As per the creation plan of God, utmost importance is given to intentions or niyyah. No action is acceptable to God purely on the basis of its outer appearance. He accepts only such actions as are performed with proper intention, and rejects those performed with ill intention. Right intention is the moral purposiveness, which underlies all actions performed solely for God’s pleasure. One who acts on such feelings will be rewarded by God in the Hereafter.
Ill-intention, on the other hand, is a negative spur to worldly attainment. Ostensibly religious acts, if performed for worldly gain or public commendation, are in this sense ill intentioned. Any fame, honour or popularity, which ensues from an ill-intentioned act, is a hollow triumph and is looked upon by the Almighty with extreme disfavour.
Intention is rooted in man’s inner thinking and feelings. A common man is unable to penetrate the inner recesses of a person’s mind but God knows full well what a man’s thought processes and feelings are. People can be deluded by appearances, but God has complete knowledge of everything. He will deal with people according to His knowledge and will reward everyone exactly as he or she deserves.
Things are of value only when they are pure, without any adulteration. An act done with right intention is a pure act, and an act performed without right intention is an impure act.