Set All Intentions Straight for the Religion
“So set your face uprightly to the (true) religion, in harmony with the nature Allah has made for man”
This ayah clearly commands us to set our all purposes and intentions straight for the religion which is the right path of nature created by Allah for all men. It is the path of ma’rifah i.e. awareness of Allah. Hence all our actions have to be with intention and purpose of the pleasure of Allah.
Niyyah means to intend and aim at doing a thing. It is a link between knowledge and action. Obviously if there is no knowledge of a thing, there can be no intention and if there is no intention, no action can be taken. Thus we see that the Niyyah for every action is a natural need of every man. Moreover, it is connected to one’s heart. Therefore, the aim and intention in one’s heart is to be considered as Niyyah.
Niyyah has different grades and accordingly actions committed gain high or low status before Allah (SWT). If the intention of any good action is for other than Allah such as to earn mere publicity and to show-off (which is based on selfish motive) then there is no divinely reward in it. Thus we see that the Holy Prophet (saw) has said,
“Actions are evaluated according to Niyyah (of a person)”
A true believer is the one who seeks the pleasure of the Almighty Allah and reward from Him, he is therefore extremely careful in keeping his Niyyah for every good action pure for the sake of Allah (SWT). The Holy Prophet (saw) said,
“Intention of a believer is better than his action….”
HIGHER STAGES OF NIYYAH
1. For every good action, our aim and intention should not be for publicity or show-off. For example prayer at home in seclusion is performed carelessly whereas in the mosque it is done meticulously and perfectly to impress the public. This is a defective Niyyah.
2. All our good deeds should be for seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and to attain jannah i.e.paradise and to safeguard ourselves from the torment of naar i.e hell-fire.
3. It should also be for thanksgiving to Allah (SWT) for His countless blessings upon us. Such a Niyyah becomesthe cause of further increase in His blessings.
4. Finally, Niyyah should also be for the sake of fulfilling the commands of Allah (SWT) and for proving our obedience towards Him.
It is related that a man named Fazl bin Rahee bulit a mosque in Baghdad. At the time of placing a plaque on the door, he was asked what should be written on it and he expressed his desire, as the donor of the mosque, to have his name to appear on it. By chance Wahab bin Amr (Bahlool) was present there and he asked this question to Fazl:
“For whose sake have you constructed the mosque?”
Fazl replied, “For the sake of Allah”
“If it is for the sake of Allah,why mention your name on the plaque?” asked bahlool again.
“Why not mention my name, how will people come to know the founder of the mosque?” retorted Fazl
Bahlool responded by saying,
“If you have built this mosque to show-off and boast your name then you will have to forego your reward from Allah”.
Fazl was dumb-founded by this reply and then said to inscribe on the plaque whatever bahlool suggested. Bahlool suggested the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
“And the mosques are Allah’s; therefore call not upon anyone with Allah” (72:18)
Thus Niyyah pure and free from any selfish purpose of show-off or business interests or exerting influence over people, for every good action is essential. Only pure Niyyah earns lasting reward from Allah (SWT).