Image: The Great Mosque of Sanaa amid traditional houses, established by the Companion Wabr ibn Yahnas (radiallahu anhu)

Intentions for giving sadaqah

July 2024, 5 minute read

The Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa-sallam) said, “Verily actions are only according to intentions and every man shall have according to what he has intended. Whoever makes hijra for Allah and His Messenger, then his hijra is to Allah and His Messenger, and whoever makes hijra to achieve some worldly benefit or to take a woman in marriage, then his hijra is to that for which he made hijra.”

This is the hadith with which Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) began his Sahih making it the prologue to his book. Shaykh Abdur Rahman bin Mahdi (rahimahullah) said, “Had I composed a book in the form of chapters, I would have placed the hadith of Umar ibn Khattab (radiallahu anhu) on intention in every chapter. This hadith is one of the hadiths that is central to this religion.”

It was related that Imam Shafi (rahimahullah) said, “This hadith is one-third of knowledge and enters into seventy chapters of fiqh.”

Yahya ibn Abi Kathir (rahimahullah) said, “Learn about the intention, for verily it is of greater import that the action.” Zayd Shami (rahimahullah) said, “I like to have an intention for everything, even my eating and drinking.” And Daud Tai (rahimahullah) said, “I have come to realise that all goodness is encapsulated within good intentions.” Some of the salaf have said, “Whosoever wishes to make his actions complete, should perfect his intentions.” And Ibn Mubarak (rahimahullah) said, “It may be that a small deed is magnified by the intention, and a great deed may be diminished by the intention.”

Imam Haddad (rahimahullah) reflects in a poem: For good intentions always be searching, Make them abundant and be conscious and fearful.

It was the practice of the salaf to teach their children about the intention in the same manner as they would teach them Fatiha.

Intentions for giving sadaqah

  1. Intend to draw closer to Allah Most High
  2. Intend to shield yourself from the anger of the Lord by it¹
  3. Intend to shield yourself from the Hellfire²
  4. Indent to show mercy to your brethren
  5. Intend, if giving to a relative, to strengthen the ties of kinship
  6. Intend to assist the weak
  7. Intend to follow the example of the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa-sallam)
  8. Intend to bring joy to your brethren³
  9. Intend that by it you may protect and shield yourself, and all Muslims, from calamities
  10. Intend to spend from what Allah has provided
  11. Intent to subdue the nafs and Satan

¹ The Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa-sallam) said, “A sadaqah in secret extinguishes the anger of Allah.” (Tabarani)

² Uday ibn Hatim (radiallahu anhu) related that he heard the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa-sallam) say, “Shield yourselves against the Fire, even it it be by giving away half a date in sadaqah” (Bukhari and Muslim)

³ It was narrated by Tabarani in Saghir, with a good chain of narration that Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa-sallam) said, “Whosoever meets his Muslim brother with what he (his Muslim brother) likes and brings joy to him, Allah will bring joy to him on the Day of Rising.”

From The Book of Intentions, Habib Saad Aydarus (rahimahullah)