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Hadeeth no. 1 – Benefits and Principles from the 40 Ahadeeth of Imam Nawawi

Benefits & Principles From

The Forty Ahadeeth Of Imam Nawawi

Hadeeth No. 1

Actions are but by Intention

Translated & Compiled

By Abbas Abu Yahya



In the name of Allaah the Most the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allaah, Lord of all that exists. Here we present various benefits and principles attached to the Ahadeeth from one of the most famous collections of Ahadeeth amongst the works of the scholars.  ‘Araba’een an-Nawawi – Forty Hadeeth Nawawi.

In these translations you will find benefits from various different explanations of this famous compilation. Also, you will find various other topics ranging across the different sciences of Islaam adhering to authenticity and referencing to its sources.

Written by the one in need of his Creator’s forgiveness

Abbas Abu Yahya[1]

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Hadeeth No 1 Actions are but by Intention

Hadeeth No. 1

Actions are by Intentions 


1 – Different wordings of Hadeeth: 4

2 – Importance and the Status of this Hadeeth. 4

The Chain of Narration. 5

Those who began their works with this hadeeth. 6

Ahadeeth al-Ahad are Knowledge. 6

3 – Intention. 8

To Distinguish Between Acts of Worship. 11

To Distinguish Between Habit & Worship. 12

About Ikhlaas & the Intention. 12

Completeness of Actions by Intentions. 19

Righteous Intention for a Righteous action. 20

Inward Actions & Outward actions. 21

Actions. 23

Refutation of the Murjia. 23

Sincerity. 23

Some Sayings of the Salaf about Sincerity. 24

The Intention for the Prayer 26

Pronouncing the intention is a Bida’ 29

Types of Hijra. 31


Hadeeth No. 1

Actions are by Intentions

From Ameerul-Mu’mineen Abu Hafs Umar bin Al-Khattab, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- say:

«إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَال بِالنِّيَّاتِ وَإِنَّمَا لكل امْرِئ مَا نَوَى فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى دُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوِ امْرَأَةٍ يَتَزَوَّجُهَا فَهجرَته إِلَى مَا هَاجر إِلَيْهِ»

‘Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have that which he intended. Thus, he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, then 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, then his migration was for that which he migrated.’

Collected by Bukhari and Muslim

1 – Different wordings of Hadeeth:

Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh said:

‘As for the saying of the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam: ‘Indeed actions are by intentions’ then also what has been narrated in Saheeh Bukhari is [the singular wording] ‘An action is by an intention’.

It has been narrated: ‘Indeed actions are by an intention’ collected by Bukhari and Muslim, so the wordings are different but the meaning is the same.’[2]

2 – Importance and the Status of this Hadeeth

a – al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr said:

‘Abu Abdullaah al-Bukhari said: ‘There is not from the statements of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- anything more comprehensive, richer and more beneficial than this hadeeth.’[3]

b – Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh said:

‘This Hadeeth is a foundation from the principles of the Deen, and Imam Ahmad had said that: ‘Islaam revolves[4] around three Ahadeeth:

  • Hadeeth of Umar Radi Allaahu anhu: ‘Indeed actions are but by intentions’
  • Hadeeth of ‘Aeysha Radi Allaahu anha: ‘Whoever introduces a matter in our affair (Islaam) which is not from it, then it will be rejected.’
  • Hadeeth of Numaan bin Basheer Radi Allaahu anhu: ‘Indeed the Halal is clear and the Haraam is clear…’[5]

c – Ibn Jama’a said:

‘Bukhari began his book with a sincere intention and he ended it with Tasbeeh, which is expiation for what comes in between (i.e. his book, (as-Saheeh).’[6]

The Chain of Narration

It was narrated by Bukhari, Muslim and in the Sunnan.

a- The Isnaad is Umar      ‘Alqama       Muhammad bin Ibraheem       Yahya bin Sa’eed

b- Umar -Radi Allaahu anhu- narrated this hadeeth in a Khutbah, however only this chain is Saheeh.

c- Hundreds of narrators reported it from Yahya bin Sa’eed.

d- Three Tabi’een narrate one from another; ‘Alqama, Muhammad bin Ibraheem and Yahya bin Sa’eed are Tabi’een.[7]

e- Ibn Rajab said:

‘The scholars agree upon its authenticity and have accepted this hadeeth with complete acceptance. Bukhari began his book, the ‘Saheeh’, with it and placed it as the introduction as an indication that every action a person does, not intending it for the sake of Allaah, then it is void and he will have no reward for it in the Dunyaa or in the Hereafter.’[8]

f- Ibn Hajr said:

