HOME BLOG QURANIC HADITH FIQH tGFH English CONTACT hamburger menubar icon

Nawawi on

"Actions are according to intentions"

By GF Haddad

Edit OmarKN

Tweet #omarkn




It is related from the Commander of the Believers Abu Hafs ʿUmar ibn al-Khattab -- may God be well pleased with him -- that he said: "I heard God's Messenger say ﷺ:

"Actions are only according to intentions, and to each only what he intended. Whoever emigrates towards God and His Messenger, his emigration is towards God and His Messenger; whoever emigrates for the attainment of a worldly goal or in order to marry a woman, then his emigration is only towards what he emigrated to."

The two imams of hadith: Abu ʿAbd Allah Muhammad ibn Ismaʿil ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Mughira ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhari and Abu al-Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj ibn Muslim al-Qushayri al-Nisaburi narrated it in their two collections of sound hadith which are the soundest of all hadith compilations.

The hadith indicates that the intention is a yardstick for making one's actions sound. Only insofar as the intention is correct is the action correct, and insofar as the intention is wrong is the action wrong.

If an action takes place and an intention accompanies it, such action is characterized by one of the following three states:
a) It is performed out of fear of God the Exalted: this is the worship of slaves (ʿabid).
b) It is performed in the pursuit of the Garden of Paradise and the pursuit of reward: this is the worship of traders (tujjar).
c) It is performed out of shame before God and in order to fulfill the duty of servanthood and give thanks while one sees oneself remiss despite doing all this, fearing in his heart because he does not know -- even then -- if his action is accepted or not: this is the worship of free men (ahrar). [This threefold definition of the states of the intention is attributed to the early Sufi Maʿruf al-Karkhi (d. 200/815) by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Sufuri in his "Nuzhat al-Majalis," chapter on sincerity.]

God's Messenger ﷺ alluded to the latter when ʿA'isha -- may God be well pleased with her -- upon seeing him spend the night standing in prayer until his feet were swollen, asked him: "O Messenger of God, why do you place such a burden on yourself when God has forgiven you all your sins past and those to come?" He replied: "Should I not be a thankful servant?" (Muslim, "Munafiqun" #79, Tirmidhi, "Salat" #197)

If it is asked: which is best, to worship with fear or to worship with hope? It is answered: Ghazali said -- may God have mercy on him: "To worship with hope is better because hope gives rise to love, while fear gives rise to despair."

The above three stages or divisions are with respect to the sincere. Know that sincerity may find in its way the bane of pride. Whoever admires his works, his works have failed, and similarly whoever waxes proud, his works have failed. [Note: This is the characteristic of Iblis alluded to in this saying related from the shaykh of my shaykh: "You may be able to worship perfectly for thousands and millions of years. However, if you think for one moment that your worship amounts to something, you are the greatest disbeliever."]

The second state is (also) when one acts in the pursuit of both a worldly benefit and the hereafter. It is the opinion of some of the scholars that the works of such a person are not accepted. Their proof for this is the divine report wherein God the exalted says: "I am the most sufficient of partners. Whoever does an action in which he associates with a partner other than Myself, I have nothing to do with him." (Muslim "Zuhd" #46 and Ibn Maja, "Zuhd" #45). This is the position of al-Harith al-Muhasibi* in "Kitab al-riʿaya li huquq Allah" [Book of the Observance of God's Rights] in which he says: "Sincerity is to seek God in obeying Him without seeking other than Him."

*[Abu Abd Allah al-Harith Al-Muhasibi al-ʿAnazi [d. 243/857]: An early Sufi of Baghdad who was the shaykh of al-Junayd. Nawawi cites him frequently. It is established in the Shafiʿi school that "Upon the books of al-Harith ibn Asad [al-Muhasibi] on kalam, fiqh, and hadith rest those among us who are mutakallim, faqih, and sufi." See: - Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, "Kitab Usul al-Din" p. 308; - Taj al-Din al-Subki, "Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya 2:275; and - Jamal al-Din al-Isnawi, "Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya"1:(#9)26-27. The hafiz Abu Bakr ibn al-ʿArabi said in his commentary on Tirmidhi: "The greatest one who spoke about it [the root meanings of the Permissible and the Forbidden] is our scholar and chief, al-Harith ibn Asad (al-Muhasibi)." ʿAridat al-Ahwadhi bi sharh sahih al-Tirmidhi" 5:201.


