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Sincerity and Significance of Intentions
« on: August 29, 2007, 08:18:01 PM »
Sincerity and Significance of Intentions
All Actions, Apparent and Hidden
By Imaam Yahyaa Ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi

Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, the Exalted, says:
"And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salaat (Iqamat-as-Salaat) and give Zakaat, and that is the right religion.'' (98:5)
"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allaah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him.'' (22:37)
"Say (O Muhammad): Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allaah knows it." (3:29)
1. Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (radhiallahu`anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, "The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention. So whoever emigrated for Allaah and His Messenger, his emigration will be for Allaah and His Messenger; and whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration would be for what he emigrated for". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: According to some Ahadeeth, the reason for this Hadeeth is that a person sent a proposal of marriage to a woman named Umm Qais, which she turned down saying that he should have to emigrate to Al-Madeenah for it. Accordingly, he did it for this specific purpose, and the two were married there. On account of this event, the man came to be known among the Companions as Muhajir Umm Qais.
On the basis of this Hadeeth, 'Ulama' are of the unanimous opinion that the real basis of one's actions is Niyyah (intention) and everyone will be requited according to his Niyyah. It is true that Niyyah is founded in one's heart, that is to say, one has first to make up one's mind for what he intends to do and he should not express it verbally. In fact, the latter is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion) because no proof of it is found in Sharee`ah.
The point which becomes evident from this Hadeeth is that Ikhlaas (sincerity) is a must for every action. In other words, in every righteous deed, one should seek only the Pleasure of Allaah; otherwise, it will not be accepted by Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
2. Narrated 'A`ishah (radhiallahu`anha) reported: The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, "An army will raid the Ka`bah and when it reaches a desert land, all of them will be swallowed up by the earth.'' She asked; "O Messenger of Allaah! Why all of them?'' He answered, "All of them will be swallowed by the earth but they will be raised for Judgement according to their intentions.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: Everyone will be rewarded or punished according to his aim and intention. This Hadeeth also proves that the company of depraved persons is extremely dangerous. Whose army would it be, which has been referred to in the Hadeeth, and when will it invade Ka`bah, is a matter known to Allaah Alone. Such prophecies are a part of the Unseen world. Since they come in the category of the miracles of the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, it is necessary to believe in their veracity and occurrence. Believing in such prophesies is also essential because they were revealed by Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala).
3. A`ishah (radhiallahu`anha) narrated that the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, "There is no emigration after the conquest (of Makkah) but only Jihaad [(striving and fighting in the cause of Allaah) will continue] and good intention.* So if you are summoned to fight, go forth.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
* Intention according to An-Nawawi: It means that goodness which ceased to continue by the cessation of emigration can still be obtained by Jihaad and by intending accomplishing good deeds.
Commentary: When a country or a region is regarded as Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam), it is not necessary to migrate from it to some other place. It is, however, obligatory to emigrate from such regions which are Dar-ul-Kufr (land of infidels) and where it is difficult to adhere to Islamic injunctions. It is also evident from this Hadeeth that when it is not necessary to migrate from one Islamic country to another then it is also not permitted by the Sharee`ah to leave an Islamic country to settle permanently in Dar-ul-Kufr only for the reason that the latter has plenty of wealth and social welfare. Unfortunately, Muslims today are afflicted with this disease. The transfer of their capital and talent to Dar-ul-Kufr is indeed very disturbing because on one side these two factors are lending support to the economy of  Bilad-ul-Kufr (countries of infidels) and on the other, obscenity and indecency that are common in such countries, are becoming increasingly common among the Muslims too.
Another highly important reason for the prohibition of migration of Muslims to Dar-ul-Kufr is that it goes against the spirit as well as their readiness for Jihaad fee sabeelillaah (striving and fighting in the way of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala). This spirit and readiness must be kept always alive so that the Muslims may respond at once to the call of Jihaad whenever the need for it arises anywhere.
4.  Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari (radhiallahu`anhu) reported: We accompanied the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam in an expedition when he said, "There are some men in Al-Madeenah who are with you wherever you march and whichever valley you cross. They have not joined you in person because of their illness.'' In another version he said: "They share the reward with you.'' [Muslim].
It is narrated by Bukhari from Anas bin Malik (radhiallahu`anhu): We were coming back from the battle of TAbook with the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam when he remarked, "There are people whom we left behind in Al-Madeenah who accompanied us in spirit in every pass and valley we crossed. They remained behind for a valid excuse.''
Commentary: What we learn from this Hadeeth is that if the intention and spirit of Jihaad are present in the heart of a Muslim but physically he is unable to take part in it for valid reasons, he will get the reward of Jihaad without even his actual participation in it.
