Just like good motives have good outcomes, most of what we achieve has to do with our intentions and motives. If a person has the wrong motive or the wrong intention, it can have an adverse effect on their own outcomes. The Qur’an mentions a story about this in surah Al-Qalam. There was a wealthy and pious man who had a massive orchard. He had a habit of allowing people to pick up the fruit that had fallen before the harvest. In other words, if there was fruit that had fallen from the trees, before harvest, he would allow people to pick up what was on the ground without charge and he would harvest that which was on the trees. So, when he passed away, he advised his sons to allow this to continue. The sons got together and said, “This is a lot of fruit that falls by itself. If we let the poor come and take it all, this is a huge loss. If we were to sell this food, we would make so much more profit.” They said, “How do we contend with this when people have made it a habit at every harvest?”
They reached the consensus that they would leave in the middle of the night and they would get there and collect all the fruit so that when the people came, they would find that there was nothing to pick up and they would leave and understand that it was no longer going to be a practice. These three brothers left in the middle of the night to salvage whatever they could and collect whatever they good before the poor and needy came. When they started walking, they felt as if they were going in circles, and they were not able to find their own farm. They tried and tried and said, “It looks like we are lost.” “How could we be lost? This is our own farm.” After some confusion and walking around in the dark in some time, they realized that they were, in fact, at their farm, but they did not recognize it anymore because there was not much of a farm left to look at.