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We Are All Slaves of Allah

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Once, while in class at college, an Arab girl I was sitting next to said quite loudly to another, “Hey, give this paper to the ‘abdah” referring to a black girl in the class. I wondered if she was even aware of what she was saying in English. Did she think that ‘abdah translates to “black girl” and never thought of its true meaning? Did she think that I didn’t understand?

 

My name is Hakeemah Cummings, I am a 25-year old Muslimah living in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, IL.  I have lived in this community for a number of years and attended an Islamic school here.

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Alhamdulillah, my community has a huge Muslim population, largely Arab, and is well-established with two large masajid, two Islamic schools, a community center, and countless Muslim-owned businesses and organizations.

Alhamdulillah, I am very blessed to live in a community so dense with Muslims in a city that is so large and diverse.

Living in this community as long as I have, I have picked up a lot of the colloquial Arabic and have formally studied the language in high school and college. I remember back when our family first moved into this community, and I started attending the Islamic school in 7th grade, I heard the word “slaves” or ‘abeed (‘abdah (f.) ‘abd (m.) ) used quite commonly to refer to black people.

English being my first language, I was used to immediately translating Arabic words to English to grasp the meaning – “slave”. I quickly took offense – as a black Caribbean muslimah, I was a minority within the community and immediately felt hurt by this term. I remember people would make the mistake of using this word around me, mostly in reference to African-Americans.

If I was in earshot, the person would quickly excuse themselves, saying that they didn’t mean me, they meant … them. But what, really, is the difference between me as a black person, and “them” as black people? What makes “them” slaves? It was horribly rude, and made me extremely uncomfortable.

Other times, the word would be used casually with no concern.

“That neighborhood is scary. The ‘abeed live there…”

in reference to the south side of the inner city of Chicago. Or people would say a certain kind of clothing, music, mannerism, way of speaking, or hairstyle, is “for the ‘abeed.”

Once, while in class at college, an Arab girl I was sitting next to said quite loudly to another, “Hey, give this paper to the ‘abdah” referring to a black girl in the class. I wondered if she was even aware of what she was saying in English. Did she think that ‘abdah translates to “black girl” and never thought of its true meaning? Did she think that I didn’t understand?

Clearly, if she had said “Give this paper to the slave” it would have been a revocable remark, and a confrontation may have ensued.  Not only was this term used with blatant disregard, it was furthermore tolerated by the likes of me, who cringed at its use, though I kept quiet. I remember angrily thinking, “Aren’t we all ‘abeed (slaves) of Allah?”

Usually, the word was used to refer to African-Americans, who are descendants of the African slaves who were stolen from Africa and brought here to the US, enduring the worst forms of oppression for many generations.

Other ethnic groups were enslaved as well in their own histories. It may come as a surprise that Arabs, as well as countless other ethnic and racial groups, have a history of being enslaved as well. That gives no one the right to call the Arabs of today slaves, so African-Americans should not be subject to that degrading terminology either.

As I grew older, I found a voice that I didn’t have when I was younger. Now that I have younger siblings who are enduring the same types of racially insensitive incidents, I felt that I must address this issue head-on.

That’s why I started the “We are all ‘abeed of Allah” campaign; as Muslims – above any ethnic, racial, tribal, or nationalistic association we assume pride in – as Muslims, we need to know that the use of this word is a slur, and that it is degrading, insulting, ignorant, inexcusable, and will no longer be tolerated.

Furthermore, everyone, regardless of race, should proudly claim the word “slave” for him or herself – I am a slave, you are a slave, we are all slaves.

Why?

Because Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) refers to us all as His slaves beautifully in the Quran on numerous occasions, and it is a term of honor.

This word “abeed” encompasses all of those who strive to worship Allah: an honorable way of life and the purpose for which He created us. Instead, some use this word to marginalize and insult others, stripping the word of its beauty and dignity. Shouldn’t we all aspire to be slaves of Allah, and eliminate the pride we feel in the superficial labels we hold to such high standards: Arab, non-Arab, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, rich, and poor.

All of these labels bring about arrogance and misplaced pride. The Prophet (SAW) warned against tribalism, racism, classism, sexism, ethnocentrism, and nationalism, and even emphasized this warning in his last sermon, which indicates the importance this issue in Islam.

