The Messenger of Allah said, “Actions are solely by intention and every person will get [the reward] of what they intended. So the one who intends to make hijrah (migrate) for Allah and His Messenger, [the reward of] his hijrah (migration) is for Allah and His Messenger, and the one whose migration is for the dunya (the world) or a person to marry, his hijrah is for that which he made it for.”
This is a very famous hadith and is the first hadith found in many great collections of hadith. The hijrah (migration) from Makkah to Madinah was perhaps the most rewardable act one could do because at that time the new Muslim community were leaving their family, wealth, their identity and indeed much of their lives to settle in a new place under the cover of darkness. This is why those who made that migration for Allah and His Messenger attained such great reward. A person could make the same journey but for another reason i.e. one of the Companions, a Muslim, made the journey but to marry a woman in Madinah with whom he was in love. He would get a reward for that but it would be no where near the reward for those who did it purely for Allah and His Messenger. Likewise some may have been in a bad situation in Makkah and were hoping to gain something, perhaps in trade, in migrating to Madinah and their reward would equally have diminished.
The reality is that actions are rewarded as per your intention and the greater and loftier your intention the greater and loftier will be your reward. In line with this the scholars have often spoken about making multiple intentions.
So, the student is sitting with his teacher and they hear a knock at the door. The student begins to rise to answer it but the teacher motions to him to sit and himself goes to the door. On his return he sees the puzzled look of the student, wondering why the teacher – an old man, would choose to get up himself. He asked the student how many intentions the student had made to answer the door and the student said, one i.e. to answer the door. The teacher said he had made over 20 intentions such as intending to feed the person if he was hungry, give them shelter if they required shelter, money if they required money, warmth if they required warmth, knowledge if they required teaching etc.
From this story we learn some great examples and this is followed by Imam Al-Haddad with his famous intention to study which can be found here. The topic of intention is very vast, but if you want to be like the man who came on the Day of Judgement and saw the reward for building a mosque on his scale of good deeds, even though he had never built a mosque then make strong intentions. That man had intended that if ever had the money he would donate it to build a mosque and from the power of his intention, he received the reward as if he had built the mosque.
The Messenger of Allah said, “The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the obstinate quarreller”
The first thing to note is that in hadith such as these where it appears that Allah has emotions/feelings we need to move away from the outward meaning. An emotion is a change from one state to another i.e. someone is happy then they are sad, someone loves something and then they hate it etc. Allah doesn’t change. He is today as He always has been and He will remain how He was forever. Allah, therefore, doesn’t have feelings and emotions like us.
What does this hadith then mean? The use of the word “hate” here is to distance one from Allah’s Mercy i.e. the one who constantly argues and quarrels will find himself distant from Allah’s Mercy. This is very problematic because we only enter Paradise through Allah’s Mercy. The Prophet mentioned this and his wife Aisha said, “wa anta ya Rasulallah?” and you Oh Messenger of Allah? To which he, the Paragon of Creation, said “yes and me”. This type of argumentative and incessant quarrelling has all the hallmarks of the arrogant person and the arrogant person won’t even smell the fragrance of Paradise. This doesn’t include people making an argument, standing up for the truth or having a heated discussion. This is someone who, even when they are wrong, will continue to argue and persist on making out their claim which annoys, hurts and upsets other people.
We also learn from this hadith that the way to gain Allah’s Mercy is by being the opposite of this i.e. humbling yourself and even when you are right to walk away from an argument in which there is little benefit.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Have taqwa of Allah wherever you are, follow up a sin with a good deed and it will wipe it out and show people beautiful character”
This is a very important hadith because it contains three pieces of very valuable help:
- Have Taqwa of Allah (i.e. doing what He commanded and staying away from what he prohibited) when in public or in private, whether in the mosque or on the street and whether on the land or in the sea. It is often very easy to be a “good Muslim” when in the mosque or with certain company but how are we when people cut us up while driving or when out with friends or when we are alone in our rooms? We need to aim for Taqwa at all times – this is the hallmark of those near to Allah.
- We will sin, but when we do we should immediately follow it up with a good deed. That good deed can be as simple as saying Allahu Akbar or Subhanallah and it can wipe out a minor sin.
- Be good people in our communities by showing the example of the Prophet who came to perfect noble character. We are in desperate need of having noble character and raising ourselves up from the lowly state we have allowed ourselves to fall into.
These three pieces of advice can also be like the three relationships in our life i.e. the relationship with Allah, the relationship with ourselves and the relationship with other people.
The Messenger of Allah said, “The most beloved places to Allah are mosques and the most hated by Allah are the markets.”
This hadith doesn’t prohibit us from visiting markets and shopping centres because trade and business are parts of our religion, rather it reminds us that our purpose is to be found in the mosques rather than in the markets.
In a mosque you are more likely to be doing acts of goodness and staying away from disobedience and in the markets the opposite is true. Of course there are exceptions, but in the vast majority of cases this will be true.
Another point to reflect on is that in the mosques you are going to be competing with others in prayer and Quran, a type of competition which will be beneficial as it will be an opportunity to gather goods which will last forever, rather than in the markets where you are likely to be competing in gathering goods for this life and being tempted to buy goods you don’t need or taking loans to purchase more than you need.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Love Allah for His bounties by which He nurtures you and love me for God’s love (of me) and love my family for my love”
Loving Allah is a fundamental goal to be from amongst the best of believers, because if you want to be considered close to Allah you have to love Allah. Unconditional love is very hard and so one way to have that love for Allah is to reflect on all the bounties he bestows upon you i.e. air, food, water, shelter, clothing, companionship etc and as a result of all those gifts you will love Him. This won’t be as lofty as unconditional love but it is loving Allah which is very loft as well.
Loving the Prophet (SAW) is a duty for us, as he says in another sound hadith: “none of you truly believes until I am more loved by him than his parents, his children and people in general”. Books have been written about how to love the Prophet, but who can love the Prophet more than Allah? The companions were speaking and said that Ibrahim is Khaleel Allah (intimate friend) and Musa is Naji Allah (one saved by Allah) and Isa is Ruh Allah (the spirit of Allah), but they were not sure what the Prophet was. He then remarked that he is Habib Allah (the one loved by Allah). Here the advice is very simple if you can’t love me for me then know that Allah loves me and therefore use that knowledge to love me.
Loving the family of the Prophet (SAW) is also a duty for us. The Prophet asked us one thing and that was to be good to his family i.e. the ahlul bayt. If you love someone’s family they will also have a love for you and so it is a fortiori that if you love the family of the Prophet that he will love you. We should love them anyway because they are from his blessed and noble lineage, but if we can’t find a love for them then we know that loving them will ensure the Prophet’s love for us. If he loves us then the Day of Judgement will be much easier for us.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Be dutiful towards your parents and your offspring will be dutiful to you; be modest and in turn your women will be modest.”
There are two problems we see in our time. The first is that children are not being dutiful to their parents and the second is that modesty is a scarce commodity. These problems are, however, easily rectified. If we are dutiful to our parents, our children will be dutiful to us and this may be hard if our parents are aged – but that is where the true blessings lie. If you parents have passed on then make the intention, the firm intention that you wish you could have been dutiful to them and by the Mercy of Allah, He may rectify the state of your children. As men and indeed women we need to have modesty. A husband can’t flirt with co-workers and then complain if his wife is not donning clothing in-line with Islamic law and he can’t be watching lewd and haram films and yet expect his wife to be angelic. The phrase, you reap what you sow, seems very relevant to this hadith.