Intentions meaning is similar to the meaning of “will” and “goal”, and a deed is not accepted or sound except with it. The Prophet (atan wa sol-tam) said: “Actions are only judged according to intentions and every man shall only have that which he intended” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Ibn al-Mubarak said: “It may be that a small action is increased by intention and it may be that a great action is lessened by intention. Al-Fudail said: “Allah only wants from you your intention and will”.
If the deed is done for Allah alone, then it is called a sincere deed. This is when it is done for Allah alone without anyone else having any portion of it. If it is done for other than Allah, then it is called showing off, hypocrisy or other than that.”A beneficial note: All people are going to befall into destruction except those of knowledge. And all of them are going to fall into destruction except those who(upon their knowledge). And all of them are going into destruction except those who are sincere.
The first duty upon every servant who wants to obey Allah is to know his intention, and then he has to correct it through acting upon it, after knowing the reality of truthfulness and sincerity. To act without having an intention is hard work (that brings no benefit), having the intention without sincerity is showing off and sincerity without faith is a waste.
Actions are of three types:
1) Sins. Having a good intention while committing a sin does not make it a good deed, rather if you have a bad intention your sin will be greater.
2) Permissible things. There is nothing that is permissible except that a person has one or more intentions for doing it and it is possible to make it into a good deed.
3) Good deeds. They depend on a person’s intention concerning their acceptance and being multiplied’. If a person intends to show off then they become sins and minor shirk, which could lead to major shirk.
There are three types of showing off:
1) When showing off is the basic reason112for doing a deed, this is shirk and the deed is destroyed.
2) The deed is done for not based on the beginning of it, like charity then the beginning of it is accepted and Allah, but then the intention of showing off enters into it. If the end of the deed is the end is rejected. If the end of the deed is based on the beginning, there are two possible situations here: a. That the person fights against this intention to show off and turns away from it; it will not harm him. b. That the person submits to his desires; will destroy the good deed he was performing.
3) That one fears after the completion of the deed that he did it to show off. This is merely whispering(from Satan) and has no effect on the deed or the one who does it. There are other inconspicuous ways, which may lead one to show off in one’s actions, so you must know them and beware of them. If a person’s intention is to gain some worldly benefit, then his reward or sin depends on his intention.
There are three types of intentions:
1) The deed is only done to gain some worldly benefit, such as a person who leads people in prayer just to get money. This person has committed a sin. The Prophet (smail’da sal-lam) said: “Whoever* learnt knowledge by which the Face of Allah is sought, but does not do so except for attaining a goal of this world, (he) will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.”(Abu Dawud)
2) The deed is done for Allah as well as to gain some worldly benefit. This person’s belief and sincerity are decreased, such as a person who performs hajj for the sake of trade and to perform hajj. This person’s reward is based on his sincerity.
3) The deed is done for Allah only but the person takes some money or something to help him perform this deed. This person’s reward is complete and what he took does not have an effect. The Prophet (alaihi wa sal-lam) said: “That for which you are most entitled to take a wage is the Book of Allah.” (al-Bukhari).
Know that the people who are sincere in their deeds are on one of three levels:
1) Those who do good deeds to get rewarded or out of fear of being punished. This is the lowest level.
2) Those who do them out of being grateful to Allah and to obey him. This is the middle level.
3) Those who do them out of love and glorification of Allah. This is the level of the Siddeeqeen (the truthful ones) and it is the higher level.