individuals at risk, where they were once humble, they eventually become boastful, where they were once sincere, eventually they show off, where one needs to protect, one is exposing. SubhaanAllaah.
This is a very short piece but without doubt of utmost importance – something for us to all have at the forefront of our minds, returning back to it daily and often. Essays can be written on intention, but to what avail if it simply remains as theory and data. What we need to do as individuals, is simply stop and ask, what deeds do I have that I can hope to seek salvation in?
Some Qur’aan to return listening to as we think and reflect on our current positions:
- Al-Zalzalah 99:7 ↩