Explanation of Riyaad-us-Saaliheen


Sincerity and the presence of intentions for all actions, both apparent and hidden

Allah, the Exalted, says,

  “And they were only commanded that they should worship Allah [Alone], making the religion sincerely for Him, inclining to the truth, [that they] establish the prayer and give the zakaah. That is the upright religion.” [Al-Bayyinah (98):5]

  “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him.” [Al-Hajj (22):37]
  “Say: Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it.” [Aali Imraan (3):29]


Al-Ikhlaas, or sincerity, is that one desire the Face of Allah only when he does an action and this is one of the four conditions that must be met in order for that action to be accepted.

Two of these conditions deal with the validity of that action and they are:

Al-Ikhlaas, or sincerity, and you have come to know what this means.

As-Sawaab, or correctness. This means that the action must be in conformity to the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam).

The other two conditions deal with perfecting that action and they are:

Al-Akhdh bil Quwwa, or taking grasp of and accepting the action firmly and with determination.

Allah says,

  “Take what We have given you with determination.” [Al-Baqarah (2):63,93]

  “Take them with determination and order your people to take the best of it.” [Al-A`raaf (7):145]
  “Take the Book with determination.” [Maryam (19):12]

Al-Musaara`ah, or hastening to perform the action.

Allah, the Exalted says,

  “Do not slacken in My remembrance.” [Taa Haa (20):42]

The verses encouraging one to hasten to performing good actions are many.

[As for the saying of Allah],

  “And they were only commanded that they should worship Allah [Alone], making the religion sincerely for Him, inclining to the truth, [that they] establish the prayer and give the zakaah. That is the upright religion.” [Al-Bayyinah (98):5]

Allah informs us that He has ordered his servants to single Him out Alone for worship (tawheed) and that they should not worship anything else alongside Him. That they should steer clear of and be averse to all the invalid religions and come to the religion of Islaam because it is the upright and eminent religion, or the religion of the nation that stands firm upon the truth.

This creed and mannerism is what differentiates the Islaamic nation from all the other disbelieving nations because this is a purpose from amongst the aims of sending Prophets.

[The saying of Allah],

  “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him.” [Al-Hajj (22):37]

Allah informs us that he has legislated for you that you sacrifice these animals so that you can remember Him at the point of slaughtering for He is the Provider, Owner of Might and Powerful. Nothing of their meat or blood reach Him for He, the Exalted, feeds and is not fed and He is totally Self-Sufficient.

The people at the time of the pre-Islaamic ignorance (jaahiliyyah) used to place the meat of their sacrifices around their gods and also sprinkle the blood of their sacrifices on them. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said, we are more deserving than they of sprinkling the [sacrificial blood] and so Allah revealed this verse clarifying that he only accepts actions from the pious who desire thereby His Face only. In this lies a warning that actions that are stripped of a righteous intention will not be accepted.

The saying of Allah,

  “Say: Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it.”[Aali Imraan (3):29]

The Master, Exalted is He, informs his servants that He knows the secrets, the thoughts and what is displayed outwardly; that nothing whatsoever is hidden from Him. Indeed His Knowledge encompasses them in every circumstance, age and time [just as it encompasses] everything that is in the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. Not even an atoms weight or less escapes Him from any region of the earth, sea or mountains.

This is a warning from Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, to His servants that they should fear Him and be submissive to Him such that they not undertake what He has prohibited and what Angers Him, for He knows all of their affairs. He is Able to swiftly bring on their punishment, and let those who wait, wait for indeed He may give them respite but He never forgets and neglects, then He takes them to a mighty account!

When the servant comes to know these warnings he makes good his actions and becomes sincere and correct [in his actions].

Indeed all Actions are but by their intentions…

 “ From the Leader of the Believers, Abu Hafs Umar bin Al-Khattaab (radiyAllahu anhu) that I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) saying,

 ““Indeed all actions are but by their intentions and each individual will get what he intended. So whoever migrated for the sake of Allah and His Messenger then his migration will be for Allah and His Messenger; and whoever migrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry then his migration would be for what he migrated.”

Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Documentation of the Hadeeth

Reported by al-Bukhari [1/9 of al-Fath] and Muslim [no. 1907]

The reports from the Imaams concerning the greatness of this hadeeth reach the level of mutawaatir, [they mentioned] that there is nothing from the narrations of the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) that is as concise, self-sufficient and full of so many benefits as this hadeeth because it is from those ahaadeeth around which the whole religion revolves.

Difficult words of the Hadeeth

Al-Hafs: the lion, it is nicknamed Abu Hafs because its cubs are known hafs. It is with this name that the Leader of the Believers, Umar al-Faarooq (radiyAllahu anhu) was named.

An-Niyyah: the intent to do something adjoined with his enacting it.

