The followers of the Imaam should be attached to one another. They should never allow self-interest to affect their love and commitment for one another. They should always be ready to help one another at the time of need. Saiyed ul-Ambiyaa Mohammad (saws) says, “On the Day of Judgement an angel will ask, ‘Where are the men of Self-discipline? A group of them will come up and will be ordered to enter Paradise. The angels will say to them, ‘What kind of self-discipline did you exercise which has entitled you to enter into Paradise?' The men will say, “We disciplined over selves in our loyalty to Allaah and in refraining over selves from committing sins.” The angels will say, “Enter the Paradise. Excellent is the rewards.”
Again the angel will ask, ‘Where are the men of Good Actions? A group of men will stand in response and will be ordered to enter the Paradise. The angels will say to them, ‘What good actions have you done which have won you the entry in Paradise?' They will say, ‘we forgave those who oppressed us, sought union with those who cut us off and we gave to those who refused to give us.' The angels will say, “Get in. Excellent is the reward.”
Again the angel will ask, ‘Where are the neighbours of Allaah in the abode of Peace? A group of men will come up and will be ordered to enter the Paradise. The angels will say to them, ‘What have you done to make yourselves deserving of your neighbourhood of Allaah in the abode of Peace? They will say, ‘We used to love one another for the sake of Allaah. We used to sacrifice our interests for one another for the sake of Allaah. The angels will say, “Get in. Excellent is the reward.”
There is no reward, which can be compared to the reward of these groups. There are very few men who can make themselves deserving of such rewards. There are very few men, who, when they love their brothers, love them for the sake of Allaah; when they are attached to them their attachment is for the sake of Allaah and when they sacrifice anything for them they do so for the sake of Allaah. Such people belong to that group about which Allaah says, “Excepting those who believe in Allaah and do good deeds and there are very few men of this type.”
Most of the people, who love others or show attachment to them or sacrifice their interests for them, do so with a selfish motive. They either expect a return from them or do it for the sake of show and for the sake of being talked about as good men. The best way of doing these things is to do them for nothing but a reward from Allaah. When one does them he should be actuated by no other motive than his desire to please Allaah and none else. But such people are very few.
He who aspires to acquire these virtues should see that whatever he does, he does for the sake of Allaah. His eyes should be turned to Allaah and the reward from Him should be near his heart. He should be particularly careful when he does anything of this kind for the Imaam. When he does it he should do it with the best of his intentions and the utmost eagerness. For pious deeds of this type are more than doubled by Allaah.
If a ‘mumin' loves his brother ‘mumin' and is attached to him, he is guaranteed by Allaah to enjoy his neighborhood in the abode of Peace. But if he extends his affection and attachment to the Imaam he will be making himself deserving of a much greater reward. If he is sincere in his intentions and is influenced by no other motive than his reward from Allaah then it will be beyond his imagination.
On similar lines when one pays from his earnings what is due to the Imaam he is required to do so with the purest intention. He should do what he does for the sake of Allaah and not for the sake of show or making a name for himself or for the fear that if he does not pay him he will be lowering himself in the estimation of the Imaam and will thus be put to some trouble. For if he loves the Imaam with some ulterior motive, his love will not be love for the sake of Allaah. Similarly whatever he does, whether he takes part in the ‘jihaad-e-nafsi' or ‘jihaad-e-maali' or ‘jihaad-e-jismi' or serves him in any other form he should see that he is actuated by no other motive than doing things for the sake of Allaah.
In this connection I am reminded of a piece of advice I got from an old man when I was very young. Although I neither believed in his religion nor was I satisfied with what he said, his advice is worth mentioning. One day when I was engrossed in reading and writing he said to me, “O boy, I would like to give you a piece of advice.” I said, “It is welcome.” He said, “Your engrossment in books will prevent you from doing good deeds. If you are over-attached to reading and writing you will not like to give it up and do something else. Hence, let your motive for doing what you are doing and it is to act in the name of Allaah and for a reward from Him. This motive of yours in itself will constitute a good deed.”
