Are your intentions alright?

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.

“Verily, actions are (rewarded) by intentions.”

This Hadith means that no matter which actions we carry out in our lives, they are rewarded by the intentions of pleasing Allah and to succeed in the hereafter. It could also be interpreted as an individual intending to do a good deed in order to have a good outcome from the action. However the majority would agree that those who intend to do an action for the sake of Allah’s pleasure and happiness, He will reward the person for doing the action there and then. SubhanAllah it is so easy to please Allah. Just think… Just before you drink water you say “Ya Allah I am drinking this in order to please you, to maintain my health.” Allah will reward you for taking care of your body and maintaining your health, Allahu Akbar. He is so generous, so Loving.

If we as students intend to study for the sake of Allah in order to gain more knowledge and find out more about this world then throughout the day each step we take for our education will be rewarded! SubhanAllah. We spend so many hours doing school work, college work, university work, and even working for long hours at our workplace. We end up thinking that because of what we are occupied with we do not have enough time for religion or for Allah, this is not the case. If we wake up and make the intention to go to college or work in order to gain knowledge or earn money for the sake of Allah and our families then that will make a huge difference. By making that intention, every action you take after would be rewarded and you will feel as though you are getting closer to Allah simply by.. What? Carrying on with your lifestyle the way you usually would, except that everything will be for the sake of Allah and pleasing him. Hence, these actions become an act of worship and they are rewarded.

This also means that even if we do purely good actions, our intentions could in fact ruin the deed itself. The most common and most-applied example of this is our Salah. Here is a famous story:

There was a young man who was praying in the Masjid, when two men walked in behind him and saw the man praying with intense concentration. These men began to comment aloud and praising this man on how he is performing his Salah. Upon hearing this, the man began to pay more concentration on his Salah and prolonged it (reciting slowly, etc) which encouraged the two men to compliment him even more. After he had finished praying he walked over to the two men and told them that he was also fasting. Due to the fact that he had the intention to look ‘good’ and please the two men, he ruined his Salah as well as his fast as his intention was not to make Allah proud but instead the two men.

This is a good and clear example of how our intentions can change if we do not have control over our emotions and if we do not focus on pleasing Allah.

There are four stages that everyone goes through before they commit a sin. We will use the example of listening to music:

  1. The idea of listening to music will cross your mind – these thoughts are often encouraged by Shaytan and he will try to encourage you to look at your iPod or type a song in the search engine on YouTube.
  2. You will feel the desire to listen to music as it has been a while since you listened to it, or you feel bored.
  3. You become inclined to commit to sin, you decide that you will reach out for your iPod and listen to a song.
  4. You have made up your mind and you listen to music.

NOTE: During stages 1, 2 and 3 Allah does not hold you accountable as you cannot really control your desires nor can you control what crosses your mind. However at stage 4 you are judged as you have made up your mind and you have committed the action of sinning, with the intention of doing so. (Remember, every action has an intention as we always say or do things with having the thought of a purpose of doing so)

It is a good idea to reflect on the actions we take so that we are sure of the purpose (intention) of performing the action to be to please Allah. A good way to encourage ourselves to do so is to find out about the ways the Prophets, may peace be upon them used to search to better themselves and their souls and how they would reflect on their actions for even the smallest things. Just like them, we have the potential to better ourselves and to make our Iman stronger by remembering Allah more often through more things we do instead of just our Salah and reading Quran. I mean let’s face the truth: We are not thinking of Allah as much as we should, neither are we fearful enough of the Day which is coming to us very soon.

It is common for our intentions to change when people compliment us for helping our parents or praying our Salah. Shaytan encourages us to change our intentions in order to gain more compliments from more people instead of just doing the action to please Allah and to please our parents. This leads to betrayal to us as our intention is not to come closer to Allah but in fact to make ourselves look better in the eyes of others.  Remember, Shaytan will always try to confuse us and encourage us to come closer to Deen in order to make others feel proud of us and to praise our determination to Islam. No. that is not how it should work. We should not listen to Shaytan and fall into his traps. We should tell him to go away and make the intention in our minds that we are trying to better our relationship with Allah so that we may have a close relationship with Allah in the Akhirah. We should ask Allah to accept our deeds after complete them, so that In sha Allah our mistakes will be forgiven and we will try to please Him more.

Even some scholars and martyrs might make it seem as though they are doing actions in order to please Allah, however we do not know if this and we should not judge others as Allah alone knows what’s truly in everyone’s hard – He knows exactly what a person wants to gain.

What can I learn from this?

  • Make an intention to please Allah and to do it for the sake of bettering yourself, make it clear to you before doing anything.
  • After you have completed the action say Alhamdulillah and ask Allah to accept your deed, and ask Him to forgive your mistakes.
  • Before you say anything or do anything, ask yourself the reason why you are doing the deed; is it to please Allah or to gain more compliments?
  • Remember, Allah will reward you if you think of doing a good actions even if you do not manage to do it and he will not reward you for the actions which you did not have pure intentions for.  – sorry I couldn’t find a vocals only one!!!

If I have made any mistakes, please forgive me and comment on the mistakes I have made.

Hope you are having a lovely day In sha Allah.

مع السلامة

May you be accompanied by safety.


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