Al-Hijrah: Linguistically it means to abandon something. In the Sharee`ah it refers to leaving that which Allah prohibited. In Islaam, Hijrah occurred in two aspects:

  1. Moving from a land in which one lives in fear to a land in which one lives in safety as in the case of the two hijrahs to Abysinnia and the first part of the hijrahto Madeenah.
  2. Moving from the land of disbelief to the land of Islaam as occurred after the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) became established in Madeenah.

Yuseebuhaa: to acquire or attain it.

Fiqh of the Hadeeth

It is necessary for the niyyah to exist in all actions regardless of whether they be those that fulfil ones goal in and of themselves (maqaasid), such as prayer, or they lead to fulfilling other actions (wasaa`il), such as tahaarah, or purity. This is because sincerity cannot be imagined to exist except with the existence of the niyyah.

I do not know of any difference concerning this amongst the People of Knowledge except when it comes to those actions that lead to fulfilling others. There is also a difference concerning the niyyah as to whether [it has to be present] at the beginning of the action [or not].

The place of the niyyah is the heart and not the tongue by agreement of the Muslim Imaams for all the actions of worship such as tahaarah (purity), salaah (ritual prayer), zakaah (obligatory charity), siyaam (fasting), hajj (pilgrimage), `itq (manumitting slaves), jihaad (fighting in the Way of Allah) and others. To articulate the intention is a misguiding bid`ah.

As for the one who thinks that [the articulation of the intention] is permissible only for hajj has erred because he has not differentiated between the talbiyyah and the niyyah [and hence believed that the talbiyyah is the niyyah.

Shaykh al-Islaam [ibn Taymiyyah] (rahimahullaah) has explained at length the rules and regulations of niyyah in an individual treatise. I too have a detailed work concerning this and it is called, ad-Durar al-Madiyyah fee Ahkaam al-Ikhlaas wa an-Niyyah.

Actions are only righteous when adjoined to a righteous intention but know that a good intention does not make the evil, good or the bid`ah, a Sunnah. Indeed how many are those who intend good but do not attain it!

Sincerity to Allah is a condition for the acceptance of the action for Allah does not accept an action unless it be sincere and correct. As for its being sincere then this means that it be done for Allah Alone, and as for its being correct then this means that it be done in accordance to the Authentic Sunnah.

From Aa`ishah (radiyAllahu anhaa) that The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said,

 “ “an army will set out against the Ka`bah and when it reaches a smooth, desolate land, the first of them to the last of them will be swallowed up by the earth.” She asked, O Messenger of Allah! Why will all of them be swallowed up when amongst them there will be market places and those who are not from them He answered, “the first of them to the last of them will be swallowed by the earth and then they will be resurrected in accordance to their intentions. (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Documentation of the Hadeeth:

Reported by al-Bukhari [4/338 of al-Fath] and Muslim [no. 2884]

Difficult words of the Hadeeth:

Jaysh: Army. Allah knows best as to the identity of this army, however the literal sense of the ahaadeeth [concerning this] determines that it is an army sent to fight the Mahdee (AS) when he retreats to the House in order to take refuge. This army is from amongst this nation as is clearly mentioned in the report of Muslim and they are not the ones who will destroy the Ka`bah for they will be from Abysinnia. This is further proven by the fact that the Abysinnians will gain a foothold in the House whereas this army will be swallowed [by the earth] before it reaches the House.

Al-Baydaa`: every smooth, desolate piece of land is called baydaa`. Some of the narrators of this hadeeth in Muslim explained to it to be the baydaa` of Madeenah and this is a well-known place falling between Mecca and Madeenah, an elevated place in front of Dhul Haleefah towards the direction of Mecca.

Al-Khasf: disappearance into the earth. In this respect are the sayings of Allah, the Exalted,

  “And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home.” [Al-Qasas (28): 81]
  “And among them were those whom We caused the earth to swallow.” [Al-AnkAbut (29): 40]

Aswaaquhum: the plural of sooq, or marketplace [adjoined with the possessive pronoun hum, their]. Meaning the people of the marketplaces or the rabble amongst them i.e. all those other than the leaders/rulers.

Yub`athoona `alaa niyyaatihim: Allah will raise them from their graves and judge them upon their goals and intentions and they will be requited in accordance to them. Hence the one who disliked [what was happening], the one who was coerced, the onlooker and the one who just happened to be passing by will all be differentiated.

Fiqh of the Hadeeth:

Keeping distant from the people who commit wrong and warning from sitting with them, and from the gatherings of those who have transgressed and their likes so that one does not fall into the risk of being afflicted with their punishment.

Whosoever frequently [mixes] with a people who are submerged in sin out of his own volition will find the sin and punishment being meted to him also.

