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On Ikhlaas (Sincerity)
  The Hadeeth of the Niyyah (Intention)
Author: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali
Source: Jaami ul-Uloom wal-Hikam
Article ID : TZK010005  [17844]  
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Below are translated excerpts from the beautiful work by Imaam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee (RH) entitled 'Jaami Al-Uloom wal Hikm' in which he has a detailed commentary on 50 ahaadeeth of the Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. (Basically an-Nawawee’s 42 ahaadeeth with 8 added on)


Umar bin al-Khattaab 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 hijra was to Allaah and His Messenger, then his hijrah was to 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.

This hadeeth is singularly narrated by Yahya bin Sa’eed al-Ansaaree from Muhammad bin Ibraaheem at-Taimee from Alqama bin Abee Waqqaas from Umar bin al-Khattaab (RA) and this hadeeth has no other authentic route as stated by Ali bin al-Madinee and others.

Al-Khattaabee said, 'I do not know of a difference concerning this amongst the Ahlul Hadeeth.' This despite the fact that it has been reported from the hadeeth of Abu Sa`eed and others – and it is said that it is reported via many routes – but none of them are authentic according to the Hadeeth Masters.

Then from al-Ansaaree a huge group of people reports this hadeeth. It is said that the number is more than two hundred, and it is also said that the number is more than seven hundred. From the most notable of these are: Imaam Maalik, ath-Thawree. Al-Awzaa`ee, ibn al-Mubaarak, Layth bin Sa`d, Hammaad bin Zayd, Shu`bah, ibn Uyaynah and others. The scholars have agreed to its authenticity and have unanimously accepted it.


And Imaam Bukhaaree commences his Saheeh with this hadeeth and gives it the place of an opening lecture from him thereby indicating that every action that is done not desiring the Face of Allaah is invalid bearing no fruits in this world and in the Hereafter.

This is why Abdurrahmaan al-Mahdee said, "If I were to write a book composed of chapters, I would place in every chapter the hadeeth of Umar bin al-Khattaab to do with 'actions are by intentions'."

And from him that he said, "whosoever desires to author a book then let him start with the hadeeth to do with ‘actions are by intentions.’"

This hadeeth is one of the hadeeth around which the whole religion revolves, and it is related from Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee that he said, "this hadeeth constitutes a third of all knowledge."

Imaam Ahmad said, "the foundations of Islaam are upon three ahaadeeth:

  • The hadeeth of Umar, 'verily actions are by intention'
  • The hadeeth of Aa`ishah, 'whoseover introduces into this affair of ours that which is not part it, then it is rejected.'
  • The hadeeth of Nu`maan bin Bashir, 'the halaal is clear and the haraam is clear.'"


Ishaaq bin Raahawayah said, "the foundations of the religion are upon four hadeeth:

  • The hadeeth of Umar, 'verily actions are by intention.'
  • The hadeeth, 'the halaal is clear, and the haraam is clear.'
  • The hadeeth, 'verily the creation of one of you comes together in the stomach of his mother for 40 days.'
  • The hadeeth, 'whosoever invents into this affair of ours anything which is not part of it, then it is rejected.'"

Abu Ubayd said, "the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, collected all the affairs of the Hereafter in one statement, 'whosoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not part of it, then it is rejected.' And all the affairs of this world in one statement, 'verily actions are by intentions.' Place them in every chapter."

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