On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful, Aboo Hafs `Umar ibn al-Khattaab, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) say:
“Actions are but by intentions; and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose Hijrah (migration) was for Allah and His Messenger; then his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage; then his migration was for that which he migrated.”
Sheikh Abdulmuhsin said:
Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim and the compilers of the Sunan and others.
And it has been solely narrated from Umar by Alqamah ibn Waqqas al-Laythi, and it has been solely narrated from him by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim at-Taymi, and it has been solely narrated from him by Yahya ibn Sa’eed al-Ansaari, then it was narrated by many from him; so it is from the ghareeb of Saheeh al-Bukhaari, and it is the first hadeeth of Bukhaari.
Likewise the last hadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaari is also ghareeb, the hadeeth of Abu Huraira: “Two statements: Beloved to The Most Merciful, light on the tongue, heavy on the scale: Subhanallaahi wabihamdihi, SubhanaAllaahi al-Adhweem.”
2. An-Nawawi opened his book with this hadeeth just like many other scholars have, amongst them is:
– Imaam Bukhaari who began his Saheeh by it,
– and Abdulghaniy al-Maqdisi began Umdatul Ahkam by it,
– and al-Baghawi began Masabeeh as-Sunnah and also Sharh Sunnah by it,
– and as-Suyooti begain his Jaami’ as-Sagheer by it,
– and an-Nawawi in the beginning of his book al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhaddhab has a chapter where he said: ‘Chapter on al-Ikhlaas [sincerity] and truthfulness and presence of the intention in all the actions –hidden and outward-’, he mentioned therein three verses of the Qur’an and then the hadeeth: ‘Actions are but by intentions’, and he said: ‘It is a hadeeth that is saheeh (authentic) and there is agreement on it being saheeh, and there is agreement on its supreme and noble status, and it is: one of the foundations of Eeman (belief) and its first enforcement and the most emphasized of all the pillars.
Ash-Shafi’ee (rahimahullah) said: ‘Seventy branches of fiqh come under this hadeeth,’ and he also said: ‘It is a third of all knowledge.’ And likewise other than him said the same.
And it is one the hadeeths on which Islam is based on, and there is difference as to how many hadeeth comprehensively combine all of Islam, so it was said: three, and it was said: four, and it was said: two, and also: one. I have compiled all of them in the 40 hadeeth book; they reached 40, the practicing Muslim has to know them since they are all saheeh, combining the foundations of Islam; in the Beliefs, the jurisprudence, the ascetics, the mannerisms, and the lofty etiquettes, and other than that.
I began with this hadeeth following the way of our Imaams and the earlier ones from the scholars of our Salaf [predecessors] may Allaah be pleased with them. And indeed the uncontested leader of the scholars of hadeeth –Abu Abdullah al-Bukhaari- began his Saheeh by it, and a group has narrated that the Salaf used to recommend starting every book by this hadeeth; reminding the student to correct the intention and to seek only the Face of Allaah by all his actions –hidden and outward-.
It was narrated to us that Imaam Abu Sa’eed Abdurrahman ibn Mahdi (rahimahullaah) said: ‘If I authored a book I would begin every chapter with this hadeeth.’
It also narrated to us that he said: ‘Whoever wishes to write a book then let him begin by this hadeeth.’
And Imaam Abu Sulaymaan Hamad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibraahim ibn al-Khattab as-Sahafi’ee said in his book al–Ma’alim: ‘The earlier scholars of ours used to recommend giving precedence to the hadeeth ‘Surely actions are but by intentions’ over everything else to be commenced in the matters of the religion, due to the immense need for it in all of the different aspects of the religion.’ [end of quote from an-Nawawi]
In Jami’ al-Uloom wal Hikam (1/61) Ibn Rajab said: ‘The scholars agreed upon its authenticity and accepting it, and Bukhaari launched his book as–Saheeh by it; and he made it like an opening sermon for the book, as a note from him that: any deed which is not sought by it;the Face of Allaah; then it is invalid, having no fruits in the world or the here-after.’