UNIT FIVE – INTENTION, SINCERITY

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TRANSLATION

“It is related from Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Actions are judged according to intentions. One is rewarded for whatever one intends to do. Whoever emigrates for Allah and His Messenger has emigrated for Allah and His Messenger; whoever emigrates to acquire something worldly or to marry has emigrated for what is intended.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Iman, 41; Sahih Muslim, Imara, 155).

 

NARRATOR

Umar ibn al-Khattab

a) Umar embraced Islam in the sixth year of the Prophethood of Allah’s Messenger.

b) He is among those Companions promised Paradise.

c) He was given the name Faruq, meaning the Distinguisher Between Truth and Falsehood.

d) He emigrated to Medina not in secret, but before the very eyes of the Meccan polytheists, in open defiance of them, and was the first person to openly declare his acceptance of Islam.

e) He became Muslim after the Prophet’s making the following supplication: “O Allah, strengthen Islam with which of those two, namely, Umar ibn al-Khattab and Amr ibn al- Hisham (Abu Jahl), is more pleasing to You.”

f) He was appointed Caliph following Abu Bakr’s caliphate, in the thirteenth year after the Emigration, with his caliphate continuing for ten and a half years.

g) He was exceptionally fair and right-minded. He would entreat Allah for a verse to be revealed in relation to a particular matter and a verse would immediately be revealed concerning it.

h) He was assassinated by Persian slave Abu Lu’lu’a in the twenty-third year after the Emigration (Hijra).

 

EXPLANATION

During the Emigration, all the Muslims were emigrating from Mecca to Medina for the sake of Allah. However, a Companion unknown by name had emigrated to marry a woman he loved, by the name of Umm Qays. This individual too was, without question, a believer, but his intention and purpose did not outweigh his behavior and actions. He also was one of the Emigrants, but his emigration was to Umm Qays. He endured all this difficulty that could only have been endured for the sake of Allah, for the sake of a woman instead. This incident, without mention of the name of the Companion, became the subject of the abovementioned Prophetic statement. The particularity of the reason for its articulation does not hinder the universality of the principle. The hadith’s ruling, therefore, is general and encompasses all affairs and people. Allah the Almighty has declared: “Say (to the believers): ‘Whether you keep secret what is in your bosoms or reveal it, Allah knows it. He knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Allah has full power over everything’” (Al Imran 3:29). Secrecy or openness pertains only to human beings. Just as Allah knows all that human beings do when in private, He is also aware of the thoughts and feelings occurring to their hearts. A person who believes in Allah and embraces the religion He revealed, must keep check of their behavior and even the feelings occurring to their hearts. Intention transpires in the heart. If a person senses a lapse in the sincere intention they entertain in their heart, they must renew their intention at once. This hadith, generally speaking, encompasses the following two topics: Intention and Emigration.

 

A. INTENTION

1) Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “The foundations of Islam are upon these three hadith: ‘Actions are by intentions’; ‘Whoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not in accordance with it will have it rejected’; and ‘The lawful is clear and the prohibited is clear.’”

2) The intention of a believer is better than their deeds. In another hadith, Allah’s Messenger said, “Allah considers not your bodily statures, but your hearts. Rather, He considers your hearts.”

3) Through their intention, a person’s mundane, daily actions become transformed into worship and an entire life becomes meritorious and filled with reward.

4) Whoever intends to carry out an act of goodness, they attain the rewards for having done so even if they are unable to actualize it.

5) Intention is the spirit of deed. That is to say, in the same way that a body without a spirit is of no avail, a deed performed without regard to Divine approval resembles a soulless body and is nothing more than mere display. In one of his hadith, the Messenger of Allah refers to a martyr being the first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Judgment. Upon Allah’s calling him to account concerning what he did in the world, he will say, “I fought for You until I died a martyr.” The following communication will then take place:

He [Allah] will say: “You have liedyou did but fight that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is courageous.’” And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire. [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: “And what did you do about them?” He will say: “I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake.” He will say: “You have liedyou did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is learned.’” And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is a reciter.’ And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire.

