(Part 1.2) Types of Intentions

In the name of Allah, Most compassionate, Most Merciful.

عَنْ أمِيْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ أَبِيْ حَفْصٍ عُمَرَ ابْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالُ

سَمِعْتُ رَسُوْلَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ يِقُوْلُ

إنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ وَ إنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِىءٍ مَا نَوَى

فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللهِ وَ رَسُوْلِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللهِ وَ رَسُوْلِهِ

وَ مَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيْبُهَا أوِ امْرَأةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إلَيْهِ

رَوَاهُ إمَامَا الْمُحَدِّثِيْنَ أبُوْ عَبْدِ اللهِ مَحَمَّدُ بْنُ إسْمَاعِيْلَ بْنِ إبْنِ إبْرَاهِيْمَ بْنِ الْمُغِيْرَةِ بْنِ بَرْدِزْبَهْ الْبُخَارِيُّ

وَ أبُوْ الْحَسَيْنِ مُسْلِمُ بْنُ الْحَجَّاجِ بْنِ مُسْلِمٍ الْقُشَيْرِيُّ النَّيْسَابُوْرِيُّ

فِيْ صَحِيْحَيْهِمَا اللَّذَيْنِ هُمَا أصَحُّ الْكُتُبِ الْمُصَنَّفَةِ

It is narrated on the authority of Amirul Mu’minin, Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

“Actions are (judged) by intentions, so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


The last part was devoted to understanding the first statement of the hadith- Actions are judged by intentions. And we studied how every action is exclusively based upon or guided by intentions.

Let us look at what constitutes intention. That is to say, what are the types of intentions and how they affect the rewards we earn.

  • Actions are judged by intention, so each man will have what he intended-

Notice that the two statements imply the same thing. While the first talks about judgment of actions based on intentions, the other points to the result of the intention. This was the genius of our Prophet peace be upon him. By expressing one statement in different ways he would encourage his companions to pay attention to what is being said and emphasized the need of learning from it.

The types of intentions are three- 1. For the sake of Allah

                                                                  2. Neutral

                                                                  3. Evil intention

It is important to highlight another hadith for understanding.

نَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الْحَسَنَاتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ ثُمَّ بَيَّنَ ذَلِكَ فَمَنْ هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ حَسَنَةً كَامِلَةً وَإِنْ هَمَّ بِهَا فَعَمِلَهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عِنْدَهُ عَشْرَ حَسَنَاتٍ إِلَى سَبْعِ مِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ إِلَى أَضْعَافٍ كَثِيرَةٍ وَإِنْ هَمَّ بِسَيِّئَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ حَسَنَةً كَامِلَةً وَإِنْ هَمَّ بِهَا فَعَمِلَهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ سَيِّئَةً وَاحِدَةً

Verily, Allah has recorded good and bad deeds and He made them clear. Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, then Allah will record it as a complete good deed. If he intends to do it and does so, then Allah the Exalted will record it as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times as much or even more. If he intends to do a bad deed and does not do it, then Allah will record for him one complete good deed. If he does it then Allah will record for him a single bad deed.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6126, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

One thus realizes that an action with the intention of pleasing Allah alone is rewarding. A good intention is also rewarded while one might not be able to put it into action.

For example, I intend to do charity for the sake of Allah and follow it up in my actions. I will be rewarded ten times as much for the action. However, if i fail to act upon the intention of making charity, I will still be rewarded once for making the intention.

Making intention is not to speak it in words loudly. Rather, it is made in the heart as something to be done to please Allah Almighty alone.

However, if I intend to eat food and follow it up in actions, it would constitute a neutral intention. That is the one which is neither rewarded nor punished. But there is an interesting thing. One can even earn reward for a basic thing such as eating food by making the right intention. How is that possible? If I intend to eat food to gain energy which I will use in worship and spreading the deen, for gaining knowledge and spending time doing rewarding actions, I would be rewarded for even eating food if my heart confirms to my intention!

Ponder over this- Mehmood and Hamid go to the masjid to offer two rakah. While Mehmood makes the intention of praying two rakah, Hamid beats him in earning the reward by making the intention of entering the masjid, doing wudu, and offering the two rakah prayer.

That is how a righteous intention can be so rewarding. Make this habit of being conscious of your actions and intending the right way.

As for evil intentions, a person bears the sin for making the intentions even though he doesn’t act on it because of some situation which stopped him though he didn’t alter the intention.

If a robber goes out at night to rob a house and on the reaching the house he realizes that the people inside are awake and he treads back his steps doesn’t mean he gave up the evil act. Rather, he couldn’t put it into action at present. But if he goes to rob or even intends to rob but gives up the idea considering how evil his act is, he won’t be earning a sin for his intention because he changed them.

That is how actions are judged by intentions. WA ALLAHU ALAM.

Barak Allahu Feekum

Wa Assalam Alykum



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