The Significance of Intention Behind Good Deeds

The Significance of Intention Behind Good Deeds


Hadith

روي أنه قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل إمرئ ما نوى فمن كانت هجرته إلى الله ورسوله فهجرته إلى الله ورسوله ومن كانت هجرته إلى دنيا يصيبها أو امرأة يتزوجها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر إليه.

It is narrated that the Prophet (sws) said: "[The reward[1] of pious[2]] deeds is dependent only upon intentions[3] [of those from whom they emanate]. Every person shall only get what he actually intended [while doing a pious deed[4]]. Thus, whoever actually migrates[5] towards [another land for] God and His Prophet[6], his migration shall be [counted in the Hereafter, as one] towards God and His Prophet [and shall, thus, follow great rewards]; while, whoever migrates towards [another land for] a worldly gain which he wants to earn or a woman, whom he wants to marry, his migration shall be [counted in the Hereafter, as one] towards what he actually intended it for [and shall, thus, carry no weight in the eyes of God]".

Notes on the Text of the Narrative

This narrative or a part of it, with minor variations, has been reported in: Bukhari (narrative no. 1, 54, 2392, 3685, 4783, 6311 and 6553), Muslim (narrative no. 1907), Tirmidhī (narrative no. 1647), Nasa'i (narrative no. 75, 3437 and 3794), Abu Da'ud (narrative no. 2201), Ibn Majah (narrative no. 4227), Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (narrative no. 168 and 300), Ibn Khuzaymah (narrative no. 142, 143 and 455), Ibn Hibban (narrative no. 388, 389 and 4868), Bayhaqī (narrative no. 181, 182, 972, 1321, 2087, 7162, 7897, 8774, 12686 and 14773), and Humaydi (narrative no. 28). The preferred text is the one reported in Bukhari, narrative no. 6311, except where otherwise specified.

In Bukhari's narrative no. 6311, the opening sentence has been reported as: إنما الأعمال بالنية (Deeds are dependent only upon intention). Our preferred sentence إنما الأعمال بالنيات (Deeds are dependent only upon intentions) has been reported in Bukhari, narrative no. 1. Similarly, the sentence وإنما لكل إمرئ ما نوى (Each man shall only get what he actually intended) – as reported in Bukhari's narrative no. 1 – has been rendered as وإنما لإمرئ ما نوى (Man shall only get that, which he actually intended).

(This write-up is prepared by the Hadith Cell of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. Those who have

assisted the author include: Izhar Ahmad, Muhammad Aslam Najmi and Kaukab Shehzad)




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