I decided to take action on this issue, so I approached the administration of my old high school to organize a “Celebrating Diversity” event where we had speakers, activities, panel presentations, and group discussions to address these issues in our schools and broader community. At the event’s core was an emphasis on our religious obligation as Muslims to be fair, sensitive, and kind to others.

Racism is a huge issue and I knew that one event could not change completely, but I firmly believed that with every positive action there could be a change in the right direction.

I decided to tackle the issue of the use of the word ‘abeed as a racial slur. This began with T-shirts and wristbands to raise awareness at the Islamic school, and then expanded to a Facebook campaign page, where the campaign quickly became international.

Since the campaign began on March 2, 2012, it has grown exponentially, and I hope that the awareness spreads even more. I have gotten much support from the local community, and even more overseas, due to Muslim YouTube gurus and bloggers who have supported the campaign through making videos, writing articles, and posting about the campaign on their social networking sites.

The goals of the campaign are as follows:

1) To raise awareness of the meaning of this word in English. The translation is “slave”, not “black”

2) To let people know that using this word as a racial slur is not okay and can no longer be tolerated

3) To teach this word the way the Almighty uses it: to refer to all of his worshippers, regardless of race, in an honorable way.

4) To break the link the use of the word “abeed” and the black race so that there is no ultimately no racial connotation.

Let us ALL, regardless of race, strive to be ‘abeed to the One whom we dedicate our lives to. Be proud to know that you are an agent in combating the racial divides that plague our ummah. Let us all make the claim:

“We are all ‘abeed of Allah”.

By Hakeemah Cummings, founder of “We are all ‘abeed of Allah”

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Aisha

    November 22, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    I think this is a wonderful campaign and it is great that you are bringing these issues to the forefront, hopefully similar iniatiatives can begin in other cities across North American and beyond. Do you have a website where we can access more information?
    Its important that we recognize that racism exist within the Muslim community and then work to both tackle and eliminate.its existence.

  2. Avatar

    Mansurat

    November 22, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    All white r d same either they 4rm d west, north. South or east

    • Avatar

      Bint Aisha

      November 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
      being a Muslimah and originally from Bosnia (caucasian race); my heart is wholeheartedly with you.
      We are ONE body, the ummah of Allah’s last prophet Muhammad, Sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Love you for this initiatiive, for the sake of Allah, sister!
      BTW, we are all sisters, daughters of Aisha, radi Allahu anha! <3
      Wa alaykumu salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

  3. Avatar

    Naima Asma

    November 22, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Thank you so much for writing this article! It has opened my eyes to an issue which I didn’t even know existed. Being born and raised in a small German city, a city that unfortunately doesn’t even have a real Muslim community, this topic is something completely new to me. Loved that you mentioned my favorite part from the prophet’s (saw) last sermon. It’s very inspiring to see you taking action and raising awareness. May Allah (swt) reward you for it! :)

    • Avatar

      Hakeemah

      November 22, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      Thank you sister! May Allah reward you as well

  4. Avatar

    Muhammad Jassim

    November 22, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Where can I get these bands and t-shirts???

  5. Avatar

    The Muslim Man

    November 22, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Wait, are you serious?? This is actually common? There are Muslims who refer to blacks as slaves???

    • Avatar

      huda

      December 4, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      Nah, she is just kidding.

      Of course she is serious, hence all the hard work she has put into her campaign! Let’s realize that racism is not dead in Islamic society and just because you do not hear about it does not make it any less real.

  6. Avatar

    ahsan arshad

    November 22, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    racism amongst muslims is mind boggling conceptually but reality is quite dark. I praise Allah that we helped you to find a voice… as no one can better address such issues then those who have been a victim to it.
    May Allah magnify your efforts. Keep up the struggle of “changing the nation through education” (slogan of Islamiconlineuniveristy.com, IOU)
    from abeed of Allah

    • Avatar

      Hakeemah

      November 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Ameen, thank you! Your comment means alot me

  7. Avatar

    Umm Eesa

    November 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I am Arab and I always found it disgusting when I found my fellow Arabs referring to blacks this way. It was actually quite shocking to me because it goes against the very essence of Islam. May Allah reward you sister.

    • Avatar

      Hakeemah

      November 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      May Allah reward you too!

