Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
The first Hadeeth in Mishkaat is the famous Hadeeth of Sayyidinaa ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab Radhiallaahu ‘Anhu with which Imaam Bukhaari Rahimahullaah so aptly starts Saheeh Al-Bukhaari with, because the first and foremost thing to do when starting something is to correct your intention:
عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى فمن كانت هجرته إلى الله ورسوله فهجرته إلى الله ورسوله ومن كانت هجرته إلى دنيا يصيبها أو امرأة يتزوجها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر إليه ”
‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab Radhiallaahu ‘Anhu said: Rasoolullaah Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said: “Verily actions are (judged) according to intentions, and for every person will be what he intended, so whoever’s emigration was to (for) Allaah and his Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) then his emigration is to Allaah and His Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam)……..
The next part of the Hadeeth can be translated in two ways depending on how you construct the sentence with regards to the Nahwu (syntax), it can either be translated as:
And whoever’s emigration is towards the world (then) he shall get it, or (towards) a woman (then) he will marry her, so his emigration will be for what he migrated towards.
Or it can be seen as:
And whoever’s emigration is towards the world (so that) he (may) obtain it, or (towards) a woman (so that) he (may) marry her, then his emigration will be for what he emigrated towards.
Both ways are valid in Arabic.
A Niyyah (intention) is very important in Islaam, it is the deciding factor in the acceptance of your deeds, if you do something and there is some shirk in your intention then your deeds will be rejected by Allaah and Allaah will tell you to go to that person you made shirk with and see if you can get your reward from him because Allaah does not accept anything that has a partner in it along with Him.
An intention can also cause you to be rewarded even though you might not be physically doing anything, as in the Hadeeth reported by Imaam Muslim Rahimahullaah in his Saheeh when Rasoolullaah Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam told the Sahaabah Radhiallaahu ‘Anhum while they were returning from the Ghazwah of Tabook: Verily in Madeenah there are people, that you did not travel any distance, nor pass any valley, but that they were with you, illness has kept them back.
Meaning that these Sahaabah who remained in Madeenah because of their illnesses (which were valid excuses and not faked) they got the same reward as the Mujaahideen who went out and fought, because their intentions were pure and sincere, and if they had not excuses which held them back then they would have been part of those who went out in Jihaad, so they get rewarded just on the basis of their intentions.
An intention will also affect the amount of reward you get for a particular deed, be it an increase or decrease, Imaam ‘Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak Rahimahullaah said: How often it is that a small action becomes great by its intention. And how often it is that a great action becomes small by its intention.
So we ask Allaah to purify our intentions, and to keep it solely for His sake, Aameen.