The second Caliph of Islam, Umar Ibnul Khattab (RA) has reported the famous saying of the Prophet (SWAS): "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 God and His messenger, then his emigration was for God 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.
Two people might be doing the same actions throughout their lives, yet one will be rewarded and the other punished for them, due to their different intentions. Whatever we do in our life, let’s make our intention sincerely for the One True God. This will remove a lot of stress, misunderstandings, problems and false expectations from our lives. So if we do something good to our brother, we do not do it to expect a favour back or tell about it in our social circle, or remind the person later -- let’s do it for God alone.
Let’s put God first in our lives. So when we have a stable income, before buying that car, let’s travel to His house for pilgrimage. Before having children of our own, sponsor an orphan. Before building our house build a house of worship for His worship.
Whatever we are busy with at each stage of our life let’s dedicate it to God, whether it is studying, working professionally, marrying, having kids, serving parents, upholding ties of kin, friendship or spending wealth.
Let’s do it in a way that is foremost pleasing to Him. While choosing the career for our children, select one that is of service to the natural way of life. How many well to do parents intend to spend their savings on their children to become religious scholars? If we decide to migrate to a different land let’s do it primarily to bring its people back to the natural way of life.
If we dedicate ourselves to God, He will not forget us and will take care of our every need of this life in the best possible manner. And in the Hereafter we are promised a great reward, by His mercy.