Salim ibn ‘Abdullah radiAllahu ‘anhu wrote to `Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz giving him the following advice:
“Know that the aid of Allah subhanahu wa ta‘ala for His servants comes in relation to their intention. So whoever’s intention is complete, then the aid of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala for them will be complete. And the one whose intention is deficient, then the aid of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala for them will be less.”
Salim was from the scholars of his generation and was writing to the leader of the believers at that time. He was reminding ‘Umar, as a leader, that his intention was of prime importance. This is a core lesson for all who work for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. There are things that we will face in this work that will come close to overcoming us. We will face difficulties that we feel we cannot confront. In front of those difficulties, it is important that we always make sure that our hearts are constantly in the right place. It is with this realization that we will know we are not alone in our struggles, and that our struggles are not in vain. This is known and realized through the constant re-evaluation of our intentions.
The one who struggles in Islamic work should be checking their intentions in the beginning, middle, and end of what they are doing. It is through this constant analysis that we remain grounded in our purpose, and we find the strength that we need to continue.