I chose the word Intentions for today’s letter, I. Intentions make or break a deed. I have often wanted to talk to my children about Intentions and how it is important to keep your conscience clear when doing things.
This was my perfect opportunity. I also knew that today’s word would really please my son. He is often caught in things that go wrong although his intentions were right.
This post is part of the A-Z of Akhlaaq series. We have been doing one letter a day all through Ramadan.
HADITH ON INTENTION
One of the hadith (sayings of the prophet PBUH) is that Inna ma’al a’maal bin niyya’ which means your deeds are governed by your intentions.
It is narrated on the authority of Amirul Mu’minin, Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: “Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
This is such a beautiful hadith and one of my favourite. It really helps you remember whether what you are doing is right or wrong and even when things do go wrong. Also, it is a beautiful comfort to know that you tried your best and God knows that. Intentions is what your deeds are based on.
What does it mean to say ‘Actions are judged by Intentions’?
I was teaching my children aged 10, 4 and 3 years old. I had to tone it down to their level.
My son learnt the words of this hadith in Arabic and the meaning in English and Urdu too. Of course to the little three year old, it was just a fun science experiment but I think she did understand a little bit of it.
We did a little demonstration to show how one drop of coloured thought can colour all your work. I filled a glass with water and dropped a drop of ink in it. We saw how all of the water changed colour.
Then I added drops of chlorine bleach to it and with magic… It disappeared.
The purpose of this topic is to teach kids to have good intentions. I wanted to talk about how they shouldn’t have mixed feelings about things they are doing.
The outcomes of many situations are often not in our hands. All we can do is make an intention and follow through with an effort, but we never know whether things will turn out as planned. However, this hadith proves that what matters to Allah (SWT) are our intentions. Because that is the only real thing we have control over.
- Always think good.
- Try to do good. Be honest, helpful and friendly.
- Don’t think about how others are behaving towards you.
- Don’t worry if the results you expect aren’t happening.
- Your reward is with God alone.
- Some times, we don’t get the fruit of our labor here in this world. But we will definitely get it in the Akhirah (Hereafter).
- Sometimes people will not behave the way they should. If the other person is mean, you don’t need to be mean too. Just do good and leave the rest in God’s Hands.
Science experiment to teach Actions are governed by Intentions
CAUTION: Please be careful while doing the experiment. If your children are the curious, tinkering and mischievous kind (like my 10 year old!!) then I’d advice that you don’t let them know what the ‘magic’ solution is at all. You can get everything ready before hand when they are not seeing.
Also, a reader had once said that it didn’t work for them. It will work. You have to wait a few minutes. For us, I added about 10ml of bleach to a glass of water. We waited about 5 minutes for the color to completely disappear. It starts becoming light instantly and then gradually becomes white. You don’t have stir it. InshaAllah I’ll try to post the video on Insta and Facebook later for you to see.
What can you say to your child about the experiment:
When you sin or lie or have bad intentions, it like coloring your glass of water (your thoughts/intentions). I purposefully used blue color. (I thought black would be too harsh). I added just one drop and waited till it dispersed. Then I added again. The color was dark blue.
But when you do Tauba (repent), God forgives you. Add the bleach and wait for it to clear the water.
When you have good intentions and even if things go wrong, your original intention is what counts.
NOTE: Please be careful while handling bleach. Don’t let your young child handle it by himself. It is better to do it yourself but if they insist on trying it, make sure they have gloves on and are using a good dropper.