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The effects of corrupt intentions

Concluding the discussion on intention, we shall also cite the adverse effects of having corrupt intentions, just as we earlier stated the blessings of a sound intention.

1. Non-acceptance of supplication [du‘ā]. Imām as-Sajjād (‘a) says: “A bad intention causes the non-acceptance of supplications.”[1]

Having an ungodly intention not only removes the divine color and devotional nature of actions; it also entails perils.

Imām a-ādiq (‘a) says: “If somebody borrows a certain amount of money without the intention of returning it, it is equivalent to stealing.”[2] Similarly, if in marriage the person has no intention of giving the dower [mahriyyah] to his wife, in the sight of God he is committing adultery [zinā].[3]

2. Deprivation of sustenance [rizq]. Imām a-ādiq (‘a) said: “So many believers have the intention of committing sin and God deprives them of sustenance [rizq].”

An actual example of this hadīth is the story of a garden which has been narrated in the Qur’an:

In Sūrah al-Qalam, verses 16-30, there has been narrated the story of a people who owned a garden and who intended to harvest its yields in the dark so that the poor would remain unaware of their action and they would not have to give any of the fruits to them.

As the dawn came they went to the garden. They saw that the garden had been burned and turned into ashes. Initially, they imagined that they had lost the way, but the wisest among them said: “Did I not remind you not to have such an intention? You had the intention of depriving the poor. Now, God deprived you of it as well.”

From this Qur’anic account, it can be understood that sometimes God gives a sort of penalty on account of our motive and intention.[4] Of course, this is not a general rule.   

3. It causes wretchedness and misfortune. Hadrat ‘Alī (‘a) says: “.اَلنِّيَّة فَسادُ الشِّقاءِ مِنَ “A corrupt intention is a sign of wretchedness.”[5]

4. The blessing of life and daily living is taken away. In another place, Hadrat ‘Alī (‘a) says: “.الْبَرَكَة تَرْتَفعُ النِّيِّة فَسادَ عِنْدَ That is, God will take away the blessing from the person whose intention is not sound and he will not be able to make good use of divine favors.[6]

It is narrated that it was said to someone: “On account of your good work, you have three acceptable supplications.” He was glad and said: “O God! Make my wife the most beautiful woman in the world.” His wife became very beautiful but his life became bitter because he realized that everyone was staring at his wife. He therefore made his second supplication: “O God! Make my wife the ugliest woman in the world.” His supplication was granted but his life became intolerable with such an ugliness. So, he made his third and last acceptable supplication, saying: “O God! Let my wife return to her original condition.” His supplication was heard and his wife returned to her original state. He made his three accepted supplication but he earned no benefit at all. This is the meaning of taking away blessings from a person and as such, he cannot make good use of the facilities at his disposal.  

[1] Sūrah al-Anwār, vol. 70, p. 375.

[2] Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 12, p. 86.

[3] Wasā’il ash-Shī‘ah, vol. 15, p. 22.

[4] Someone thus narrated to me: “I met one of the disabled war veterans (during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war against Iran), who was sitting in a wheelchair. I approached and kissed him. As he smelled my perfume, he asked me to give him my perfume. I said: ‘I will buy one for you and I will keep this one.’ At any rate, I did not give it to him and we parted ways. An hour later, I went to the toilet and the bottle of perfume fell into the toilet bowl. All of a sudden, I realized that this was a penalty for my stinginess and right there, I wept for my (miserable) state.” Yes, we will suppose to have so much regret and remorse on the Day of Resurrection since we have done nothing for God.

[5] Ghurar al-ikam, adīth 1610.

[6] Ghurar al-ikam, adīth 1615.

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