“Intentions of a man reflects in his actions.” ― Sukant Ratnakar
I've always wondered in the past, as to why some things turned out differently than I planned or that it did not have the desired effect that I envisioned? Sooo.. I asked the Wise Owl (as usual!). He told me that we, as human, can only plan but ultimately God decides the outcome and; everything boils down to 'intention'.
He said that God will give us what we want so be careful of what we ask for. If we do a certain act to get recognition from others, then that's exactly what we will get and only that. We might even end up feeling miserable after that. However, if we do something with the sole intention of pleasing God, then, not only will we get rewards for doing it but also the satisfaction for doing it.
Sometimes, it could be that we started out with the correct intention but somehow, somewhere along the way, external factors stepped in that made us lose focus. Our original intention got side-railed.
Therefore, before embarking on anything, double check our intention, to ensure it's correct. From time to time, re-check our intention to make sure it's still intact and has not morphed into something else. Then, leave everything to God.
Umar b. al-Khattab narrated that the Prophet (S) said: Deeds are [a result] only of the intentions [of the actor], and an individual is [rewarded] only according to that which he intends. Therefore, whosoever has emigrated for the sake of Allah and His messenger, then his emigration was for Allah and His messenger. Whosoever emigrated for the sake of worldly gain, or a woman [whom he desires] to marry, then his emigration is for the sake of that which [moved him] to emigrate." Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.
Oh....The Wise Owl also warned me to be careful as to not use intention as an excuse to justify a wrongdoing. Darn! There goes my arguments!
The Wise Owl said that although deeds are based on intention, a good intention can never justify sin. A common example is a 'white lie' or the Malays call it 'bohong sunat'.
Seriously....there is no such thing in Islam! A lie is still a lie, regardless. A sin is still a sin.
“Surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar, ungrateful.”
(Surah az-Zumar 39:3
So, what the Wise Owl is saying is, I think, in a nutshell, set your intentions straight, do not falter and do not use intention as an excuse. Sound simple enough eh?. Errrr...