Making display (riya') is of two kinds: the first is when one seeks none other than the people in his obedience of God; the second, when one seeks the people and the Lord of people at the same time. Both kinds bring one's works to nothing. This definition of riya' is conveyed by the hadith master Abu Nuʿaym in "Hilyat al-awliya'" [The Adornment of God's Friends] from some of the Predecessors (salaf). Some scholars have adduced a proof for this from God's saying: { The Compeller, the Sublime, Glory be to God above that they associate! } (59:23). Just as He is greatly above taking a wife or a son or a partner, so is He greatly above accepting an action in which another besides Him is taken as a partner. God the Exalted is greater than that, and He is All- Glorious, and He is All-Sublime.

Al-Samarqandi* said: "All that one does for the sake of God the Exalted is accepted, and all one does for the sake of people is rejected." An illustration for this is the person who performs the noon-prayer, for example, intending thereby to fulfill the obligation imposed on him by God the Exalted, except that he makes its integrals and suras long and he beautifies its appearance for the sake of people: the root of the prayer is accepted, but its length and beauty are not because he intended them for the sake of people.

*[Abu al-Layth Mudar Nasir ibn Muhammad al-Samarqandi (d. 373/983), a Sufi and jurist of the Hanafi school. He authored among other works a "Tafsir" (Commentary on Qur'an), "Al-Nawazil," "Tanbih al-ghafilin" (A Warning to the Heedless), "Bustan al- ʿarifin" (The Garden of the Gnostics, also the title of one of Nawawi's last books), and a "Muqaddima fi al-salat" (Introduction Regarding Prayer) which is probably the source for Nawawi's above quotations.]

Shaykh ʿIzz al-Din ibn ʿAbd al-Salam* was asked about the person who lengthens his prayer for the sake of people. He said: "I hope this particular action of his does not fail if he attributed a partner to God in the manner of his prayer. However, if it happened at the root of his action -- that is, if he performed the obligatory prayer both for the sake of God the Exalted and for the sake of the people -- then his prayer is definitely not accepted because he has ascribed a partner to God at the root of his action."

*[ʿAbd al-ʿAziz ibn ʿAbd al-Salam ibn Abu al-Qasim ibn al-Hasan ʿIzz al-Din al-Sulami of Damascus, nicknamed the Sultan of Scholars (577/1181-660/1262), Shafiʿi jurist and Sufi, a contemporary of Nawawi.]

Making display in one's actions can also be in the omission of an action. Al-Fudayl ibn ʿIyad* said: "To leave an action for the sake of people is making display, and to perform an action for the sake of people is attributing a partner to God. Sincerity is that God exempt you from both." The meaning of his words -- may God the Exalted have mercy on him -- is that whoever resolves to do an act of worship and then leaves it for fear that people should see it, he is making display because he left an action for the sake of people. However, if he leaves it in order to pray it in seclusion (khalwa): this is recommended, except if it is an obligatory prayer or the obligatory poor-tax, or if he is a scholar whom people take as an example. In such cases making one's worship public is preferable.

*[Abu ʿAli al-Fudayl ibn ʿIyad of Samarqand (d. 187/803). An early Sufi and sometime hadith scholar in Kufa who died in Mecca. A student of Hasan al-Basri's successor ʿAbdul Wahid ibn Zayd, both Kufan Soufis, and teacher of Ibrahim Adham.]

Like making display, ear-service also voids one's actions. This consists in performing devotions in seclusion and then telling people about it. The Prophet said ﷺ:
"Whoever advertises himself, God will advertise him, and whoever exhibits himself, God will exhibit him"
(Bukhari, "Riqaq" #36; Muslim, "Ahkam" 9, "Zuhd" #47-48, Tirmidhi, "Nikah" #11, "Zuhd" #48; Ahmad 3:40, 5:45; Darimi, "Riqaq" #35). The scholars said: "If he is a scholar whose example is followed and he mentions this in order to stir the listeners to action, there is no objection to it."

Al-Marzubani* said -- may God the Exalted have mercy on him: "The worshipper needs four qualities for his prayer to be carried up:
a) presence of heart (hudur al-qalb);
b) full sight of the mind (shuhud al-ʿaql);
c) complete submission to the integrals of the prayer (khuduʿ al-arkan);
d) humility in the members of his body (khushuʿ al-jawarih).

Whoever prays without presence of heart is a worshipper at play, and whoever prays without full presence of the mind is a heedless worshipper, and whoever prays without complete submission of the members is worshipping incorrectly, and whoever prays with the above four priniples is a complete and loyal worshipper."