5.  Ma`n bin Yazid bin Akhnas (radhiallahu`anhu) (he, his father and his grandfather, all were Companions) reported: My father set aside some dinars for charity and gave them to a man in the masjid. I went to that man and took back those dinars. He said: "I had not intended you to be given.'' So we went to Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, and put forth the matter before him. He said to my father, "Yazid, you have been rewarded for what you intended.'' And he said to me, "Ma`n, you are entitled to what you have taken.''
1. This Hadeeth leads us to the conclusion that if Sadaqah (charity), goes to a needy son of a Muslim, there is no need to take it back from him for the reason that the father had intended to give it to a deserving person. The former gets the reward for it on account of his Niyyah (intention). This however, will be reckoned as Nafli Sadaqah (voluntary charity) because the obligatory Zakaat (Sadaqah) cannot be given to the donor's own dependents.
2. It is permissible in Sharee`ah to make someone a Wakil (attorney or agent) for Sadaqah.
3. It does not amount to disobedience on the part of a son to take his father to a competent authority or scholar to know the legal position on any issue, in the same way, as mutual discussion and debate on matters of Sharee`ah does not amount to insolence. (Fath Al-Bari, chapter on Zakaat).
6. Aboo Ishaq Sa`d bin Aboo Waqqas (radhiallahu`anhu) (one of the ten who had been given the glad tidings of entry into Jannah) narrated: Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam visited me in my illness which became severe in the year of Hajjat-ul-Wada` (Farewell Pilgrimage). I said, "O Messenger of Allaah, you can see the pain which I am suffering and I am a man of means and there is none to inherit from me except one daughter. Should I give two-thirds of my property in charity?'' He Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, "No". I asked him, "Then half?'' He said, "No". Then I asked, "Can I give away one-third". He said, "Give away one-third, and that is still too much. It is better to leave your heirs well-off than to leave them poor, begging people. You will not expend a thing in charity for the sake of Allaah, but you will be rewarded for it; even the morsel of food which you feed your wife''. I said, "O Messenger of Allaah, would I survive my companions?'' He said, "If you survive others and accomplish a thing for the sake of Allaah, you would gain higher ranking and standing. You will survive them ... your survival will be beneficial to people (the Muslim) and harmful to others (the enemies of Islam). You will survive others till the people will derive benefit from you, and others would be harmed by you.'' Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam further said, "O Allaah, complete for my Companions their emigration and do not cause them to retract.'' Sa`d bin Khaulah was unfortunate. Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam lamented his death as he died in Makkah. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: In spite of all their love for it, the Companions of the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam did not like to die in a city from which they emigrated for the sake of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. For this reason Sa`d (radhiallahu`anhu) was afraid of dying in Makkah. The Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam prayed for the accomplishment of Sa`d's emigration and expressed regret over the misfortune of  Sa`d bin Khaulah. The latter died in Makkah.
1. The Hadeeth lays down that in the course of a disease which seems to prove fatal, one cannot give more than one-third of the property in charity.
2. It is also emphasized that one gets reward even for what he spends on his wife and children.
3. One can report to others his ailment or to seek treatment and ask them to supplicate from him.
4. In the matter of Sadaqah (charity), which one gives to seek the Pleasure of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, his closest relatives. should always have priority and preference over others.
7. Aboo Hurayrah (radhiallahu`anhu) narrated: The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, "Allaah does not look at your figures, nor at your attire but He looks at your hearts and accomplishments". [Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth highlights the importance of sincerity and good intention. It is, therefore, essential that every noble action should be based on these two virtues; and heart should be free from  all such things that destroy noble deeds. Hypocrisy, ostentation, greed for wealth, riches and other wordly things fall in the category of such evils. Since the true condition of heart is known to Allaah alone, the true position of one's actions will be known on the Day of  Resurrection when one will be requited for them by Allaah. In this world, one will be treated according to his apparent condition while his insight will be left to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
8. Aboo Musa Al-Ash`ari (radhiallahu`anhu) reported that Messenger of Allaah  Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam was asked about who fights in the  battlefield out of valour, or out of  zeal, or out of  hypocrisy, which of this is considered as fighting in the cause of Allaah? He said: "He who fights in order that the Word of Allaah remains the supreme, is considered as fighting in the cause of Allaah".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: Since one's action will be evaluated in terms of intention, so he alone would be a Mujahid (warrior in the cause of Deen) who fights to glorify the Name of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
9. Aboo Bakrah Ath-Thaqafi (radhiallahu`anhu) reported: The Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said: "When two Muslims are engaged in a combat against each other with their sword's and one is killed, both are doomed to Hell". I said, "O Messenger of Allaah! As to the one who kills, it is understandable, but why the slain one?" He Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam replied: "He was eager to kill his opponent". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth leads to the conclusion that one would be punished for such sinful intention for which he has made a firm determination, and for the commitment of which he has adopted necessary measures, even if he does not succeed in committing it because of certain obstruction. Thus determination is different from a suggestion of the devil. The latter is excusable while one is accountable for his determination. However, what is mentioned in the Hadeeth will happen when Muslims  fight among themselves for worldly honour and prejudices, and no religious issue would be the cause of their conflict, because in the latter case, it is possible that both might be depending on their own Ijtihad (exercise of opinion) for which they may be excused.