Actions are considered by the intention of the enactor.

The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) informing us of the unseen affairs that Allah has granted him cognisance of. Such matters form part of the issues of faith that are obligatory to believe in and this is not affected or diminished by the fact that they reached us by way of an authentic, individually narrated tradition (khabr al-waahid as-saheeh). In our opinion such reports constitute proof in both matters of belief and legislative law as I have explained in my book, Al-Adillah wa ash-Shawaahid fee Wujoob al-Akhdh bi Khabr al-Waahid fee al-Ahkaam wal Aqaa`id.

This hadeeth contains a delicate point, which is the point that caused some difficulty in understanding for the Mother of the Believers, Aa`ishah (radiyAllahu anhaa) that the punishment afflict even those who had no intention of fighting since the intent of fighting was the cause of the punishment.

Many different methods have emerged in attempting to answer this problem and for example it is said, the punishment occurred such that it encompassed all of them because their decreed life-spans were over and then they would be resurrected upon their intentions. Other opinions have also been mentioned.

What is apparent to me is that the punishment befell generally such that it included the one who disliked what was happening, the onlooker and the passer by because they did not try to save themselves from a tribulation (fitna) that was not to affect only those who committed wrong. Rather the tide of oppression and wrongdoing carried them along with it even though they themselves did not desire it and for this reason they met the same fate as the wrongdoers.

This is what is proven by [a number] of verses and ahaadeeth – that when the punishment occurs, it includes those righteous people whose faces did not change colour out of anger for the sake of Allah [at the wrongdoing around them], that it is those who try to correct and rectify the affairs who are the ones saved. Allah, the Exalted said,

  “So why were there not among the generations before you those of enduring discrimination forbidding corruption on earth excepting a few of those whom We saved from among them But the wrongdoers pursued what luxury they were given therein, and they were criminals. And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers.” [Hud (11): 116-117]

The meaning of this verse unveils a Sunnah from the Sunnahs of Allah with respect to the nations. Therefore a nation in which corruption occurs by them worshipping other than Allah in whatever form or fashion, and there is found amongst them those who move to repress and remove this, then this is one of the saved nations, it will not be beset with punishment or destruction. As for the nations in which people sin and spread corruption and yet no one moves to repress and remove it, or there are those from amongst them who reject the situation but are not able to change anything then indeed the Sunnah of Allah become applicable to the nation and it is destroyed. This is done either by total destruction, or by diminution and being conquered. Both cases lead to the loss or change [of the good that the nation had].

At this point the importance and great weight attached to calling to Allah and purifying the earth from corruption can be understood because this is the course to security for the nations, tribes and their members. Such people [who rectify the affairs] not only fulfil their duties to their Lord and religion but also stand between the people and the Anger of Allah, and their deserving His exemplary punishment and losing out [on good].

From Aa`ishah (radiyAllahu anhaa) that The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said,

 “ “there is no hijrah after the conquest [of Makkah] but there remains Jihad and intention. So if you are summoned to fight, go forth.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

The meaning is that there is no more hijrah from Mecca because it has become a land of Islaam.

Documentation of the Hadeeth:

Reported by al-Bukhari [7/226 al-Fath] and Muslim [no. 1864] and the wording is his. Bukhari [6/3 al-Fath] also reports a hadeeth on the same topic from ibn Abbaas.

Difficult words in the Hadeeth:

Al-Fath: the Conquest. Referring to the conquest of Mecca.

Istunfirtum: the Imaam asking you to go forth to fight the enemy.

Fiqh of the Hadeeth:

The abrogation of the obligation to migrate from Mecca to Madeenah because Mecca has now become the land of Islaam. This ruling, which is applied to Mecca, applies to all other cities when the Muslims conquer them.

Prophetic glad-tidings that Mecca will remain a land of Islaam forever.
That hijrah will never come to an end in this world as long as there remains the land of Islaam and the land of disbelief. Therefore whosoever resides in the land of disbelief and has the ability to move to the land of Islaam, hijrah becomes obligatory upon him. As for those men and women who are weak, who do not have the resources and cannot find the means [to perform hijrah] then Allah will soon appoint for them a way.

The good that has been severed by the cutting off of hijrah can instead be attained through Jihaad and righteous intention.

The obligation to embark on a military expedition when the Imaam calls to it. In this lies a clarification that Jihaad requires the presence of an Imaam and a banner.

That actions are considered in accordance to their intentions.

To have the intention to undertake Jihaad is obligatory as is preparing oneself for it and being ready to perform it.

From Abu Abdullaah Jaabir bin Abdullaah Al-Ansaaree (radiyAllahu anhumaa) who said, We accompanied the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) on a military expedition and he said,

 “ “there are some men in al-Madeenah who are with you wherever you march and whichever valley you traverse. They were prevented [from joining you] due to illness.”