  8. Avatar

    saysay

    November 25, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Salaam alykum Hakeemah. I’m so proud of you my dear sister. Being an African muslimah who grew up in the u.k we get racism here too from fellow muslims. It’s disgusting and finally someone is doing something about it and you represent us all, but most importantly you aim to bring the focus back to being a slave to the most merciful. Xx

    • Avatar

      Hakeemah

      November 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Walaikumsalam sister, Im touched by your words, thanks so much. May Allah bless you

    • Avatar

      Hilarious

      December 29, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      It is disgusting to hear what you are describing; racism from fellow “Muslims”. They shouldn’t be referred to as Muslims because they are going against the fundamental values of what Islam is based upon.

  9. Avatar

    Husn'ul'Yusuf

    November 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    May Allah bless you sistah. I must admit, being fair-skinned and all the other things I have been blessed with, sometimes I used to feel a little awkward at the sight of “others”, though it’s foolish, since Allah created everyone. But, it’s kinda hard, trying not to be racist at times, and we can thank the way the world and media is right now. But there isn’t anything bad about being black, Surah Al-Luqman is named after Luqman (may Allah have mercy on him), who was a negro and former slave. Then Allah blessed him with wisdom, and see where he lands, smack in the Quran!

    • Avatar

      The Same Guy as Above

      November 27, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      When I said “it’s kinda hard not being racist, at times”, I didn’t mean that you proactively become racist, but that the world has become so foolish, catalyzed by a media barrage of bias, that it’s hard for anyone to keep away from these social ills. May God protect us all from racism n stuff. Btw, I am an Israeli Muslim.

      • Avatar

        Again...the same guy

        December 21, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        As’Salamu Alaikum…I’d been having this little thought-battle within myself and it occurred to me that the nature of my previous comments was relatively derogatory, albeit unintentional. The whole thing just sort of came out wrong, and I didn’t really mean it that way. So, if they hurt anyone, I’m honestly sorry man. May Allah bless all of us, the way He created us in beautiful colors, a reflection of His attribute of creation. Wa’Salam!

  10. Avatar

    Abu Khalid

    December 6, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Asalam alakum

    This a nice subject sister as an Arab I know this word has become commen amongst the muslim Arabic brothers an sisters wallah I remember a Hadith that actually forbid useing this word (abeed) to refer to black people because a companion called one of his slaves abed and the prophet pbuh said do not call them abeed (because of there color) but call them khadim (servant…since the man he referred to was not a freeman yet and just a servant ) because we are all abeed Allah …..wallah I tryed to find the Hadith for the past 2 hours but I couldn’t find it so it is haram to refer to some one as abed based on there skin color. And your right even some Arabs from my country were slaves in the time of the prophet and they were the first martyrs in Islam. But inshallah this racism will disappear soon as the Muslims return to there religion and may Allah reward you for your struggle on this issue and add it to your scale of good deeds ..salamz sister

  11. Avatar

    Muhammad Abdul Haqq

    December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    The deeper ignorance that must be confronted as a means to combat racism effectively is to first make all people understand that humanity is not divided into races.That is simply Eurocentric, pseudoscientific, racializing trash.

    Another aspect of this is to make Arabs realize that there is no such thing as an Arab race, and that the original Arabs came to Yemen FROM East Africa.

    Barak Allahu Feek.

  12. Avatar

    hana

    May 5, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    i am a muslimah of east african heritage who was born in the gulf of arabia and raised in damascus. i have encoutered racism and discrimination at school, in the street and at work simply because allah created me with dark brown skin. i knew that my beautiful deen abhores such ugly thing, my fellow so called muslim arabs still live in the jaahiliya times. may allah guide them away from such narrow-minded and ignorant view of life.
    i applaude you dear sister hakeema for your valiant efforts , and i ask allah to perserve you and grant you jannah.

  13. Avatar

    Abdullah Kusari

    July 15, 2013 at 6:18 AM

    I’m a Yemeni born and raised in Detroit and most of my friends refer to African Americans as “Abeed”. It’s an ugly habit and I always try to remind them the meaning of the word and that we are all Abdullahs. It’s really embarrassing for me especially when I bring any of my African American friends to the neighborhood and someone else refers to them as Abeed. Some of my closest friends are African American and it gets so bad that even they refer to other black males as Abeed, as if they’re ashamed of themselves or maybe they’re trying to fit in with us just so they can feel accepted. I like the message and In Sha Allah one day the slur stops among my people and I apologize

  14. Avatar

    April Lamda

    August 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Yeah all blacks are viewed by majority of Arabs are slaves, as slave trade and slavery was ramped in Arab lands, the prophet had slaves as well. \Many slaves were from Africa, where most blacks in Yemen came from. Slavery isn’t even a sin in Islam. It’s a part of Islamic and Arab culture

