Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Our Brother Sadiq, of the excellent Mystic Saint blog, has asked that I give some advice on following the Sufi path of Love for those brothers and sisters who are not darvishes.  And so, I offer this exercise in intention that has always worked for me.

It is a hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) that: “Actions are only according to intentions, and to each only what he intended…”  Thus, often before I go out to walk to the Post Office or the grocery store in the small town in which I live, I say a prayer to God to allow me to be of service to any I meet on the way that may need it. Then I clear my heart of all other thoughts but this intention of service, and walk saying my zekr with each breath.

The prayer and sincere intention never fails when you walk for God’s sake;  always, always, there will be some small deed of service that comes across my path; helping a very old woman struggling to get out of a car; a door opened for a person loaded with packages; groceries that needed carrying; a warm greeting and smile to those you meet.

Small things to be sure, but the kindness and courtesy of the intention is not lost after the deed is done. It drops like pearls into the heart, and each day the treasure mounts.  

Ya Haqq!

29 Responses to Intention

  1. Suroor says:

    This is AMAZING! I never thought about deliberately wanting to serve humanity. Thank you so much, dear brother. Thank you.

  2. Abdur Rahman says:

    Salaams Irving bhai,

    Subhan Allah! You know, I’ve often felt like this. Subhan Allah again! I wrote a poem on this theme yesterday…

    That Small Deed

    That small deed could be the one,
    the feather which tips the balance,
    the straw that mends the camel’s back.
    I’m always looking for that small deed:
    in opportunities to smile,
    in speaking kindness,
    in simple human charity.
    Lifting each stone I find,
    in the search for Love and Truth.
    Whoever would have thought
    that this world is also a book
    of hidden redemption.
    Beloved, give me eyes to read it aright.

    Abdur Rahman

  3. Salaam my brother and selfless dervish, dear Irving,

    I’m sorry for myself really that I thought sufism is a school with complex actions!

    Thank you very much for give us this advise that we don’t forget sufism is Only serve to people and remembrance of God.

    Please allow me to translate this post and put in my Persian blog.

    Thanks again.

    Ya Haqq!

  4. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Sister and Brothers:

    Thank you for the kind words :) Sister Suroor, what is really amazing is that God gives us this glimpse of His love. Abdur Bhai, this is a beautiful poem, and really says the same thing :) I will have to find better adjectives for your inspired poetry :) And Brother Ismail, please feel free to translate and republish the post. I am far from selfless, and even this exercise is a baby step for an unworthy darvish on the great path of Love.

    Ya Haqq!

  5. Aaminah says:

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    I seem to recall a hadith where the Prophet (salalahi alahi wa salaam) said that even a smile is charity. We often forget how even the seemingly smallest things can have a large positive impact. Anything, when done with sincere and concious intention as you describe can become an act of worship!

    Thank you for sharing a very simple method by which we can all attempt to improve, inshaAllah.

  6. lulando says:

    You have to have an unbending intent in order to become a man of knowledge.
    “A Separate Reality” by Carlos Castaneda

  7. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Sister Aaminah and Brother Lulando:

    Sister, there was a post a while ago that contained the hadith you speak of , called Acts of Charity:

    And Brother, Don Juan stressed intention as the foundation of becoming a man of knowldge, just as the Sufis stress it. Without intention governed by will, nothing is accomplished, nothing is learned. Only the nafs thrive.

    Ya Haqq!!

  8. Maliha says:

    It’s beautiful and true Mashaallah (I use the term beautiful/gorgeous/ etc for all your posts but they so apply!)

    I will do that from now on too! :)

  9. Abdur Rahman says:

    Salaams Irving bhai,

    Thank you for the compliment. All praise is due to Allah. The naff bits are mine.

    Have you got a source for the Don Juan thingy? I’d like to explore this a bit further, insha Allah.

    Abdur Rahman

  10. Baraka says:

    Salaam dear brother Irving,

    Subhan-Allah this is so true!

    We can bring intentionality and openness to our every act.

    We have so many homeless people here and while I don’t always feel comfortable giving out money, I love to feed people. I find that when I walk out of the house with the intention of finding someone to feed that day, someone will inevitably ask me for food instead of the usual change. it makes me very happy and aware of the nearness of Ar-Rahman.


  11. Sadiq says:

    Praise be unto Him only!

    thanks a thousand for this beautiful post on intention. indeed He looks not at our external appearance but at our heart where true intentions are found!

    may this post strengthen and inspire our life with pure intentions. may our Beloved Lord help us to have intentions according to His Divine Will.

    and many many thanks for remembering the request and mentioning this unworthy fakir.

    may peace and blessings be with you and to all who visit here.

  12. sf says:

    Salaams Brother Irving,

    How very inspiring are your humble and selfless actions for the sake of and in complete obedience of Allah(SWT)!

    May Allah(SWT) reward you in abundance for this wonderful and practical guidance. Ameen

  13. seeker94 says:

    Great advice, as usual.

