Story of sincerity: Books authored by Al-Maawardi


Al-Maawardi (rahimahullah) has a strange story regarding sincerity in authoring books. He authored books in the fields of Tafseer (Qur’aan exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and other fields. However, not a single book was published during his lifetime. He authored these books and hid them in a place which no one knew about, and at the time of his death he said to a person he trusted:

“The books that are in such and such place were all authored by me, and the reason I did not make them public during my lifetime is because I was not able to make my intention sincere for the sake of Allah.


When you see that I am dying, put your hand in mine; if I squeeze your hand, then know that nothing was accepted from my deeds, so take these books and throw them into the River Tigris. However, if my hand relaxes, then know that I was accepted and got what I was hoping to get.”


That man said:

“When his death approached, I put my hand in his hand and his hand was relaxed and he did not squeeze my hand, so I knew that it was a sign of acceptance and I made his books known publicly.”

[Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa’ (66/18) and Taareekh Al-Islaam (169/7)]


He (rahimahullah) did not do what many authors do nowadays, which is to go around seeking to get someone famous to introduce their books, say words of praise about them and are very keen on protecting copyrights. Contrary to this, Al-Maawardi (rahimahullah) was keen on monitoring his intention and did not publicize his books because he feared he did not have a sincere intention and thus he refrained from making them known.

[From the book: Sincerity by Sh. Salih al Munajjid, page 47-48]


The masked man

Jihad is one of the fields during which showing off can take place, because not everyone who carries a weapon and fights with the Muslims is sincere. We have already mentioned the Prophetic narration of those who would be thrown in Hell first, and one of whom was a person who fought Jihad but was not sincere.

Our Salaf used to hide themselves in Jihad because they recognized the importance of sincerity in it; one of them would hide himself and no one would recognize him. The
following is one such story exemplifying this:

‘Abdah ibn Sulaymaan (rahimahullah) was with a brigade which included ‘Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak (rahimahullah) fighting against the Romans.

‘Abdah said:

When the battle started and the Muslims faced the enemy, a man came out of the rows of the Romans and challenged the Muslims to send someone out to fight him alone. A man from the Muslim brigade came out, chased him and killed him. Another Roman came out challenging this Muslim fighter, and this Muslim killed him as well, and then a third came out, and the Muslim chased him and killed him. People went to this brave Muslim fighter wanting to know who he was but found him masked.”

‘Abdah said:

“I was among those who went to know who he was, and so I took hold of the mask and pulled it off and uncovered his face, and discovered that it was ‘Abdullah ibn Al- Mubaarak.”


Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak (rahimahullah) said in a censuring tone:

“O Abu ‘Amr, even you take part in this and expose me!


[Ref: Taareekh Baghdaad (167/10)]