The Danger of Insincerity amongst the ‘Ulamā’

While discussing insincerity in Dīnī activities, Imām al-Ghazālī says:

‘The people most subject to this tribulation are the ‘Ulamā’ since the motive for most in sharing knowledge is the delight of being superior, and the joy of being followed, and the happiness of being praised and glorified, but the Shayṭān deceives them about this, saying: “Your motive is only to spread the Dīn of Allāh, and to defend the Sharī‘ah which the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) established.” You see the sermoniser mentioning the favour to Allāh of his advice to people and his admonition of kings, and he is overjoyed with people’s acceptance of his speech and their attraction to him, while claiming that he is happy because assisting the Dīn has been made easy for him. Yet, if one of his peers who is better than him at sermonising were to appear, and the people turned from him and moved towards him, this would hurt and worry him. Had his motive been Dīn he would have thanked Allāh (Exalted is He) since Allāh (Exalted is He) has sufficed him of this task using another. Thereafter, the Shaytān despite this does not leave him, and says: “You are only worried because the reward has ceased coming to you not because people’s faces have turned away from you to another, because if they received the reminder from your speech you would be rewarded – and your concern for missing out on reward is praiseworthy.” The poor individual (miskīn) does not realise that his submission to the truth and his handing over the task to someone better is greater in reward…’ (Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, Dār al-Minhāj, 9:71)