Allah SWT will reward a person for what they intend and what they act upon. In the following hadith, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“[People] in this world are of four types:
1) A person to whom Allah grants wealth and knowledge, so he fears his Lord with regard to it, upholds his ties of kinship with it, and acknowledges the rights of Allah concerning it – he is of the highest status.
2) A person to whom Allah grants knowledge but He does not grant him wealth, so he is sincere in his intention and says: If I had wealth, I would do the same as So and so does. He will be rewarded according to his intention and their reward will be the same.
3) A person to whom Allah grants wealth, but He does not grant him knowledge, so he squanders his wealth without knowledge; he does not fear his Lord concerning it, he does not uphold his ties of kinship with it and he does not acknowledge the rights of Allah concerning it – he is of the worst status.
4) A person to whom Allah does not grant either wealth or knowledge, so he says: If I had wealth, I would do the same as So and so does. He will be requited according to his intention and their burden of sin will be the same.”
[Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah – Classed as saheeh by Sheikh Albaani]
“Their reward will be the same” refers to the reward which is the basic reward for actions, but not with regard to the multiplication of that reward. Multiplication of reward is only for the one who actually does the deed.
Allah SWT says in the Quran: “Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward” [an-Nisa’ 4:95]
Ibn ‘Abbaas and others said: Those who sit (at home), above whom those who strive hard are preferred in grades are those who have excuses, and those who sit (at home), above whom those who strive hard are preferred by a huge reward, are those who do not have excuses.
Furthermore, Allah SWT will reward you for what you intend as mentioned in Surah Baqrah:
“but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned”
In another hadith, the Prophet SAW said:
“Verily Allah has written down the good deeds and the evil deeds”, and then explained it [by saying]: “Whosoever intended to perform a good deed, but did not do it, then Allah writes it down with Himself as a complete good deed. And if he intended to perform it and did perform it, then Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds up to seven hundred fold, up to many times multiplied. And if he intended to perform an evil deed, but did not do it, then Allah writes it down with Himself as a complete good deed. And if he intended it [i.e., the evil deed] and then performed it, then Allah writes it down as one evil deed.”
[Reported by Bukhari & Muslim]
Therefore, always be sincere in your intentions when you wish to do a deed, so that you may receive the reward for it, even if you don’t get the chance to actually take action on it.
May Allah SWT make us from those who are sincere in faith ameen.