Dear brothers, our beloved Prophet SAWS has emphasised the importance of intention in faith.
There are numerous hadith’s in relation to this topic and the following demonstrates this topic well. The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:
All actions are with intention, and each person will get what he or she intended for.
Dear brothers, there are scholars that state that the entire religion revolves around intention.
In the event of migration for example, if one does it for worldly benefits such as wealth or a woman to marry, then the benefit will be for that reason and no other.
The argument can be that the intention wasn’t for anything immoral or forbidden. However, one needs to be careful that the intention isn’t for the self but is for the pleasure of his Creator.
One must always be mindful of the fact that this life is a short life and that before we know it we will be experiencing the only certainty of this life and that is death. Speaking to the elders amongst our community, you become acutely aware of how fast life travels and how vital therefore our intentions are.
Allah SWT makes reference to intention and the nature of this life in sura al-israa, ayat 18 in which it is translated as saying:
If anyone desires only the fleeting life, We speed up whatever We will in it, for whoever We wish; in the end We have prepared Hell for him in which to burn, disgraced and rejected.
Dear brothers, this stark reminder of the potential outcome of our present should be enough of a driver to correct our intention and reset it to the correct intention for our hereafter.
Before we can look at the steps to this reset, let’s summarize the concept of intention first.
Based on one’s intention, the end result of an action can be one of three things:
- Reward. If the intention is to please Allah SWT then all good actions will be rewarded. For example, if you intend to read a book of knowledge because seeking knowledge is an obligation on all Muslims then insh’Allah one is rewarded for it, in this life and the next.
- Another end result can be neutral. If one performs an action with the intention for other than Allah SWT, for example a business trip to another city, then the action will result in neither reward nor punishment. Incidentally, this action can be changed with intention to do it for the sake of Allah SWT such as an intention to feed your family or spend in the way of Allah SWT. Then this action becomes one of reward insh’Allah.
- Thirdly, the outcome can be punishment. If the intention was to specifically disobey a command of Allah SWT, for example, if this was an intention to go Las Vegas to gamble, then the journey is haram and is subject to punishment.
Dear brothers, the greatest threat to our worship is the threat of insincerity. One can do the noblest of deeds and make the greatest of sacrifices, but if our intentions are not right then those deeds are in danger of being stripped of virtue and reward.
This, in turn, leaves that person in danger of being without good deeds on the Day of Judgement.
So, the issue then becomes one of removing insincerity from one’s intentions. By removing that one is able to make the good deeds matter because the intention becomes the right intention. It is reset to how it should be.
And how can one do this? The khutba concludes with three short tips on how to reset one’s intention through sincerity of intention.
Firstly, repent. Make a dua for forgiveness on being insincere in your repentance. Change comes from Allah SWT and so the journey begins with forgiveness. Ask for sincerity in your duas and insh’Allah it will come.
Secondly, fight the insincerity. Understand that the only person to impress is Allah SWT and not about this person or that person. On the day of judgement those people will not matter to you and so don’t leave it till then to make that realisation.
And lastly, renew your intentions. Remind yourself of the great reward that awaits insh’Allah and never despair because if you truly wish for pure intentions then Allah SWT will be watching out for you and if that is the case then what more does one need?
May Allah SWT make us of those with pure intentions. May Allah SWT remove insincerity from our intentions and may Allah SWT reward us in the hereafter on our intentions.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.