Priority: A, Quality: b

Niyya

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Niyya (Arabic: نیّة) means the intention and determination to do something. According to hadiths, the value of any deed is determined by the "niyya" of the doer of it. In hadiths, niyya is introduced as the base and foundation of any act and the deeds as the fruits of it. In addition, the Muslims are advised to have pure and sincere intentions, while the corrupted and insincere intentions are introduced as the cause of disappearance of blessings and suffering calamities and troubles. According to Shi'a jurists, niyya is necessary in acts of worship, and it is one of the rukns of salat. However, it is not necessary to express niyya verbally.

Meaning

Literally, niyya means "intention", "will", "determination" or "thought".[1] Technically, it means the intention and determination that lead a person to an action.[2] It is quoted from al-Shaykh al-Tusi that niyya is the intention of doing an action and it is mediator between knowledge and practice.[3] Misbah Yazdi defined niyya as "the optional and deliberate motivation for performing actions".[4]

Importance

According to hadiths, every deed is evaluated based on the niyya and the motivation of its doer.[5] In addition, insincere niyya cause the invalidation of deeds, while sincere ones and those that include the proximity to God causes the perfection of deeds.[6] As it is stated in a famous hadith, human's deeds depend on the intentions.[7] In numerous hadiths, the Imams (a) have emphasized the importance of pure and sincere niyya and introduced the corrupted and insincere niyya as the cause of disappearance of blessings and suffering calamities and troubles.[8]

Comparing between niyya and practice, some hadiths have introduced niyya as the foundation of practice, superior to it[9] and the deeds were counted as the fruits of niyyas.[10] It is also mentioned that a niyya will receive the divine reward even without any practice.[11] As it is narrated from Imam Ali (a), the deeds of humans have different levels and degrees; it is niyya that determines the value of an act of worship or a moral conduct.[12]

In Ethics, intention is introduced as the base of moral value and the origin of goodness and badness of human's deed.[13] Ethics scholars believe that Tajarri or the intention of committing sin (without putting it into practice) is unaccepted morally,[14] although it is not haram jurisprudentially.[15]

Niyya in Worship

Niyya accompanied by the intention of proximity to God is necessary and wajib for al-wajib al-ta'bbudi (compulsory acts of worship, such as: wudu, salat, sawm, hajj).[16] One of the conditions of validity of acts of worship in faqih's opinion is niyya before beginning the act and also the continuation of niyya during the act until the end of it.[17] According to their viewpoint, niyya is mental issue and it need not be expressed verbally.[18] Along with ruku', sajda, takbirat al-ihram and qiyam, niyya is a rukn (essential part) of salat.[19] Islamic scholars believe that having the intention of proximity to God while doing Mubah (regular, not having special ruling) actions will change them to mustahab deeds, which will receive divine reward.[20]

Notes

  1. Dihkhudā, Farhang-i lughat, Under the word «نیت».
  2. Khomeini, Ādāb al-ṣalāt, p. 56.
  3. Mishkīnī, Darshā-yi akhlāq, p. 64.
  4. Miṣbāḥ Yazdī, Kalimat ḥawl falsafat al-akhlāq, p. 31.
  5. Riyshahrī, Muntakhab mīzān al-ḥikma, vol. 1, p. 579.
  6. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa, vol. 1, p. 51.
  7. Ṭūsī, Tahdhīb al-aḥkām, p. 84.
  8. Riyshahrī, Muntakhab mīzān al-ḥikma, vol. 1, p. 579.
  9. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 134.
  10. Riyshahrī, Muntakhab mīzān al-ḥikma, vol. 1, p. 579.
  11. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa, vol. 1, p. 52.
  12. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa, vol. 1, p. 63.
  13. Ārānī, "Jāyigāh-i nīyyat dar tafāwut-i bunyādīn-i fiqh wa akhlāq", p. 166.
  14. Ṭabāṭabāyī al-Yazdī, Ḥāshīyat al-makāsib, vol. 1, p. 34.
  15. Ṭabāṭabāyī al-Yazdī, Ḥāshīyat al-makāsib, vol. 1, p. 34.
  16. Hāshimī Shāhrūdī, Farhang-i fiqh, vol. 2, p. 520.
  17. Farhangnāma-yi uṣūl al-fiqh, vol. 1, p. 435.
  18. Tawḍīḥ al-masāʾil, p. 265.
  19. Hāshimī Shāhrūdī, Farhang-i fiqh, vol. 4, p. 127.
  20. Shaʿbānī, "Naqsh-i nīyyat dar fiʿl", p. 55.

References

  • Ārānī, Maḥmūd. 1390 Sh. Jāyigāh-i nīyyat dar tafāwut-i bunyādīn-i fiqh wa akhlāq. Faṣlnāma-yi Pazhūhishnāma-yi Akhlāq 11:159-175.
  • Dihkhudā, ʿAlī Akbar. Farhang-i lughat. Tehran: Muʾassisa-yi Lughatnāma-yi Dihkhudā, 1341 Sh.
  • Group of authors. Farhangnāma-yi uṣūl al-fiqh. Qom: Pazhūhishgāh-i ʿUlūm wa Farhang-i Islāmī, 1389 Sh.
  • Hāshimī Shāhrūdī, Sayyid Maḥmūd. Farhang-i fiqh muṭābiq madhhab-i Ahl al-Bayt. Qom: Markaz Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Fiqh al-Islāmī, 1382 Sh.
  • Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa. Qom: Āl al-Bayt, 1409 AH.
  • Khomeini, Rūḥullāh. Ādāb al-ṣalāt. Tehran: Muʾassisa-yi Chāp wa Nashr-i Āthār-i Imām Khomeini, 1374 Sh.
  • Kulaynī, Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-. Al-Kāfī. Translated to Farsi by Sayyid Jawād Muṣṭafawī. Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-yi ʿIlmīyya al-Islāmīyya, 1369 Sh.
  • Miṣbāḥ Yazdī, Muḥammad Taqī. Kalimat ḥawl falsafat al-akhlāq. Qom: Intishārāt-i Dar Rāh-i Ḥaqq, [n.d].
  • Mishkīnī, ʿAlī. Darshā-yi akhlāq. Translated to Farsi by ʿAlī Riḍā Fayḍ. Qom: Pārsīyān, 1380 Sh.
  • Riyshahrī, Muḥammad. Muntakhab mīzān al-ḥikma. Translated to Farsi by Ḥamīd Riḍā Shaykhī. Qom: Dār al-Ḥadīth, 1389 Sh.
  • Shaʿbānī, Awlīyāʾ. 1389 Sh. Naqsh-i nīyyat dar fiʿl wa hadaf-i akhlāqī. Majalla-yi Rāh-i tarbīyat 11:37-72.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī al-Yazdī, Muḥammad Kāẓim al-. Ḥāshīyat al-makāsib. Qom: Nashr-i Ismāʾīlīyān, 1421 AH.
  • Tawḍīḥ al-masāʾil. Qom: Intishārāt-i Tafakkūr, 1372 Sh.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Tahdhīb al-aḥkām. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1365 Sh.