Importance of intention in achieving the sincerity
Praise be to Allah and may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his family members, his companions and his lovers.
Thereafter, this episode sheds light upon the importance of intention in achieving the sincerity.
Sincerity in any work could not be achieved but only by two main things:
First: By keeping the intention in mind during the work, since actions are based upon the intentions and who performs any work routinely without a good intention would not be included among the sincere people.
Second: By purifying the intention of impurities of selfishness and worldly desires until it becomes rendered only for Allah Almighty, because Allah Almighty does not love any shared work or shared heart, so no shared work and no shared heart is accepted by Allah Almighty. It was narrated in an authentic Hadith that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings be of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) said: I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate. Thus he who does an action for someone else's sake as well as Mine will have that action renounced by Me to him whom he associated with Me. (1)
Sincerity of intention is the basis of acceptance:
Any work done by a Muslim in his life- including Da`wah –is neither acceptable to Allah Almighty nor would be recorded in the register of deeds unless it is based upon two pillars – after the faith in Allah-:
The first: Sincerity and pure intention.
The second: The action of a Muslim must be coincided with the Prophetic Sunnah and Islamic Shari`ah principles.
The purity of inward is achieved through the first pillar while the purity of outward is achieved through the second pillar. The first pillar was mentioned in the following Hadith of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who said: “Actions are based upon the intentions.” (2) And this is the criteria for the inward. And the second pillar was mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who said: “Whoever did an action which is not upon our affair will have it rejected.” (3) i.e. it would be returned to the doer. And this is the criteria of the outward.
Furthermore, Allah (Glory be to Him) has mentioned both pillars together in more than one Verse in the Glorious Qur'an, as Allah Almighty said: “And whosoever submits his face (himself) to Allâh, while he is a (good-doer i.e. performs good deeds totally for Allâh’s sake without any show off or to gain praise or fame and does them in accordance with the Sunnah of Allâh’s Messenger Muhammad), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold.” [Surat Luqman: 22] In addition to that, the Almighty said: “And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allâh, and he is a good-doer.” [Surat An-Nisa’: 125].
Submission of face to Allah means to purify the intention and render the work for Allah only. The Arabic word “Muhsin” in the above-mentioned Verse denotes the person who acts according to Shari`ah principle by following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah(may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) and abides by his blessed Sunnah.
Fudhayl ibn `Eyaz says in this connection: “If a work is pure and only for Allah but is not according to Sunnah then it is unaccepted, also if it is according to Sunnah but not for Allah then it is unaccepted too. No action is accepted unless it is right and pure. Pure means to be for Allah only and right means to be according to Sunnah.” Then Fudhayl ibn `Eyaz recited this blessed Verse: “So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." (Al Kahf: 110] (4).
Furthermore, Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “No word without practice is beneficial and no practice without intention is beneficial, likewise, no word and no practice and no intention are beneficial without agreeing with the blessed Sunnah." (5)
Hence, the need of intentions for the external actions is evident. Eventually, all actions without intention are always worthless, for example, the worships which were performed by a person by mistake or inadvertently or in sleep or inattentively are un-acknowledged.
It is worth mentioning that the acts of worship which are performed with bad or false intention are not only invalid, but even the doer deserves punishment because of his corrupt intention.
Eventually, the worships performed by the hypocrites, dissemblers and slaves of money and wealth are heinous sin and their punishment is severe. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.” [Surat Al Furqan: 23].
Therefore, the Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has linked the good reward and the forgiveness in many cases to the works performed with good intention, for example, the Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward (from Allah Almighty) all his past sins will be forgiven.” (6)
Additionally, the Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever accompanies the funeral of a Muslim, seeking the reward only from Allah the Almighty, and he stays with it until he offers the funeral prayer and the burial is completed, will return back with two Qirat, each Qirat is equal to the mount of Uhud.” (7)
Furthermore, He (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If somebody keeps a horse in Allah's Cause motivated by his faith in Allah and his belief in His Promise, then he will be rewarded on the Day of Resurrection for what the horse has eaten or drunk even for its dung and urine." (8)
These different actions and many others are only rewarded when they are performed with true, pure and sincere intention. This fact has been asserted explicitly by the Hadith of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) that says: “Actions are based upon the intentions, and each person gets only what he intended.”(9)
Undoubtedly, intention is the pivot of any action. Intention is the pillar, origin and foundation upon which every action is based. It is the spirit of any work and every work. Intention is the factor that leads and drives a person while the work is simply a result and outcome of the intention. If the intention is valid the result is valid but if it is invalid then the result is also invalid. It is the intention through which success is sought and failure is avoided, according to the intention grades and ranks vary in this world and the Hereafter. There are many who seek through their Fatwa pleasure of Allah and nearness to Him and reward from Him. And there are many who seek through their Fatwa the pleasure of people, their gifts and their rewards, whether under the circumstances of frightening or greed. Both scholars give the same Fatwa but the difference between them in reward and merit is greater than the distance between the East and the West. One gives the Fatwa with intention that the Word of Allah would become the supreme and His religion would be successful, and His Messenger would be obeyed, while another gives the Fatwa intending only that his own word would be heard and only his fatwa would be referred to and only his prestige would be dominating, no matter, whether it coincides with the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah or contradicts them. And it is Allah Alone Whose help can be sought.
It is noteworthy that it has been always the rule of Allah in His creation that is never changed and it is His method that never turns off that He (Glory be to Him) grants His sincere slaves an augustness, light and puts the respect and love for him in the hearts of people. So, the hearts of people thirst for him because of his sincerity, purity of intention and his nearness to his Lord. On the other hand, Allah (Glory be to Him) casts upon the hypocrite, dissembler and liar a shadow of common detestation, humiliation and hatred that he deserves. Undeniably, the sincere and righteous person has a divine awe and heavenly love while the opposite has the perceptible detestation and hatred. (10)
Moreover, we will mention in the following episode by the will of Allah the importance of intention in the light of Glorious Qur’an.
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family members and his all companions.
(1) Reported by Muslim: (4/289 Hadith No. 7475), Book of Asceticism and Heart-Softening, Chapter on (Who associated in his doing others instead of Allah).
(2) This reference has been mentioned previously.
(3) Reported by Muslim: (1/22 Hadith No.1718), Book of Judicial Decisions, Chapter on (Abolishing the false decisions and refutation of newly invented matters). Originally this Hadith is agreed upon with the wording: “Whoever introduced in our matter something that is not of it will have it rejected.”
(4) See: `Ilm Al Hadith by Ibn Taymiyyah: p: (183, 172).
(5) Al `Uddah: (8:1).
(6) Reported by Al Bukhari: (1/16 Hadith No. 38), Book of Faith, Chapter on (Fasting of Ramadan expecting reward is faith) and Book of Fasting, Chapter on (Who fasts Ramadan out of faith and hope of reward), also this Hadith was reported by Muslim: (1/523 Hadith No. 760), Book of Prayer, Chapter on (Encouraging for the prayers during Ramadan).
(7) Reported by Al Bukhari: (1/18 Hadith No. 47), Book of Faith, Chapter on (Participating in funerals is a part of faith).
(8) Reported by Al Bukhari: (4/34 Hadith No. 2853), Book of Jihad and Expedition, Chapter on (Who kept a horse for the sake of Allah).
(9) This reference has been mentioned previously.
(10) I`alam Al Muwqqe`in: (199:4).