The Entirety of Faith is Deed
February 18, 2007 5 Comments
Taken from Ibn Rajab’s Explanation of al-Bukhârî’s Kitâb al-Îmân
18 – The chapter of whoever said, “Surely faith is ‘deed’,” due to Allah’s statement, exalted is He, «And that is the Paradise which you inherited because of what you used to do» (43:72). Regarding His, mighty and sublime is He, statement, «Thus by your Lord, We will certainly ask them all about what they used to do» (15:92), a number of the people of knowledge said [that] “[it is] concerning the statement: there is no god [worthy of worship] except Allah.” And He said, «For the likes of this, then let the doers do» (37:61).
Then he brought out the hadîth:
26 – [From] Abî Hurairah: that the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, was asked, “Which deed is most virtuous?” He said, «Faith in Allah and His messenger.» It was said, “Then what?” He said, «Jihâd in Allah’s path.» It was said, “Then what?” He said, «A validated Hajj.»
al-Bukhârî’s aim with this chapter is [to show] that the entirety of faith is ‘deed’; in contradiction to the statement of [those] who said, “Surely ‘deed’ is absolutely not [included] in faith.” For indeed faith’s root is attestation of the heart and what al-Bukhârî affirmed has preceded: that the heart’s attestation is an earning and a deed for it. This attestation is followed by the statement of the tongue. Here, al-Bukhârî’s aim is that it is also called ‘deed’. As for the deeds of the limbs, then there is no doubt in their inclusion in the name of ‘deed’ and there is no need to affirm that because no one differs in it. Thus, all of faith—according to what he affirmed—becomes ‘deed’.
The aim of this chapter is to affirm that the statement of the tongue is its deed; and he concluded that from His statement, exalted is He, «And that is the Paradise which you inherited because of what you used to do» (43:72) and His statement, «For the likes of this, then let the doers do» (37:61). It is known that entry [into] Paradise is certainly meritted by the attestation in the heart along with the testimony of the tongue. With them both, whoever is taken out from the People of the Fire is taken out, then entered into Paradise—just as mention of it preceded.
In a marfū' [narration] from Mu’âdh bin Jabal in al-Musnad is, «The key of Paradise is: [the testimony that] ‘there is no god [worthy of worship] except Allah’.» From a number of the people of knoweldge, al-Bukhârî mentioned that regarding His statement, exalted is He, «Thus by your Lord, We will certainly ask them all about what they used to do» (15:92), they said “[it is] concerning the statement: ‘there is no god [worthy of worship] except Allah’.” Thus they explained the ‘deed’ by the ‘statement’: the word of [Allah’s] unity. Ibn ‘Umar and Mujâhid are from those who this explanation was narrated from. Laith bin Abî Sulaim narrated it from Bashîr bin Nahîk, from Anas in marfū’ form. It was also narrated from him in marfū’ form, extracted and declared rare by at-Tirmidhî. ad-Dârqutnî said, “Laith is not strong and its being marfū’ is not correct.” Groups from the scholars and our companions such as Abî ‘Abdillah ibn Battah have differed in that and they took the ‘deed’ [mentioned] in these verses as [referring to] the deeds of the limbs, and from that, they concluded the inclusion of deeds into faith.
As for the hadîth of Abî Hurairah, then it indicates that [having] faith in Allah and His messenger is a deed, because he made it the most virtuous of deeds. What is obvious is that the two testimonies [of faith] along with the attestation of them is what is certainly intended by [the phrase] “faith in Allah and His messenger.” And due to this, it is mentioned in the hadîth, «Islam was built upon five: the testimony [that] there is no god [worthy of worship] except Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.» In a narration, he mentioned [the wording] “faith in Allah and His messenger” instead of “the two testimonies [of faith].” Thus it indicated that the intent of them both is one. And due to this, he attached jihâd, then Hajj, to this faith. Both are from what is included in the name of absolute faith. However, faith in Allah is more specific than absolute faith, thus what is obvious is certainly that the testimonies along with the attestation of them are intended by them both. So if the two testimonies were called a deed, it would indicate that the statement of the tongue is a deed.
A group from the Murji’ah had used to say [that] faith is ‘statement’ and ‘deed’—in agreement with the People of Hadîth. Then they would explain ‘deed’ with the ‘statement’ and they would say it is the tongue’s deed. Imam Ahmad had mentioned this statement from Shabâbah bin Siwâr, rebuked him for it and said, “It is the vilest of statements. I have not heard anone speak of it, nor has it reached me,” meaning that it is a heresy; no one ever said it from those who preceded. Perhaps his intent was to rebuke explaining the People of the Sunnah’s statement, “faith is statement and deed,” with this explanation (because it is a heresy and contains inadequacy and repetition since the deed, according to this, is the statement itself) and his intent was not rebuking that the statement be called a deed.
What does indicate rebuke of the inclusion of statements into the name of ‘deeds’, however, has been narrated from him. For in the narration of Abî Tâlib (regarding a man who divorced his wife once and intended three [divorces], some of them said, “He has his intention,” and used his statement, «deeds are by intentions» as proof), Ahmad said, “This does not resemble the deed. This is, however, the expression of the Murji’ah’s speech, [who] say the statement is a deed. It is not judged by the intention, nor is it from the deed.” This is [something] obvious regarding the rebuke of calling the statement ‘action’ in every situation and that is not included under his statement, «deeds are by intentions.» In the book as-Sunnah, Abū Bakr ‘Abdul-‘Azîz bin Ja’far mentioned similar to that.