‘Indeed, the great merit of this hadeeth has been narrated from the Imaams via recurring chains.’[9]

Those who began their works with this hadeeth

Of the People of knowledge who began their works with this hadeeth Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad mentions:

‘Bukhari, Nawawi, Abdul Ghani al-Maqdisi in ‘Umdatul Hakam’, Baghawi in ‘Masabih as-Sunnah’ and in ‘Sharh as-Sunnah’ & Suyooti in ‘Jamia as-Sagheer’.[10]

Ahadeeth al-Ahad are Knowledge

From Umar….. ‘Indeed actions are but by the intention – and in a narration: by intentions -.  . . ‘

Collected by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi & Nisa’ee.

Al-Hafidh said:

‘Some of the later scholars claimed that this Hadeeth reached the level of Tawatur (many recurring chains), however this is not correct.

Indeed, Yahya bin Sa’eed al-Ansaari solely reported it from Muhammad bin Ibraheem at-Taymee, then a great number of people narrated it from al-Ansaari.  The amount was about two hundred narrators. It has been said that it was seven hundred narrators, and it has also been said that it was more than that.

There have been many narrations from other than the chain of al-Ansaari, and none of them are authentic.  This is what al-Hafidh Ali bin al-Madeeni and others from the scholars have said. Al-Khattabi said: ‘I do not know of a difference of opinion regarding this point among the Ahl-ul-Hadeeth, and Allaah knows best.’

Shaykh Albaani commented in the footnote saying:

‘I say: this Hadeeth is from those authentic Ahadeeth which are ‘Ahad (singular narrations) which the scholars have agreed upon their authenticity.  The Ummah has accepted this Hadeeth, as is mentioned in ‘Sharh al-Arba’een’ by al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab. Therefore, this Hadeeth informs us that ‘Ahad (singular narrations) are knowledge and certainty, and this is in opposition to what some modern-day writers speak up loudly about: ‘That the Ahadeeth al-Ahad are not knowledge.’

This statement in an absolute form is false and void without any doubt or uncertainty.’[11]

3 – Intention

Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh said:

‘As for the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam saying: ‘Indeed actions are by intentions’ then as for the word: ‘Actions’ mentioned here then they do not include actions where an intention is not conditional, for example: types of leaving that which is against the Sharia[12], rectifying an injustice and cleaning of impurities, etc.

The ‘intention’ that this Hadeeth revolves around is: the intention of the heart and what it desires. Therefore, this ‘intention’ is connected to the heart, its place is not the tongue or the limbs rather it is the heart.

‘Intent’ means a person has an intention in his heart and desires something with his heart, therefore, actions are conditional with the intent of the heart and what it desires. So, what is this intent and desire?

The Answer: ‘Intention’ is mentioned in the texts [of the Qur’aan & the Sunnah] and what it means is:

  • Firstly: ‘al-Irada’ – (desiring/wanting): desiring Allaah’s Face -the Magnificent and Majestic- by this intention.

As is mentioned in Allaah’s saying:

لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَ ٱللَّهِۖ

<< Those who seek Allaah’s Face >>[13]

and Allaah’s saying:

وَٱصۡبِرۡ نَفۡسَكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدۡعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلۡغَدَوٰةِ وَٱلۡعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَهُۥۖ

<< And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, Seeking His Face >>[14]

and Allaah’s saying:

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرۡثَ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ نَزِدۡ لَهُۥ فِي حَرۡثِهِۦۖ وَمَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرۡثَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا نُؤۡتِهِۦ مِنۡهَا وَمَا لَهُۥ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ مِن نَّصِيبٍ

<< Whoever desires the harvest of the Hereafter – We increase for him in his harvest. And whoever desires the harvest of this world – We give him thereof, but there is not for him in the Hereafter any share.>>[15]

and Allaah’s saying:

وَمَنۡ أَرَادَ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةَ وَسَعَىٰ لَهَا سَعۡيَهَا

<< But whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it >> [16]

Meaning: intends, seeks, desires and this is the intention.

