Ibn Hajar on the Definition of Faith
November 4, 2007 12 Comments
Here’s an interesting quote I came across; may Allah reward the brother who directed me to it with good.
In explaining Imam al-Bukhârî’s statement, “It is statement (qawl) and action (fi’l), and it increases and decreases,” Hâfidh Ibn Hajar states (emphasis added),
His statement “It” i.e., faith, “is statement and action, and it increases and decreases,” and in al-Kushmîhanî’s narration [it is] “statement and deed (‘amal),” it is the mentioned wording from the Predecessors who applied that … . As for statement, then the intent of it is the utterance of the two testimonies. As for the deed, then the intent of it is what is more general from the deed of the heart and limbs. So the belief and the acts of worship are included.
The intent of those who included that in the definition of faith, [as well as] those who negated it, was certainly in view of what is with Allah, exalted is He. So the Predecessors said it is belief with the heart, utterance with the tongue, and deed with the pillars (i.e., the limbs), and they meant by that, that the deeds are a condition in its perfection. From here, the statement for them results in addition and subtraction, as will come.
The Murji’ah said it is belief and utterance only, the Karrâmiyyah said it is utterance only, while the Mu’tazilah said it is the deed, the utterance and the belief. The difference between them and the Predecessors is that they made the deeds a condition in its validity while the Predecessors made it a condition in its perfection. All of this, as we said, is in view of what is with Allah, exalted is He.
As for the view of what is with us, then faith is confirmation (iqrâr) only. So whoever confirmed [faith], the rulings are applied to him in the worldly [life] and he is not judged with disbelief except if an action that indicates his disbelief is connected with him, such as prostration to the idol. So if the action does not indicate disbelief, such as wickedness, then whoever faith is applied to, it is in view of his confirmation, and whoever faith is negated from, then it is in view of its perfection. Whoever disbelief is applied to, then it is in view that he did the action of the disbeliever, and whoever it is negated from, then it is in view of its reality; the Mu’tazilah established a median and said the wicked person is neither a believer or a disbeliever.
Source: al-‘Asqalânî, Ibn Hajar. Fat·h al-Bârî bi Sharh Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Cairo, Egypt: Dâr ar-Rayân lit-Turâth, 1987. vol. 1, pg.61.