|IKHLAS - SINCERITY
Sincerity is the freeing of one's intentions from all
impurities in order to come nearer to Allah. It is to
ensure that the intentions behind all acts of worship and
obedience to Allah are exclusively for His pleasure.
It is the perpetual contemplation of the Creator, to the
extent that one forgets the creation.
Sincerity is a condition for Allah's acceptance of good
deeds performed in accordance with the sunnah of the
Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Allah has commanded this in the Qur'an:
"And they have been commanded to worship only
Allah, being sincere towards Him in their deen
and true. (98:5)"
Abu Umama has related that a man once came to the
Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and
said, "What of a man who joined us in the fighting, his
intention being for fame and booty?" The Prophet said,
"He recieves nothing." The man repeated the question
three times and each time the Prophet said,
"He receives nothing".
Then he said, "Allah only accepts actions that are intended purely for His pleasure."
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri related that the Prophet (saw) said
in his khutba during the farewell pilgrimage, "Allah
will bless whoever hears these words and whoever
understands them, for it may be that those who pass on
this knowledge are not those who will understand it the
best. There are three things concerning which the heart
of a believer should feel no enmity or malice: devoting
one's actions to Allah, giving counsel to the Imams of the Muslims, and being loyal to the majority."
What is meant here is that these three things strengthen the heart, and whoever distinguishes himself in them
will have a heart purified from all manner of deceit,
corruption and evil.
A servant can only free himself from shaytan through
sincere devotion, for Allah tells us in the Quran that
Iblis said to Him:
"Except those of Your servants who are sincere.
In fact, devotion is the purifying of the heart from all
impurities, whether few or many, so that the intention of
drawing nearer to Allah is freed from all other motives, except that of seeking His pleasure. This can only come from a lover of Allah, who is so absorbed in contemplation of the next world that there remains in his heart no place for the love of this world. Such a person must be devote and pure in all his actions, even in eating, drinking and answering the calls of nature.
With rare exceptions, anyone who is not like this will find the door of devotion closed in his face.
The everyday actions of a person who is overwhelmed by his or her love for Allah and the akhira are
characterised by his love and they are, in fact, pure devotion.
In the same way, anyone whose soul is overwhelmed by love for and preoccupation with this world, or status and authority, will be so overwhelmed by these things that no act of worship, be it prayer or fasting, will be acceptable, except in very rare cases.
The remedy for love of this world is to break the
worldly desires of the self, ending its greed for this
world and purifying it in preparation for the next world.
This will then become the state of the heart and sincere devotion will become easier to attain. There are a great many actions where a man acts, thinking they are purely intended for Allah's pleasure, but he is deluded, for he fails to see the defects in them.
It has been related that a man was used to praying in
the first row in the mosque. One day he was late for the
prayer, so he prayed in the second row. Feeling embarrassment when people saw him in the second row, he realised that the pleasure and satisfaction of the heart that he used to gain from praying in the first row were due to his seeing people seeing him there and admiring him for it. This is a subtle and intangible condition and actions are rarely safe from it.
Apart from those whom Allah has assisted, few are aware of such delicate matters. Those who do not realise it only come to see their good deeds appearing as bad ones on the Day of Resurrection; they are the ones referred to in Allah's words:
"And something will come to them from Allah which they
had never anticipated, for the evil of their deeds will become apparent to them. (39:47-48)"
"Say: Shall We tell you who will lose most in
respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts were astray in the life of this world, while they thought that they were doing good works. (18:103-104)"
As-Sousi said: "True devotion is to lose the faculty of
being conscious of your devotion; for someone who
identifies devotion in his devotion is a person whose devotion is in need of devotion." To contemplate devotion is to admire it, and admiration is an afflication; and that which is pure is whatever is free of all afflictions. This means that one's deeds should be purified from any self-admiration concerning the actions they entail.
Surah Al- Ikhlas – Sincerity, the 112th Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an is a pure description of the Creator and to acknowledge the total state of belief in Him and His Uniqueness.
Say: He is Allah, Absolute Oneness,
Allah, the Everlasting Sustainer of all.
He has not given birth and was not born.
And no one is comparable to Him.
Hadrat Ali said that that there is no interpretation for this Surah because its meaning is not veiled.  The Surah is sometimes called The Surah of Unity and is said to encapsulate the essence of the whole Qur'an. 
The Prophet mentioned that Surah al Ikhlas is equal to one third of the Glorious Qur’an because it explains in a concise manner the principles of the Oneness of Allah – Tauheed, which is the cornerstone of the Din of Islam.  By reciting this Surah repeatedly, having faith in it and living its meaning in our constant worship of Allah, helps us develop and instill the value of Ikhlas.
This Surah show us that Allah is Unique and allows us to perhaps visualize His light and Majesty. If we are sincere to the Creator then He will share with us His sincerity.
Mukhlis means to be sincere and a Mukhlaas is a sincere one chosen by Allah. These are the people who achieve the highest stage of Ikhlas and are Allah’s dedicated friends - awliya.
The Mukhlis is the one in whose sight there is always a meeting with his Lord. 
In the Hikam of Ibn Ata’alla we find an aphorism concerning Ikhlas, “A light that is stored in the heart is supplied by the lights that come from the stores of the Unseen.”
The Rasul was asked the meaning of Ikhlas and he said that he would ask the Great Angel Jibra’eel . When he asked the archangel, he said that he would have to ask Allah, thus showing the importance of the question and of getting the right answer from the Highest authority.
Allah’s reply was: “It is a secret of My secrets. I have deposited it in the heart of the Abd (slave) that I love. No angel knows it, so it is not written, and no shaytan knows it, so it is not spoiled.”
What is of benefit is to encounter and seek the gifts of Allah with the proofs of sincerity in speech, action and state. He or she who acts according to this is given knowledge of what they do know by Allah. Then this knowledge comes from their Lord to their hearts. That is the most perfect of knowledge’s, and the most majestic, so understand, and seek it from you to you. From me and to me my cups have circled. 
There are three levels of Ikhlas – Sincerity. The first is darajat al aawaam – The level of the common people, - those who ask for earthly desire and for the Hereafter. The second is darajat al khawaas – The level of the special people, - those who ask for heavenly favours and the third is darajat khawaas al khawaas – The level of the elect of the special people - those people whose sole purpose is to be good servants of Allah – Ubudiyyah.