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10 December 2018 CE | 01 Rabbi al-Thanni 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation


Good Deeds Rewarded by Intentions


The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Actions are only by intention, and every man shall only have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” [Bukhari]

This hadith means that the reward for an action depends upon the intention behind it. This relates to obligatory, recommended, or permissible actions and not to forbidden ones. Bad intentions can spoil the fruit of good deeds but having good intentions do not make forbidden acts permissible.

Good deeds which are apparently identical may differ because the intentions behind them are different in degrees of goodness and badness from one person to another. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) explained this point with the example of Hijra (migration).

Some of our pious predecessors said: “Many small actions are made great by the intentions behind them. Many great actions, on the other hand, are made small because the intentions behind them are lacking.”

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