Hadith 1. Intentions Part A

On the authority of Ameer ul-Mu’mineen (the Commander of the Faithful), Abu Hafs `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiAllahu anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam say:

“Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended. Thus he whose migration (Hijrah to Madeenah from Makkah) was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.

Reported in Bukhari and Muslim

Brief commentary:

  • Many scholars started their books with this hadith
  • Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said this is one of the ahadith that the religion revolves around
  • It is equivalent to a third of knowledge because we are rewarded for three things: what the heart contains, what the tongue says and what our limbs do, and this hadith is pinnacle in dealing with matters of the heart
  • The word إنما  is used for exclusivity i.e. Actions are exclusively done by intentions
  • Some scholars said there is an ellipses (implied meaning) in the first statement, in that it is talking about correctness of actions, as we are only judged in the hereafter for actions which we intended to do and are not judged for accidental actions (which had no intention behind it), i.e. the first statement is saying “Actions which you will be judged upon on the day of judgement are the ones you intended to do”
  • In the Arabic, it may seem that the second statement وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى  is a repeat of the first one, but the meaning of both is that the first statement is saying: for every correct action you do (action that you are held accountable for), there is an intention behind it, and the second statement is saying: the reward for the doer for his deed is according to his pious intention
  • Doing sins could prevent you from doing righteous actions
  • The first 3 people to be dragged into hellfire are people who done good actions with insincere intentions
  • The opposite of sincerity is riyaa’, which means: showing off
  • Riyaa’ is considered as a minor form of shirk, and can disqualify a person’s good deeds
  • Riyaa’ in Islam is when we do an act of worship for other than the sake of Allah alone
  • Riyaa’ is of many levels, many of which are hidden. Some examples of riyaa’ are:
    • You do an action solely for the sake of the people
    • You do an action for the sake of Allah, but when you do it in front of others, you find it easier to do e.g. praying qiyam-ul-layl
    • You do it for the sake of Allah and it is not made easier by others looking at you, but you feel happy when others know you did this action, and you try hard to let them know you’ve done it e.g. pray in front of them or mention that you’ve just did this act of worship
    • You do it for the sake of Allah and it is not made easier by others looking at you, but you feel happy when others know you did this action, however, you do not directly try to make it visible that you have done this action, but you try to make it known indirectly e.g. swollen eyes or dry lips to let others know you’ve been crying or fasting
    • You do it for the sake of Allah and do not let others know you’ve done it, but you expect to be respected by others because you do such and such acts of worship
  • This hadith mentioned two things, dunya and women, as they distract us the most from the hereafter

Benefits and Action points:

  • Whenever you feel a difference whether people look at your act of worship or not, then know you have an element of riyaa’ in you which you must seek to dispel
  • Avoid all forms of riyaa’ mentioned in the commentary above
  • To avoid riyaa’ we must know what causes it. It is caused by 3 main principles. Below are the causes of riyaa’ and how to dispel them:
    • Desiring to be praised
      • Remind yourself of the pleasures you get in Jannah, and compare if you want to swap them for the minute pleasure of being praised in the dunya
    • Hating to be criticised
      • Remind yourself of your imminent stand before Allah and compare which criticism is more important, the criticism of the people or the criticism of Allah
      • Know that if Allah is pleased with you, then He will make the people pleased with you too
    • Desiring what is in the hands of the people
      • Remind yourself that what is with Allah is far greater
      • Remind yourself that what is in the hands of the people ultimately belongs to Allah, and only He decides if you get something or not

4 Comments on “Hadith 1. Intentions Part A”


  1. Beautiful work. MashAllah

  2. Riwanullah ibn Ahmad Says:

    Thanks jazakumullahu khairan


  3. salam pls how may I download this application ( 40 hadith) to my phone

    • alnaasiree Says:

      Walaikum assalam.

      Unfortunately we do not have an application so you have to view it on your internet browser


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