6. In order to preserve truth from the assaults of falsehood,
7. To abandon the self and its egoism,
8. And give up the mistaken concept of self-pride,
9. And cease from all insignificant feelings aroused by rivalry.
If this ninefold rule is adhered to, sincerity will be preserved and its function perfectly performed.1
Disagreement among the people of truth does not arise from lack of zeal and aspiration, nor does union among the people of misguidance arise from loftiness of aspiration. That which impels the people of guidance to the misuse of their high aspiration and hence to disagreement and rivalry is the desire for heavenly reward that is counted as a praiseworthy quality in respect of the hereafter, and extreme eagerness with respect to duties pertaining to the hereafter. Thinking to oneself, “Let me gain this reward, let me guide these people, let them listen to me,” he takes up a position of rivalry towards the true brother who faces him and who stands in real need of his love, assistance, brotherhood and aid. Saying to oneself, “Why are my pupils going to him? Why don’t I have as many pupils as him?” he falls prey to egoism, inclines to the chronic disease of ambition, loses all sincerity, and opens the door to hypocrisy.
The cure for this error, this wound, this awesome sickness of the spirit, is the principle that “God’s pleasure is won by sincerity alone,” and not by a large following or great success. For these latter are a function of God’s will; they cannot be demanded, although they are sometimes given. Sometimes a single word will result in someone’s salvation and hence the pleasure of God. Quantity should not receive too much attention, for sometimes to guide one man to the truth may be as pleasing to God as guiding a thousand. Moreover sincerity and adherence to the truth require that one should desire the Muslims to benefit from anyone and at any place they can. To think “Let them take lessons from me so that I gain the reward” is a trick of the soul and the ego.
O man greedy for reward in the hereafter and the performance of deeds
It is even recorded in authentic traditions of the Prophet that at the end of time the truly pious among the Christians will unite with the People of the Qur’an and fight their common enemy, irreligion. And at this time, too, the people of religion and truth need to unite sincerely not only with their own brothers and fellow believers, but also with the truly pious and spiritual ones among the Christians, temporarily refraining from the discussion and debate of points of difference in order to combat their joint enemy – aggressive atheism.