  • Secondly: ‘al-Ibteegha’ (wants)

As in the saying of Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic:

إِلَّا ٱبۡتِغَآءَ وَجۡهِ رَبِّهِ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ

<< But only seeking the Face of his Lord, Most High>>[17]

and His saying:

۞لَّا خَيۡرَ فِي كَثِيرٖ مِّن نَّجۡوَىٰهُمۡ إِلَّا مَنۡ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوۡ مَعۡرُوفٍ أَوۡ إِصۡلَٰحِۢ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِۚ وَمَن يَفۡعَلۡ ذَٰلِكَ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ مَرۡضَاتِ ٱللَّهِ فَسَوۡفَ نُؤۡتِيهِ أَجۡرًا عَظِيمٗا

<< No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward. >>[18]

  • Thirdly: ‘al-Islaam’ (submission)

To submit the heart and face to Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic. As is in the saying of Allaah -the Glorified & Most High:

وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ دِينٗا مِّمَّنۡ أَسۡلَمَ وَجۡهَهُۥ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحۡسِنٞ

<< And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good>>[19]

and the saying of Allaah:

فَإِنۡ حَآجُّوكَ فَقُلۡ أَسۡلَمۡتُ وَجۡهِيَ لِلَّهِ

<< So if they argue with you, say, ‘I have submitted myself to Allaah [in Islaam]>>[20] [21]

To Distinguish Between Acts of Worship

Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh said:

‘One of the two following things is meant by the intention, generally in the Sharia’:

First: The intention directed for worship, this what is used by the Fuqaha[22] regarding rulings, this is when the intention is conditional for acts of worship. What they intend by this is the intention which is directed for worship, which is used to distinguish between acts of worship.

To distinguish prayer from fasting, distinguishing the obligatory prayer from the optional one. So, the heart distinguishes between the acts of worship which it comes across, e.g. a person comes to the Masjid and intends to pray two Rakat, his heart distinguishes these two Rakat, are they two Rakat for the ‘Tahyyeeyatul- Masjid’ (for entering the Masjid) or for the Sunnah prayer, or for Isteekharah etc.?

Secondly: The intention directed to the One being worshipped [Allaah the Most High]. This type is called al-Ikhlaas (Sincerity): sincerity of desire, sincerity of intention, sincerity of the action for Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic, and this type is known by the words: ‘Intention, sincerity & desire’.

In conclusion, this Hadeeth includes these two types of intention: the intention which is directed to the One worshipped, and the intention that is directed for worship.[23][24]

To Distinguish Between Habit & Worship

Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaymeen said:

‘A man eats food only for desire, and another man eats food to carry out Allaah’s –the Almighty and the Magnificent- order, like in the saying of Allaah: << eat and drink>>[25]

The second man ate for worship, and the first out of habit.  This is why some of the people of knowledge said: ‘The worship that negligent people carryout is a habit, and the habit of those who are cautious and have awareness is worship.’[26]

About Ikhlaas & the Intention

Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh said:

‘Regarding the saying of the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam: ‘and indeed every person will have what he intended.’

Means that every person will have a reward and recompense for his action, because that is what he had intended with his action.  Therefore, if a person intended doing a deed for Allaah’s sake and the Hereafter – meaning that he was sincere to Allaah and he sought Allaah’s Face -the Magnificent and Majestic- then his action would be good.  If, however, his deed [for Allaah] was done for a worldly sake, then his deed is evil, since it was intended for a worldly sake.

Having Ikhlaas for the Deen for the sake of Allaah –the Almighty and the Magnificent- has been mentioned in many Ayaat; as is in the saying of Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic:

وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ

<< And they were not commanded except to worship Allaah, [being] sincere to Him in religion >>[27]

Meaning: The Deen based upon a sincere intention, as is in the saying of Allaah the Most High:

أَلَا لِلَّهِ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡخَالِصُۚ

<< Surely the religion (i.e. worship & obedience) is for Allaah Alone>>[28]

The explanation of having sincerity in doing actions for Allaah’s sake -the Magnificent and Majestic- has been mentioned in many Ahadeeth, like the saying of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- in the Hadeeth al-Qudsi collected by Muslim in his ‘Saheeh’:

أَنَا أَغْنَى الشُّرَكَاءِ عَنِ الشِّرْكِ مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا أَشْرَكَ فِيهِ مَعِي غَيْرِي تَرَكْتُهُ وَشِرْكَهُ

‘I am the most free from having an associate, ‘Whoever does an action and associates anyone with Me in that action, then I will leave him and that with what he committed Shirk with.’[29]

And in another wording:

” فَأَنَا مِنْهُ بَرِيءٌ هُوَ لِلَّذِي عَمِلَهُ “.

‘So, I am free from him and he is for the one whom he committed Shirk with.’

