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Importance of Intention (نیّة) in the Noble Quran


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Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: October 28, 2019, 11:43:00 pm »

 


BismEm


As-Salaam Alaikum dear everyone.


The importance of this aspect is hugely downplayed in many segments of our Islamic society.  Unawareness of how thoroughly one's intent affects the quality of one's deeds can make a person ignorant of the quality of their own soul.  It can also be terribly misleading for them, presuming themselves to be righteous while in they maybe quite the opposite in the Sight of Allah. 
 
Let us spend a little time to study and reflect on this topic. 

Niyyat or niyyah (نیّة) is the Arabic word for 'intention' or a person's intent.

"He who created death and life to test you (as to) which of you is best in deed." (67: 2). 

"best in deed" includes actions as well as a person's intentions behind those actions.  Sometimes a plan devised based on harmful intent may produce some positive results.  However, in such a case, that action or deed will not help to acquire the Mercy of Allah.   This can be assumed and confirmed with the principles of the Noble Quran that are very straightforward. 


"And there is no sin for you in the mistakes that ye make unintentionally, but what your hearts purpose (that will be a sin for you)."   (33:5). 

In simple terms, the quality of our deeds are greatly determined by our innermost intentions.  Allah Almighty knows the thoughts, wishes and ideas that lie in the pit of one's heart and within one's mind.  These thoughts, wishes and ideas can be positive or negative.  Many a times a person's thoughts and ideas garnered within them lead to actions.  Generally good intents lead to good deeds, bad intents lead to bad deeds.  Also there are times when intentions maybe good but the deeds depending on those good intents may backfire and cause strife or something negative.  In such cases, those persons cannot be denounced as sinful because the intent was well-meaning and thus the bitter outcome was unintentional.  It can also be the other way round.  One's action maybe an outcome of a malicious intent, yet that action may lead to something positive for the victim.  But the person who nurtured the malicious intent will not reap the fruits of the positive results of their action, because the intent was negative.   The world may never know it, but Allah knows it, and all such persons will have to answer to Him on the Day of the Tryst.

"Unquestionably, unto Allah belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. He knows your condition.  And (He knows) the Day when they are returned unto Him so that He may inform them of what they did.   Allah is Knower of all things."  (24:64). 


Quranic words such as "yuridu" (desire), "mutaʿammidan" (set purpose or intention) and "azamū"  (decide or resolve) are meant to emphasize on a person's intention or niyyah.

"…Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter…" (Quran 3: 152). 

The term "desire" alludes to their innermost intent.

"Whoso slays a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell for ever."  (4:93). 

If you have a set purpose, that's certainly your intention.

"And if they decide upon divorce (let them remember that) Allah is Hearer, Knower."  (2:227). 

In the above Verse, the translated expression "decide" (or resolve) refers to a firm  intention, in this case, intention of divorce.


Take a look at Verse 2:272 where Allah Almighty uses the term "wajhi Allahi" (Face or Countenance of Allah). 
 
"And whatsoever good thing you spend, it is for yourselves, when you spend not save in search of Allah's Countenance;"   (2:272). 

When someone seeks the Countenance of Allah, it's symbolic of the purity of their intent.  Verse 2:272 refers to the intention of those giving alms or charity, their intent must be to please Allah Almighty, that is, pure intent from their hearts to help the needy, not to create an impression of themselves on people or societies.  A pure intent from the heart is always very dear to The Almighty.   A purified intention for the love of humanity is, first and foremost, automatically based on your love for The Almighty.  It's your dependency and love for Allah Almighty that form the strong foundation and strong pillars helping you to find wisdom, to reflect, and thus think right leading to righteous conduct.  Briefly put, right intentions leading to right actions.


Then again, there is a difference between a set purpose or firm intent and a casual intent not meant nor intended to be acted upon.   Allah Almighty observes this difference.

"Allah will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths. But He will take you to task for that which your hearts have garnered." (2:225).

The above Verse alludes that there is no punishment or penalty for oaths that are uttered unawares or spoken by word of mouth during informal or unofficial discourse (which may also include an emotional moment) or in a light-hearted spirit.   But you will have to answer to Allah Almighty for any evil intentions that seriously dwell in your hearts.   Such a situation occurs in many walks of life.  Thus, a believer needs to be ultra cautious of their intentions that lead to their various  deeds. 


Confirming the Quranic principle of how important intent is, in Verse 107 and 108 of Surah At-Taubah, Allah Almighty forbids believers even to enter those masjids that were built by people with evil or deviated intentions.

"And as for those who chose a place of worship out of opposition and disbelief, and in order to cause dissent among the believers, and as an outpost for those who warred against Allah and His messenger aforetime, they will surely swear:  We purposed naught save good.  Allah bears Witness that they verily are liars.   Never stand (to pray) there. A place of worship which was found upon duty (to Allah) from the first day is more worthy that you should stand (to pray) therein, wherein are men who love to purify themselves.   Allah loveth the purifiers."   (9:107-108).

Allah Almighty is the All-Knowing Who knows the smallest bit of every secret that dwells in a person's heart and mind.  In many portions of Surah At-Taubah, The Almighty has disclosed the discreet and unspoken negative intents of many unworthy persons who pretended to be well wishers of the Prophet (pbuh) and his mission but in reality were the opposite.      In the above Verses 107 and 108 of Surah At-Taubah, Allah cautions the believers from the hurtful goals of  such folks who intended to multiply divisions and encourage dissent.  Building a mosque was only a strategy and a facade of their silent evil minds.   The articulation and eloquence with which The Almighty states Verses 107 and 108 to warn the believers of the evil intent of their enemies is remarkable.   All praise be to HIM and HIM alone. 

