Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,
Each time I’m faced with any difficulties, I’m reminded of an advice a sister gave me last year when stress level was at the peak for me. I was on the verge of breaking down when some things were not going as planned and everything was just piling on me and I had no one to share the workload with. She said something along this line (according to what I can recall),
“When you are doing something for the sake of Allah, He will test you to see if you are sincere. And if you are truly doing it for His sake, you can deal with anything that comes your way no matter how bitter it is. If not, you will give up”
I stopped for awhile to ponder on her words and realized how important it is to always renew our intentions. Sometimes, we start a good deed with the right intentions but somehow along the way, our intentions change. Humans crave for other human’s attention and acceptance – and that is something we cannot deny. It is indeed a trial that I’m sure everyone faces.
Last year, I agreed to take on a charity project to raise funds for Horn of Africa when they faced a serious drought. The committee consisted of only three sisters – a sister who was working full-time as a nurse, a full-time mom with 5 kids (and some of her children had sickness which she had to constantly tend to) and there was me; inexperienced in organizing events and had no idea where to begin. All in all, it was not a good start since we were short of manpower, experience and no one else wanted to be a part of the committee because of other commitments they had.
Al-Hamdulillah we had a lot of help and support from other sisters too but the committee mainly held on the reins on where and how the event is headed towards. I remember there was so much work to be done that at my breaking point, I’m all of a sudden reminded of my intentions. That afternoon, I was alone in the office with the sister, complaining about how ‘nothing is done’ and ‘not sure if we can pull this off’ and she listened to me rant before giving me that advice.
Deep in my heart, I asked myself – it’s true. What really is my intention? Am I doing it entirely for His sake? After self-reflection, I recalled of how I was being praised by sisters for taking on this project. Masha’Allah, you’re doing such a good job. I’m so impressed by you. We need you in this community. I would modestly reply No, it’s all for His sake.
I dug deeper inside my heart. So if it is for Allah’s sake, why complain? Why give everything up now?
Truthfully, I believe I was slightly pleased with the praises and attention from others. I mean, who doesn’t like being looked up to especially since you were nobody before?
After that day, I started to be more aware of my intentions. A person reminded me that sometimes, the success of such events also depended on how sincere you are. It could become a complete failure where everything goes wrong during the event and people leave unhappy. You work hard for Allah’s sake, and then leave the rest to Him to make it successful.
Subhan’Allah, the charity night – the night that we were preparing for months before; the night that I feared we were not able to execute the tasks well – was a success al-Hamdulillah!
Honestly,we were worried that we would not have enough help but we had so many volunteers that I had to tell some of them to sit and enjoy the event. We were quite concerned of not having any sort of entertainment but last minute, we had local Sheikhs agreeing to do some programmes. We were also afraid about not meeting the target of $10,00o (to at least cover expenses) but it actually doubled by the end of the night! Subhan’Allah.. there was a similar charity event a couple of months before and as much as they did a far better job than we did (in terms of venue, programmes, entertainment, attendance, special guests etc), we actually raised more money than them (after minus expenses).
See how Allah SWT made it possible for us although at the beginning, everything seemed impossible? The odds were not on our side in so many situations but somehow, by His grace, we were able to execute the tasks.
I write this not only as a reminder to you, but to this own forgetful self. It may seem an exaggeration to say that having the correct intentions is the most important before doing anything. In fact, it is a pillar before one does anything or claim to perform a good deed for His sake. It’s like saying a person wanting to build a big building but its foundations are made for a small house! Surely, it will crumble! Thus, our intention is the basis of every action. Any intention is not to seek His pleasure alone, then it will bear no fruits in this world and Hereafter.
Umar bin Al-Khattab was on the minbar and said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: “Indeed, deeds are only (rewarded) with intentions. Indeed, every person will get rewarded only for what they intended. Therefore, whoever emigrated (to Medina) for worldly reasons or for a woman, then his emigration is for what he has emigrated to.”
[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 1]
عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ” إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى دُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ ”
Allah knows best.