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The first lesson
By Mft. M. Saifur Rahman Nawhami
15 Sha’ban 1432 AH / 15 July 2011 CE

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم - الحمد لله رب العالمين و الصلاة و السلام علي سيدنا و مولانا محمد و علي اله و أصحابه أجمعين أما بعد قال الله سبحانه و تعالي إنما يخشي الله من عباده العلماء و قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم إنما الأعمال بالنيات

I am honoured, and am humbled, that I stand in front of students of Islam. Students who seek to learn for the sake of Allah alone. Students who not only seek to learn but to act on what they have learned. For ilm without amal, knowledge without action, knowledge merely for the sake of knowledge will become a burden for us in the hereafter. Knowledge without action is like being a donkey carrying valuables - others may benefit from it whilst it does not benefit itself. May Allah almighty give us the ability to act upon what we learn.

Today, we have gathered here to study the final chapter and hadith of Bukhari, so I think it is apt that I remind all here (myself included), of the very first hadith and message of this book.

إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى

The value of our actions is determined by our intentions. Let all our actions be for the pleasure of Allah, and him alone. Those who act with intentions other than that, change it. Those who act with no intention, change it. Dr Abd al-Hayy Arifi illustrates how easy it is to change an intention and how to make every action an act of worship. For instance, we are invited to a wedding, we go because we must or we change our intention to silah rahmi (strengthening family ties) as encouraged by shariah, it has become an ibadah. But let me also remind you, good intentions do not justify bad deeds. A bad deed will remain bad even if done with good intentions. So, we have come to this event, let us make our intention the pleasure of Allah; let us make the intention that perhaps I may learn something which will take me closer to Allah.

This gathering today, is a lesson. Some of it may very well be technical. Some of it may be understood and some of it may not be. That which you understand act upon it and explain to others; and that which we do not understand let us seek to understand it and consider this time spent as zikr. Do not consider this time spent a loss; for it was time spent seeking the pleasure of Allah and Allah almighty does not waste the reward of those who seek his pleasure.

إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى

The value of our actions is determined by our intentions. If our action is for Allah, it will never be wasted even if the task seems a failure. If our action is for worldly gains, it will be worthless even if it seems the greatest of success. Fear Allah and remember with whom true reward lies.

It may very well be that sometimes we achieve our worldly objectives or see those who are selfish attain success. Be warned this is a deception; this gain is hollow and temporary. Where are the great Empires of the past? Where are the beautiful and rich people of the past? Where is haman, qarun, and fir’awn ? They are all gone, how is their wealth and status helping them now. Let us look at current times; where is General Motors, the powerhouse that dictated policy in America, one dip in the market and it was on its knees. Where is News of the World, six months ago its owner would have been untouchable, but now the tides have turned; its advertisers are running away, its friends are cowering and many have even turned against it. No one wants to touch it with a barge pole; even charities refuse to take their money. Their fortune may well return and the same people will come running back, and then abandon them again in their hour of need. This is the reality of this world; this is its true colour. True honour is with Allah and in obeying Him; his reward is everlasting.

إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى

The value of our actions is determined by our intentions. Do not jeopardize your action for the meagre status and gains of this world. Let me warn you the world can never be satisfied, as long as we do not give in to it wholly and abandon Allah, and even then it would abandon us, it will leave us hanging to dry and we will be doomed in both this world and the hereafter. This is a poor investment even if we do not realise it now.

Remember, there will always be someone superior. Let me illustrate this. Hajj is compulsory on whoever can afford it and is fit to do so, (and we should fulfil this duty without any delay). This is a great blessing of Allah and signifies that we have a fair amount of disposable income (which in this day and age translates into status). Allah almighty shows through Hajj the insignificance of what we have, and even more so if somebody wishes to flash their status. If we have a three-star hotel somebody has four, if we have four somebody has five, if we have five somebody has seven and if we have seven somebody has the king's palace, and if we have the king's palace then someone has the floor of the Ka’bah, and then come full circle. My kingdom, my kingdom for a glass of water. The point is there will always be someone greater or at least perceive themselves to be greater than you; criticism cannot be avoided, and superiority cannot be attained. True superiority lies with Allah alone, it is his cloth and no one dare encroach upon it.

إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى

The value of our actions is determined by our intentions. If we are to be true Muslims, we must submit to the will of Allah. If we are to be true Muslims we must free ourselves from the shackles of this world. If we are to be true Muslims we must obey Allah and his messenger. We must fulfil the rights of Allah ﷻ and His messenger ﷺ, the rights of others and ourselves as ordained by Allah, for the sake of Allah.

Be sincere to Allah, you will gain true independence. Be sincere to Allah, you will avoid disappointment. Be sincere to Allah, you have better relationships with those around you and beyond. Be sincere to Allah, you will get the best in this world and the best in the hereafter. Be sincere to Allah and he will fill the scales with just two words.

سبحان الله و بحمده - سبحان الله العظيم

The value of our actions is determined by our intentions. Those who act for Allah and his messenger ﷺ then their reward is with Allah. Those who act to gain the world then their reward is with the world.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
15 Sha’ban 1432
15 July 2011

  • Type: Article

  • Subject: Akhlaq

  • Author: M. Saifur Rahman Nawhami

  • Collection: Ijtima

  • ID: 110715501

  • Updated: 25-January-2024