Hadith 01: All Actions Are By Intention

We begin, aptly, with the following hadith:

On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful Abu Hafs Umar ibn al-Khattaab who said: I heard the Messanger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying,“Surely, all actions are but driven by intentions and, verily, every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus, he whose migration was for Allah and His Messanger, then his migration was for Allah and His Messanger; and he whose migration was to achieve some wordly benefit or to take a woman in marriage, his migration was for that which he migrated.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

To begin:

“Surely, all actions are but driven by intentions and verily, every man shall have but that which he intended.”

This hadith is one of the comprehensive hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It touches upon every deed of Islam, and encompasses all of the affairs of the Hereafter in one sentence.

The basis of any good deed is sincerity in pleasing Allah. If we lack this intention an act may appear ‘good’ but it will be devoid of true meaning and therefore reward. If we are seeking Allah’s pleasure, we need to have the intention of pleasing Him, but we also need to be sure that our action is in line with the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Shareeah.

The beauty here is that this hadith can refer to any action, no matter how simple. So for example, even washing the dishes, with the intention of pleasing Allah by looking after our families, can earn us reward.

If, before going to sleep you make wudhu and the intention to rest so that you can get up and worship Allah, EVEN YOUR SLEEP can earn you reward with Allah. Imagine, a third of your life is taken up with sleep but with the right intention you can make this earn you reward with Allah! SubhanAllah Allah is Merciful and He provides us with so many ways to draw near to Him.

So remember – pause a moment before you act and remind yourself Who you are doing this for…

“… Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His Messanger, [then] his migration was for Allah and His Messenger; and he whose migration was to achieve some wordly benefit or to take a woman in marriage, his migration was for that which he migrated.”

This part of the hadith demonstrates the important principle that two acts may look the same on the outside, but as a result of the intention they are done with, the rewards are very different.

The Arabic word hijrah means ‘to leave or avoid something and to move from one thing to something else’. It’s most apparent shareeah meaning is the leaving of the lands of the disbelievers to the land of Islam in order to implement or practice Islam.

According to some scholars though, the concept of hijrah in this hadith can also be more widely applied to include spiritual hijrah from what Allah has forbidden, as illustrated in the hadith:

“The Muhaajir [one who makes hijrah] is the one who avoids what Allah has prohibited.” (Bukhari)

The past century has witnessed a kind of hijrah that has been very harmful to Muslims,hijrah for the sake of the dunya, or worldly gain. Many Muslims have moved from Muslim lands to the lands of the West for economic betterment, and many times this has been at the expense of their religion or the religion of their children. This is the kind of migration that Allah is warning us against here. What are the gains of this world worth is we lose the Hereafter?

The believer should set their aspirations on the eternal rewards of the Hereafter. We should use this world as a means of gaining Allah’s pleasure. Any of our actions can do this if we perform them with the intention of pleasing Allah, and in accordance with the Sunnah of His Messanger (s).

4 Responses to Hadith 01: All Actions Are By Intention

  1. Abull Haarith says:

    Salaamu’alaykum and hope you are in good health and eemaan. I wanted to ask if this is a summary from a detailed study of this hadeeth and also the other ahdeeth too. JazakAllahu khayran

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    • Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu. This is a summary of a more detailed discussion of the Commentary on the Forty Hadith of Al-Nawawi’s by Jamal al-Din M. Zarabozo, which is published in three volumes. I have summarised each hadith line by line in the posts. You can find each hadith commentary listed in full under the drop down menu marked 40 Hadith on the Home Page InshaAllah. Jazak Allah Khairun.

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  2. Saroosh says:

    Assalamu Allykum.

    Ma’sha Allah, your writing skills are excellent. You have expressed so much in such little words. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog.

    But sister, please don’t take this in the wrong sense, in today’s time, one can’t be sure if they are reading about their deen from the right source or not. Therefore, I need your sincere word that all that you write, is from trusted sources.

    Jazakillah.

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    • Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakathu Jazak Allahu khairun for your excellent comment. I sincerely agree with your sentiment. Know that everything that is written on this blog are not my own words, but words from trusted sources. The hadith explanations are all from the Commentary on the Forty Hadith of An-Nawawi by Jamal al-Din Zarabozo, published in three volumes. The link is listed in the drop down section above. These are from early posts on my blogs, I now reference every post with book names and page numbers, and plan to do for the same for the archives sometime soon. Make du’a for me, it’s a big task! Jazak Allahu khairun.

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