This indicates that for an action to be accepted it is necessary that the action is sincerely for Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic, so that the slave of Allaah can be rewarded for the action. Therefore, whoever did a deed, and for that action he entered an intention for other than Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic, then this action would be null and void.  This is due to the saying of Allaah the One free from all imperfection and the Most High- in the Hadeeth al-Qudsi:

‘Whoever does an action and associates anyone with Me in that action, then I will leave him and that with what he committed Shirk with.’

And Allaah’s saying: ‘…and he is for the one whom he committed Shirk with.’

Also the saying of the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-:

إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَال بِالنِّيَّاتِ وَإِنَّمَا لكل امْرِئ مَا نَوَى

‘Indeed, actions are but by intentions, and everyone will have what he intended.’

It is possible that the meaning of the word ‘action’ here is the action which is from the foundation and principle of worship, or an action done during the act of worship.  It is also possible that some of the worship performed could be for Allaah’s sake and some of it for other than Allaah, after researching this point the scholars have said: ‘Indeed if the action is mixed with a corrupt and evil intention – i.e. it is done to show off or for fame then this action is nullified and made void.

This is of two divisions:

The first type: that a person does an act of worship for the sake of the creation; for example, he begins the prayer, not for the sake of praying but rather he wants such and such to see him, therefore this prayer is null and void, and that person is a Mushrik, as is mentioned in the Hadeeth:

من صَلَّى يُرَائِي فَقَدْ أَشْرَكَ وَمَنْ صَامَ يُرَائِي فَقَدْ أَشْرَكَ وَمَنْ تَصَدَّقَ يُرَائِي فَقَدْ أَشْرَكَ

‘Whoever prays to show the people (for their sake) then he has committed Shirk, and whoever fasted to show the people (for their sake) then he has committed Shirk, and whoever gives charity to show the people (for the sake) then he has committed Shirk.’

Meaning: that when he begins to do a single prayer he begins it to show the people, – except that it is not foreseeable that a Muslim would do all his worship based upon showing off, rather showing off occurs, perhaps, in some of his worship, for example at beginning the act of worship or during it.

As for complete ar-Riyaa (showing off) in all actions this is not conceivable from a Muslim, rather this appears from the non-Muslims and Munafiqoon (hypocrites); as Allaah -the Magnificent and Majestic- said describing them:

يُرَآءُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ وَلَا يَذۡكُرُونَ ٱللَّهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا

<<to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allaah but little >>[30]

And Allaah’s saying describing the Kuffar: <<to be seen of men >>[31]

Therefore, if the slave of Allaah begins the prayer, or fasting or giving charity or other acts of worship with the intention that it is for other than Allaah, then this act of worship would null and void, because he intended other than the Face of Allaah –the Almighty and Magnificent- by doing that action.

The second type: is that a change of intention occurs during the act of worship, and this has different situations:

Situation one:

That his initial intention is cancelled and he carries out the worship for the created being.  The verdict of this is the same as the first type, that the worship is nullified.  This is because he annulled its intention and made it for the creation. For example, during the prayer he makes the intention that this prayer is for so and so, by which his prayer is annulled.

Situation two:

That he lengthens his prayer so that someone can see him, meaning that he prays to show off to a student of knowledge or perhaps his father, or a leader or the Imam of the Masjid.  Instead of saying three Tasbeeh[32] he lengthens the Ruku, and the Ruku is worship (only) done for Allaah –the Magnificent and Majestic, so he lengthens the Ruku not praying like he usually does, for the person looking at him.  Therefore, this increase in the deed which he intended doing it for the creation is null and void, because his intention for this act was for other than Allaah, and ‘actions are but by intentions’.

However, the foundation of the action was good, because this intention did not oppose the foundation of the action, rather it opposed the increase of some part of the action.  So, he is a Mushrik[33] committing minor Shirk for that part of the increase in action for the creation, and that is ar-Riyaa (showing off) and Allaah’s refuge is sought.

Situation Three:

That love for being praised occurs to him, and the love of being mentioned occurs after he completely finishes from that act of worship. Just like if he performed some worship for Allaah, for example, he prayed for Allaah, or he memorized the Qur’aan for Allaah’s sake, or sincerely fasted optionally for Allaah –the Magnificent and Majestic- then after that he sees someone who praises him, and he becomes happy due to that, and he internally desires an increase of praise, then this does not lessen the foundation of that action, because he intended that for Allaah, and that desire for praise was not during the action otherwise that would be Shirk, however, this desire took place after the completion of the action.

There is also, as in a Hadeeth where it was asked to the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-:

‘If you see a man who performs righteous actions and the people praise him for it?’

The Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said:

‘That is the good news which is hastened for the believer.’ [34]

Here in this hadeeth the person did not intend that the people praise him for the action.

Therefore, if this has been resolved then the actions by which an intention is connected to them, along with the intention and sincerity for the sake of Allaah –the Magnificent and Majestic- are also of two types:


Actions by which it is obligatory not to want the reward of the Dunyaa primarily by these actions, nor to offer the heart to them. And these are the majority of the acts of worship, and the majority of the actions of the Sharia’.


Acts of worship, which Allaah has encouraged by mentioning its reward in the Dunyaa, for example: keeping good relations with relatives for which Allaah has encouraged by mentioning the reward for it in the Dunyaa.  The Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ لَهُ فِي رِزْقِهِ، وَأَنْ يُنْسَأَ لَهُ فِي أَثَرِهِ، فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ

‘Whoever is pleased that his provision is increased or that he is remembered long after having lived a long life, then he should keep good relations with his relatives.’[35]

So Allaah encouraged to keep good relations with relatives by mentioning the reward for it in the Dunyaa, which is being remembered long after having lived a long life and increase in provision.’[36]

Completeness of Actions by Intentions

Al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab said:

‘The Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- mentioned that actions are according to their intentions and that the merit of the one who does them     depends upon the intention and whether it is good or bad.

These two words (actions – intentions) are two complete, comprehensive principles, they include everything.  After that, the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- mentioned an example of actions whose form appears to be the same (i.e. Hijra to Allaah and His Messenger and Hijra for a woman.) however their being good or bad is different due to the difference of intentions, it is as though he said: all actions are similar to these examples.’[37]

Righteous Intention for a Righteous action

Shaykh Muhammad Nasiruddeen al-Albaani said:

‘Actions are but by Intentions

The meaning is that the person will have what he intended of the righteous intention or evil and corrupt intention for an action from the Sharia’.

Meaning that an action according to the Sharia’ will not be accepted by Allaah except if the intention for that action was a righteous intention, in contrast if the intention was evil and corrupt. For example, a person intended the action for other than the Face of Allaah Ta’ala, then here his action will not be accepted.  This is the intent of what is indicated to in the complete Hadeeth, which is: ‘Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, then his migration was for Allah and His Messenger – [and this is the righteous intention], and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage [and this is the evil and corrupt intention] then his migration was for that which he migrated.’

In summary, the Hadeeth indicates to the righteous actions whose permissibility has been established in the Sharia’, and that is if a righteous intention is connected to it. As for this Hadeeth indicating to the permissibility of performing any action (presumed to be good), and that just because the action has a good intention, – and they use this as a proof that this action is allowed- then here we say there is no evidence what so ever to prove that. This is very clear and not hidden.’[38]

Inward Actions & Outward actions

Al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab said regarding the statement of Imam Ahmad:

‘So indeed, the whole of the Deen returns to fulfilling the commands, leaving the prohibitions and keeping away from the doubtful matters.  All of this is included in the hadeeth of an-Numan bin Basheer[39] and becomes complete due to two matters:

The first is: that the apparent action is in agreement with the Sunnah.  This is what the hadeeth of Aeysha comprises of:

مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلا لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُنَا فَهُوَ رَد

‘Whoever does an action which we have not commanded then it is rejected.’

The second is: that, inwardly, the action is done seeking the Face of Allaah -the almighty and Majestic- as is in the hadeeth of Umar: ‘Indeed actions are by intentions’.[40]

Muhammad ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen mentions some benefits of this hadeeth:

‘This hadeeth is one of those Ahadeeth around which Islaam revolves, this is why the scholars have said: Islaam revolves around two Ahadeeth:

One of which is this hadeeth and the other is the hadeeth of Aeysha:

‘Whoever does an action which we have not commanded then it is rejected.’

This hadeeth (actions are but by intentions) is the foundation of the actions of the heart, so it is the scale for measuring the inward actions. The hadeeth of Aeysha is the foundation for the actions of the limbs.

An example of this is a man who has complete sincerity, he wants reward from Allaah -the Mighty and the Majestic- and he wants Allaah’s blessed Paradise, however he falls into many Bida’.  So, looking at his intention we find that he has a good intention, but looking at his actions we find that his actions are evil and rejected due to them not being in accordance to the Sunnah.

