Why study the Hadith?
I’m studying the ahadith because they are foundational to Muslim faith. I’m studying a collection by Imam Nawawi because they are highly esteemed in the Muslim world. I’m also listening to Ali Gomaa teach on the Forty Hadith so that I am getting a non-Western perspective.
Hadith 1: ACTIONS AND INTENTIONS
Here is the first hadith1 of al-Nawawi, first in Arabic and then in English,
عن أمـيـر المؤمنـين أبي حـفص عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه ، قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عـليه وسلم يـقـول:
( إنـما الأعـمـال بالنيات وإنـمـا لكـل امـرئ ما نـوى . فمن كـانت هجرته إلى الله ورسولـه فهجرتـه إلى الله ورسـوله ومن كانت هجرته لـدنيا يصـيبها أو امرأة ينكحها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر إليه ).
رواه إمام المحد ثين أبـو عـبـد الله محمد بن إسماعـيل بن ابراهـيـم بن المغـيره بن بـرد زبه البخاري الجعـفي،[رقم:1] وابـو الحسـيـن مسلم بن الحجاج بن مـسلم القـشـيري الـنيسـابـوري [رقم :1907] رضي الله عنهما في صحيحيهما اللذين هما أصح الكتب المصنفه
“Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allaah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allaah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.”
It is related by the two Imaams of the scholars of Hadeeth, Aboo `Abdillaah Muhammad ibn Ismaa`eel ibn Ibraheem ibn al-Mugheera ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhaaree (البخاري) and Aboo-l-Husain Muslim ibn al-Hajjaaj ibn Muslim al-Qushairee an-Naisaabooree (صحيح مسلم), in their two sahihs, which are the soundest of compiled books [i.e. the most truthful books after the Book of Allaah, since the Qur’aan is not ‘compiled’]. 1There are multiple places to find the ahadith on the Internt. I’m using MuslimWays
Ali Gomaa’s Explanation of the First Hadeeth
Some scholars say all Islam revolves around this Hadith. Others say 1/3. Listen to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa teach about actions and intention. My notes follow.
“So, Allah never accepts one’s deed without a sincere intention. ‘Intention’ linguistically means ‘purpose’. There are five levels of purpose: a feeling, an idea, then deliberation, followed by intention, then a decision, and finally taking action.”
“The place of intention is the heart.”
“If a person intends good and does not do it, he is rewarded for it. And if he does it, he is rewarded ten hasana”
Christianity and Hadith 1
There are similarities between this hadith and Christianity. Christianity teaches that our intentions must be motivated by love: love for God and love for our neighbor. The Bible speaks at length about God judging our motives; in fact, the Hebrew word for this is often translated “heart.” Take for example what Jesus taught was the first great commandment,
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Christianity emphasizes that we don’t know our own hearts very well and that we are prone to self-deception,
All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
A person may do something outwardly that looks like a good deed to men; however, if it was not motivated by a perfect love for God and neighbor God sees and knows it. There is a famous passage in the Bible which says,
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Because God sees the heart and knows our actions perfectly, His judgments are never arbitrary. God’s perfect justice requires our perfect love and obedience regardless of our circumstances. This is why Christians believe that Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Law was necessary for our righteousness, and why He had to die for our unrighteousness.
Feel free to share your comments and recommendations to help in my study and understanding.
A Biography of Sheikh Ali Gomaa2“From among Allah’s blessings upon me is that I have never committed a major sin” [1:01:35-1:02:10]
- Normally, hadiths have two parts:
isnad (also sanad) – a list of names, beginning with the collector in whose collection the tradition found a place followed by several oral transmitters going back to the prophet Muḥammad or to another ancient authority. The isnad is necessary because many hadiths were not written down for some 200 years after Muhammad died. The Encyclopaedia of Islam says there was little need for a chain of authorities in in the earliest times of Islam, “but as the first century of Islam advanced, the need for stating one’s authority developed. The collections of traditions which were compiled mainly in the 3rd/9th century onwards give complete isnads” (J. Robson, “Isnad”).
matn – the actual content of the hadith is called the matn. The Encyclopaedia of Islam says, “the matn has rarely been the subject of textual criticism on the part of the fukaha’ and, as G. H. A. Juynboll observes (The authenticity of the tradition literature, Leiden 1969, 139), if the criteria which modern authors enumerate had been applied, there would have been very little left of the “authentic” collections” (A.J. Wensinck, “Matn”).