Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Ajluni stated in his Kashf al-Khafa that this hadith was related by Tabarani, on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa`d al-Sa`idi, to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). It was also related by `Askari in al-Amthal; Bayhaqi, from Anas; `Askari as well, from al-Nawwas ibn Sam`an; Daylami from Abu Musa al-Ash`ari.
Ajluni then stated: [Sakhawi] said in al-Maqasid, “These chains, though individually weak, collectively strengthen the hadith. I have authored a tract on the transmission and meaning of this hadith.”
As for the meaning of this hadith, the scholars have nine different explanations of its meaning, all mentioned by Imam Ajluni. Among these is:
* The believer’s intention is better than the best of their works;
* Intention bereft of work is better than work bereft of intention.
And Allah alone gives success.
(Translated by Faraz Rabbani)
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