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Fuseini Alhassan

      August 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      @april lamda;learn your islamic law well;its not a sin in christianity either and dont know of any realigion that expressly forbade it,u could educate me though;The prophet had slaves like u claim yet he forbade the enslavement of free people! as the article showed some of the slaves of the prophet’s(SAW) era were arab,some white,some persian unlike across the atlantic that was deeply racist so much so even after their “emancipation”;society ensured that they remained slaves psychologically “shamelesslessly” proclaiming freedom and equality of men and keeping black people “downpressed”;in Islam “slave” dynasties ruled muslim majority Arab states;the earlist muslim scholars after the companions were mostly “slaves”…..it slavery was rampant everywhere in the world untill humanity unanimously agreed to stop it!like some1 said lots of the racism among Arabs boils to their holding to their jahili;pre-islamic tribal attitudes rather than due to the religion no religion has “theoretically” debunked racism,tribalism like islam;that’s undeniable!another factor that has heightened racism and tribalism(here in Africa;btw i’m black from Ghana)has been colonialism as the colonialist sort wherever they colonised to “devide & conquer”;did they aide the Arabs to revolt against the turks foe e.g?….

  15. Avatar

    omar anis

    October 31, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    abedah is a common muslim name, may be her name is abeda? did you ever think about that? or talk to someone about it, some wise person.

  16. Pingback: How do you Stop Racism in the Arab-American Community? Heck if I Know | MuslimMatters.org

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  18. Avatar

    Riz Khan

    December 21, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    My sister for your happiness I would call myself Abeed a thousand times. But “Abeed” is bad word and it is used as an insult. Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said in his last sermon

    There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a
    non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for the black
    over the white except in God-conciousness.

    another translation!

    All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.

    Nothing comes before the commands/words/sayings of our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Anyone guilty of racism should consider that going against the sayings of Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) put him/her in serious danger of losing his/her Imaan!

    I think the best way is to educate such people by showing/reading them the last sermon and make them understand that going against the sayings of Our Holy Prophet would seriously put him in a danger zone of losing imaan! May Allah guide us all along the right pathj, Ameen!

  19. Avatar

    Riz Khan

    December 21, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    A good idea is to start a campaign of publishing/or handwritten pamphlets, charts, papers of the last sermon of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and to distribute it in your neighborhood whether it is School, College, University, Office and any area of your respective city or country with the words against racism highlighted. It would certainly have a profound effect on any muslim (if he is a muslim). I would not only help in eliminating racism but also would be a cause of great reward from Almighty Allah for the dissemination of the sayings of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). May Allah guide all the sisters and brothers along the right path,
    Ameen!

  20. Avatar

    Fawzia Kasim

    October 16, 2019 at 9:07 AM

    just a gentle reminder about the arabic grammar of these words based on Quranic Arabic.
    Abd in Arabic means slave.
    ibaad and abeed are both its plural forms meaning slaves but ibaad are the good slaves who although makes mistakes will still repent and turn back to Allah but Abeed are the bad ones who do not repent and persists in their mistakes even after guidance comes to them.
    thats why wherever its mentioned about slaves whom Allah likes its Ibaad. eg IbaaduRahmaan (Surah Furqan)
    wherever abeed is mentioned Allah says HE is not unjust to HIS slaves signifying that the punishment they will get is justified.
    its better to use the word Ibaad to denote that we are obedient slaves of Allah.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 16: The Best of You

Now that we have learnt about fruit out of season, let’s now talk about the best of you.

I want you all to think about your closest friends and how you treat them. 

Question: Would anyone like to share how they try to treat their closest friends?

That’s wonderful! You try to be thoughtful and considerate of their feelings. You bring snacks to share with them, you may buy or make them a gift.

Question: Now, I want you to close your eyes and think of the way you treat your family members. Is it the same?

Question: Why do you think that there is a difference between the way we treat our friends and the way we may treat our siblings or parents?

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Yes, we do spend a lot of time together. We see each other when we’re cranky or frustrated. Sometimes we want our own space to think, or we don’t want someone interfering with our things. Those are all valid reasons. But, do you know that it is more beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that you treat your family members better than you even treat your friends?

It’s true! In a hadith, Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: 

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي وَإِذَا مَاتَ صَاحِبُكُمْ فَدَعُوهُ

“The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.” 

