When is the Reward for the Niyyah that of the Action?
It has been reported in Saheeh Muslim Kitaab al-Imaarah no. 1911
Narrated by Aboo ‘Abdillah Jaabir bin ‘Abdillah al-Ansaaree radiyaAllahu anhuma said: We were with the Prophet (may Allahs peace and blessings be upon him) on a military campaign and he said “Verily there are a group of men in al-Madeenah, you do not travel a distance nor do you cross a valley except that they are with you.
And in a different narration
Except that they share with you in the reward [ajar]
Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen said – may Allah have mercy upon him – in the explanation of this hadeeth.
The meaning of the hadeeth is that if a human being makes an intention for a righteous deed but he is prevented from preforming this deed then it is written for him the reward of the intention.
But if he used to preform this righteous deed when there was no prevention i.e when he was able to preform it then afterward he suddenly was prevented from doing so then it is written for him the reward of the action in full [meaning it is as if he preformed the deed]
Because the Prophet said;
If the slave [of Allah] becomes ill or travels it will be written for him [the reward of] the deed he used to preform whilst in the state of good health and residence.
Saheeh Bukhaaree Kitaab-al-Jihaad was-Sayer no. 2996
So as for the one that is a seeker of goodness and eager for it, if it is from his habit to preform these righteous deeds but then he later on becomes prevented from doing so, then for him will be written the full reward.
Example: If it is from the habit of a person to pray with the Jamaa’ah in the Masjid but then is prevent from doing so, either due to sleep over taking him or illness or anything else of its like then it will be written for him the reward as if he actually did pray with the Jamaa’ah in the Masjid, the reward in full.
And similarly if it is from his habit to pray optional prayers but then later he is prevented from doing so, then the reward will be written for him as if he prayed.
And the same could be said regarding other good deeds.
But if it is not from the habit of the person to preform such righetous deeds then it will only be written for him the reward of his niyyah and not the action.
And the daleel for this is that the poor from amongst the sahaba radiyaAllahu anhum said:
O Messenger of Allah! The people of wealth have proceeded us in reward and the ever lasting bliss. The Prophet of Allah said ‘Shall I not inform you of a thing, if you do it you will reach the people that have proceeded you and no one will reach you except that they do the excat same deed? Then he said ‘Glorify Allah [tasbeeh] Magnify Allah [takbeer] Praise Allah [tahmeed] 33 times after every salah so they [the companions] did this and the rich amongst them got to know about this so they did as they did.
The poor sahaba came to the Messenger of Allah and said O Messenger of Allah! Our brothers from amongst the rich people heared about what we do so they do what we do! So the Prophet replied ‘That is the bounty of Allah which He bestows upon whomever He wishes’
Saheeh Bukhaaree Kitaab-al-Aathaan no. 843 and in Muslim, this wording is his, Kitaab al-Masaajid no. 595
And the Prophet did not tell them you have shared with them the reward of their actions but without a doubt they will get the reward of their niyyah of that particular action.
Because of this, the Prophet mentioned regarding the one that Allah grants wealth to and he spends it in khair and there is a poor man who says if only I had wealth like so and so then I would have spent it like he did, the Prophet said:
So he is according to his niyyah and they are both equal in reward
Reported by Tirmidhee Kitaab-al-Zuhd no.2325 and Ibn Maajah Kitaab-al-Zuhd no. 4228 And Tirmidhee said Hasan Saheeh
Meaning equal in the reward of the niyyah but as for the deed it will not be written for him unless it is from his habit to do it.