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Importance of Setting Sincere Intentions

Mahadi Sunnah Store

March 9, 2024

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Importance of Setting Sincere Intentions

بِسْمِ ﷲِ ال َّ رحْمٰنِ ال َّ رحِیْمِ
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

In Islam, sincere intentions hold such weight that they are the very thing that give our actions meaning. For all our actions, inside and outside of worship, the intention behind them can either make us or break us.

But how can intention be the be-all and end-all? Let’s break down the significance of this vital component.

The Foundation of Deeds

The Prophet ﷺ stated in an authentic hadith: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” [Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 1]
This hadith has been relayed various times throughout the books of sunnah in different wordings, which goes to show the importance of it. From this hadith alone, we can understand that our actions are judged solely by our intentions, and we will be “rewarded” with either good or bad depending on our intentions. 
So, it’s not just about what deeds we do, how many actions we do, or however long we do them for, but rather it’s about the thought that goes behind doing them.

The Heart’s Role

Allah says in the Qur’an, Surah Al-’Imran, verse 29, “Whether you conceal what is in your hearts or reveal it, it is known to Allah.”
In both the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the heart is mentioned time and time again when referring to emotions, identity, and intentions. For instance, in an authentic hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily, in the body is a piece of flesh which, if sound, the entire body is sound, and if corrupt, the entire body is corrupt. Truly, it is the heart.” [Sahih Bukhari, 52]
Our hearts are houses for our inner selves. They contain what the mind and body cannot hold: our good and bad deeds. These deeds either keep the heart healthy or make it fall sick. As Ibn Qayyim RH once said, “The heart gets sick as the body does and its cure is in asking for forgiveness and protection.”
So, Allah does not look at the quantity or quality of our actions, but the soundness of our hearts. No amount of ibadah is accepted by Allah if it is not paired with sincere intentions from a healthy heart.

Compass for Our Choices

Another meaningful quote from Ibn Qayyim RH is: “Repel the thought, for if you don’t, it becomes an idea. So repel the idea, for if you don’t it will become a desire. So fight against that desire, for if you don’t, it will become a determination and a passion And if you don’t repel that, it will become an action. And if you don’t replace it with its opposite, it will become a constant habit. So at that point, it will be difficult for you to change it.”

When we declare an intent, it becomes an anchor for our decisions. Purposefulness guides our choices, providing clarity amidst life’s currents. As we set our intentions, we align ourselves with Allah’s will. The supplication, “O Allah! The controller of hearts, direct our hearts to Your obedience,” echoes our desire for sincerity and divine guidance ¹.🤲

When we make an intention, it immediately becomes a compass for our next decision. Intention is what wakes purpose, which then drives us towards our choices. If we’re not careful, our bad intentions can get the best of us and cause us to fall into sin after sin.

Keeping our intentions sincere and pure is not an easy task, which is why the most frequent du’a of the Prophet ﷺ was:

 مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ

Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik

“Oh Turner of the Hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.”

We must remember that at the end of the day, it is a battle of our nafs against the rest of the dunya. So, don’t be let down if you think you’re not being sincere enough, rather work harder on perfecting your sincerity by being consistent with your habits that bring you closer to Allah.

 

 

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