Question: What are some ways we can be the best to our family members? I’m going to share with you a hadith that may help you get some ideas: 

وعن أبى أمامه الباهلى رضي الله عنه قال‏:‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ “أنا زعيم ببيت في ربض الجنة لمن ترك المراء، وإن كان محقاً، وببيت في وسط الجنة لمن ترك الكذب، وإن كان مازحاً، وببيت في أعلى الجنة لمن حسن خلقه” ‏(‏حديث صحيح رواه أبو داود بإسناد صحيح‏).‏

“I guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a house in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.”

If we work on these three things: less arguing, no lying, and good manners, alongside all of your other suggestions, we will be rewarded with Jannah, inshaAllah

Question: Do you think we can all work hard to be the best to our family members?

 

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 15: Fruit Out of Season

Now that we have learnt about making our intentions big, let’s now talk about fruit out of season.

Who can tell me who Maryam raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) is

Yes, she was the mother of ‘Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), and also the best woman to ever live. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an that He chose her over all the women in the world.

Question: Do you know that she was also the niece to a Prophet? Does anyone know her uncle’s name? 

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His name is Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), good job! Do you know that Prophet Zakariya  'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)  was actually inspired by something he saw in Maryam’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) room? It’s unusual for adults to admit that they learn from younger people, but we actually do, all the time! 

One day, Prophet Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) went inside Maryam’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) room and he saw fruit that was out of season. 

Question: Can anyone tell me what fruit would be out of season in the spring, but we love to eat it in the summertime? Can we get that same fruit in the wintertime?

Well, Maryam raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) would get fruit that was supposed to only grow in the summer during the wintertime too! This was a gift that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) would give her. Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was so amazed by this! He asked Maryam raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) how she came upon the fruit and she replied:

 هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without measure.” [Surat Ali ‘Imran; 37] 

Now, by this time, Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was very old. And when you get to be very old, it is very unusual to have any more children. Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his wife never had any children at all. But, he was so inspired by what his niece said that he raised his hands in dua’ and asked Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for a child. Even though having a child seemed  impossible because it was “out of season” for Prophet Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) he asks anyway knowing that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can grant us anything- even if it is not “in season!”

Question: Can we get that same fruit in the wintertime?Did Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) answer Prophet Zakariya’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) dua’? 

Yes! Prophet Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was blessed with Yahya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), who too became a Prophet and was the cousin of Prophet ‘Isa  'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)!

This shows us that it’s never too late or too early to ask for what our heart desires. Maybe Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will grant you something that is out of season too!

 

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 14: Making Our Intentions Big

Now that we have learnt about the Prophet Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and the Shaytan, let’s now talk about Prophet Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and the Shaytan.

Question: Have any of you heard the phrase:  إنما الأعمال بالنية  (innamal ’amaalu bi-niyyaat)? Does anyone know what it means? 

It means that actions are judged by their intentions. 

Question: What does it mean to intend something? Do you need to say your intention out loud?

An intention is something that you feel internally – it is the ‘why’ behind your actions. 

Question: Do you think we always make intentions behind the things we do?

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If we really tried to make an intention behind every small thing, it would probably cause us some frustration. Most of our actions are done out of habit anyway; like making our beds, brushing our teeth, and making our meals. But, what if we started to be more intentional with the way we operated? What good do you think could come out of it?

Maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to lose our temper. Maybe we could get even more hasanat (reward) for transforming our ordinary chores into extraordinary acts of worship!

One day, Imam ash-Shafi’, a great scholar of Islam -may Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) be pleased with him-, had some students over at his house when they heard someone knock on the door. One of his students went to answer the door, and Imam ash-Shafi’ stopped him and asked him what he was doing.

“I’m going to answer the door,” the student replied.

Imam ash-Shafi’ said, “Before you answer the door, make the intention that if it is a poor person seeking help, you will give them charity. And if it is a guest, that you will host them.” 

Something as simple as answering the door became a way to get lots of rewards! How? Well, whenever we make a good intention, we get the reward for it even if we are unable to do it. That’s how generous Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can reward a good intention up to 700 times!

I want each of you to pick something ordinary that you always do and make your intention behind it very big! 

[A parent can give the example of washing the dishes: Intend to have a clean home, intend to make dhikr while washing the dishes, intend to have clean plates and utensils for us to be nourished and well fed, all so that we can be healthy and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His blessings etc.]

Now, who wants to share?

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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