In Islam, actions matter. So do the intentions that drive them.
There is a beautiful Hadith that puts this in perspective.
Hadith means the words of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that history has documented as faithfully, accurately and thoroughly as it is possible for history and humanity to do it.
And, if you ask me, all Hadith are beautiful, as they have to be, if they are the words of a chosen human being – Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – inspired and guided by God Almighty.
In the meantime, don’t mind my using the expression Hadith as both singular and plural at the same time.
So, the Hadith I am referring to goes like this in the original Arabic:
“Innamal A’amaalu Binniyyaat!”
I have spent decades trying to find the right English translation for it. I continue to have difficulty, to this day.
Maybe someday, should God Almighty so will and decree it, the right set of words would come along and fall in place.
Right now, I am content with saying that the Hadith underscores the organic – natural and inseparable – interrelationship between our actions and our intentions.
Just think for a moment. How much of a better world our world would be, in every way, if all of us – each one of us – paid as close attention to our intentions as we, hopefully, pay to our actions.
And, of course, our actions, both private and public, should always be the best in every way that we can possibly make them.
For, that is Islam – in a nutshell, as they say.