Another example: a man stands to pray, but he does it to show his father his fear of him.  This person has lost Ikhlaas (sincerity) and he will not be rewarded, unless he intended to pray fearing that his father would beat him for leaving the prayer in which case he has worshipped Allaah with his prayer.’[41]


Shaykh Uthaymeen said about actions:

‘A) Actions of the heart:

Like reliance upon Allaah and turning repentantly to Him, fearing Him etc.

  1. B) Actions of the tongue

How many statements of the tongue are there?? I do not know any limb more active than the tongue, except for perhaps the eye or the ear.

  1. C) Actions of the limbs:

Actions of the hands and the legs etc.’[42]

Refutation of the Murjia

Hafidh al-Iraqi said:

‘This hadeeth is a refutation of the Murji’ah when they say that Eemaan is only statements of the tongue with no belief in the heart (i.e. that actions are not a part of Eemaan).  Bukhari mentions it at the end of his book of al-Eemaan as an evidence against them.’[43]


Regarding Sincerity Allaah -the Most High- said:

ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ وَٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ أَيُّكُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلٗاۚ

<< Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. >>[44]

He made whatever is on the earth an adornment for it so He could test which of them is the best in action.

Fudayl bin ‘Aayaad said: ‘A good action is one that is sincere and correct.’

They said: ‘O Abu ‘Alee which one is sincere and correct?’

He answered: ‘If the action is sincere but is not correct, then it will not be accepted and if it is correct but not sincere it will not be accepted, until it is sincere and correct.’

Khaalis (sincere) is that which is for Allaah.

Sawaab (correct) is that which is according to the Sunnah.’[45]

Some Sayings of the Salaf about Sincerity

Some Sayings of the Salaf Regarding Sincerity:

a- Sincerity for Allaah is that a person’s intent is for Allaah and everything he does he intends for Him, causing fountains of wisdom to spring from his heart onto his tongue.

Ibn Taymeeyah – ‘an-Naboowaat’ 147

b- Whenever the sincerity of the slave of Allaah strengthens, his worship becomes more complete.

Ibn Taymeeyah – ‘al-Fatawa’ 10/198

c- The amount of Tawheed a slave has for his Lord and his sincerity for Allaah in religion is directly proportional to the amount he is deserving of the generosity of Allaah upon him, such as intercession and other things.

Ibn Taymeeyah – ‘As-Sarim al-Munkey’

d- If you correct your hidden deeds then Allaah will correct your outward deeds.

Ibn Taymeeyah – ‘al-Fatawa’ 3/277

e- There is nothing that drives away the afflictions of this world except Tawheed. This is why the supplication of the distressed person is with Tawheed, such as the supplication of Yunus.  The distressed person does not supplicate with what Yunus supplicated with except that Allaah releases him from his hardship due to its Tawheed.

There is nothing more gruesome for the distressed person except shirk and there is nothing that can rescue you from it except Tawheed, it is the place of refuge for the creation, its shelter, its fortress and its means of seeking aid.

Ibn al-Qayyim – ‘al-Fawaid’ 96

f- Ikhlaas and Tawheed are a tree in the heart.  Its branches are good actions and its fruits are a good life in this world and eternal comfort in the Hereafter.  Just as the supply of fruits in Paradise is not cut off nor are they out of reach, then the fruits of Tawheed and Ikhlaas in this world are likewise.

Ibn al-Qayyim – ‘al-Fawaid’ 292

g- Having sincerity for the Deen of Allaah is the foundation of justice, likewise committing Shirk with Allaah is a great injustice.

Ibn Taymeeyah – ‘al-Fatawa’ 1/87

The Intention for the Prayer

Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani said:

‘At-Takbeer – Then the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – used to begin the prayer by saying: ‘Allaahu Akbar.’  In this is an indication that the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – never used to say anything before the Takbeer, like pronouncing the Niyyah (intention).

Like some people say: ‘I have intended to pray for Allaah Ta’ala so many Rakat facing the Qiblah……..’ to the end of what is well-known amongst many of the people!

All of that is Bida’; it has no foundation in the Sunnah.  This is something which the scholars are in agreement about.

It was not narrated on anyone of the Companions, nor did one of the Tabieen regard it as appropriate. Nor did any of the four Mujtahid Imaams.  But rather it was mentioned by some of the companions of Imaam Shafi’ee, when he said about the Hajj:

‘It is not necessary for the one who enters into the state of Ihraam and makes his intention with his heart, that he mentions it with his tongue.  Not like the prayer which is not correct except by an utterance.’

