Thursday, November 19, 2009

Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.5

Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong
Ibn Taimiyyah

52. Allah Does Not Accept Other than Islam from Anyone.

This is the general concept of Islam, other than which Allah will not accept from anyone. Allah said:

“Whosoever desires other than Islam as his way (deen) that will never be accepted from him, and, in the hereafter he is among those in abject loss.” [Al-‘Imran, 3:85]

“Allah bears witness that there is no deity other than Him, and the angels (also bear witness) and those having knowledge. He is complete in His justice. There is no deity but Him, the mighty, and the wise. Verily the (one and only) way in the sight of Allah is Islam (submission).” [Al-‘Imran 3:18-19]

53. The Meanings of Islam.

The concept of Islam contains two meanings. The first one is actively submitting to the order of Allah, and following, so the Muslim is not arrogant or proud. The second is absolute sincerity, as Allah said:

“... and a man fully owned by one.” [Az-Zumar, 39:29]

So, he is not divided between more than one, and this is when the slave surrenders himself fully to Allah, Lord of the worlds, as Allah said:

“And who turns away from the tradition of Ibrahim (i.e. tawhid) except for one who has immersed himself in foolishness. We have chosen him (i.e. Ibrahim) in this world, and he will be, in the hereafter, among the righteous. And when his Lord said to him: Submit, he said: I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds! And Ibrahim counselled his sons and so did Ya'qub with it (saying): Dear sons, verily Allah has chosen for you the way (deen), so beware lest you die except in the state of submission.” [Al-Baqarah, 2:130-132]

“Say: verily my Lord has guided me to a straight path. A way of right, the way of Ibrahim, who was of those pure in monotheism, and was not one of the associationists. Say: Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. He has no partner! With this I have been ordered, and I am the first of the Muslims.” [Qur'an 6:161-163]

The verb form derived from Islam (aslama) sometimes appears as an intransitive verb which acts through the preposition (li) "to", as in the above verses, and as in Allah's statement:

“And turn toward your Lord, and submit to Him before the punishment comes to you, and you are without help.” [Az-Zumar, 39:54]

“She (i.e. Bilqis, the queen of Sheba) said: I have oppressed myself! And I now submit along with Sulaiman to Allah, Lord of the worlds.” [Al-Naml, 27: 44]

“And so do they seek other than the deen of Allah?! And to Him everything in the heavens and the earth has submitted, willingly and unwillingly, and to Him they will return.” [Al-‘Imran, 3:83]

“Say, should we call on others besides Allah? Things that can neither benefit us nor harm us. And turn on our heels after Allah has guided us? Like the one who the shayateen (devils) have obsessed, wandering bewildered through the earth. He has friends who call him to "guidance" saying: Come to us. Say, verily guidance is the guidance of Allah, and we have been ordered to submit to the Lord of the worlds.” [Al-An’am, 6:71]

Other times the verb aslama (to submit) appears as a transitive verb (with "one's face" as the direct object) along with the concept of Ihsan (to do or make good), as in Allah's statement:

“They said: No one will enter paradise except for a Jew or a Christian. Those are their hopes. Say: Bring your proof, if you speak the truth. No! Whoever submits his face to Allah, and is a Muhsin (doer of good), his is a reward with his Lord, and there is no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve.” [Al-Baqarah, 2:111-112]

“And who is on a better way than the one who submits his face to Allah and is a doer of good, following the tradition of Ibrahim of pure tawhid (monotheism), and Allah took Ibrahim as a friend.” [An-Nisaa’, 4:125]

Allah has rejected the idea that there could be any deen (way or religion) which is better than this way. And it is the submission of one’s face to Allah along with the doing of good (Ihsan), and He informed us that everyone who submits his face to Allah and is a doer of good has his reward with Allah, and there will no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve. He established this inclusive concept, and this general question as a rebuttal to the imaginings of those who imagined that no one will enter paradise except one giving allegiance to Judaism or Christianity.

54. The Meaning of Submitting One's Face to Allah.

These last two concepts: the surrendering of one's face to Allah, and the doing of good are the same two requirements for the acceptance of one’s actions which were discussed earlier i.e. that the action be done in complete sincerity for the sake of Allah, and that it be correct, in accordance with the Sunnah and the syari'ah . This is because surrendering of one's face to Allah entails a will and an intention for the sake of Allah, as one poem says:

"Seek Allah's forgiveness for sins which you cannot even count.

Lord of (His) slaves, unto Him is (one's) face and (one's) action."

Four different words have been used here: submission of one's face, making straight or correct of one's face, and directing (literally: "facing") of one's face (i.e. to Allah), as in Allah's statements:

“And make your faces straight at every place of prostration” [Al-A’raf, 7:29]

“And straighten your face to the way as a pure monotheist; the natural way on which Allah has made mankind.” [Al-‘Imran, 30:30]

And as Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is quoted as saying:

“Indeed, I have directed my face to the one who originated the heavens and the earth as a pure monotheist, and I am not among the associationists.” [Al-An’am, 6:79]

The Prophet SAW used to say the same thing in the opening do’a (invocation) of his night prayer:

"I direct my face to the one who originated the heavens and the earth as a pure monotheist, and I am not among the associationists."

