Friday, November 6, 2009

Intentions and Motives

Muhammad, Sura 47: Verse 12 (Partial)

"Those who disbelieve, take their comfort in this life and eat even as the cattle eat, and the Fire is their habitation."

Muslim jurists and scholars have proclaimed that good intention changes acts of habit (adah) into acts of worship (ibadah). Good intention creates a world of difference in human life. It is owing to an absence of purity of intention that there are people who eat and drink and satisfy their animal desires and while doing so simply live on the same plane as animals do. The reason for this is that their actions are actuated by no other motive than the gratification of their animal desires.

Conversely there are others, apparently similar to those mentioned above, in so far as they also satisfy their desires and enjoy the pleasures of life. Nevertheless, thanks to the noble intention which motivates their actions, even their physical self-fulfilment becomes an act of worship for which they merit reward. The reason is that the motive behind all their actions is to live in compliance with the will of God. Their sublimity of motive is manifest in their day-to-day conduct and reflects the fact that they distinguish between good and evil.

What a world of difference it makes when we decide to orientate our lives towards God and purify our intentions. For it is this, and only this, which can transform our pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment into acts of worship, earning the eternal rewards of the hereafter and the satisfying pleasure of God.

This, then, is the Islamic philosophy of worship. Without saying 'no' to any of a person's legitimate physical needs and desires, Islam seeks to elevate humanity to a place which befits its dignity and status.

Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "The Islamic Concept of Worship" - Mustafa Ahmad al-Zarqa, pp. 160, 161

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