This appeared on Lim Kit Siang’s blog recently. I agree with everything it said, especially this:
Legend has it that she was found one day running on the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a pail of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she replied, “I want to put out the fires of Hell and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.“
The purpose of all our actions are only for us (and God) to know. Politicians will say they are doing what they’re doing for the love of their country, but maybe some do what they do for the love of re-election. The same goes with each and every Muslim and our motivations for doing the things that we do.
Do we pray in the mosque because of our love of God, or because we want to be seen in public in prayer? Do we fast in this holy month of ramadhan because of our love of God or because we’re afraid of the unholy stares from our peers if we don’t?