Sincerity, or in a more common word, ikhlas, is a complex thing. It’s not as simple as “not wanting anything in return”. It could be more than that. I will not expertly speaking of ikhlas in the term of religion here, that would be silly because I’m not even religious. So I will speak in a term of, well, I don’t know, just some experiences I had.
When my father first taught me to regularly do some charity works, I think it will only be a matter of weather I can be ikhlas about the money, money that I usually use to buy a bag being use to buy a rice for poorer people. Well, it turns out that is the easiest part of this ikhlas thing. Just by looking at how poor they are would make me ikhlas-ing those money, for real. But then there is other thing occur.
That thing is: you get to know the object. Trust me, it is easier to be ikhlas if you do not know the object. So I have this friend, she’s been in the financial trouble for some times, or so she said. She needed money to pay her tuition and I help her with it. Not much, and I don’t even care for the money. But, well, she was acting a little bit snob in my opinion. She doesn’t want people to know, well, that’s normal I guess. But she doesn’t even TRY to return my money, she still hangout here and there, even buy a new hip gadget that even I can’t afford. What the hell, right? And she’s been so quite about it. I can not help but to feel a little bit tricked by her. Hell, money is the least of the problem.
Let say one of your friend ask you to lend him some money, oh you were okay with it at first, because you think oh well, maybe he really needs it. But later on, you knew that he was just use it to get, let say, facial treatment! And that money was YOUR facial treatment money to begin with. How will that make you feel, huh? That is the real challenge of being ikhlas, in my opinion.
And then, I have these people that I regularly give alms of a bag of rice every month, let say they are A, B, and C. There is this one middle-aged women, A, that keep saying bad things about one of the other, you know, saying that this other women, B, is actually a west-ender, that B is actually have a warung and kos-kosan. I mean, for god sake, that women is a scavengers! B is a scavengers, she can’t be rich, right? That is silly! And she keep saying how poor C is, that C is a widow for a long time, and it turns out that C is actually her family. Typical. I hate to be provoke by anyone, moreover by A.
I don’t know, when I ask for a second opinion, my friend said I should investigate if it is true. And if it’s true I should stop giving rice to B because she doesn’t deserve it, that I should divert my alms to other people that need it more. Until now I chose to be indifferent. I chose not to know. Because if it is not true, I would hate A for telling such an awful lie! And if it is true, I would hate B for have me fooled. I chose not to hate anyone.
This alms thingy would be A LOT EASIER if all of the poor people act like in the TV, you know, that “Tolong Baim ya allah” thing.
Suspicious little mind I have. Urgh, is that mean I’m not ikhlas then??? No idea. Let us rest that answer to God, shall we?