*[Muhammad ibn ʿUmran ibn Musa ibn Saʿid ibn ʿUbayd Allah al- Marzubani (296/909-384/994), hadith scholar, poet, philologist, and literary historian.]


By saying "Actions are only according to intentions," the Prophet ﷺ meant acts of obedience at the exclusion of permitted actions that are neither recommended nor disliked. Al-Harith al-Muhasibi said: "Sincerity has no part in actions neither recommended nor disliked, because they neither imply nor lead to drawing near to God." For example constructions which do not serve a particular need, but are for the sake of frivolity. However, if they serve a need such as mosques, bridges, and forts, then they are recommended.

Al-Muhasibi continued: "There is no sincerity in a forbidden action nor in a disliked one, as in the case of someone who looks at something which is forbidden for him to look at, claiming that he only looks in order to reflect upon God's handiwork." An example is the person who gazes at a beardless young man: there is no sincerity in such a thing, nay there is no drawing near to God in it whatsoever.

Al-Muhasibi continued: "Truthfulness (sidq) as an attribute of a servant of God, means evenness in the private and the public person, in visible and hidden behavior. Truthfulness is realized after the realization of all the stations (maqamat) and states (ahwal). Even sincerity (ikhlas) is in need of truthfulness, whereas truthfulness needs nothing, because although real sincerity is to seek Allah through obedience, one might seek God by praying and yet be heedless and absent in his heart while praying. Truthfulness, then, is to seek God Almighty by worshipping with complete presence of heart before Him. For every truthful one (sadiq) is sincere (mukhlis), while not every sincere one is truthful. That is the meaning of connection (ittisal) and disconnection (infisal): the truthful one has disconnected himself from all that is other-than-God (ma siwa Allah) and he has fastened himself to presence-before-God (al-hudur billah). That is also the meaning of renunciation (takhalli) of all that is other-than-God and self-adornment (tahalli) with keeping present in front of God, the Glorified, the Exalted."

By his word "actions" it is possible that the Prophet ﷺ meant the soundness of actions, or the correctness of actions, or the acceptance of actions by God, or the perfection of actions. The latter is the sense adopted by Imam Abu Hanifa -- may God the Exalted have mercy on him.

Whatever is by way of eliminating something is not counted as one such action. For example: to remove filth from oneself, to resist force, to reject faults, to convey gifts, and other than that. The soundness of these actions is not dependent upon correcting one's intention; however, their reward is dependent upon the intention of drawing near to God. Thus whoever feeds his animal intending thereby obedience to God's order, he is rewarded, whereas if by feeding it he intends only to preserve his income, there is no reward: al-Qarafi* mentioned it. Excepted from the latter case is the mount of the fighter in the way of God if he bridled it for that intention; if it drinks at a time he does not intend to give it drink, he will still obtain reward for it, as mentioned in Bukhari's "Sahih" ("Jihad" #45). Similarly in interacting with one's wife, closing the door, and extinguishing the lamps before sleep: if one intends by these acts obedience to God's order he will be rewarded, and if he intends something else, he will not.

*[Ahmad ibn Idris al-Sanhaji al-Qarafi (626/1228-684/1285), an exact contemporary of Nawawi and like him an Ashʿari jurist and hadith scholar.]


Know that the word "intention" (niyya) lexically means "purpose, aim, meaning" (qasd). One says: "May God intend good for you," which means "May He mean good for you." Legally intention means to aim to do something and proceed to do it. If one aims to do something and then delays doing it, it is only a decision (ʿazm).

Intention was made a legal category in order to distinguish acts of habit from acts of worship and in order to distinguish the standing of one act of worship from that of another. An illustration of the former distinction is the act of sitting in a mosque: its purpose could be rest according to habit, or it could be worship with the intention of seclusion-and-devotion (iʿtikaf). The distinguishing factor here between habit and worship is intention.

The Prophet ﷺ pointed to this distinction in meaning when he was asked about a man who fights in order to be seen, another who fights in self-defense, and another who fights out of bravery: which of these is fighting in the way of the Exalted God? He said: "Whoever fights in order that God's word prevail, he is fighting in the way of God the Exalted" (Bukhari, "ʿIlm" #45, "Jihad" #15, Muslim, "Tawhid" #28, "Imara" #150-151, Tirmidhi, "Fada'il al-jihad" #15, Ibn Majah, "Jihad" #13, Ahmad 4:392, 398, 402, 417).

