What is the status of the following Hadith in Musnad Ahmad?
“Whomsoever intends doing a good deed, his heart is set on carrying it out and Allah Ta’ala is aware that he wants to carry it out, then Allah Ta’ala will record for him one good deed”
Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) has recorded the Hadith in question as you have stated, part of a lengthier narration, on the authority of Sayyiduna Khuraym ibn Fatik (radiyallahu ‘anhu). Hafiz Haythami (rahimahullah) has declared the narrators of Musnad Ahmad as reliable.
(Musnad Ahmad, vol. 4 pg. 322. Refer: Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 1 pg. 21)
Imam Ibn Hibban (rahimahullah) has declared the Hadith as authentic and Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has also recorded a similar narration in his Sahih on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anhuma)
(Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 6171, with slight variation in the wording. Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 6491)
The above narration explains that a person will be rewarded merely for having a firm intention to carry out a good deed, although he has not carried it out yet. When he carries it out, he will be rewarded tenfold as Allah Ta’ala mentions,
“Whosoever carries out a good deed, will receive ten times as much”
(Surah Al An’am, verse: 160)
The narration in Sahih Bukhari, which I have alluded to above, also affirms this explanation. Also see Fathul Bari, under Hadith: 6491
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar