Muslims believe that there are different spiritual implications for the same act, depending on what one’s intentions are. This concept is based, among other references, on a hadith related by Umar Bin al-Khattab, who relates that: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, saying, “verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose hijrah (emigration) was for Allaah and His Messenger, then his hijrah was for Allaah and His Messenger. And the one whose hijrah was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his hijrah was to what he made hijrah for.” Related by Bukhaaree and Muslim.
There is a teaching story that illustrates this concept beautifully and gives me inspiration whenever I’m upset by something relating to P (or even just when I have PMS, lol).
Once there was a Muslim man who lived in a village. One day he heard the horrible news that in the next village over the people were worshipping a rubber tree. Well, this ignited the man’s righteous indignation and he set off toward the village with his sword drawn to cut down the three and show the people that it was not worthy of worship.
On his way he met a stranger, who asked him what he was up to. He answered that he was on his way to prevent his neighbors from falling back into paganism by destroying a rubber tree they had commenced to worshipping. At that, the stranger attacked him! The man easily threw the stranger to the ground and had his sword drawn, ready to deal him the fatal blow, when the stranger came out with a proposition: “If you’ll let me go and return home I’ll pay you one gold coin every day for the rest of your life.”
W ell, this got the man to thinking…..he could do lots of good with all that money. So he agreed and let the stranger go, still not really believing him but thinking it was worth a try. He returned home and the next morning, Voila! There was a gold coin under his pillow when he woke.
Things went on this way for some time, with the man collecting his coin every morning, until one day he woke and his pillow hid nothing shiny. He looked everywhere, but no coin! He muttered to himself and cursed the stranger and eventually had himself worked up into such a rage that he decided to take his sword and go chop down that rubber tree after all. Hmph! So off he went.
On the way who should he meet? Of course, the stranger, who immediately attacked him a second time. This time the man struggled and fought but the stranger defeated him soundly anyway, and the man found himself on his back, looking up at the stranger’s sword.
“Do you know who I am?” asked the stranger.
“No,” admitted the man.
“I am Satan. You beat me easily the first time we met because you had set off to chop down the rubber tree for the sake of Allah. This time, I beat you because you set off to chop down the tree for the sake of your gold coin.”
I love this story because it demonstrates not only how purity of intention makes us stronger, but also how we can get sidetracked by Satan even when we originally set out to do good. Sometimes I think, “Man, I was trying so hard to be good! If I would not have run into such-and-so problem or distraction, I would have been fine!” I feel like it’s not fair that, left to my own devices, I would have gone ahead with my good plans or good intentions, but someone or something intervened and I wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the added pressure of whatever it was. But this is how life is.
This is a very common test of people in P. They set out with wonderful intentions of being fair and being kind and trying to please Allah, and circumstances along the way arise which make the task frustratingly difficult. When that happens, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the drama and forget that Satan is the one who’s really winning when we fall prey to his traps.
So if your cw is whining to your dh about you behind your back or your wives aren’t being careful with money or your step-kids are driving you crazy, just remember that if you keep your intentions purely set on pleasing Allah, not only will you gain hassanet, insha’Allah, but you’ll be strengthened by your focus on Allah and resisting Satan’s traps will be easier!
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