Hadith 1 : Actions Are Judged by Intention

Book of Revelation
Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 1 :: Hadith 1
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:

I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”

Also reported in Sahih Muslim

This is a very famous hadith and should be memorised by all of us. It is widely referred as إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَات. All actions are judged by intention.


This hadith is considered one of the greatest hadiths in Islam.

The hadith was said by the Prophet s.a.w. at the time concerning a man who wanted to marry a woman named Umm Qais but she refused to marry him unless he would migrate from Makkah to Madinah. Therefore he migrated in order to marry her. He was later called “the migrant of Umm Qais”.

And because the intention is not for Islam, for the sake of Allah, he will only be rewarded with worldly thing. But if he made the intention for Allah, his reward will be much much greater bi iznillah.

What is niyyah?

Niyyah has two categories.

What you mostly know niyyah is the intention that you utter before doing a specific ibadah like prayer, umrah and fasting.

What most importantly is, niyyah is what you want out of something you do. It is what is in your inner heart. Your reason of doing something and your willingness.

And this is what we want to concentrate on today’s lesson.

Reflect back the hadith. What are the essence of niyyah is the hadith talking about?

It is to make the  intention for Allah’s sake.

Solely for Allah.

Let us think of some good deeds that we can do.

“Big Deeds

1. Donation

2. Praying in the mosque

3. reading the Quran

4. Spreading good word

5. helping people

Let us reflect back to the reason we are doing these. Did we do these deeds because we want

1. To appear good in front of others

2. To seek praises

3. To avoid being blame by others (your mum for instance)

4. To seek wealth

5. To seek love by others

6. To seek help from others.

Then stop. Go a few steps behind and reflect back the hadith. Ask yourself what are we doing these good deeds for. Focus that we are doing these for Allah. To seek Allah’s pleasure. Ask Allah to accept our deeds.

Sometimes it may be hard for we may have the above desire. Just remember Allah’s reward is greater than what we can gain here. Let’s train ourselves to focus on the intention for Allah.

So make your intention for Allah.

Daily Activities

Now let us think of our daily activities. And how we can fulfill this hadith and reap Allah’s rewards and so that He may be please with us.

List down our routine daily activity from waking up to sleep.

1. Wake up

2. Drink water

3. Brush teeth

4. Solat

5. Sleep back (glare)

6. Wake up again

7. Shower

8. Breakfast

9. Go to school

10. In school

11. Go home

12. Solat Dzuhur

13. Lunch

14. Solat Asr

15. Do homework

16. Go for Quran lessons/ karate

17. Play

16. Shower

17. Sleep

Try to train ourselves from waking up to sleep on the different activities to make multiple niyahs. This not only we can be sure that our daily activity is done for the sake of Allah, but we can also gain rewards from the different niyahs.

Now let us ponder on this ayah from Ad Dhariyat 51:56

وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ

I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.

Allah has stated that the purpose He created the jinns and all of us human are solely to worship him. And then we look at our daily activities. Most of them are filled with some mundane and necessary activities. But mostly are not an act of worshiping per se. Then how do we fulfill the purpose of us being created?

Insya Allah by making the appropriate niyyah for each of our action, we can turn mundane activities into activities with rewardable deeds.


1. Waking up.

I wake up so that my day will be filled with worshipping Allah.

I wake up to do many good deeds to people

I  wake up in the morning to make solah.

2. Going to school

I am going to school for the sake of Allah.

I want to learn so that Allah will be please with me.

I want to learn so that I can be a better Muslim

I want to go out with good character so may it be a form of daawah for me.

I want to meet my friends and say salam so I get the rewards for saying it.

3. Brushing teeth

I am doing this to please Allah for Allah loves cleanliness

I am following the sunnah (especially before prayers and arriving at home)

Being clean and look presentable will help me do daawah

To give people a good impression on Islam

4.Visiting relatives and friends

I want to do this for the sake of Allah

I want to rekindle relationship

I want to say salam and get rewards for it

I want to shake their hands and may my sins fall of due to the act.

Brainstorm for more. I’ll probably update this post for more examples of niyyah for we are still doing this exercise. One action a day. 🙂

Having said that, by doing multiple niyahs we can increase more reward on our daily activity, it does not mean that these are enough. We must still rush doing more ibadah to Allah, Insya Allah.

Components of niyyah.

So now we are trying to make multiple niyahs for our mundane activities.  Now it is important to know the other componnents of niyyah.

1. It has to be a halal action.

We cannot be doing something haram like gambling and make niyah so that we can donate half the money to the poor. Or drinking halal so that we can make our body strong so that we can worship Allah.

2. It has to have ikhlas.

Allahhu Alim. Allahhu samee’. Really we cannot lie to Allah for He knows what is truly in your heart. Sometimes to be sincere requires striving. There are things that we can control like telling people about it in the sense of bragging. Try to be quiet when making a donation. When we feel that we are not having full sincerity, try to focus and strive to be. Insya Allah, Allah knows our jihad within ourselves.

Main reference

1. Commentary on the Forty Hadith of Al Nawawi – Jamaal al Din M Zarabozo

2. Forty Hadith

3. The Forty Hadith of al Imam an Nawawi – Abriged from Arabic Sources by Umm Muhammad


Filed under Arabic Words, hadith

3 responses to “Hadith 1 : Actions Are Judged by Intention

  1. Izache Corzo

    Alhamdulillah!!! Subhan’Allah! This is extremely important, relevant, and useful…jazak’Allah khair!!! Awesome reminder…Allahu Akbar! =0)

  2. Izache Corzo

    Question: May I repost this?

  3. lolliesplace

    salam Izache Corzo.

    Praises all go to Allah. If you find it useful and you think it will benefit to many, then yes you can repost it. 🙂 But where may I ask.

    I am a bit shy though as these notes are actually meant for the little ones. 🙂 But I think it still apply to us in many ways, Insya Allah. May Allah make it easy for us to make ibadah for Him.

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