In another version he said, “they share the reward with you.”

Reported by Muslim. Bukhari reports from Anas (radiyAllahu anhu) who said,We were coming back from the battle of Tabuk with the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) when he remarked,

 “ “there are people whom we left behind in al-Madeenah who accompanied us in every pass and valley we crossed. They were prevented from [joining us] due to a valid excuse.”

Documentation of the Hadeeth:

The hadeeth of Jaabir is reported by Muslim [no. 1911] and the hadeeth of Anas is reported by Bukhari [6/46-47 al-Fath].

Difficult words of the Hadeeth:

The author (rahimahullaah) departed from his saying muttafaqun alayhi (agreed upon, i.e. reported by Bukhari and Muslim) concerning this hadeeth despite the fact that both of them reported it, but with slight variations of wording.

Such variation does not prevent a hadeeth being labeled, agreed upon. However he did this because the majority of the scholars of hadeeth do not apply the term agreed upon except to that which the Two Shaykhs report having the same isnaad and text, as clarified by ibn Hajr in an-Nukat `alaa Muqaddimah ibn as-Salaah, this was mentioned by ibn `Allaan.

Fee Ghazaatin: on a military expedition. This is the military expedition of Tabuk as has been explained in the hadeeth of Anas (RA).

Aqwaam: [plural of qawm], a people. The word qawm specifically refers to the men of that people. In this respect is the saying of Allah,

  “O you who have believed, let not a qawm ridicule another qawm; perhaps they may be better than them. Nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them.” [Al-Hujuraat (49): 11]

This is also clarified in the hadeeth of Jaabir.

Shi`b: [plural: shi`aab], mountain path.

Al-Waadee: [plural: awdiyyah, widyaan]. The place to which the water runs, between mountains or hills, i.e. a valley or ravine.

Al-Udhr: [plural: al-A`dhaar], valid excuse. A description that is applied to the morally responsible person (mukallaf) which allows ease for him.

Fiqh of the Hadeeth:

The Mujaahideen in the Way of Allah are many ranks superior to those who merely sit at home.

There is no blame incurred upon those who have some type of disability such as the blind, the sick or the lame.

The one who is restrained by a valid excuse is, in this respect, like those who have some type of disability.

From those who have been restrained and those who have some type of disability are those who, if their intentions are correct, attain the reward of the Mujaahideen.

The hadeeth proves the great expanse of Allah’s Mercy and the ease of Islaam. These rules and benefits [mentioned above] have been spoken about in the Book of Allah,

  “Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] other than the disabled and the Mujaahideen [striving] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and lives.” [An-Nisaa` (4): 95]

From Abu Yazeed Ma`n bin Yazeed bin al-Akhnas (radiyAllahu anhum)* who said,

  My father, Yazeed, set aside some deenaars for charity and gave them to a man in the Mosque [so that he distribute them]. Then I went to [the Mosque] and took those deenaars [which were offered to me as charity] and went to my father with them. He said, by Allah! I had not intended that they be given to you. So we went to Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) and I put forth the matter before him for arbitration. He said to my father,

 “ “Yazeed, for you is what you intended and Ma`n, you are entitled to what you have taken.”

Reported by al-Bukhari.

* He, his father and his grandfather were all Companions.

Documentation of the Hadeeth:

Reported by al-Bukhari [3/291 al-Fath]

Difficult words of the Hadeeth:

Fa Ji`tu fa Akhadhtuhaa: then I went and took them. Meaning from the man who had been appointed to give it in charity with his permission, not forcibly.

Fa Ataytuhu: So I went to him. Meaning that I took the deenaars to my father.

Fa Khaasamtuhu: I put the forth the matter before him for arbitration.

Laka maa Nawayta: for you is what you intended. Meaning that you, the father, have the reward of what you intended, for you intended to give the money to the needy in charity, and your son is needy even though you did not intend that the money go to him [specifically].

Laka maa Akhadhta:you are entitled to what you took. Meaning that you, the son, can keep what you took because you acquired it by a valid and legislated route.

Fiqh of the Hadeeth:

The hadeeth contains the permissibility of proclaiming the heavenly (Lordly) gifts and mentioning the favours of Allah.

The permissibility of appointing someone else to distribute charity, especially the optional charity, because this contains an aspect of concealing one’s identity.

It is permissible to act upon general statements taking them as general. It is permissible for the father and son to seek judgement [concerning a mutual dispute] and that this, in and of itself, is not to be considered disrespect and disobedience [on the part of the son].

The one who is giving charity has the reward of what he intended even if the charity reaches those who do not deserve it.

The father does not have the right to take back charity that he has given to his son, but this is not the case with a gift.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here