What is intention; how should it be?
Intention reminds us of firstly five daily obligatory prayers or fasting. We ask the acceptance of God with these worships. And we beforehand voice this intention. The opposite of acceptance is hypocrisy. Acceptance is for God, but hypocrisy is for the public. In the first, divine mercy and favor are the object; in the latter, however, seeming nice to people and receiving their compliments and applauds are the object. And this is, in my opinion, another kind of begging.
It is a huge unwariness to take the way of hypocrisy and to try to make ourselves liked by others in a world in which everybody likes their own selves. However, the self craves for being deceived and enters this dead-end street consciously and willingly.
It is depended before anything else on the condition of intention for us to lead a happy life and to reach the place of bliss in our eternal travel that begins with death. Just like our intention in our worships is for the acceptance of God, so should our intention in worldly dealings be such high aims as to gain money and provide for our family legitimately, being an exemplary rich person to encourage others to work in the circle of halal-that which is legitimate- to assume responsibility in the economic growth of our country and to make our country more powerful against the enemies. The worldly workings we handle with this intention can have fruits also in the Hereafter. It is stated in the Risale-i Nur Collection, in the Fourth Word:
With the right intention, all the other acts of someone who performs the prescribed prayers become like worship.
We have recounted some of these right intentions above.
Such intentions as to be superior to others, to be famous, to make our rivals jealous, and to receive applaud and regard that the self likes leave the fruits of these workings and strains just in this world. We cannot bring with us anything to the Hereafter for all our efforts.
Bediüzzaman point out a very important point in the explanation of the verse: Worship your Lord Who created you and the ones before you so that you may achieve the rank of piety.
Man must worship his Lord firstly because He is his Lord. The ranks and favors he will reach after this worship are secondary in importance. Dont we experience a small example of this in showing respect to the elderly?
Why do we respect our father?
Because he is our father; not because he will give us presents or leave us inheritance. In the second way, there is benefit in our love and so it is muddy and not pure.
Therefore, this point is highlighted in the verse with the expression Worship your Lord instead of Worship God.
We will worship our Lord because He is our Lord. We owe endless debts of thanks to our Lord who puts the plan of our bodies into a drop of water, who shapes this drop and makes it a human being and who equips our souls with feelings. And worship is the best expression of paying this debt. A believer makes it clear that he is aware of this fact by intending the acceptance of God before worship.
In the Risale-i Nur Collection, intention is likened to soul: Intention is a soul. And the soul of this soul is sincerity. (Mesnevi-i Nuriye)
The visible parts of deeds are like body; and their aim is soul. Just as the body finds life through the soul, so do the deeds find life through intention. And the soul of intention is sincerity, i.e. performing worship only for the acceptance of God and expecting no other reward.
The one who fights in the way of God and the one who fights for loot visibly do the same thing. However, if the first one dies he becomes a martyr, or if he lives he becomes a ghazi-victorious fighter for the Islamic faith; but the latter has lost the honor of martyrdom from the beginning. There is no reward or him except the loot.
An important point:
Man can make his small deed universal with intention. We make our intentions universal by saying in the prayer: Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. In the Risale-i Nur Collection, in this subject three communities are pointed out: While we recite this verse, we can intend all Muslims, or we can also intend all cells, all organs and feelings that function in our body, or we can intend all the creatures that perform their worships by fulfilling the duties they are given.
Another point that calls for attention in the issue of intention: Like worships, recalling the name of God and other invocations must only be for the acceptance of God. Only by this way can they bear the seal of sincerity and be accepted. If man supplicates or invokes God for the betterment of his worldly deeds, sincerity is shaken and he cannot achieve this result either.
For the benefits may not be the reason for the invocation and may not themselves be intended and sought. For they are obtained when unsought for, as a consequence of the sincere invocation, as a favor. If they are intended, it damages the sincerity to an extent. Indeed, it ceases being worship and looses all value. (The Flashes, the Seventeenth Flash, Thirteenth Note, the Second Matter)
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