Al-‘Arba‘een [40 Hadeeth An-Nawawi]: Hadeeth 1

Hadeeth No. 1

Actions are Judged by Intentions

It is narrated on the authority of Ameer ul-Mu’mineen, Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab (radiAllaahu ‘anhu) who said:

‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) say:

“Actions are (judged) by intentions (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allaah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allaah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that which he migration.”

It is related by the two Imaams of the scholars of hadeeth, ‘Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma’eel ibn Ibraheem ibn al-Mugheera ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhaari and Abu-l-Husain Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj ibn Muslim al-Qushairee an-Naisaboree, in their two Saheehs, which are the soundest of compiled books [i.e., the most truthful books after the Book of Allah, since the Qur’an is not ‘compiled’].

[Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]


This hadeeth is considered to be one of the greatest ahadeeth in Islaam.

The word Niyyah (intention) has two meanings:

  1. The intention before an act of ‘ibaadah (worship) for example prayer.
  2. The willingness

The second meaning is what is meant in this hadeeth.

Our actions are undermined by our intentions – whether they good intentions or bad intentions. Therefore we should always check our intentions before we do or say anything. We must make sure that the action is for the sake of Allaah so that it is accepted by Allaah and that we will be rewarded for it in shaa Allaah.

Read the full article and more commentary about this hadeeth here:

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