An illustration of the latter distinction -- that is in the standing of one act of worship as opposed to another -- is someone who prays four cycles of prayer (rakʿa): he could mean their enactment as a fulfillment of the obligatory Noon Prayer, and he could mean their enactment as a fulfillment of the voluntary Sunna Prayer. What distinguishes between the two is the intention. It is the same with manumission. One may mean expiation by it and one may mean other than that, such as the fulfillment of a vow and so forth. Again what distinguishes between them is the intention.

The Prophet's saying ﷺ: "to each only what he intended" is proof that proxy is not allowed in acts of worship nor is appointing a representative to formulate the same intention as oneself. The exception to this is in the distribution of the poor-tax (zakat) and the slaughtering of a sacrifice: it is permissible to appoint a proxy in both of these, for all of the intention, the slaughtering, and the distribution, even if one is able to make one's own intention. This is not permissible in the matter of pilgrimage and the repayment of a debt when one is able to make one's own intention.

Acts (other than worship) which can have but one interpretation do not stand in need of an intention; those that can have two (or more) do. For example, one who owes two thousand of which one thousand cover something given as a security (rahn); if, when he pays one thousand, he says: "Let this be the one thousand for which I gave a security," he is right. If he does not formulate such an intention during payment he can do so afterwards to whatever end he desires. Our school (Shafiʿi) does not recognize the soundness of an intention made after the fact except in such a case.

On the Prophet's saying ﷺ: "Whoever emigrates towards God and His Messenger, his emigration is towards God and His Messenger; whoever emigrates for the attainment of a worldly goal or in order to marry a woman, then his emigration is only towards what he emigrated to":
The original meaning of emigration (muhajara) is flight and abandonment.

The name "hijra" has several meanings: (Numbers H1 - H8)

H1. The exodus of the Companions -- may God be well pleased with them -- from Mecca to Abyssinia at the time the idolaters were persecuting God's Messenger ﷺ. They escaped persecution and sought safety with the Negus. Bayhaqi said: "This hijra took place five years after the beginning of the Messenge."

H2. The second meaning of hijra is the exodus from Mecca ot Madina. This took place thirteen years after the beginning of the Message. It was an obligation for every Muslim in Mecca to emigrate towards God's Messenger ﷺ in Madina at that time.

A number of scholars said that the emigration was obligatory from Mecca to Madina in absolute terms. In reality it was not obligatory in absolute terms for there was nothing special about Madina. The only obligation was to emigrate towards God's Messenger himself ﷺ.


Ibn al-ʿArabi* said: "The scholars -- may God be pleased with them -- divide peregrination (al-dhahab fi al-ard) into two kinds: the flight from something and the pursuit of something. The former is divided into six parts:

*[Al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-ʿArabi al-Andalusi (d. 543/1138), Maliki jurist and hadith master.]

- "Exiting the Abode of War to enter the Abode of Islam. This kind of emigration endures until the Day of the Rising. The kind of emigration that ceased with the Conquest of Mecca and to which the Prophet referred ﷺ by saying: "There is no hijra after the Conquest" is travel towards God's Messenger wherever he was (Bukhari, "Manaqib al- ansar" #45, "Jihad" #1-2; Tirmidhi, "Siyar" #32; Ahmad 1:226, 266, 355, 469, 2:215, 3:22, 468, 5:187).

- "Exiting the land of innovation. Ibn al-Qasim* said: "I heard Malik say: "It is not legally permissible for anyone to reside in a land in which the early generations (salaf) are reviled.""

*[Abu ʿAbd Allah ʿAbd al-Rahman Ibn al-Qasim al-ʿUtaqi (d. 191/806), Imam Malik's foremost disciple.]

- "Exitig a land in which forbidden matters are predominant; to pursue what is permissible is an absolute duty upon every Muslim.

- "Escaping bodily harm: it is a favor from God the Exalted whereby he grants a certain exemption. Therefore if someone fears for himself in a given place, God the Exalted has given him permission to exit from it and take flight in order to save himself from such peril. The first to practice such emigration is Abraham -- Peace be upon him -- when he said: { Lo! I am a fugitive unto my Lord } (29:26). God the Exalted said with regard to Moses: { So he escaped from thence, fearing, vigilant. } (28:21).