10. Aboo Hurayrah (radhiallahu`anhu) reported that: The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said: "The reward for Salaat performed by a person in congregation is more than 20 times greater than that of the Salaat performed in one's house or shop. When one performs Wudu' perfectly and then proceeds to the masjid with the sole intention of performing Salaat, then for every step he takes towards the masjid, he is upgraded one degree in reward and one of his sins is eliminated until he enters the masjid, and when he enters the masjid, he is considered as performing Salaat as long as it is the Salaat which prevents him (from leaving the masjid); and the angels keep on supplicating Allaah for him as long as he remains in his place of prayer. They say: 'O Allaah! have mercy on him; O Allaah! forgive his sins; O Allaah! accept his repentance'. This will carry on as long as he does not pass wind". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth shows that although it is permissible to perform Salaat individually in market places and houses, but its collective performance in the Masjid is 25, 26, or 27 times more meritorious, as mentioned in other Ahadeeth.
11. `Abdullah bin `Abbas (radhiallahu`anhu) reported:  Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said that Allaah, the Glorious, said: "Verily, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has ordered that the good and the bad deeds be written down. Then He explained it clearly how (to write): He who intends to do a good deed but he does not do it, then Allaah records it for him as a full good deed, but if  he carries out his intention, then Allaah the Exalted, writes it down for him as from ten to seven hundred folds, and even more. But if he intends to do an evil act and has not done it, then Allaah writes it down with Him as a full good deed, but if he intends it and has done it, Allaah writes it down as one bad deed". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary:  What the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam relates to Allaah is called Hadeeth Qudsi (Sacred Tradition). Such Hadeeth is revealed to the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam by means of Ilham (inspiration). This Hadeeth mentions the magnitude of Divine blessings which He bestows upon His faithful slaves on the Day of  Resurrection.
12. `Abdullah bin`Umar bin Al-Khattab (radhiallahu`anhu) narrated that: He heard the Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam as saying: "Three men, amongst those who came before you, set out until night came and they reached a cave, so they entered it. A rock fell down from the mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said: `Nothing will save you from this unless you supplicate to Allaah by virtue of a righteous deed you have done.' Thereupon, one of them said: `O Allaah! I had parents who were old, and I used to offer them milk before any of my children or slaves. One day, I went far away in search of grazing and could not come back until they had slept. When I milked as usual and brought the drink I found them both asleep. I hated to disturb them and also disliked to give milk to my children before them. My children were crying out of hunger at my feet but I awaited with the bowl in my hand for them to wake up. When they awoke at dawn, they drank milk. O Allaah! If  I did so to seek Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress caused by the rock'. The rock moved slightly but they were unable to escape. The next said: `O Allaah! I had a cousin whom I loved more than any one else (in another version he said: as a man can love a woman). I wanted to have sexual intercourse with her but she refused. Hard pressed in a year of famine, she approached me. I gave her one hundred and twenty dinars on condition that she would yield herself to me. She agreed and when we got together (for sexual intercourse), she said: Fear Allaah and do not break the seal unlawfully. I moved away from her in spite of the fact that I loved her most passionately; and I let her keep the money I had given her. O Allaah! If I did that to seek Your Pleasure, then, remove the distress in which we are.' The rock moved aside a bit further but they were still unable to get out. The third one said: `O Allaah! I hired some labourers and paid them their wages except one of them departed without taking his due. I invested his money in business and the business prospered greatly. After a long time, he came to me and said: O slave of Allaah! Pay me my dues. I said: All that you see is yours - camels, cattle, goats and slaves. He said: O slave of Allaah! Do not mock at me. I assured him that I was not joking. So he took all the things and went away. He spared nothing. O Allaah! If  I did so seeking Your Pleasure, then relieve us of our distress.' The rock slipped aside and they got out walking freely". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
1. It is permissible to pray through our virtuous deeds. But to make someone a medium for it, is an innovation in Deen which should be avoided for two major reasons. Firstly, there is no evidence in Sharee`ah to support this. Secondly, it is against the practice of Khair-ul-Qurun, the best of generations. (This term is used for the first three generations of Muslims, the one in which the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam lived and the two following).
2.  Preference should be given to the service of parents, even over the service of one's own wife and children.
3. To abstain from sins out of fear of Allaah is a highly meritorious act.
4. Labourers should always be treated fairly. If someone has paid to a labourer less than his due, it should be paid to him in a decent manner.
5. Any supplication which is made sincerely, and with real sense of humbleness is granted by Allaah.
6. Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala sometimes helps His pious men even in an unusual manner, which is termed as Karamat (wonder or marvel). Thus, like the miracles of the Prophets, wonders of the righteous people are also true. But miracles and wonders both appear with the Will of Allaah.


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