SINCERITY: the only currency
“Every act of goodness is a Sadaqa,” said the Noble Guide, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him.
Sadaqa is usually translated as “charity” — and yes, it does mean giving one’s wealth or time for the Sake of God. And it also means an opportunity for the cultivation of sincerity, since giving in charity takes sincerity.
Linguistically, Sadaqa comes from the word “sidq” which means simply: “sincerity.”
“Every act of goodness is a Sadaqa” then, means that each good action carries in it the opportunity to be truly sincere — to come to a level of yearning for God and seeking truth in the midst of the deed. To reach a level that is new to you, that you had not experienced before.
Our aim is to reach, with every deed we do, for a new height of authenticity — and we do this by aligning ourselves a little more with God, each time. Each action you do, open your heart a little more, be a little more authentic than you were the moment before. Be a little more open, courageous, committed. And this is how you will grow with time.
Sincerity is important: it denotes this engagement with getting better and getting real with each thing we do. And God tells us that this sincerity is the only currency that will remain the Day of Judgement, the day when no wealth, no property, nothing of this world, will be worth anything. Nothing of this world will be something you can exchange anymore for the prize you seek: eternal peace in heaven in the Presence of the Divine. The exchange is done, the purchasing period is over. But one thing remains — and it comes from all the past transactions you have made: it is your sincerity.
قَالَ اللّهُ هَذَا يَوْمُ يَنفَعُ الصَّادِقِينَ صِدْقُهُمْ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا رَّضِيَ اللّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
And on Judgment Day, God will say: “This is the day when the sincere ones will find their sincerity to be the only thing which benefits them now. In exchange for their sincerity, God gives them gardens spread out over rivers and brooks. They will dwell there for always and ever, their Lord God being Pleased with them, and they being pleased with Him That is truly the ultimate gain, the greatest prize.”
Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Banquet) Chapter 5: Verse 119
Sincerity is to be true, honest, real. We think we can be sincere and still be distant. But there is no distance or alienation if there is sincerity. Sincerity always brings authenticity and connection. It is the fullest expression of your humanity, in all its vulnerability before God and before those who you need to connect to on this journey to Him.
Take the opportunity to be sincere in every action, so that the action is turned into something that will form a springboard for your growth and bring you to the ultimate destination of Paradise.
Searching for the truth in each thing is the way
“Even in the smile, there is a sadaqa — an opportunity to be sincere and to be authentic,” says the Apostle of God, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him.
A smile, like any other moment really, is a meeting with your Lord. When you undertake even a smile, in sincerity, you have a chance to encounter your Lord and His Messenger, the Beloved one who we yearn to meet — Muhammad, may his light enter our hearts and pierce our souls. Any act of true sincerity will take you to that place.
God tells us in the Holy Address to humanity:
O you who wish to grow in the path of God, remain conscious of Him and align yourself with the sincere ones.
At-Tauba (The Chapter on Repentance) Chapter 9: Verse 119
In other words: continue to undertake this exercise of developing your consciousness by cultivating sincerity in all things, striving your best to be authentic in the presence of others who are also seeking to be authentic.