By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
10 August 2019
An authentic hadith reads, “Actions (A’amaal) are judged by intentions, so each man will have what he intended” (Bukhari, Muslim). The Arabic word A’amaalcarries general application and thus includes all deeds, pious or impious. Undoubtedly Islamic teachings are loaded with the divine commands of pious deeds. And of course we must learn them. Once we have done so, it becomes more significant to introspect as to why we should practice the pious deeds and refrain from impious ones. The reason for knowing it is that our actions are judged by our intentions. Then the next question strikes our mind: what are the intentions that we, as believers, should firmly establish in our minds? The plain answer that the Quran refers to in several verses is; it is the intention of earning pleasure of Allah Almighty that should exist in our minds, before we do any pious deeds.
God Almighty says, “There is no good in most of their secret consultations except (the counsel) of the person who enjoins charity or piety or peace-making amongst people. And whoever does this, seeking Allah’s pleasure, We shall soon bless him with a mighty reward.” (4:114)
“So they returned with favor from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty. (3:174)
“But the most pious one shall be saved from this (Fire), Who gives his wealth away (in the cause of Allah) to attain to purity (of his soul and assets), And who owes no favour to anyone that he is seeking to pay back. Rather (he spends) seeking the pleasure of his Lord, Most High”. (92:17-20)
“And who remain steadfast in seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and establish Prayer, and spend (both) secretly and openly out of the sustenance We have provided, and continue eliminating evil by means of good; they are the ones for whom there is a (beautiful) home in the Hereafter.” (13:22)
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His pleasure. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” (18:28)
“So keep giving the relative his right, as well as the needy and the traveler. That is best for those who seek pleasure of Allah, and it is they who will achieve the goal.” (30:38)
“Who is better—the one who founds his edifice (i.e., mosque) on the fear of Allah and (His) pleasure and satisfaction, or the one who lays the foundation of his building on the edge of a crumbling precipice? So, that (building) tumbled down with its architect into the Fire of Hell. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoers.” (9:109)
“Their (acceptance) of guidance is not your responsibility. It is Allah Who awards guidance to whom He wills. And whatever wealth you give away (as charity donation) goes to your own benefit. It is not appropriate for you to spend but for Allah’s pleasure alone. And whatever you spend of your wealth, (its reward) will be paid back to you in full and you shall not be treated unjustly.” (2:272)
“Is the man who follows the good pleasure of Allah Like the man who draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and whose abode is in Hell?- A woeful refuge!” (3:162)
“By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darkness into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (5:16)
“And among men is one who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Most Compassionate towards the bondmen.” (2:207)
“And the example of those who spend their wealth in order to seek pleasure of Allah and to make their hearts steadfast, is similar to that of a garden on a height—hard rain fell on it, so bringing forth its fruit twofold; so if hard rain does not reach it, the dew is enough; and Allah is Seeing your deeds” (2:265)
“And do not repel those who call upon their Lord in the morning and evening, seeking His pleasure; you are not responsible for their account nor are they responsible for your account – then your repelling them would be far from justice.” (6:52)
“[They say to them], “We feed you only for the pleasure of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.” (76:9)
The wisdom behind making the intention of attaining pleasure of Allah is manifold, especially in the materialistic world. This creates genuineness, honesty, sincerity and selfless attitude in all worldly and religious actions. When a man does pious deeds purely for the sake of God, he starts expecting nothing but proximity with God as a reward for his pious actions. He gains humbleness in his attitude towards all creatures. With this pious intention, he starts developing his spiritual journey and reaches a place wherein he finds nothing but the feeling of God’s existence, and thereby experiencing a true chapter of peace and harmony. Interpreting all worldly affairs—likes and dislikes, hate and prejudice of opponents, through his spiritual experience and observation, he purifies his mind from all negative thoughts that take him away from the spiritual path of God Almighty.
The lesson that the Quranic verses teach us is that whenever we do any work, we should make intention of attaining pleasure of God Almighty therein.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).