Ar-Raafi’ee said in ‘Sharh al-Wajeez’ (3/263):

‘The majority – i.e. From the scholars of the Shafi’eeyah – said: that Imaam Shafi’ee – may Allaah have mercy on him- did not intend by his statement the pronunciation of the intention with an utterance, rather he intended pronouncing the Takbeer; since the prayer is begun by this, and in the Hajj a person can become Muhrim without pronouncing the intention.’ It is similarly mentioned in ‘al-Majmoo’ 3/276-277

Indeed, he has indicated this in ‘al-Muhadhib’ by saying: ‘And from amongst our companions there are those who say: Make an intention with the heart, and an utterance with the tongue. This is nothing since the Niyyah is the intent with the heart.’

‘Allaama Shaykh Muwafiq ad-Deen Ibn Qudamaah al-Maqdasee said in his book ‘Dhum al-Moowasweseen’ p.7:

‘Know, may Allaah have mercy on you, that the Niyyah is the intent and decision to do an action and its place is the heart.  It has no connection with the tongue.

It has not been narrated on the authority of the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – nor his Companions that they uttered the Niyyah in any situation.

These types of worship are ones which have been innovated at the beginning of purification and prayer, are not derived from the principles of worship.

So, the Niyyah is the intent of performing an action. Therefore, everyone who is decided on performing an action, then he has an intention.  And everyone who aims to perform an action, then he has an intention.  It is inconceivable to separate the intent from the Niyyah, because that is its true nature. So, the absence of the Niyyah is inconceivable when it is present.

Therefore, the one who sits to perform Wudu, then he has indeed intended to perform Wudu.  The one who stands to pray, then he has indeed intended the prayer.  An intelligent person will not perform an action from his worship or any other action without an intention (Niyyah).  So, the Niyyah is a matter which is inherent in actions which a person intends, and the Niyyah is not something that needs to tire a person out, nor does he need to acquire it since it is inherent.’ summarised.

So, if you know that it was not from the guidance of the Salaf as-Salih to pronounce the Niyyah; then it is obligatory upon you to follow them; since they are the example:

All good is in following the Salaf

And all evil is in the innovating of the Khalaf’[46]

Pronouncing the intention is a Bida’

a – ‘Allaah the Mighty and Majestic– is The Most Knowledgeable of what the hearts contain and nothing is hidden from Him.  Allaah –the Mighty and Majestic– looks at the hearts, which are the place of the intention, as is established in the authentic hadeeth:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ، وَلَا إِلَى أَمْوَالِكُمْ، وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ

‘Indeed, Allaah does not look are your appearances nor at your wealth, but at your hearts and your actions.’[47]

Soو there is no need to pronounce the intention, that it is a Bida’, because the place of the intention is the heart.’[48]

b – Shaykh Uthaymeen said:

‘Know that the place of the intention is the heart and it is not pronounced verbally because you are worshipping The One Who knows every single thing that exists and what is hidden in the hearts.  Allaah –the Most High- knows what is in the hearts of His slaves. . . . . . . . this is why it has not ever been mentioned that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam or the Companions -Radi Allaahu anhum- pronounced the intention.  This is why pronouncing it openly or secretly is a Bida’, which is prohibited.’[49]

c – Shaykh Uthaymeen also said:

‘If a person says: is not the statement of the one who intends to perform Umrah or Hajj, when he says: ‘Labbaik Allaahumma Umrah’ or ‘Labbaik Allaahumma Hajjan’ or ‘Labbaik Allaahumma Umrah wa Hajj’, is this not pronouncing the intention?

The answer is ‘no, this is the manifestation of the rites of the Hajj.  This is why some of the scholars said that: ‘the Talbeeyah (proclamation) in the rites of Hajj is like the opening Takbeer in the prayer, such that if he does not utter the Talbeeyah then he has not entered Ihraam. Likewise, if he did not say the opening Takbeer for the prayer then he has not entered the prayer.

This is why it is not from the Sunnah for us to say, as some of the people say: ‘O Allaah I intend the rites of Umrah,’ or ‘I intend Hajj so make it easy for me,’ because such Dhikr (remembrance) is in need of evidence and there is no such evidence.

So, you should criticize the one who pronounces the intention, however you should do so calmly by saying: O my brother, the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- did not say this nor did his Companions, so leave it.

If he says: ‘So and so said it in such and such book!’

Then say to him: ‘What should be said is only what Allaah and His Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- have said.’[50]

d – Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad said:

‘The place of the intention is the heart, uttering it is a Bida’.  It is not allowed to pronounce the intention for any action that takes one closer to Allaah.’[51]

Types of Hijra

Hijra (Migration)

Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid said:

‘The different types of Hijra at the time of the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- were:

1- To Ethiopia

2- From Makkah to Madina

3- Hijra of the tribes to the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam

4- Hijra of the one from the people of Makkah who became Muslim.

