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PURIFICATION OF INTENTION AT ALL STAGES OF IBAADAH



Brothers and sisters in Islaam, before we do any good act, let us always purify our intentions and be sure we are not doing it except for Allaah's sake. Let us be sure that we are not doing the act for worldly benefit or for us to be praised by people. Otherwise, we may not have any reward on that good act on the Day of Judgment. 

Shaytaan is very dangerous and deceitful. He is our greatest enemy and he doesn't give up easily. For instance, someone may start a good work with good intention of seeking Allaah's pleasure alone. But in the middle of the work, shaytaan conquers him by distorting his intention. Someone might even have sincere intention at the beginning and during the good work. But by the end of the work, shaytaan reappears, he overtakes him, corrupt his intention and render his work useless. 

When we consider the three stages of our acts of worship and goodness, we can find out that the most important and delicate aspect is the last stage. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to watch his intention at the beginning, middle and the tail end of any of his good act or act of worship. At these stages, we must purify and repurify our intentions and make sure what we are doing is for Allaah's sake Alone and it is from Him Alone we expect reward. This is one of the lessons from the hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

"إنما الأعمال بالنيات"

"Surely, all acts shall be judged according to the intention behind it" [Hadith 1 of Arba'uun of Al-Imaam An-nawawiy] 

In another hadith, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was reported to have related the situation of certain three persons:

1. Someone who wage war in Allaah's cause. But he also expects people to praise him that he is a great fighter and warrior of the Islamic army. His intention is not to obey Allaah or seek His pleasure alone, he enjoys the praise of the people on his jihad. In fact, if people fail to praise him, he doesn't feel happy.

2. Someone who spends in the cause of Allaah without the intention of obeying Allaah and seeking Allah's pleasure alone. He wants his name to be mentioned for any penny he spends on sadaqah, zakah and endowments. If people fail to thank him for his donations, he doesn't feel happy. He becomes sad and feel they are ungrateful.

3. Someone who teach people the Qur'an, Sunnah or any other beneficial knowledge without the intention of obeying Allaah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم (The best of you is he who knows and teaches others) and seeking Allaah's pleasure alone. For any lecture he delivers or book or articles he writes, he wants to be praised by people. And if people refuse to praise him, he would not be happy. He may even hold it against them and fight them for not praising him, liking or share his posts.

These three category of individuals are many in our society today. In fact, no one can say he is completely free from these diseases of the heart. May Allaah guide us against them. For instance, it is very hard for us to find a politician that spends solely for Allaah's sake. In fact, most of them don't hide their filthy intention which is always to win people's heart and votes. We also have people who build places of worship, foundations and organizations just to gather people around them. Some people sponsor programmes on radio and television just for their names to be mentioned. Many of Muslim preachers of this era allow their students to praise sing them before and after their lectures. They enjoy this so much despite the prophetic warnings against it. Some of them would not deliver lectures except they are paid. Many of them have turned to beggars by the way they extort from individuals during their so called lectures.  

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم  says these three persons would not have any reward on the Day of Judgment because they have attached other material things to their acts of worship. All acts of worship and goodness are for Allaah Alone and He is the only One Who can reward them. If you seek any other worldly reward from people, that alone is enough to destroy your work. Regarding hajj (pilgrimage), saum (fasting) and several other acts of worship, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would add "إيمانا واحتسابا" (with sincere belief and expectation from Allaah's reward). This means that if you expect praise, greetings, money, cars and several material things from people, your acts of pilgrimage or fasting as the case may be is dented.

Therefore, the best thing is for us to always watch our acts and the intentions behind them. In addition, no one should go and engage in an act amounting to kufr (disbelief), bid'ah (innovation), fahshaa (indecency), dhulm (corruption) and claim his intention is good. Anytime we engage in righteous deeds, let us make sure our intention is purified from the beginning to the end. Let us not give room for shaytaan to adulterate our acts of worship. Whatever good act we embark on, we should let it be for Allaah's sake Alone without any other thing attached.

Riyaa' (showing-off) is shirk ul-asghar (a light form of polytheism) and one of the greatest of sins the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم fear for his Ummah. If proper care is not taken, a man wouldn't know when he falls into it because of its lightness. So, let us be careful, our acts of ibaadah should always be for Allaah alone. Let's not seek to please other than Him alone, with them.

May Allah continue to guide us aright.

*First written four (4) years ago

1 comment:

  1. Maa'shaa'Allaah!

    May Allaah help purify our intention.

    ReplyDelete


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