intentions

The Sweetest Words [Ikhlas]

It is reported that the son of Al-Fuḍayl b. ‘Ayyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said to his father:

Father! How sweet (beautiful) the speech of the Companions is! [Al-Fuḍayl] said, “Son, do you know why it was so sweet?” He replied, “No father, I do not.” He said, “Because they sought Allāh the Exalted when they spoke.”

Al-Bayhaqī, Shu’ab Al-īmān 2:299

Umar’s Instructions on the First Night of Ramadan

It is reported that on the first night of Ramaḍān, ‘Umar – Allāh be pleased with him – would pray Maghrib, then say (to the people):

Sit down. Then he would give a small address: Verily the fasting of this month has been made a duty upon you, and standing in night prayer has not been made a duty upon you, but those amongst you who can stand in prayer should do so, for it is from the extra good deeds about which Allāh told us: so whoever cannot stand in prayer, let him sleep on his bed.

And beware of saying: I will fast if so and so fasts and I will stand in night prayer if so and so stands in prayer. Whoever fasts or stands in night prayer, he must make this for Allāh. And you should know that you are in prayer as long as you are waiting for a prayer.

Minimize any vain or false speech in the houses of Allāh (mosques; he said this two or three times). Let none of you fast a few days before the month (in order to avoid missing the beginning of the month; he said this three times). And do not fast until you see [the crescent of the new month] unless it is overcast. If it is overcast, count [the previous month] as 30 days. Then do not break your fasts until you see the night upon the mountain (i.e. you are sure the sun has set).

‘Abd Al-Razzāq Al-Ṣan’ānī, Al-Muṣannaf article 7748.

Who to Love and Trust, Hate and Suspect [signs of sincerity]

It is reported that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

We were once in a time when we did not think anyone learned the Quran seeking anything  but Allāh the Exalted, but now I fear there are men who learn it and intend the people and what they can get from them. So seek Allāh with your recitation and deeds. For verily, we used to know you when Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him – was amongst us, when revelation would descend and Allāh would tell us about you. As for today, Allāh’s Messenger – peace and blessings be upon him – has passed on, and the revelation has stopped; and I only know you as I say: whoever shows what is good, we love him for it and think good of him, and whoever shows what is evil, we hate him for it and suspect him. Your secret and private matters are between you and your Lord the Mighty and Majestic.

Al-Ājurrī, Akhlāq Ḥamalat Al-Qur`ān article 26.

Secret Devotion

It is reported that Shurayḥ the Judge used to have a house in which he would spend time alone on Fridays; no one knew what he did in it.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` Vol.4 p105.

It is reported that Abū Al-‘Āliyah said, “I learned writing and the Qur`ān without my family noticing, and not a drop of ink was ever seen on my garment.”

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyatu Al-Awliyā` Vol. 2 p217.

It is reported that when Ibn Abī Laylā prayed [at night], if someone entered [his house], he would lie down on his bed [as if he was sleeping].

Ibid. Vol. 4 p351.

It is reported that Ayyūb Al-Sakhtiyānī used to pray all night and hide it. In the morning, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up.

Al-Dhahabī, op. cit. Vol. 6 p17.

It is reported that Dāwūd b. Abī Hind fasted for forty years without his family knowing, he would take his lunch out with him and donate it in the street.

Ibid. Vol. 6 p378.

What to intend in Prayer

‘Abdullâh b. Mubârak said:

I asked Sufyân Al-Thawrî, “When a man stands to pray, what should he intend by his recitation and prayer?” He replied, “He should intend that he is personally entreating his Lord.”

Muhammad b. Nasr Al-Marwazî, Ta’dhîm Qadr Al-Salâh Vol. 1 p199.