Anecdotes of Jonaid
Once Jonaid’s eye pained him, and he sent for the doctor.
“If your eye is throbbing, do not let any water get to it,” the doctor advised.
When he had gone, Jonaid performed his ablutions and prayed, and then went to sleep. When he awoke, his eye was well again. He heard a voice saying, “Jonaid forsook his eye to gain Our good pleasure. If with the same intention he had begged of Us all the inhabitants of Hell, his petition would have been granted.”
The physician called and saw that his eye was healed.
“What did you do?” he asked.
“I performed the ablutions for prayer,” Jonaid answered.
Thereupon the physician, who was a Christian, declared his conversion.
“This is the Creator’s cure, not the creature’s,” he commented. “It was my eye that was sick, not yours. You were the physician, not I.”-Farid al-Din Attar, Muslim Saints and Mystics; Episodes from the Memorial of the Saints (Tadhkirat al-Awliya')
Importance of Pure Intention
... Man can only intend to do something and leave the result to God Almighty. If he fails, he is not to be blamed. For the Holy Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has said, "Intention of the believer is better than actual completion." It is better to begin something with true motives than to complete it without any motive. Determination of correct motives is of tremendous importance in Islam, in that it leads to higher and higher objectives. For instance if a man abstains from food and drink with no intention of religious fasting, he is entitled to no reward (thawab). But if he intends to fast he becomes one of the inmates of Divine presence (muqarribin) although there is no apparent difference between the one who fasts with the intention of fasting and the one who fasts without it.
Similarly a person who goes to Mecca without the intention of visiting the Holy Shrine deserves no recompense, but if he has that intention and dies on the way before visiting it, he is rewarded immensely. This shows that the fixation of true motive in the beginning is tantamount to good performance itself.
- Syed Ali bin Uthman al-Hujweri, The Kashful Mahjub (Unveiling the Veiled)
Translation & Commentary by Maulana Wahid Bakhsh Rabbani
You must, O my brother, improve the soundness and sincerity of your intentions, examine them, and reflect well before embarking on your actions. For intentions are the bases of deeds; according to them your deeds will either be good or ugly, sound or unsound. The Prophet has said, may blessings and peace be upon him: 'Deeds are only according to intentions; each man has that which he intended.'
You must, therefore, utter no word, do not action, and decide no matter without the intention of drawing nearer thereby to God and seeking the reward He has assigned, through His beneficence and grace, to intended act. And know that drawing nearer to Him can only be done through the obligatory and supererogatory devotions that He has indicated through His Messenger, may blessings and peace be upon him.
A sincere intention may change the merely licit into the devotional, for means are judged according to their ends. For example, one may eat to get the strength to perform devotions, or sleep with one's wife to obtain a son who would worship God.
It is a condition of the sincere intention that behaviour does not belie it. For instance, a man who seeks knowledge claiming that his intention is to practice and teach it will be proved insincere in his intention if, when he becomes able to, he does not do so. Or a man who pursues the world and claims that he is doing so only that he may be independent of other people and be able to give charity to the needy and help his relatives will be proved ineffectual in his intention should he not do so when able.
Intentions do not affect sins, just as purification does not affect that which is, by its very nature, impure. A man who goes along with another who is slandering a Muslim, then pretends that he only wanted to humour him, is himself a slanderer. Anyone who refrains from the enjoining of good and the forbidding of evil and pretends that he only did so to protect himself against the culprit, is his partner in evil-doing. A malicious intention attached to a good deed spoils it and renders it malicious; likewise when one performs good deeds for the sake of wealth and prestige.
Strive, my brother, always to intend that your obedience be solely for the sake of God, and that whatever licit things you may use are only to help you to obey Him.
Know that many intentions can attach to a single act, and that each of them will attract its full reward. An example of this is in devotional activities is when someone reads the Qur'an intending to commune with God (which thing he will indeed do) but also to extract from it different kinds of knowledge, (for the Qur'an is the very mine of knowledge), to profit those who listen or [just happen to] hear, or any other good intention. And an example in licit matters is to eat with the intention of obeying the command of your Lord in His saying (Exalted is He!): O you who believe! Eat of the good things with which We have provided you, and give thanks to God. (2:172) Intend by so doing to acquire strength for devotion, and to put yourself in a situation where you must thank your Lord, for He says (Transcendent is He!): Eat of your Lord's provision and thank Him. (34:15) You can apply these two examples in an analogous fashion to all other devotional and licit activities; and always do your best to increase your good intentions.
