40 Hadith- Intentions
On the authority of Omar bin Al-Khattab, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah salla Allah u alihi WA sallam say:
“Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah 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.” related by Bukhari and Muslim
This is the first Hadith to appear in bukhari, it is only fair to have this hadith as the introduction as to point out that every deed is done by the proper intention. This hadith serves as an axis for Islam. The reason why this hadith is presented first is because you need to correct your intention first.
The Prophet (SAW) said that actions are done by intentions and that you only get out actions to that which you have intended. For example knowledge (Ilm) is 1/3, actions is 2/3 and intentions is 1/3 all of this would be useless if the intention is not for sake of Allah (SWT).
The Sufi’s say “don’t even do it only for the intention to attain jannah, do you believe that Allah owes you something? You are still running after creation and not your creator, Ibadah is about praising Allah not about jannah or jahannam”
Furthermore our intentions should be sincere and pure, to worship is an action and sincerity is the intention. “A little bit of action where the heart is present is better than a mountain of actions where the heart is not present” intention is very powerful even if you do not do the deed but you have the intention you shall receive the reward because your Niyyah was strong.
Niyyah is very difficult to achieve, it is the centrality of Islam. One needs to constantly purify one’s intentions for it can surely be corrupted and eventually turn on you, (your Nafs)
An act not done for the sake of Allah can be divided into parts.
1) The first part is Riya which means solely for display or showing off, the sole motivation in doing any act is to display it to others, an act also done partially for showing off and partially for sake of Allah, is an act done in vain.
2) The Ulema of spirituality say “even if you are not showing off in front of other people you can still show off in front of yourself (Your Nafs),
Those who claim their actions it means that it has not been accepted by Allah (SWT), pure action and intention is only for Allah. Do it for Allah and by Allah and you will see that not only will your intentions be pure, but your heart and your soul will be pure and every action that you do will be rewarded by Allah (SWT) because you have done that intention with sincerity. Words and actions mean nothing if it is not done with sincerity and truthfulness from the heart.