إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّى"Your efforts and deeds are certainly diverse (different in aims)". [Surah al-Layl, 4]
The scholar As-Sa'dee (may Allaah have mercy on him), says in his commentary of this verse (see translation below):
أي: إن سعيكم أيها المكلفون لمتفاوت تفاوتا كثيًرا، وذلك بحسب تفاوت نفس الأعمال ومقدارها والنشاط فيها، وبحسب الغاية المقصودة بتلك الأعمال، هل هو وجه الله الأعلى الباقي؟ فيبقى السعي له ببقائه، وينتفع به صاحبه، أم هي غاية مضمحلة فانية، فيبطل السعي ببطلانها، ويضمحل باضمحلالها؟
The verse means: O those who are responsible (to keep your duty to Allaah)! Your efforts certainly differ from one another a great difference. And that includes even similar deeds according to their amount and the activity (of the person in performing them), and also according to the intention behind performing that deed; is it for the sake of Allaah, Who is the Eternal, so that the effort will not be lost and the person benefits from the deed? Or is it for the sake of some lowly mortal (creature), such that the deed will be null and void as soon as that creature (for whom it was intended) perishes?We should always think about this in order to purify our intentions in our deeds; if we are intending the pleasure and recognition of people (this behavior is known as Riyaa'), we should remind ourselves that all those creatures will some day die and our actions by which we intended their pleasure will also die and become null with their death. But if we are intending by our deeds the pleasure of Allaah, then it is Him only who does not perish, and our deeds shall remain and be rewarded by Him.
We ask Allaah for the purity of intention and the acceptance of deeds.