The word 'intention' can have one of two meaning. The first is the aim which made you decide, do, or say something. Taken in this sense the intention is usually better than the act when the act is good, and worse when the act is evil. He has said, may blessings and peace be upon him: 'The intention of a believer is better than his action;' notice how he specifically mentioned the believer. The second is your decision and determination to act. Taken in this sense it is not better than the act. A man, when he decided to do something, can only be in one of three situations. [I] He decides and acts. [II] He decides but fails to act while able to. The way to evaluate these two situations can be clearly found in that which Ibn 'Abbas, may God be pleased with them both, has transmitted to the effect that the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, said: 'God has written good and evil deeds, then rendered them clear; anyone who intend a good deed but does not perform it, God records it as one good deed, whereas should he intend and then perform it, God records it as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred fold, and to yet more multiplications. If he intends an evil deed and does not do it, God records it as one full good deed; if he intends and then does it, God records it as one evil deed.' [III] He determines upon something which he is for the time being unable to do so and says: 'Were I able, I would do [such-and-such a thing].' He receives the same as the one who acts, whether this be for or against him.
The evidence for this is the Prophet's saying, may blessings and peace be upon him: 'People are of four kinds: a man to whom God has given knowledge and wealth, and who uses his knowledge to manage his wealth; another who says: "Were God to give me just as He has given so-and-so I would act like him,"--their rewards are equal. And a man to whom God has given wealth but no knowledge, who mishandles his wealth through ignorance; while another says: "Were God to give me as He has given so-and-so I would act like him"--their burdens of sin are equal.'-Imam 'AbdAllah ibn 'Alawi al-Haddad, Book of Assistance (Risalat u’l Mu’awana)_____________________________________________________________________________________
Abd Allah-e Mobarak and Ali ibn al-Mowaffaq
Abd Allah was living at Mecca. One year, having completed the rites of the pilgrimage, he fell asleep. In a dream he saw two angels descend from heaven. “How many have come this year?” one asked the other.
“Six hundred thousand,” the other replied.
“How many have had their pilgrimage accepted?”“Not one.”
“When I heard this,” Abd Allah reports, “I was filled with trembling. ‘What?’ I cried. ‘All these people have come from afar out of the distant ends of the earth and with great pain and weariness from every deep ravine, traversing wide deserts, and all their labour is in vain?’ ‘There is a cobbler in Damascus called Ali ibn Mowaffaq,’ said the angel. ‘He has not come on the pilgrimage , but his pilgrimage is accepted and all his sins have been forgiven.’
“When I heard this,” Abd Allah continued, “I awoke saying, ‘I must go to Damascus and visit that person.’ So I went to Damascus and looked for where he lived. I shouted, and someone came out. ‘What is your name?’ I asked. ‘Ali ibn Mowaffaq,’ he replied. ‘I wish to speak with you,’ I said. ‘Say on,’ he replied. ‘What work do you do?’ ‘I cobble.’ I then told him of my dream. ‘What is your name?’ he enquired when I had done. ‘Abd Allah-e Mobarak,’ I replied. He uttered a cry and fell in a faint. When he recovered I said to him, ‘Tell me your story.’
“The man told me, ‘For thirty years now I have longed to make the pilgrimage. I had saved up three hundred and fifty dirhams from my cobbling. This year I had resolved to go to Mecca. One day the good lady within becoming pregnant, she smelt the smell of food coming from next door. “Go and fetch me a bit of that food,” she begged me. I went and knocked on the neighbour’s door and explained the situation. My neighbour burst into tears. “My children have eaten nothing for three days together,” she said. “Today I saw a donkey lying dead, so I hacked off a piece and cooked it. It would not be lawful food for you.” My heart burned within me when I heard her tale. I took out the three hundred and fifty dirhams and gave them to her. “Spend these on the children,” I said. “This is my pilgrimage.”’
“The angel spoke truly in my dream,” Abd Allah declared, “and the Heavenly King was true in His judgment.”-Farid al-Din Attar, Muslim Saints and Mystics; Episodes from the Memorial of the Saints (Tadhkirat al-Awliya')
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter. (The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things." (Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake. (Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief; The ego is worse than seventy devils. (Arabic Poem)
I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires,
egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour?
I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful.
O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware!
I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.