Never presume Allah The Almighty is unaware of your intentions.  The world is often incognizant of what resides in the minds of people, but HE is never uninformed of anything, spoken or unspoken.



Related posts:

Doing good deeds for the sake of Allah.
Importance of Taqwa (perseverance).
Can believers take disbelievers for friends?
Believers must not make friends with disbelievers.
Do not keep the company of those who don't think of Allah.


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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2019, 12:22:29 am »



Beautiful read.  Mash'Allah.  My custom Quran-commentary folder from MV is getting bulkier by the day from which I teach my kids ... and my husband studies them meticulously too. 

Though this is a simple and basic topic, yet so many Muslims clean overlook it as if the objective or purpose behind their behavior maybe anything doesn't matter.  Such oblivion can be a straight plan to ruin one's soul with their own hands.  Nauzbillah.  In today's world, kindness is almost never shown without some hidden motive - either money or getting into the folds of power & fame or sycophancy for a promotion in life.   Just sick.   Our Muslim communities in the West love to promote the interest of the youth, which is a wonderful approach, but never even speak of the well being of the elderly.  They look forward to promoting the lives of the youth so they can get something in return from their talents and profession when these youth turn into young adults.  But what material gain can they acquire from kindness to the elderly?  Yes, huge reward in the Sight of Allah.  But that's something they only speak of in lectures.  They don't really believe in it.  And thus, that "wonderful approach" I mentioned of helping the youth may lose much of its 'wonderfulness' in the next world.

Many thanks Sister Heba.     This topic comes in the center of the deeds of so many people, often as a setback for many good deeds for they carry such negative intent or just hardcore materialism.


 
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2019, 01:08:46 am »


I enjoyed reading every bit of this piece on niyyah, dear Sister Heba.  So thoughtfully written.  Allah bless you.    It's truly tragic to note how the world has forgotten this vital characteristic.   While so many extend kindness, not to the disadvantaged, but to the have-all fat cats, their 'kindness' receives tumultuous applause and admiration;  but the sufferers continue to suffer without the help they could have acquired from those same people .... who chose to be selfish and materialistic instead.




In today's world, kindness is almost never shown without some hidden motive - either money or getting into the folds of power & fame or sycophancy for a promotion in life.   Just sick.   Our Muslim communities in the West love to promote the interest of the youth, which is a wonderful approach, but never even speak of the well being of the elderly.  They look forward to promoting the lives of the youth so they can get something in return from their talents and profession when these youth turn into young adults.  But what material gain can they acquire from kindness to the elderly?  Yes, huge reward in the Sight of Allah.  But that's something they only speak of in lectures.  They don't really believe in it.  And thus, that "wonderful approach" I mentioned of helping the youth may lose much of its 'wonderfulness' in the next world.  
........  This topic comes in the center of the deeds of so many people, often as a setback for many good deeds for they carry such negative intent or just hardcore materialism.

 


Dear me!  I can hardly express how much I agree.   Every kind act in today's world is so heavily laced with "hardcore materialism."  I couldn't have thought of a better expression to describe the pathetic mindset.

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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2019, 01:43:57 am »



Vital reminder, thanks a billion for this marvelous work.   Improvement of one's intention or niyyah is one of the most neglected spheres in the present world, very much including the Muslim world, unfortunately.   Reminds me of a simple example.  My youngest sister runs a montessori school.  A lady, neighbor, who lives very close to our house wanted to get her 3-year-old son into that montessori.  My sister helped her with that, and she was extremely happy.  She knew my sister owned that school, so she would visit our place to meet my sister every week, sometimes twice a week, often bringing home-cooked food.   Everyone in my house thought she was such a kind and grateful lady.  Then, 3 years later, ever since her son began attending primary school grade 1 and shifted to another school, that lady has never even called my sister once (let alone visiting her)  Grin Grin     That's the kind of world we're living in at the moment.  Kindness without the thought of gain or loss is next to impossible to find. 

As sister Ruhi described, I find it quite surprising why Muslim communities in the West act so self-centered with so much insensitivity.  One would presume minority communities to be close-knit.  But probably with the influx to Muslim immigration in the western world, they have proliferated enough not to feel close-knit any longer  ... or were they ever?    Sister Zeynab is right.   Kindness is nowadays only for the prosperous fat cats, not the disadvantaged who have practically nothing and could gain from a bit of sympathy and kind words at least, if not practical kindness.

This is an excellent piece by Sister Heba.  I must save it right away as our discussion group needs to muse on it in our next get-together, Insh'Allah.

 
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2019, 01:48:28 am »



......
Reminds me of a simple example.  My youngest sister runs a montessori school.  A lady, neighbor, who lives very close to our house wanted to get her 3-year-old son into that montessori.  My sister helped her with that, and she was extremely happy.  She knew my sister owned that school, so she would visit our place to meet my sister every week, sometimes twice a week, often bringing home-cooked food.   Everyone in my house thought she was such a kind and grateful lady.  Then, 3 years later, ever since her son began attending primary school grade 1 and shifted to another school, that lady has never even called my sister once (let alone visiting her)  Grin Grin    

What a bugger that lady, ha?   Angry       I wouldn't even call her a lady, just a thundering asshole.    I can imagine how such folks bring up their kids. 


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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2019, 01:50:38 am »



lol, right Sister Ruhi ... 100%    Cheesy 
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2019, 02:20:45 am »



Tons of thanks to all my dear, dear MV people.  May Allah bless all of you.  Ameen.   I hope the world benefits from reminders.   Brother TS, me shocked at the shamelessly selfish attitude of that mother of the 3-year-old.   May Allah Almighty reward your youngest sis for helping others.  Running a montessori is no easy job anyway.  Brave sis!

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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 02:22:22 am »



Ameen, ameen.     Thanks a lot Sister Heba.  Yes, it's certainly hard work.
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