“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gains or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.”
Hadith 1, Related by Bukhari and Muslim
They’re like the seed to any action.
They’re also the driving force which motivates one to pursue an act or decision in life.
In Islam, intention is an important aspect of our faith. Every single thing we do should be guided by an intention.
Intention itself can be classified as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and in between, it has different degrees of purity. The best and purest of intentions is one done for the sake of Allah swt. By doing so, one is implicitly acknowledging his/her status of slavehood before Allah swt and how we are merely a conduit through which His greatness as well as countless mercy and blessings towards mankind are brought forth. Essentially all this goes back to a simple but core concept of existence: that everything in this world happens due to Him and goes back to Him.
As the start of my postgrad studies (insyaAllah) draws nearer, I find myself dwelling on the intention for doing this.
Frankly speaking if someone were to ask me say, three to four years ago why I would like to pursue postgrad studies, I would be able to provide an affirmative answer. It was this answer itself which prompted my first foray into postgrad studies back in 2011. This answer – which also clearly communicates my intention loud and clear – would be because I strongly believe that God has created a world replete with knowledge and I would like to commit a part of my life towards acquiring just a bit of that under a formal school setting and hopefully in the process, to be awed by the Creator of this knowledge.
However I find that my perspective of the world shifts with each addition in year to my age.
While I am still floored by the abundant knowledge God has blessed the world with and would like to glean some of that, I am also aware that I can achieve those from an informal school setting.
Then, there are also times in which I will wonder why I am choosing to spend two years doing this instead of pursuing other things which have been on my mind. Why choose to spend all the time, effort and money doing this instead of opting for other paths which would require lesser resources to make the journey work and bring even better benefit to perhaps, professional or personal development, in the long run? Afterall, I do know for sure that I’m not studying again because I want to earn a qualification that will open doors to more career options. Strangely enough, this hasn’t been a matter of consideration for me this time. So again, why this path?
Importantly, how would choosing this path instead of others improve my Islam and my relationship with Him?
At the end of the day, all this boils down to the question of intention. Somehow at this point, that intention is still pretty fuzzy and I’m unable to make out the signpost. I do firmly believe that the impetus to do this was sparked by Him. However it seemed like at this point in time, I am still unable to recognize that bigger purpose – preferably one that is beyond myself – for doing this.