- "Exiting out of fear of the disease prevalent in unhealthy regions towards a land untouched by it. The Prophet ﷺ allowed this for the Banu ʿArin tribesmen who found the air of Madina unwholeseome, and he permitted them to go out to the countryside.*

*The air of Madina was by no means unwholesome of itself, since the Prophet ﷺ said that even the earth of Madina contains healing, but only relative to these particular people. They turned out to be renegades and criminals according to the hadith:

1. Abu Qilaba said, Anas related to me..., some people came to the Prophet ﷺ and they spoke to him saying: "The climate of this land [Madina] does not suit us." The Prophet ﷺ said,
"There are camels belonging to us, and they are to be taken out to the pasture. So take them out and drink of their "alban" (milk) and "abwl" (urine/colostrum?)."
So they took them and set out and drank of their "abwal" and "alban", and having recovered, they attacked the shepherd..."
(Bukhari, Tafsir of 5:33; English vol. 6:107)

2. Anas b. Malik reported that some people of the tribe of ʿUkl or ʿArina came to Allah's Messenger ﷺ at Medina, and they found its climate uncongenial. So Allah's Messenger ﷺ said to them:
If you so like, you may go to the camels of Sadaqa and drink of their "alban" and "abwal". They did so and were all right. Then they fell upon the shepherds... (Muslim, Qasama 2:9-11; cf. English vol. 3:893-894)

3. The hadith (in all its other versions) is also related by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nisa'i, and Ibn Maja. See also Ibn Saʿd, "Tabaqat" 2(1):67-68 an the books of Qur'anic commentary for 5:33 cf. Tabari, "Tafsir" (Cairo 1957 ed.) 10:244 f. So it is only right that they found the air of Madina uncongenial, as the Prophet ﷺ said in another hadith:
"Madina is like a pair of bellows, it expels impurities and all that does not belong to it."
(Bukhari, "Ahkam" among the ahadith on bayʿa [fealty])

- "Exiting out of fear of harm in one's property, since the inviolability a Muslim's property is like the inviolability of his blood.

"As for the latter kind of peregrination -- the pursuit of something -- it is divided into ten parts; the first nine being the pursuit of religion and the last the pursuit of worldly goals:

- "Travel for admonitory or didactic purposes. God the Exalted said: { Have they not travelled in the land and seen the nature of the consequence of those who were before them? } (12:109) Dhu al- Qarnayn* (usually identified as Alexander the Great) circumambulated the world in his quest to see its wonders.

- "Travel for the pilgrimage.
- "Travel for jihad.
- "Travel for livelihood.
- "Travel for trade and gain over and above the basic necessities of life. It is allowed in view of the saying of the Exalted: "It is no sin for you that ye seek the bounty of your Lord" (2:198).

- "The pursuit of learning.

- "Going to see exalted sites.
The Prophet said ﷺ: "Let no travel be undertaken except to three mosques." (Bukhari, "Salat fi masjid Makka" #1-2, "Jaza' al- sayd" #26, "Sawm" #67; Abu Dawud, "Manasik" #94; Tirmidhi, "Mawaqit" #126; Ibn Majah, "Iqama" #196; Ahmad 2:501, 3:7, 34-35)
- "Going to frontier ports in order to take up a military post there.
- "Visiting one's brothers-in-God the Exalted. The Prophet said ﷺ:

"A man visited one of his brothers in a certain village. God sent forth an angel to meet him on the way. The angel said: "What do you seek by travelling?" He replied: "I wish to see a brother of mine in this village." The angel said: "Do you owe him a favor which you are repaying him?" He replied: "No, I only love him for the sake of God the Exalted." The angel said: "I am God's Messenger sent to you to tell you that God loves you just as you love your brother."
Muslim and others related it.
(Muslim, "Birr" 338; Ahmad 2:292, 408, 462, 508, 5:35)

- "The pursuit of worldly goals." (End of Ibn ʿArabi's citation)


Other meanings to which the word hijra applies:

H3. The emigration of the tribes towards God's Messenger ﷺ in order to learn their real obligations and then return to their people and teach them.

H4. The emigration of the Meccans who entere Islam and came to the Prophet ﷺ then returned to their people.

H5. Emigration from the lands of disbelief to the lands of Islam. It is not permitted for a Muslim to reside in the Abode of Disbelief. Al-Mawardi* said: "If he comes to have family and relatives around him and he is able to display his religion, then it is no longer permissible for him to emigrate, because the place where he lives has become the Abode of Islam."

