Innamā ʾl-aʿmāl bi ʾn-niyyāt

One of the most famous traditions within the canonical Arabo-Islāmic collections is the tradition about actions being judged by their intentions. Contrary to common belief, this oft-quoted tradition has not reached the level of mass-transmission (tawātur) as defined by the post-300 AD traditionists. In fact, it has only one authentic chain of transmission (isnād): Yaḥyā b. Saʿīd al-Anṣārī ← Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Taymī ← ʿAlqama b. Waqqāṣ al-Laythī ← ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb ← Muḥammad. And this has been approved by several traditionists (muḥaddithūn) from the formative and late periods: thus ʿAlī b. al-Madīnī, al-Khaṭṭābī, Ibn Rajab, and al-Nawawī. The common-link (CL) of the tradition, as noted by Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī and G. H. A. Juynboll, is Yaḥyā b. Saʿīd al-Anṣārī, from whom, based on two opinions, 100 or 700 narrators reported. And amongst these huge numbers, we find these partial common-links (PCL): Mālik b. Anas, Sufyān ath-Thawrī, ʿAmr al-Awzāʿī, ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Mubārak, al-Layth b. Saʿd, Ḥammād b. Zayd, Shuʿba b. al-Ḥajjāj, Sufyān b. ʿUyayna, Yazīd b. Hārūn, ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, Ḥafṣ b. Ghiyāth, and Zuhayr b. Muḥammad. Thus, this tradition reaches the level of mass-transmission (tawātur) after the common link.







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