We work for Allah, even when we think we are working for ourselves. For, there really is no such thing as doing Work for God Almighty and then doing some other kind of Work for Ourselves — in our spare time as it were. And vice versa.
The fact is: All Work is God’s Work.
Provided we understand the following. And, provided, we meet the following requirements:
a) Provided our intentions are right.
b) Provided our priorities are right.
c) Provided our methodologies are right.
Right action, done for the right reason, and in keeping with God Almighty’s Law of Halal and Haram, which means Lawful and Unlawful, is Good Action.
It is Amal Salih.
Every other action is exactly what it is.
There is a most beautiful Hadith of Bukhari Sharif. In fact, it is the very first Hadith of that most marvelous collection of what is the most authentic and verified historical data on earth that we call Hadith.
That Hadith Sharif says:
Innamal A’amaalu Bin-Niyyaat.
One very limited paraphrase:
“Actions depend on intentions.”
Another equally limited paraphrase:
“Intentions determine actions and make them what they are.”
But in the system of Islam, actions are important in themselves.
Good Actions are good and important in and of themselves. And Good Actions are those that have been declared to be Good by God and his beloved Messenger Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Bad Intentions make even Good Actions bad.
Bad Actions are those that have been so designated by God and his beloved Messenger Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Good Intentions do not render Bad Actions good.
That means actions designated to be bad by God and his beloved Messenger Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, are bad regardless of whether they are undertaken with good or bad intentions.
For example, Adultery, Gambling and Consumption of Alcohol do not turn into good actions, no matter by what supposed good intentions they may be undertaken.
On the other hand, even Supreme Compulsory Good Actions, such as Salaah and Siyaam, become bad if they are undertaken with Bad Intentions such as impressing other people or showing off.