*[ʿAli ibn Muhammad ibn Habib Abu al-Hasan al-Basri al-Mawardi (364/974-450/1058). One of the great Ashʿari imams of the Shafiʿi school, head of the judiciary in Baghdad at the time of the pious Abbasid Caliph Abu Jaʿfar ʿAbd Allah al-Qa'im bi Amr Allah (on the latter see al-Damir, "Hayat al-hayawan al-kubra" 1:94-95), "[he] published major works in Islamic jurisprudence, Koranic exegesis, principles of law, and literature, of which his work on the caliphal system of Islamic government "al-Ahkam al-sultaniyya wa al-wilayat al-diniyya" [The rules of power and positions of religious authority] is still among the most professional available." (Nuh Keller, "Reliance of the Traveller" p. 1030)]

H6. A Muslim's emigration from his (Muslim) brother for longer than three days without legitimate reason. It is reprehensible during the three days and forbidden after that unless caused by necessity. The story is told of a man who left his brother for more than three days. The latter wrote him these verses:

Sir, I need complain to you of a certain injustice. You will find out its nature if you ask Ibn Abi Khaythama.* From his grandfather he narrates what al-Dahhak narrates from ʿIkrima,** From Ibn ʿAbbas, from al-Mustafa Our Prophet sent with all-encompassing mercy: "Verily the close friend's aloofness from his friend Beyond three days our Lord forbade!"

*[Ahmad ibn Zuhayr ibn Harb ibn Abi Khaythama (185/801-279/892) a jurist and hadith scholar of the school of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.]
**[ʿIkrima (d. 105/723), early hadith master who died in Madina. He reported hadith from ʿA'isha and Ibn ʿAbbas, whose commentary on Qur'an he transmitted. See Nawawi' "Tahdhib" 431-432, Ibn Saʿd, "Tabaqat" 5:212, ʿAbd al-Rahman Ibn Abu Hatim al-Razi, "al- Jarh wa al-taʿdil" 3:2:9, M.M. ʿAzami, "Studies in Early Literature" 66, 77.]

H7. A husband's emigration from his wife when her recalcitrance is ascertained. God the Exalted said: "Banish them to beds apart" (4:34). Of the same nature is the emigration away from habitual sinners: not staying in the same place with them, not speaking to them, not responding to their greeting, and not initiating it.

H8. Emigration away from all that God forbade, and this is the most comprehensive emigration.*

*[See Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's talk "Migrating to Good Manners."]

On the Prophet's saying: "Whoever emigrates towards God and His Messenger" -- that is, in his intention and proceeding-- his emigration is towards God and His Messenger ﷺ " -- that is, in the eyes of the Law -- "whoever emigrates for the attainment of a worldly goal etc.": It is related that a man emigrated from Mecca to Madina not because of a desire to obtain the merit of the hijra but in order to marry a woman named Umm Qays. He was nicknamed "Umm Qays's Emigrant."

It may be said: "Marriage is one of the requirements of the Law, why then is it here considered a worldly pursuit?" The answer is: ostensibly he did not emigrate for her, but only for the hijra towards the Prophet ﷺ.

Since what he hid was different from what he showed, he deserved rebuke and blame. An analogy for this is in the person who puts on an outward show of going on pilgrimage but his real goal is trade, or again the person who seems to travel for the sake of learning, when in reality he is lusting after a position of leadership or a governorship.

It follows from the Prophet's saying "then his emigration is only towards what he emigrated to" that there is no reward for one who, in his pilgrimage, undertakes trade and social visits. However, it is necessary to interpret the hadith to mean this only when the motivating factor for one's pilgrimage is trade. If one's motive is the pilgrimage, then he obtains reward, trade being subordinate to it. However, his reward is defective insofar as he did other than the pilgrimage he set out to do. If his motive is both trade and the pilgrimage, it is possible that he will obtain reward as his emigration was not entirely devoted to the world; and the contrary is also possible (i.e. he will not obtain reward) because he has mixed work for the hereafter with work for the world. However, the hadith determines the legal ruling concerning reward on the basis of unmitigated purpose. Therefore, whoever has a double purpose, it does not hold true of him that his pursuit was only a worldly goal. And God the Glorified, the Exalted, knows best.

GF Haddad ©

Translated under the direction of Shaykh Hisham Kabbani khalifat of Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani grandshaykh of the Tariqa Naqshbandiyya Sufi order from
"Sharh matn al-arbaʿin al-nawawiyya fi al-ahadith al-sahiha al-nabawiyya"
[Commentary on the text of the forty hadith selected by Nawawi from the sound traditions of the Prophet] by Shaykh al-Islam al-Hafiz Muhyi al-Din Abu Zakariyya Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Hizami al-Dimashqi al-Nawawi (631/1233-676/1277).

Oriental Pattern


Related texts


* Living Islam – Islamic Tradition *