    It really sounds so simple yet not easy to do. I’ve been trying this for some time already but I’ve still haven’t quite been able to make it a permanent part of my daily routine – in spite of the fact that I have a post-it on my front door to remind me. It usually takes less than 5 minutes outside my home for my brain to switch back to worldly and selfish thoughts.
    It usually works the other way round for me ie I will invariably meet someone nasty and I am forced to remind myself of Allah swt, to watch my actions (not retaliate) and try to control my thoughts (not to feel angry etc). Good deeds/tests come in all forms.


  14. […] Intention « Darvish Jump to Comments I know that most of my readers allready know The Darvish Blog, but for those of you who do not visit the blog regularly and for those of you who have not read The Dervish Blog, I send you off to read this beautiful post Intention « Darvish . […]

  15. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Brothers and Sisters:

    May Allah bless those who in kindness have linked to this post. Inshallah, it will inspire some. And to our Brother Seeker94, do not be disheartened if it takes some prractice to accomplish your intention. I have been a darvish for fifteen years, and still find it difficult. Fortunately, in my small town, the post office and grocery store are only a five minute walk away :) Yet the world intrudes as it will. With enough practice, and by the grace of Allah, the intention grows in strength.

    Ya Haqq!

  16. mystic says:

    I learned something important..,,,,thanks

  17. Prof. Rafiq Islam says:

    This first hadith (as reported in Bokhari) has been the most ignored hadith in the Eurocentric world. Every action begins with intention. By making the intention real, we can make sure the action will be real and lead to the path of a real end (originating with Al-Haq and ending with Al-Haq). In our recent book, Economics of Intangibles (Zatzman and Islam, 2007, Nova Science Publishers, NY) we have dedicated an entire chapter to the role of intention. Please let me know if you wish to get a copy. It is free for research. Salaam,

    Rafiq Islam

  18. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Prof. Islam:

    Thank you for the kind offer, I will contact you soon. As to the hadith, here is another commentary on it that I found very enlightening.

    Ya Haqq!

  19. yasmine says:

    What a beautiful post, brother Irving. Thank you so much for sharing this. A simple intention to do good and to be of service can spiral into something amazingly grand, if only we have the right, open mindset. I need to remember this more often.

    I like that you live so close to your post office and grocery store; I’m so used to driving back and forth everywhere, and I feel sometimes that cuts me off from the rest of the world, when in fact I love interacting with people on a more personal level. I love public transport for this reason, though my friends and family think I’m strange for saying so. =)

  20. sf says:

    Salaams Dear Brother Irving,
    Salaams Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Alhamdulillah!!! Brother Irving, your inspiring posts on ‘Zekr’ and ‘Intention’ have surely moved us all. So, inshaAllah, if we are ready to take the next step of practicing it in our daily lives, i have a very humble suggestion to make.

    Our dear Brother Sadiq has initiated the Zekr of ’99 Divinely Sublime Names of God’ series on his blog, on every odd date starting from the 31st Jan. Everyone is welcome to join the Zekr, only for the sake of the Almighty God.

    May God grant us the guidance and help attain nearness to Him. Ameen

    a request: Brother Irving, can you please add the link, sorry, i was unable to do so….thanks!

  21. musicalchef says:

    Thanks for the advice! It is definitely a good practice, and one i will try, insha’Allah!

  22. rama says:

    Many thanks dear Brother for sharing this simple but invaluable piece of wisdom, which can only lift its practitioners from the mundane to the Divine.



  23. Usma says:

    Jazakallah Khair for this brother Irving

  24. serenity says:

    What a glorious, wise post exemplifying devotion to Love. Thank you for pointing me to these words of depth and inspiration. I too practice every day the opening of my awareness to how I might be of service to any and all I encounter. It is amazing how many of these opportunities present themselves to us once we open our heart and Spirit to what is right in front of us.

    Peace be with you, new friend.

  25. din says:

    :-) YA HAQQQ!!!! :-) alhamdaulillah….

    jazkalalah khair for sharing..:-)

  26. rabia says:

    Good evening sir Irving, peace be upon you and the blessings of God

    How wonderful to find your blog on the internet by accident! After reading this article, I thought about my high school teachers who once advised me to go for the little deeds*. Of course at that time, I did want to change the whole world in one turn and certainly did not listen to this kind of well meant advise many people were eager to give me: change the world, start with yourself. May be this was because I assumed they were hypocrites. In fact, I was a big hypocrite myself.

    I am glad I didn’t listen at that time, because otherwise I my meanwhile exhausted and apathetic soul would never have come across sufism. This is true mercy. Alhamdoellilah.

    * Note that I do not mean that a lot of people on this world don’t need a big change in their life circumstances. The problem mentioned here is just that I, and especially I want(ed) to change the world personally, on my own account.

  27. love peace says:

    beauty-full! Huuuuu

  28. Rabu says:

    Alhamdulillah! it is a nice post. Great inspiration for me.

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