1 - Bishr al-Haafi said: "That I seek the world with a wind instrument is more beloved to me than that I seek it with my Deen."
2 - Ibraaheem an-Nakha'i said: "When Shaytaan comes to you while you are in prayer and says: 'You are showing off,' make it longer."
3 - One of the Salaf said: "Direct me to an action by which I will never cease to be performing for Allaah the Exalted." It was said to him: "Always intend good, because you will never cease to be performing even if you do not perform any actions. The intention is made even in the absence of any actions. Whoever intended to pray at night and then slept, the reward for what he intended will be written for him."
4 - One of them said: "I love that I have an intention for every single thing; even my eat, drink and sleep."
5 - It was said to Sahl: "What is the hardest thing for the soul (to achieve)?" He said: "Sincerity, when there is no other desire in it."
6 - Ya'qoob al-Makfoof said: "The sincere person is the one who hides his good deeds just like he hides his evil deeds."
7 - One of them wrote to his brother: "Make your intention sincere in all of your actions, and little action will suffice you."
8 - Ayyoob as-Sakhtiyaani said: "Purifying the intention is harder than all other actions for those who act."
9 - Yahyaa bin Mu'aadh said: "Sincerity separates good actions from faults like the separation of milk from dung and blood."
10 - as-Soosi said: "What Allaah desires from the actions of His creation is sincerity and nothing else."
11 - al-Junayd said: "To Allaah belong servants who understand, and when they understand they act, and when they act they make their actions sincere. Their recalling of sincerity at the time of doing righteousness is what accumulates the greatest good for them."
12 - Hawshab used to cry and say: "My name has reached the large Mosque (meaning, the people will know who I am)!"
13 - as-Soosi said: "Sincerity is to lose the vision of sincerity in oneself."
14 - One of them said: "Whoever sees sincerity in his sincerity, his sincerity is itself in need of sincerity. The destruction of every sincere person lies in his sincerity to the extent that he sees sincerity in himself. When he abandons seeing sincerity in himself he will be sincere and purified."
15 - Abu 'Uthmaan said: "Sincerity is to forget about the creation by constantly looking at the Creator (in terms of gaining admiration for your deeds)."
16 - Ibraaheem bin Adham said: "The one who loves fame is not truthful to Allaah."
17 - Sufyaan ath-Thawri said: "They (the Salaf) used to hate fame and reputation due to wearing nice garments because eyes would stretch towards them."
18 - Na'eem bin Hammaad said: "'Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak frequently used to sit in his house for long periods of time, so it was said to him: 'Don't you feel lonely and isolated?' He said: 'How can I feel isolated while I am with the Prophet (saw)?'."
19 - Ja'far bin Hayyaan said: "The foundations of these actions are the intentions. Indeed a man reaches with his intentions a position he does not reach with his actions."
20 - One of the people of wisdom used to say: "When a man is speaking in a gathering and his speech amazes him, let be silent. When he keeps silent and his silence amazes, him let him speak."
21 - Mutraf bin 'Abdullaah ash-Shakheer said: "That I spend the night sleeping and wake up remorseful is more loved to me than that I spend the night standing in prayer and wake up in admiration."
22 - an-Nu'maan bin Qays said: "I never saw 'Abeedah performing any voluntary prayers in the mosque of al-Hayy."
23 - 'Ali said: "The one who shows off has three charactersistics: he is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticised."
24 - al-Hasan said: "The one who shows off desires to overcome what Allaah has decreed for him. He is an evil person who desires to inform the people that he is righteous in order to hear what they would say. He has obtained a position of vileness and wickedness from his Lord. It is therefore essential for the hearts of the believers to recognise him."
25 - Sahl bin 'Abdullaah said: "There is nothing which is tougher upon the soul than acheiving sincerity. How many times have I tried to remove the inclination to show off from my heart except that it sprouted in a different colour?"
26 - Ibn Mas'ood said: "Do not learn knowledge for three reasons: to amaze and confound the foolish, to argue with the learned and to make people's faces turn towards you. Rather, seek what is with Allaah with your hearts and actions, since only that will remain and whatever is besides it will go."
27 - Abu Sulaymaan ad-Daarini said: "Glad tidings for the one who took a single step desiring nothing but the face of Allaah by it."
28 - Some of the Salaf said: "Whoever had a single instance in his lifetime which was purely and sincerely for the sake of Allaah - the Exalted - will be saved, and this is due to the greatness of sincerity."
29 - Abu Sulaymaan ad-Daarini said: "When the servant is sincere, the inclination to show off and the many whisperings (of the Devils) are cut off from him."
30 - It has also been said: "Sincerity is that the servants inward and outward actions are equal. Riyaa' is when the outward appearance is better than the inner self and truthfulness in one's sincerity is when the inner self is better cultivated and more flourishing than the outward appearance."
31 - Some of the Salaf have said: "Sincerity is that you do not seek a witness over your action besides Allaah or one who gives reward besides Him."
32 - Makhool said: "Never does a servant maintain sincerity for forty days in succession except that the streams of wisdom from his heart appear on his tongue."
33 - 'Adiyy ibn Haatim said: "The people destined for the Fire will be ordered towards Paradise until they come close to it and smell its fragrance, see its palaces and what Allaah has prepared in it for its people. Then an announcement will be made that they be turned away from it. There will be no portion for them in it. They will return in loss and ruin just like the ones before them. Then they will say: 'O our Lord! If you had entered us into the Fire before You showed us what You have shown us from Your reward and what You have prepared for your friends and allies, it would have been easier upon us.' Then the Exalted will say: 'This is what I intended with you. When you used to be alone you would combat me (or show boldness to Me) with grave sins and when you used to meet people you would meet them with humility. You would show to the people other than that which you used to give Me from your hearts. You feared people but you did not fear Me. You honored the people but you did not honor Me, you abandoned actions for the people but you did not abandon them for Me. This day, will I make you taste a tormenting punishment as well as prevent you from receiving that reward."
34 - It has been said: "The damage caused to every servant lies in his being pleased with himself. Whoever looks at his soul and sees something in it which he deems to be good has caused its destruction. And whoever does not suspect his soul at every single moment is one who is deceived."
35 - Ibn al-Qayyim said: "Sincerity is the unification of one's wish and intent."
[Collected by Shaykh Husayn al-'Awaa'ishah from 'Ihyaa' 'Uloom ud-Deen' of al-Ghazaali, 'Mukhtasar Minhaaj ul-Qaasideen' of Ibn Qudaamah and 'az-Zuhd' of 'Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak]
[By At-Tibyan Publications]