Although he was not cent percent right but there was some truth in what he said. If one acquires a right knowledge in the name of Allaah, then his good intention is a good deed. But if one reads and writes and keeps him engaged in the acquisition of a wrong knowledge and he does all this for the sake of Allaah, his motive will not be recognized and he will not be rewarded for it. On the contrary, he will be punished for doing the wrong thing and his pursuit in this direction will be counted as a wasted effort. Thus, if some one does a good deed and does it solely for the sake of Allaah and for a reward from him, he will be rewarded for it. But if he does it for the sake of show and acquiring fame, his act will not be recognized as a pious deed. It will be an act of hypocracy. Saiyed ul-Ambiyaa Mohammad (saws) says, “Whether a particular act is meritorious or not, depends upon the intention ( niyyat ) of the doer. Every man is judged by his intention and recognized by his deeds.” If one leaves his country-land for the sake of Allaah and His Saiyed ul-Ambiyaa Mohammad (saws) then he is a true muhaajir and mujaahid . But if he leaves the country for acquiring wealth or for the sake of woman he wants to marry, then his migration is not for Allaah but for the things, which have prompted him to undertake the journey.
The word ‘act' used in the Prophetic tradition stands for a good deed. If it is accompanied by a good intention it becomes meritorious. If the good intention is missing it ceases to be meritorious. But, if one does a wrong thing with the best of intention, his wrong will not become right. He will be punished for his wrong deed inspite of his good intention.
Again Saiyed ul-Ambiyaa Mohammad (saws) says, “The intention of a ‘mumin' is better than his action and his intention is half of his action.” A good act without a good intention will meet with no recognition. For instance, if one refrains from eating and drinking for the whole day but he does not do this for the sake of fasting, he cannot be said to have fasted. Similarly if one visit Makkah during the pilgrimage season and performs all the rites of pilgrimage without intending to perform the pilgrimage he ceases to be a pilgrim. If one stands, bows down and prostrates himself like the one who offers prayers, without intending to perform prayers, he cannot be said to have performed the prayer. In short, every good act must be preceded by a good intention. A good act without a good intention will be of no avail and will not meet with recognition. A good act ceases to be a good act if the good intention is missing. On the other hand, a good intention minus the good act is an act of piety and a profitable concern. Saiyed ul-Ambiyaa Mohammad (saws) says, “If one intends to do a good deed, a good deed is recorded in his name. If he does what he has intended to do then ten good deeds will be recorded in his name.”
It is for these reasons that the intention of the ‘mumin' is considered to be better than his good deed because it is helpful to him even if it is not translated into action. But a good deed without a good intention does the doer no good. One of the ignorant fellows once said to the Imaam, “Is it fair that the one who disobeys Allaah or commits sins during the short span of his life in this world should be condemned in the next world to eternal punishment?” The Imaam said, “Yes. It is because his intention was to continue his sinful course of life even if he had lived up to an indefinite period. Besides, he persisted in this course up to the time of his death without repenting for his sins.”
In short, evil intention plays a greater role in deciding the nature of punishment as a good intention does in bringing its reward. Allaah says, “With regard to those who think ill of Allaah, their evil thoughts are directed against them. Wrath of Allaah befalls them. He curses them and makes room for them in Hell. Their end is bad.” An evil thought in the above verses means an evil intention.
O mumin, acquire these good habits and practice them in your dealings with one another, be sincere in your love for the Imaam and your co-religionists ( mumineen ). Love one another and be attached to one another. Be steady in your loyalty to the Imaam and in your love for them. See that you never entertain ill will against one another. See that you never hate one another. Above all, see that you do not become stingy in parting with the money, which you have been enjoined upon by Allaah to pay. May Allaah help you and us to do well. May he make us successful in the discharge of His duties and may He guide us in this direction.