Abū ‘Ubaid al-Qâsim bin Sallâm on Faith
November 5, 2007 1 Comment
Another statement I translated a few years ago, edited and posted for your benefit.
In his Kitâb al-Îmân, Imam Abū ‘Ubaid al-Qâsim bin Sallâm, may Allah have mercy on him, explained:
And thus, faith is degrees and ranks, even if its people call it one name. Certainly it is a deed from the deeds Allah subjected His servants with and made incumbent upon their limbs. He made its root in the heart’s cognition, then He made the speech a witness over it, then the deeds an attestation for it. And certainly, Allah gave every limb a deed that He did not give to the other. Thus the heart’s deed is the belief, the tongue’s deed is the statement, the hand’s deed is the receiving, the leg’s deed is the walking, and the name “deed” sums them all up. Thus faith, according to this understanding, all of it is certainly built upon the deed, from its beginning to its end, except that it contends for precedence in degrees according to what we described.
Those who opposed us claimed that the statement is without the deed. So according to us, this is contradictory because if they made it [i.e., faith] statement then they have affirmed that it is deed and they are not aware of what I informed you of from the imaginary cause in naming the actions of the limbs as a deed with the Arabs.
Its attestation is in the interpretation of the Book regarding the deed of the heart and tongue. Allah’s statment regarding the heart, «Except whoever is forced while his heart is secure with faith» (16:106). He said, «If you both turn in repentance to Allah, for both your hearts have bent» (66:4). And He said, «Those when Allah is mentioned, their hearts cower» (22:35). Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said, «Surely, in the body there certainly is a small chunk of meat. If it is made good, then the rest of the body is made good; and it is the heart.» And if the heart was secure one time, and it bends another, cowers a third, then righteousness and corruption exists from it, then which deed is more than this? Then whereas we mentioned His statement, «And they say amongst themselves: will not Allah punish us because of what we say?» (58:8). So this is what is regarding the heart’s deed.
As for the tongue’s deed, then is His statement, «They conceal from the people and they cannot conceal from Allah. He is with them when they contrived what He is not pleased with of the statement. and Allah is Encompassing of what you do» (4:108). So He mentioned the statement, then He named it action. Then He said, «And if they deny you then say, “I have my deed and you have your deed. You are free of what I do and I am free of what you do.”» (10:41). Was the deed of Allah’s messenger with them [anything] but his calling them to Allah and their rejection of him his statement of denial, while here he had called it a deed? And He said in a third place, «A speaker from them said, “Surely, I had a companion who says, ‘Are you certainly from those who attest?’”» until, «for the likes of this, then let the doers do» (37:51-61). So, is attestation except by the statement and He has made its companion [i.e., the speaker] here a doer?! Then He said, «Work, O family of Dâwud, out of thanks» (34:13). So, most of what the people know of thanks is praise and appreciation with the tongue, even though the compensation may be called thanks.
Thus all of this that we interpreted, it is certainly according to the literal [meaning] of the Qur’an and what we find the people of knowledge interpreting, and Allah is more knowledgeable of what He intended.
Source: Bin Sallâm, Abū ‘Ubaid al-Qâsim (with verification by Muhammad Nâsir ad-Dîn al-Albânî). Kitâb al-Îmân wa Ma’âlimih wa Sunanih wastikmâlih wa Darajâtih. Beirut, Lebanon: al-Maktab al-Islâmî, 1983. pgs. 28-29.