Certain philosophers have considered intention superior to action, for the goodwill is absolute light; it is purified and sanctified from the impurities of selfishness, of enmity, of deception. Now it may be that a man performs an action which in appearance is righteous, but which is dictated by covetousness. For example, a butcher rears a sheep and protects it; but this righteous action of the butcher is dictated by desire to derive profit, and the result of this care is the slaughter of the poor sheep. How many righteous actions are dictated by covetousness! But the goodwill is sanctified from such impurities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 302)
Every act ye meditate is as clear to Him as is that act when already accomplished.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 150)
Every spotless action, every sincere intent of ours will win the commendation of the True One, will be exalted and magnified by Him, and requited with a bounteous recompense.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 351-352)
For the intention, the power and the action, all the three essential elements are brought together and the realization of everything in the contingent world dependeth upon these three principles.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 691)