بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Sayyidina Umar رضي الله عنه narrates that Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم has said: “Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended. Thus he whose migration (Hijrāh to Madinah Munawwarah from Makkah Mukarramah) was for Allāh and His Messenger, his migration was for Allāh and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” This Hadīth is a strong pillar of our pristine Deen of Islām. It is the foundation of all our deeds and actions. In this Hadīth emphasis has been laid on the correction of ones intention. Most of the Muhadithīn (scholars of Ahādīth) have initiated their books with this very Hadith.
Explanation of the Hadīth:
This is an authentic Hadīth that has been agreed upon by the scholars, and is collected in both the collections of al-Bukhāri (Hadīth No. 1) and Muslim (Hadith No. 1907). This narration is great in its benefit and importance, and it has been said that the religion of Islām revolves around it. Some scholars have stated that it is one third of knowledge, because the actions of man involve his heart, his tongue and his limbs, and hence the intention in the heart is one third of that. Other scholars have said that the whole religion is encompassed in three Ahādīth –
- The Hadīth – ‘actions are based upon intentions.’
- “The Halāl is clear, the Harām is clear and between them are doubtful matters”.
- “Whoever innovates in this religion that which is not from it will have his actions rejected [by Allāh]”.
Some of the scholars have said that this Hadīth should be mentioned at the beginning of every book, in order to establish that the seeking of knowledge is for the sake of Allāh alone, and not for anyone else. It is with this intent that we have published this article in our first edition of this magazine. Our intention is solely to please Allāh and to pass on the teachings of his beloved Rasūl i to the Ummah.
In the Hadīth, when Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم says “actions are but by intention” then the ‘by’ means that the acceptance and correctness of any action depends upon the intention behind it. An action which is apparently good, such as giving money in charity, will be rejected if the intention behind it is wrong, for example; ostentation (to show off).
Indeed, Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم has narrated from Allāh Ta’āla that if a person performs an act for Allāh’s sake and also for the sake of someone else, then Allāh will reject the deed entirely and leave the whole of it for the partner that the person made. This shows us how grave the sin of shirk (polytheism) is – it is the only sin that Allāh will never forgive.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RECTIFICATION OF INTENTION CAN BE GAUGED FROM THE FOLLOWING HADITH:
On the day of reckoning a martyr will be asked by Allāh Ta’āla “Did I not bestow such and such favors upon you?” He will admit to those boons and bounties. Then Allāh Ta’āla will ask him: “How did you make use of my blessings?” He will say: “I went to the Holy war to please you and was killed therein.”
Allāh Ta’āla will answer:” You lie, you participated in the Holy War to be called a hero and that has been done.” Then he will be thrown headlong into the fire of Hell.
Next, a scholar of Deen will be called and the same questions will be put to him. In reply he will admit the bounties of Allāh Ta’āla. Then he will be asked how he made use of the bounties of Allāh Ta’āla. He will answer:” I acquired the knowledge of Islām and taught it to others, simply to please you.” Allāh Ta’āla will say:” You lie; you attained knowledge in order to be called an Ālim and recited the Holy Qur’ān to be called a Qāri.” Then he too will be thrown headlong into the fire of hell.
Thereafter a wealthy person will be called and the same questions will be put to him. He will answer:” O’ Allāh, I always spent money to please you.” Allāh Ta’āla will say:” You lie; you spent money in order to be called a generous man. And this has been done.” Then he too will be thrown headlong in the pits of Hell.
Achieving Ikhlaas is not an easy task. The foundation of Tasawwuf (mysticism) is based on Ikhlaas. Once Ml Habībur Rahmān Ludhianwi رحمه اللہ came to Sheikh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya رحمه اللہ and asked him to define the labyrinth of Tasawwuf for him, whilst he had already planned an array of objections to every possible answer of Ḥadhrat Sheikh.
Ḥadhrat Sheikh answered that Tasawwuf is no labyrinth at all but rather it is very simple and straightforward. The respected Maulana said that the stepping stone of Tasawwuf is :
Actions are based upon intentions and it concludes with Serving Allāh Ta’ālā as if you behold him and if you cannot do so, then at least be conscious that Almighty Allāh surely sees you.
Ml Habībur Rahmān رحمه اللہ was amazed at Ḥadhrat Sheikh’s answer. The great scholar, Imām Abu Hanifah رحمه اللہ has mentioned that the summary of 500,000 narrations is to be found in four Ahādīth.
- “Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended. Thus he whose migration (Hijrāh to Madinah Munawwarah from Makkah Mukarramah) was for Allāh and His Messenger, his migration was for Allāh and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” This Hadīth encompasses all aspects of Faith.
- It is part of the beauty of Islām that man renounces all those things that does not concern him. This narration encompasses Islāmic Etiquettes.
- The lawful is clear and the unlawful is also clear and whatever are in between these two are doubtful. This Hadīth makes reference to Islāmic Transactions.
- None of you can be a true believer until he loves for his Muslim brother what he loves for himself. This Hadīth pertains to the social life of a Muslim.
It is of extreme importance that we rectify our intentions on a daily basis. Prior to any action, whether it pertains to household chores, our daily basic activities, Salāh, recitation of the Quran al-Karīm or anything else we should check our intention. Many a times the simplest of mundane activities can reap great reward in the court of Allāh Ta’āla when done sincerely.