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Chapter 41. Definition Of Righteous Action

Righteous action is the doing of good (ihsaan, 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 (shari'a), and that is what is in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah of His Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Allah has informed us that whoever purifies his intentions for the sake of Allah, and practices ihsaan in his actions is deserving 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-Fadheel ibn 'iyaadh in relation to the meaning of Allah's statement: [That He might test you, which of you are best in action.] Quran 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'eed 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 is accepted unless it is in accordance with the sunnah. This statement has also been narrated from Al-Hassan Al-Basry 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 hold 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 (imaan) 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 (imaan) 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 eliminates 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 is not accepted except with its being in accordance with the sunnah, and the sunnah here means the shari'a (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 shari'a, i.e. which Allah has ordered is bid'a (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 associates, and the Christians and Jews.


Chapter 1

Enjoining Right: Our Prophet And Those Before Him

Chapter 2

This Nation Is The Best Nation For The People

Chapter 3

What Is Maruf (right) And Munkar (wrong)?

Chapter 3

Let Your Enjoining Of Good Be Itself Good

Chapter 4

Benefits Must Outweigh Negative Consequences

Chapter 5

Methodology Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong

Chapter 6

Pitfalls Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong

Chapter 7

Rebellion Against The Imam Of The Muslims

Chapter 8

The General Principle Of Enjoining And Forbidding

Chapter 9

It Is Obligatory To Measure All Things By The Criterion Of The Shariah

Chapter 10

The Love Of Good Should Be In Harmony With What Allah Loves

Chapter 11

The Love And Hate Of The Heart

Chapter 12

What Exactly Is Hawaa

Chapter 13

The Following Of Hawaa In The Previous Religions

Chapter 14

What A Person Loves And Hates Must Be In Accordance With The Order Of Allah And His Prophet

Chapter 15

What Are "good Works"?

Chapter 16

Action Is Not Possible Except With Knowledge And Understanding

Chapter 17

Compassion, Patience & Forbearance Are Required In Enjoining Right

Chapter 18

The Difficulty Of These Requirements

Chapter 19

Disobedience To Allah Causes Difficulty, Obedience Causes Ease

Chapter 20

Allah's Punishment Of The Previous Nations For Their Disobedience

Chapter 21

Punishment Of The Evil-doers In This World And The Next

Chapter 22

Promises And Threats Of Punishment Were The First Part Of Revelation

Chapter 23

Differences About Enjoining & Forbidding Are The Cause Of Division

Chapter 24

Sins Are Desired By Human Nature

Chapter 25

Greed Is The Cause Of Slipping Into Deviation

Chapter 26

Types Of Sins

Chapter 27

Success In Worldly Affairs Is By Justice

Chapter 28

Human Nature: Tyranny, Envy & Oppression

Chapter 29

Good Must Support Good As Bad Supports Bad

Chapter 30

The Severity Of The Test Causes Elevation Of Rank

Chapter 31

The Need For Certainty Of Belief

Chapter 32

Human Affairs Will Not Go Straight Except With Courage And Generosity

Chapter 33

A Return To Patience And Its Types

Chapter 34

The Forbiddance Of Transgressing The Bounds

Chapter 35

Fervour And Courage Which Is Praiseworthy

Chapter 36

Fear Of Falling Into Temptation As An Excuse For Neglecting Enjoining Right

Chapter 37

The Sons Of Adam Do Not Live Except In Societies

Chapter 38

Pure Intention To Please Allah Is Required In All Righteous Deeds

Chapter 39

The Meanings Of Islam

Chapter 40

The Meaning Of Submitting One's Face To Allah

Chapter 41

Definition Of Righteous Action

Chapter 42

The Meaning Of The "sunnah" In The Discourses Of The Salaf