The continuation of the hadith gives an account of a wealthy man who will be brought to account who will say that he spent it for Allah’s sake. He too will be told that he did so that it might be said of him, “He is open-handed.” And he too will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire (Sahih Muslim, Imara, 152).

6) Intention holds such excellence that it transforms sin into reward and reward into sin. That is to say, intention is a spirit and the spirit of that spirit is sincerity. On this account, salvation is only possible with sincerity.

 

B. EMIGRATION

Whoever emigrates in Allah’s cause will find on the earth enough room for refuge and plentiful resources. He who leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger, and whom death overtakes (while still on the way), his reward is due and sure with Allah. Assuredly, Allah is All-Forgiving, All- Compassionate. (an-Nisa 4:100)

Definition: Emigration literally means to abandon and to leave one place to settle in another.

In a religious context, emigration denotes a person’s leaving the country or region in which they reside, to settle in another, in the event of their inability to freely practice their religion due to oppression and persecution. Historically speaking, the Emigration is the emigration of the Prophet and his Companions from Mecca to Medina in the year 622. Intention is of utmost importance in emigration, If emigration is realized in order to earn Allah’s approval and good pleasure, then the reward mentioned in the following Prophetic Tradition can be attained: “If anyone leaves their home for (the sake of) Allah and something befalls them on the way, the angels cannot record their reward; it is Allah Who will reward him.” Otherwise it will amount to nothing other than sightseeing or being wearied by travel. All the Prophets have emigrated, including Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Isa, and Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them. The Messenger of Allah states, “Whosoever seeks martyrdom with sincerity will be ranked by Allah among the martyrs even if they die in their bed.” Sincerity is to undertake everything one does with complete belief and to perfection, on account of Allah’s having commanded it.

Emigration is of Two Kinds:

a) Emigration from Sin, or the abandonment of wrongdoing. The best emigrant is one who emigrates from sin and transgression. Leaving behind those things that Allah has prohibited is considered to be emigration in the general sense. Thus, Allah’s Messenger states, “The emigrant (muhajir) is one who abandons what Allah has forbidden.”

b) Emigration to Allah’s Mercy: This refers to immediately abandoning a sin after having committed it, turning to Allah’s mercy, and entreating His forgiveness. It is echoing the words of Ibrahim ibn Adham and beseeching Allah’s mercy and forgiveness: “O Allah, Your rebellious servant has come to Your door. He knows that his sins are great, but nevertheless entreats You. If You forgive him, this is from Your majesty. If You turn him away, he has no other door to which to turn.”

The Messenger of Allah stated, “There is no emigration after the Conquest of Mecca,” but this is in terms of emigration from Mecca to Medina. That is to say, emigration continues in our day, and every journey or flight from one’s land and home undertaken for the sake of Allah still constitutes an emigration and, provided one’s intention is sincere, one attains the rewards of emigration.

 

LESSONS FROM THE HADITH

1. In order to obtain reward from deeds undertaken, it is essential that these be undertaken with good intention. 2. Due to the importance of intention being realized with the heart, it is not necessary to verbalize this with the tongue. 3. Actions carried out without any regard to Divine pleasure and approval cannot be meritorious. 4. A person must appear as they are and not exploit religion for their own ends. 5. Sincerity denotes soundness of intention.

 

EVALUATION

1. When did Umar embrace Islam and what is his title?

2. What is the reason for the communication of the hadith?

3. What is better for a believer than their deeds?

4. According to which characteristic does Allah judge human beings?

5. To which organ is the soundness or corruption of a person’s other bodily organs connected?

6. Considering Allah’s granting us eternal life in Paradise is not dependent upon our deeds, what will it depend upon?

7. Why will Allah cast certain people into Hellfire who will assert that they were martyred, learned the Qur’an, acquired knowledge, and spent their wealth in His Name?

8. What is the secret that transforms sins into rewards and rewards into sins?

9. What is the literal and technical meaning of emigration?

10. How is a person to be recorded among the emigrants if they are unable to emigrate and die instead in their own country?

11. What are the other two types of emigration?

12. What are the characteristics of an ideal emigrant?

13. What kinds of lessons can be learned from the hadith on intention?

 

Tekines, Ayhan. “An Introduction to Hadith” Tughra Books Press. January 2013.