Faith comprises words, deeds and intentions

17-10-2015 | IslamWeb


Assalamu Alaikum Shaykh. I am sending this question on behalf of some family members who state that they have a solid belief in Allah but who don't see a need or reason to follow all Quranic/Prophetic commandments. For example, they say that Islam is truly in their hearts and that they turn to Allah in gratitude and repentance with all humility, but when it comes to hijab, mixed get-togethers, music and movies, they just do what the world around them is doing. They say that in the western countries they live in, by doing all this, they are portraying a more positive image of Islam by not actually displaying their Islamic side in public whereas they fast, pray and perform their basic Islamic duties. They reason that it is enough to have belief and the right intention to do any action as they see fit and that nothing can harm them if these are in place. I don't think that this is right but when I advise them to base their actions on the Quranic and Prophetic prescriptions, rules and regulations, they say that if by not following that they are going to Hell, they leave it to Allah! How do I convince them that belief without right action as prescribed is not enough? May Allah reward you. Wassalam, Lisha.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Ahlus-Sunnah (the people of the Sunnah) agreed in a consensus that faith consists of words and deeds and that it increases by obedience and decreases by sins.

Imaam Ash-Shaafi'i  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “The consensus that reached us from the Companions and their followers is that faith is comprised by words, actions and intention; one of the three is not sufficient without the others.

Al-Baghawi said in Sharh As-Sunnah: “The Companions and their followers and the Sunni scholars who came after them all agreed that actions are part of faith... and they said that faith is words, actions and creed.

They have much evidence that actions are included in the term faith, among which is the saying of Allah (which means): {And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith} [Quran 2:143]; i.e. your prayer; Al-Haleemi said: “The interpreters of the Quran agree in a consensus that Allah means your prayer towards Jerusalem, so this confirms that the prayer is faith. Given that this is the case, then every act of obedience is faith because I do not know any difference of opinion about this terminology between prayer and other acts of worship.

Among the evidence from the Sunnah is the Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, said, “Faith consists of more than seventy branches, the best of which is saying 'La Ilaaha Illa Allah' (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah) and the lowest of which is the removal of something causing harm from the road, and bashfulness is a branch of Faith.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn Al-Qayyim said in Kitaab as-Salah (the Book of Prayer): “Faith is a principle that has several branches, and each branch is called faith: the prayer is part of faith as well as Zakat, Hajj, fasting, and hidden actions, such as bashfulness and relying on Allah…

Some deviated sects excluded actions from faith, as they say, “Sins do not harm if there is faith; likewise, an act of obedience does not benefit if there is kufr (disbelief).”

This is a false statement and it is refuted by the previous evidence. Daring to commit sins is not compatible with claiming that one has perfect faith. If a person disobeys Allah, then this is evidence of the weakness of his faith, so his faith decreases because of this sin. Allah looks at the heart and actions of a person. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or your wealth; rather, He looks at your hearts and actions.” [Muslim]

Al-Hassan Al-Basri  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Faith is not wishful thinking or an outward appearance; rather, it is what settles in the heart and is followed by action.

Indeed, you did well by being keen on guiding your family, so you should persist on this. You should be kind and lenient with them and clarify the truth to them in a gentle manner in light of what we have mentioned. We advise you to supplicate Allah to guide them and enable them to do whatever He likes and is pleased with.

Their claim that their purpose is to soften the hearts of non-Muslims to Islam through these methods that Islam does not approve of is baseless. Allah did not make sins a means for conveying His religion and spreading His Da’wah (proselytization). The people who may influence non-Muslims and encourage them to embrace Islam are those who are firm on the principles of Islam, not those who flatter non-Muslims at the expense of their own religion.

Allah Knows best.