MEANING OF NIYYAH IN THE QUR`AAN AND
IN THE WORSD OF THE PROPHET AND IN THE WORDS OF THE SALAF:
We have mentioned that the meaning
of niyyah in the speech of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and the Salaf of
this nation was used generally in the second sense and therefore carries the meaning of
And in the Qur`aan often it
describes intention with the word iraadah as in His saying,
"Among you are some that
desire (yureed) this world and some that desire the hereafter" (3:152)
"Whosoever desires the life
of this world and it's adornment" (11:15)
"And keep yourself patiently
with those who call on their Lord morning and evening seeking (yureedoona) His Face, and
let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of this life." (18:28)
And sometimes niyyah is described
with the word ibtigaa (desire) as in His saying,
"Except only the desire
(ibtigaa) to seek the Face of His Lord, the Most High" (92:20)
"And you spend not except
seeking (ibtigaa) the Face of Allaah" (2:272)
And as for what occurs in the Sunnah
and statements of the Salaf to do with this (second) meaning of niyyah then there is a
large number, and we will mention some of them:
The Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa
sallam, said, "People will be gathered upon their intentions" [Ibn
Maajah, Saheeh al-Jaami no.7898] "Mankind will be resurrected upon their
"Verily those slain on the
battlefield will be resurrected upon their intentions" [ibn Abee ad-Dunya]
"For the ones whose concern
is this world Allaah will scatter his affair, and place poverty between his two eyes. And
he will not get from the world except what is written for him. And for the one whose
intention is the hereafter Allaah will gather for him his affair and place contentment in
his heart, and the world will come to him willingly" [ibn Maajah, Saheeh al-Jaami
no.6386]And Yahya bin Abu Katheer said, "Learn your intention for it is more serious
than the action."Zayd ash-Shaamee said, "verily I like that I have an intention
for everything even if it be eating and drinking"
And he also said, "have
intention for everything, desiring the good, even if it be leaving for the toilet"
Sufyaan ath-Thawree said, "I
have not treated anything more difficult then my intention, because it keeps
Yusuf bin Asbaat said,
"purifying the intention from its corruption is harder upon the workers than long
striving (i.e. in their work)"
Ibn al-Mubaarak said, "maybe a
small action is made great by its intention, and maybe a great action is made small by its
Ibn `Ijlaan said, "the action
is not acceptable except by three: Taqwaa of Allaah, and good intention, and correctness
(i.e. conformity to the Sunnah)"
Fudayl bin Iyaadh said, "Allaah
wishes from you only your intentions and desires (iraadah)"
[I have not quoted all the verses,
ahaadeeth and narrations here].
All of these were reported by ibn
Abee ad-Dunyaa in his al-Ikhlaas wa an-Niyyah.
And with this, the meaning of Imaam
Ahmads statement becomes known, that the foundation of the religion is upon three
"Verily actions are by
"Whosoever introduces into this
affair of ours that which is not part of it then it is rejected"
"The halaal is clear and the
haraam is clear"
For the whole religion returns to
doing the commanded actions and staying away from the forbidden actions and stopping at
the doubtful matters as is contained in the hadeeth of Nu`maan bin Basheer. And all of
this is perfected upon two matters:1) That outwardly the action be done as taught by the
Sunnah, and this is to be found in the hadeeth of Aa`ishah, "whosoever introduces
into this affair of ours that which is not part of it then it is rejected."
2) That inwardly the action be
done seeking the Face of Allaah, as is contained in the hadeeth, "verily actions
are by intention."Fudayl bin `Iyaadh said about His saying, "That he may
test which of you is best in action' (67:2) - "who is sincere in it and correct
in it. And the action, if it is sincere and not correct then it is not accepted. And if it
is correct and not sincere then it is not accepted. It is only accepted when it is both
sincere and correct. And it is sincere when it is for the sake of Allaah, and correct when
it is done according to the Sunnah."
And the proof of what Fudayl said
lies in the verse,
"So whosoever hopes for the meeting with His
Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His
Lord " (18:110)