Piety and Sincerity: [An Aayah About Animal Sacrifice Connected to Piety and Another One About Initiating Reconciliation Between People Connected to Sincerity]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Allaah [The Most High] said:
لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
It is neither their meat nor their blood (i.e. the animals we sacrifice) that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) to the Muhsinun (doers of good). [Surah Al-Hajj. Ayah 37]
[لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا – It is neither their meat nor their blood]- that is: The aim (or goal) behind them (i.e. the animals slaughtered as sacrifice) is not just to merely slaughter them, and neither does their meat nor blood reach Allaah because Allaah is [الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ -The Independent One Who is Free of all Needs and The One Who is Deservedly Praised (Ref A)]; rather what reaches Allaah regarding it (i.e. your sacrifice) is the sincerity (in your hearts in relation to the performance of the deed), hoping for Allaah’s reward and having a righteous intention. This is why Allaah said: [وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ – But it is piety from you that reaches Him].
So with regards to this, there is an urge towards sincerity in (the act) of sacrifice and that one’s intention is to seek the Face of Allaah (alone), and not out of boasting, show off and to be heard, nor merely following a custom. Likewise, this is (the goal behind) all acts of worship, for if they are not connected to sincerity and piety, then they are similar to skins that have no flesh and a body that has no soul.
Allaah (The Most High) said:
لَّا خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّن نَّجْوَاهُمْ إِلَّا مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلَاحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah (charity in Allah’s Cause), or Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allah has ordained), or conciliation between mankind, and he who does this, seeking the good Pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward. [Soorah An-Nisaa Ayah 114]
The Goal and Aim behind all the good deeds mentioned in the Ayah is: [وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا – and he who does this, seeking the good Pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward.
Therefore, this is why it is incumbent upon a servant (of Allaah) to seek the Face of Allaah by carrying out deeds sincerely for the sake of Allaah in every instance and in every type of good deed, so that he (or she) can receive this great reward.
[Source: Excerpts from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’ by Imaam Sadi (rahimahullaah)…Publisher: Daar Ibn Hazm’ 1st Ed 1424 (Year 2003). Slightly paraphrased]