This is not correct according to its generalization, because all of the expressions of divorce are statements, and the intention is taken into consideration for them. Like that are the expressions of the others and vows, and the intention is taken in consideration for them. The expressions of the sale contracts, the wedding, and others, are statements. And according to Ahmad, the intention has an influence on them just as the intention has an influence on the invalidity of the marriage of tahlîl, as well as the contracts making usury lawful. Ahmad had stipulated that whoever manumitted his slave girl and made her manumission her dower, that the intention is taken into consideration for it. Thus, if he intended her marriage and her manumission by that, they are contracted by this statement. Likewise the probable words of disbelief become disbelief by the intention. All of this indicates that statements are included among deeds, and the intention is taken into consideration for them. And concerning the mentioned issue of divorce, there are two narrations from Ahmad as well.
In his Kitâb at–Talâq, Abū ‘Ubaid al-Qâsim bin Sallâm brought up the inclusion of ‘statement’ in ‘deed’ and that the statements are included in his, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, statement, «deeds are by intentions.» And Abū ‘Ubaid’s place with respect to knowledge of the language of the Arabs is that which no scholar should be ignorant of.
The people have differed: if [someone] swore not to do a deed or perform an action, then made a statement, does he break [his oath] or not? And similarly, if he swore surely to do or perform [something], does he fulfill [his oath] by the statement or not? Qâdî Abū Ya’lâ mentioned a difference [of opinion] regarding that among the jurists. In his Kitâb al-Aimân, he mentioned that it is not fulfilled, nor is it broken in that [manner]. He understood it from the narration of Abî Tâlib from Ahmad (whose mention has preceded), and he concluded it from returning to the customary law regarding the oath; and the statement is not called a deed in the customary law. And because of this, ‘statement’ is frequently attacked to ‘deed’. So it indicates their differentiation in customary law and in usage. From the people are [those] who say that ‘statement’ is included in the name of ‘action’, but not included in the name of ‘deed’; and it is what Ibn al-Khashshâb an-Nahwî and others mentioned.
Calling the statement an action has been mentioned in the Qur’an in His statement, exalted is He, «And like that We made an enemy for every prophet, the devils of man and jinn, inspiring each other with embellished speech for deception. And if your Lord willed, they would not have done it» (6:112).
 [t] Ar. jihâd – struggle, endeavour (against something); fight, battle.
 [t] Ar. hajj – pilgrimage. It refers to the fifth pillar of Islam: the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah in Makkah during the month of Dhil-Hijjah.
 [t] Ar. marfū’ – raised. In Hadîth terminology it refers to a narration related by a Companion where he or she informs of something that Prophet Muhammad, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said or did. See Shaikh Ahmad Shâkir’s al-Bâ’ith al-Hathîth Sharh Ikhtisâr ‘Ulūm al-Hadîth, pg. 46 (Dâr al-Âthâr).
 al-Musnad (5/242).
 The narration of Ibn ‘Umar and Mujâhid was published by Ibn Jarîr at–Tabarî in his Tafsîr (14/46).
 Narrated by Ibn Jarîr in his Tafsîr (14/46).
 at-Tirmidhî (3126), Ibn Jarîr published it in his Tafsîr (14/46), also in marfū’ form.
 ad-Dâraqutnî in his ‘Ilal (4/ق 33-ب).
 [t] I.e., Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him.
 It has preceded; and it is hadîth no. 8 [of Sahîh al-Bukhârî].
 [t] Ar. al-îmân al-mutlaq – absolute faith. On pg. 25 of his book at-Tanbîhât al-Mutawâ’imah, Shaikh ‘Alî bin Hasan al-Halabî states, “Absolute faith is that which is perfect faith, i.e., complete … .”
 as-Sunnah by al-Khallâl (982), Ibn Taimiyyah mentioned it in Majmū’ al-Fatâwâ (7/255), and Ibn Hajar in his Tahdhîb (4/302).
 The word “on” (في) is not in [manuscript] ف and it is need in the sentence.
 [t] Ar. tahlîl – the act of making something lawful; resolution, dissolution. Ar. nikah at-tahlîl – lit. the marriage of resolution. It refers to the situation where a man marries a woman who has been divorced three times by her ex-husband with the intention of divorcing her in order to make her lawful for her ex-husband again; a woman who has been divorced by her husband three times is no longer lawful for him until she marries and divorces another man. See Qur’an 2:230.
 [t] Ar. fuqahâ’ (pl. of faqîh) – legist, jurisprudent, expert of fiqh (Islamic law, jurisprudence).
 as-Suyūtî has written a biography for him in Baghyah al-Wa’âh (2/29).
Source: al-Hanbalî, Zain ad-Dîn Abul-Faraj Ibn Rajab (prepared by Dâr al-Haramain’s Verification Division). Sharh Kitâb al-Îmân (taken from Ibn Rajab’s Fat•h al-Bârî Sharh Sahîh al-Bukhârî). Cairo: Dâr al-Haramain, 1998. pgs. 126-131.