Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”
Many people claim that as long as one believes in his heart and acknowledges that Allah exists he truly believes. Others think that the most significant thing is to say the testimony of faith and you are a believer thus forgetting the most important part which is doing the good deeds that proves your true faith in the shahadah (testimony of faith).
Allah (Subhanu wa ta’la) told us this in many verses in the Qur’an, there is not a single verse that states that one believes only without performing the obligatory deeds mandated upon him. You will find for example; in surah Asr (Verse: 3) Allah says: “Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds…..” Also, in Surah Al-Anbiyaa (Verse: 94): “Whoever works any act of righteousness and has faith….” And in many similar verses you will find that Allah tells us that in order for us to truly have faith we must also do righteous deeds and no one can claim that he truly believes unless he performs the obligatory deeds that are mandated by Allah.
The scholars stated that faith is not merely a belief in the heart but also by statements by the tongue and the deeds of the physical body (i.e. actions or performance of good deeds).
(الإيمان أعتقاد وقول وعمل)
Even if we were to perform all the good deeds that one can imagine it’s still not sufficient for one blessing that Allah had given us in this world. It’s not by ones performance of deeds that would admit one to paradise, but rather by the Grace and Mercy of Allah that he accepted our good deeds that we performed in this world.
We as human beings are not infallible, we may fall into sins but the best of those who sin are those who purify there soul from the sins. As Allah (Subhanu wa ta’la) tells us: “And [there are] others who have acknowledged their sins. They had mixed a righteous deed with another that was bad. Perhaps Allah will turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (9:102)
The first step in purification of the soul is through performing the obligatory duties. If one fails to perform them or performs voluntary ones and neglects the mandatory duties then there is a shortcoming in obeying Allah’s commands and failing to perform the first step of purification of the soul – performing the mandated duties. The first category of obligatory duties is in the heart. This may include having pure intention, doing acts sincerely for the sake of Allah, loving Allah and fearing Him, putting ones trust in Him, etc. This is mandatory upon each individual to purify his heart from all impurities and he has no excuse for not doing so. Unlike the performance of physical acts one may be excused from not doing them in certain circumstances that may not allow him to perform them.
The second obligatory duty is the pillars of Islam, which play an important role in purifying ones heart. Other acts may include, being dutiful to ones parents, fulfilling the rights of ones brother upon him, taking part of obligatory Jihad, etc. While performing these entire obligatory acts one should abstain from doing evil or forbidden acts. It is very important, because those types of deeds (i.e. evil deeds) fill the heart with filth unlike the good deeds they fill it with goodness and purify it.
It is indeed a Mercy from Allah that he mandated upon us certain acts of worship which purify our hearts from stinginess, miserliness, arrogance, pride, impatience, envy, and many other types of diseases that ones heart may suffer from.
The third process of purifying ones soul is through the performance of voluntary deeds. Only after fulfilling all the obligations then one can move on to the voluntary deeds that bring one closer to Allah and bring about an immense reward. One can earn the love of Allah by the performance of these deeds (obligatory and voluntary) with sincere intentions and doing them purely for pleasure of Allah (Subhanu wa ta’la). Hence, being among the close friends of Allah and tasting the sweetness of faith. I ask Allah (Subhanu wa ta’la) to make us among them and purify our intentions from all evil. Ameen
Farid, Ahmad, comp. Purification of the Soul. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Al-Firdous. pdf. 1 Feb. 2013.