Imam ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (q.s.) on Intention

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (q.s.) wrote the following on intention.  “You must, O my brother, improve the soundness and sincerity of your intentions, examine them, and reflect well before embarking on your actions.  For intentions are the bases of deeds; according to them your deeds will either be good or ugly, sound or unsound.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) has said, ‘Deeds are only according to intentions; each man has that which he intended.’

You must, therefore, utter no word, do not action, and decide no matter without the intention of drawing nearer thereby to God and seeking the Reward He has Assigned, through His Beneficence and Grace, to intended act.  And know that drawing nearer to Him can only be done through the obligatory and supererogatory devotions that He has Indicated through His Messenger (s.a.w.).

A sincere intention may change the merely licit into the devotional, for means are judged according to their ends.  For example, one may eat to get the strength to perform devotions, or sleep with one’s wife to obtain a son who would worship God.

It is a condition of the sincere intention that behaviour does not belie it.  For instance, a man who seeks knowledge claiming that his intention is to practice and teach it will be proved insincere in his intention if, when he becomes able to, he does not do so.

Or a man who pursues the world and claims that he is doing so only that he may be independent of other people and be able to give charity to the needy and help his relatives will be proved ineffectual in his intention should he not do so when able.”


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