Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Soulveda | April 26, 2022
Islam attaches the utmost importance to intentions (niyyah). No action is acceptable to God purely on the basis of its outer appearance. He accepts only such actions as are performed with proper intention and rejects those performed with ill-intention. Right intention is the moral purposiveness that underlies all actions performed solely for God’s pleasure. One who acts on such feelings will be rewarded by God in the Hereafter.
Ill-intention, on the other hand, is a negative spur to worldly attainment. Ostensibly, religious acts, if performed for worldly gain or public commendation, are in this sense ill-intentioned. Any fame, honour or popularity which ensues from an ill-intentioned act is a hollow triumph and is looked upon by the Almighty with extreme disfavour.
Intention is rooted in man’s inner thinking and feelings. A common man is unable to penetrate the inner recesses of a person’s mind, but God knows full well what a man’s thought processes and feelings are. People can be deluded by appearances, but God has complete knowledge of everything. He will deal with people according to His knowledge and will reward everyone exactly as he or she deserves.
Intention has to do with inner reality. A thing that loses its reality or its meaningfulness is valueless. Similarly, an act that is performed with ill intention or with no good intention has no value—neither in the eyes of man nor of God.
Things are of value only when they are pure, without any adulteration. An act done with the right intention is a pure act, and an act performed without the right intention is an impure act.