Deeds are by intention

Umar ibn al-Khattab reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوِ امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ

Verily, deeds are only with intentions. Verily, every person will have only what they intended. Whoever emigrated to Allah and his messenger, his emigration is for Allah and his messenger. Whoever emigrated to get something in the world or to marry a woman, his emigration is for that to which he emigrated.

Sesungguhnya setiap amalan tergantung pada niatnya. Setiap orang akan mendapatkan apa yang ia niatkan. Siapa yang hijrahnya karena Allah dan Rasul-Nya, maka hijrahnya untuk Allah dan Rasul-Nya. Siapa yang hijrahnya karena mencari dunia atau karena wanita yang dinikahinya, maka hijrahnya kepada yang ia tuju.” (HR. Bukhari dan Muslim) [HR. Bukhari, no. 1 dan Muslim, no. 1907]


  • Nabi saw memulai hadits ini dengan sebuah prinsip yakni setiap amalan tergantung pada niatnya dan kemudian memberikan tiga contoh praktikal. Ini adalah salah satu model metodologi Nabi saw dalam mengajar. Dengan memberi contoh praktikal, ia akan membantu mengilustrasikan prinsip sehingga lebih mudah bagi orang untuk memahami dan melakukannya dan mereka dapat menerapkan prinsip untuk situasi serupa lainnya. Tiga contoh tersebut terdiri dari satu niat baik (hijrah karena Allah dan Rasulullah) dan dua niat buruk (hijrah demi keuntungan duniawi atau untuk menikah).
  • Hadits ini menekankan keikhlasan (ketulusan – jujur ​​hanya kepada Allah, melakukan dan bertindak semata-mata demi Allah dimana tidak ada saksi lain selain Allah yang dicari). Ikhlas adalah salah satu syarat dierimanya amal kebaikan. Kondisi lainnya adalah bahwa tindakan harus dilakukan sesuai dengan syariat sebagaimana akan dijelaskan dalam hadis kelima.

Keikhlasan ini dapat terlihat dari syahadah

 ” Aku Bersaksi Tiada Tuhan Selain Allah” ini adalah keikhlasan dengan memastikan bahwa apapun yang kita lakukan hanyalah karena dan untuk Allah swt semata.

 “Aku Bersaksi bahwa Muhammad adalah Rasulullah” – Sunnah adalah manifestasi dari al-Quran. Nabi Muhammad adalah teladan terbaik untuk diikuti. Mengikuti sunnahnya dalam ibadah, akhlak dan muamalah memastikan kita bertindak sejalan dengan sunnah. Jadi syahadah memperlihatkan kondisi diterimanya amal dan bagaimana melakukan amal yakni (a) harus karena Allah karena hanya kepadaNya kita beribadah dan (b) harus sesuai dengan syariah sebagaimana yang dijelaskan Rasulullah.

To achieve ikhlas, we have to avoid shirk (associating others with Allah, which causes insincerity). Al-Imam al-Harawi said the root cause for insincerity (or shirk) is self-desire (alhawa). Therefore no action should be done because of self-desire.

Imam al-Harawi states that there are 7 types of self-desires:-

i. To make oneself appear good in the hearts of others

ii. To seek the praises of others

iii. To avoid being blamed by others

iv. To seek the glorification of others

v. To seek the wealth/money of others

vi. To seek the services or love of others

vii. To seek the help of others for oneself

Ways to obtain ikhlas:

 Do righteous deeds – the more good deeds we do and hence get closer to Allah, the

more sincere we will be.

 Before we do any deed we should firstly seek knowledge (ilm) – our actions/deeds should

be guided by knowledge so that we do them in accordance to the Shariah.

 Do not give false impressions – do not make others believe that an action we did was

good when it was not.

 Al-Imam Ahmad said: Before you do anything, check your intention (niyyah) – ask

yourself before performing an action: “Is it for the sake of Allah?”

Ibnu al-Qayyim says: Any action we do is subject to three defects:
i. Being conscious that others are observing our actions
ii. Seeking a return (benefit/reward) for the action
iii. Being satisfied with the action
 If we go to the masjid for the salah and we are early, arriving before the
Imam and finding a place in the first saff, we should not be proud of
ourselves and think of ourselves being better than others. We should
praise Allah for enabling us to go to the masjid and for being able to
perform the salah without any difficulties.
 After every salah, we should tell ourselves that we could have performed it
better and try to improve in our next salah.
What happens if we were to change our niyyah while performing an action? Ibn Rajab says
according to the ulama’ if the niyyah at the end of the action matches the beginning (i.e. doing the
action for the sake of Allah), then any changes in the middle of the action will be forgiven or
does not matter, insha Allah. However, if the niyyah at the end does not match the beginning, i.e.
we do the action for other than the sake of Allah, then we must repent (taubah).
There are four things that contradict ikhlas:
i. Ma’siat – committing sins – this will weaken our ikhlas
ii. Shirk – associating others with Allah
iii. Riya’ – performing an ibadah with the intention of showing off to others
iv. Nifaq – hypocrisy
Even though we must always make sure that our actions do not deviate from ikhlas, there are
actions, which are automatically considered that of good intentions. For example, seeking
knowledge in Islam, helping the community, doing da’wah, etc.
Some rulings (ahkam) which scholars derived from this hadith:
 When people ‘swear by Allah’ by saying “Wallahi” every now and then, their intention is
not that they actually swear by Allah. They say it simply out of habit – it readily rolls off

8 –
their tongue. Hence, it is harmless. However a Muslim should do his/her best to
minimize it.
 When someone is asked to give an oath, what is judged is his intention when he gives the
 There can be a combination of intentions between performing an ibadah and teaching
others – we perform an ibadah for the sake of Allah, but we also do it with the intention
of teaching others. e.g. when the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, performed the Hajj,
he did it for the sake of Allah as well as for teaching the Sahabah (his companions, may
Allah be pleased with them all).
 A man may go through the process of divorcing his wife, verbally or in court, but it is his
intention which counts.
 What could be seen as ghibah (backbiting – talking bad, but true, things about a person
behind his back) could simply be a joke or a dua. If someone talks bad about someone
else, it is his intentions, which determines whether it is ghibah or not.
Our actions are undermined by our intentions – whether they are good intentions or bad
intentions. Therefore we should always check our intentions before we do or say anything. We
must make sure that the action is for the sake of Allah so that it is accepted by Allah and that we
will be rewarded for it, insha Allah.

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