5- Hijra from what Allaah prohibited.

The meaning of the hadeeth and its ruling incorporate all of these.  However, the reason for the occurrence of this hadeeth suggests that the Hijra was from Makkah to Madina because they narrate that a man migrated from Makkah to Madina to marry a woman.’[52]

All Praise belongs to Allaah, may His peace and blessings be upon our final Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow his guidance.

[1] May Allaah reward with goodness all those who participated in preparing this work.

[2] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ by Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh p.22]

[3] [Fath ul-Bari 1/11]

[4] i.e. that these three Ahadeeth explain the principles of the Deen.

[5] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ by Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh p.22]

[6] [Manaasabaat Tarajim al-Bukhari p.28]

[7] [Tarh Tarheeb 1/p.5/5]

[8] [Taken from ‘Fath al-Qawee al-Mubeen fee Sharh al-Arbaeen’ – Abdul Muhsin Abbad Point 2 p.86]

[9] [Taken from: ‘Fath  al-Bari’ 1/11]

[10] [Taken from ‘Fath al-Qawee al-Mubeen fee Sharh al-Arbaeen’ – Abdul Muhsin Abbad Point 2 p.86

[11] [Taken from: ‘Saheeh at-Targheeb wa Tarheeb’ 1/107-18]

[12] Shaykh Ferkoos speaks about this issue explaining that the majority of scholars hold that an intention is not required for keeping away from a matter which is against the Sharia. Etc.

[13] Ar-Room:38

[14] Khaf:28

[15] Shura:20

[16] Isra: 19

[17] Al-Layl:20

[18] Nisa’: 114

[19] Nisa’: 125

[20] Ala -Imraan: 20

[21] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ by Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh p.25]

[22] Scholars of Fiqh

[23] i.e. for sincerity to Allaah and having an intention for acts of worship.

[24] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ by Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh p.26]

[25] [7:31]

[26] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaymeen p.13]

[27] [al-Bayyinah :5]

[28] [Zumar: 3]

[29] Collected by Muslim from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah -RadhiAllaahu anhu.

[30] [Nisa’:142]

[31] [al-Baqarah: 264]

[32] (Subhana Allaah – Far is Allaah from imperfection)

[33] a polytheist.

[34] [Collected by Muslim from Abu Dharr Radi Allaahu anhu]

[35][35] [Collected by Bukhari & Muslim from Anas -Radi Allaahu anhu]

[36] [Bukhari & Muslim from Abu Qatadah -Radi Allaahu anhu]

[Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ by Shaykh Salih ‘Ala Shaykh p.27-32]

[37] [Taken from ‘Fath al-Qawee al-Mubeen fee Sharh al-Arba’een’ – Abdul Muhsin Abbad p.90]

[38] [From ‘Tamam al-Minna p.126]

[39]  From Al-Numan bin Basheer, who said : I heard the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- say :

‘That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allaah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart.’

[Collected by Bukhari and Muslim Hadeeth no. 6 from Arba’een an-Nawawi]

[40] [Taken from ‘Fath al-Qawee al-Mubeen fee Sharh al-Arba’een’ – Abdul Muhsin Abbad p.88]

[41] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – al-Uthaymeen p.18-19]

[42] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – al-Uthaymeen p.11-12]

[43] [Taken from ‘Tarha at-Tahreeb fee Sharh at-Taqreeb ’ – al-Iraqi vol 1/p.20/point 41]

[44] [Mulk: 2]

[45] [Taken from ‘Madarij as-Salikeen’ Volume 1, p.104 & Istiqaamah vol. 1/248]

[46] [Taken from the Original Sifat as-Salah vol 1 p.175-176 By Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani]

[47] [Muslim – Abu Huraira]

[48] [Introduction to Tuhfatul –al-Iraaqi p.125]

[49] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – al-Uthaymeen p.14]

[50] [Taken from ‘Sharh al-Arbaeen an-Nawawi’ – al-Uthaymeen p.15]

[51] [Taken from ‘Fath al-Qawee al-Mubeen fee Sharh al-Arbaeen’ – Abdul Muhsin Abbad p.91]

[52] [Taken from ‘Tarha at-Tahreeb fee Sharh at-Taqreeb ’ – al-Iraqi vol 1/p.22/point 47]