In the sahih hadith, Al-Baraa' Ibn 'Aazib narrated:

"The Prophet SAW taught me to say when going to bed: "O, Allah, I have surrendered myself to You, and directed my face toward you...."

The word for "face" in Arabic, wajah, can mean that which (who) directs itself (Al-Mutawajjih), and it can mean that which is directed toward or in the direction of (Al-Mutawajjih Ilaihi, or Al-Mutawajjih Nahwahu). As it is said: Which direction (wajah, literally: "face") do you want? i.e. which direction or side do you seek or intend to go? This is because these two concepts must go together, and are compliments. Wherever a person faces, his face also faces, and his face is a prerequisite of his "facing" something. This is the case both in internal and in external actions, and this makes four things (i.e. that which is directed and that which directs, each one internal and external). The internal is the origin, and the external is the completion, and the symbol. Thus, when one directs his heart toward something, his external "face" follows suit.

When the slave of Allah has as his intention and his desired goal to direct himself toward Allah, this is the righteousness of his will and his intention. If, at the same time, he is a doer of good, he has achieved the two traits: that his actions are righteousness, and he does not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone. (See Qur'an 18/110) This, again, is the meaning of the invocation of Umar, who used to say:

"O Allah, makes all of my actions righteous, and makes all of them purely for your Face, and do not make therein any share for anyone else."

55. Definition of Righteous Action.

Righteous action is the doing of good (Ihsan, which is a causative construction meaning to make something good), i.e. the doing of righteous deeds, and righteous deeds are those which Allah has ordered us to do. That which Allah has ordered us to do is that which he has put in the law (syari’ah), and that is what is in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah of His Prophet SAW. Allah has informed us that whoever purifies his intentions for the sake of Allah, and practices Ihsan in his actions deserves of reward and in safety from punishment.

For this reason, the imams of the salaf (the righteous first generations), used to combine these two concepts, as in the statement of Al-Fadhil ibn 'Iyadh in relation to the meaning of Allah's statement: “That He might test you, which of you are best in action” [Al-Mulk, 67:2], he said:

"The most sincere and the most correct." It was said to him: "O, father of Ali, what is the meaning of the most sincere (of actions) and the most correct?" He said: "Verily, any action, though it may be correct, which is not done with sincerity, is not accepted; if it is done with sincerity, but is not correct, it is also not accepted, unless and until it is both done with sincerity, and is correct. The sincere action is the one done purely for the sake of Allah, and the correct action is the one which is in accordance with the Sunnah.”

It has also been narrated by Ibn Shaaheen and Al-lalkaa'iy from Sa’id Ibn Jubair that he said:

"No statement is accepted without action. And no statement and action is accepted without (pure) intention. And no statement and action and intention are accepted unless it is in accordance with the Sunnah. This statement has also been narrated from Al-Hassan Al-Basri who used the word "is not valid" instead of "is not accepted".

In this is a rejection of the position of the sect called the Murji’a, who holds that mere verbal statement (i.e. the profession of faith) is sufficient. Rather, he informs us that statement and action are both necessary, since faith (iman) is: profession and action. Both are necessary, as we have explained at length elsewhere. And we have explained that mere "belief" of the heart, and the pronunciation of the tongue, along with the presence of loathing for Allah and His laws, and arrogance in front of Allah and His laws, cannot be called faith ( iman ) by the consensus of the believers - not until this "belief" is joined by righteous action. The origin of action is the action of the heart, and that is its love, and its overwhelming respect and humility which eliminate loathing and arrogance.

Then, they went on to say: Statement and action is not accepted except with correct intention. This is clear: statement and action which is not undertaken purely for the sake of Allah is not accepted by Allah.

Then, they went on to say: Statement and action and intention are not accepted except with its being in accordance with the Sunnah, and the Sunnah here means the syari’ah (law). And that is what Allah and His Prophet have ordered. Statement, action, and intention which is not enjoined by the Sunnah , enjoined by the syari’ah , i.e. which Allah has ordered is bid'ah (innovation), and all innovation is going astray, and is not of that which Allah loves, so Allah does not accept it, and it is not valid. Examples are the actions of the associationists, and the Christians and Jews.

56. The Meaning of The "Sunnah" In The Discourses Of The Salaf.

The word "Sunnah" in the discourse of the salaf (the righteous first generations), is used to mean the "Sunnah" (i.e. tradition or way of the Prophet) in acts of worship, and in beliefs, though many of those who wrote about the Sunnah mean by that discussions of belief. An example is the statement of Ibn Masud, Ubayy ibn Ka'ab, and Abi Ad-Darda' (May Allah be pleased with them) who said:

"A modest effort in something which is Sunnah is preferable to exertion in something which is bid’ah. (Innovation)"

And Allah is the All-Knowing. All praise is to Allah alone. Peace and salutations of Allah be upon Muhammad, and upon the people of Muhammad, and his companions.
Ibn Taimiyyah, Enjoining Right and Forbidding Wrong; Reproduced from the original text by Mawhuub ibn Ahmad ibn Hilal As-Salahi Al-Hanbali, at the end of the year 840 A.H in the Islamic school of “Al-Madrasah Al-Jauzia" in Damascus; translated by Salim Morgan ; Published in

See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.1
See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.2
See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.3
See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.4

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