Intention in Teaching and Learning
It is necessary for us to understand that anything that is not done purely for God and without sincerity gives no benefit to man, rather, it is harmful for the hereafter.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: Anyone who aims at getting worldly gains from knowledge has no share in the Hereafter and one who intends to earn in the Aakhirat gets both; worldly and otherworldly benefits from Allah.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says: In truth, this world is total ignorance and senselessness except the places of learning and all the knowledge is an evidence against man except that on which proper action is taken and all the deeds are hypocrisy except that which is done with a purity of intention and this purity too is dangerous unless man sees in what way his life ends.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says: Deeds of man are mortgaged by his intention and everyone gets what he intends. If anybody fights for the Cause of Allah his reward is with Allah and if one wages a war for worldly gain his reward remains limited only to this world.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: Allah would gather people on the Day of Judgement according to their intentions.
An Arab came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and said:
O Messenger of God! Some people wage jihad on the basis of racial or national prejudices and some to exhibit their bravery, and some only for the sake of Allah. In response the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: The way of only that person is the Way of Allah who fights for the victory of truth over falsehood.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Many a times a man who fasts does not derive anything from his fast except hunger and thirst and many worshippers worshiping during nights will not get from their awakening except sleeplessness.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has reportedly said: The reward of every deed depends upon and is according to the intention and it is the intended thing that everyone gets; so one who migrates toward Allah and His Messenger has his migration toward Allah and His Prophet; and if one migrates for any worldly benefit or for marrying a woman, his migration is for that thing which he intended.
There are many narrations on this subject and we should know that nobody is safe from the conspiracy of Shaitan except when under the shade of purity of deed. The Holy Quran says: He said: My Lord! Because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make evil fair seeming to them on earth, and I will certainly cause them all to deviate, except Thy servants from among them, the devoted ones.
At another place Shaitan is quoted: Then by Thy Might I will surely make them live an evil life, all except Thy servants from among them, the purified ones.
So it is well known that special rewards of the Lord reach only the honest. Likewise it is said about Yusuf (a.s.): Thus it was that We might turn away from him evil and indecency, surely he was one of Our sincere servants.
It is said about Moosa (a.s.): And mention Moosa in the Book; surely he was one purified; and he was an apostle, a Prophet.
Sincerity and wisdom
1 - The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: No slave shows sincerity for forty days except that streams of wisdom begin to flow from his heart to his tongue.
2 - Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: No slave purifies his Faith for Allah for forty days, or said: no slave remembered Allah honestly but the Almighty made him devout and taught the ills and their remedies regarding the world. Then poured wisdom in his heart and made him talk likewise.
3 - Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: Verily, everyone fears a Faithful man and holds him great and respectable. Then added: When his deed is only for the sake of Allah, He makes everything afraid of him, even the beasts walking on earth as well as the birds in sky.
4 - Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: Allah says: None of My slaves has sought My nearness through a deed which I have made obligatory for him and indeed My slave comes close to Me through voluntary good deeds until I love him and when I love him I become his ear by which he hears; and become his eyes with which he sees; and become his tongue by which he speaks; and become his hand by which he attacks. If he calls Me, I respond and if he asks something from Me, I give him.
In every circumstance, doing ones duty in the path of Allah with purity of intention raises one to a great station. Nobody can say that this is not possible for me, rather, when one starts walking on the way of Allah, ones strength increases and ones difficulties are solved. As the Holy Quran says: And as for those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good.
The reality of sincerity
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Verily for every fact there is a reality and the reality of sincerity is that man does not attain sincerity unless he dislikes a praise by the people for his deeds.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has reportedly said: A man does not become a sincere slave unless his praise or his denial by the people becomes alike in this eyes and knows that such testification or falsification makes no difference in the reality of a thing. So do not be pleased by the praise of anyone because such praise does make man nearer to his God has does not make him needless from whatever that has already been destined for him.
Maybe somebody asks himself whether this is at all possible to achieve? Yes. A little thought will make you understand that if man makes efforts and suppresses his whims and passions, truth becomes more and more clear for him and the Holy Quran also says: And as for those who strive hard for Us we will most certainly guide them. If man does not try to reform himself, many a times, his good deeds are likely to result in polytheism and pretence.