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 shari'a. 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] Quran 7/29
[And straighten your face to the way as a pure monotheist; the natural way on which Allah has made mankind.] Quran 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 associates.] Quran 6/79
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to say the same thing in the opening du'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 associates."
In the sahih hadith, Al-Baraa' ibn 'aazib narrated: "The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) 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, wajh, can mean that which (who) directs itself (Al- Mutawajjih), and it can mean that which is directed toward or in the direction of (Al- Mutawajjah Ilaihi, or Al-Mutawajjah Nahwahu). As it is said: Which direction (wajh, 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 Quran 18/110) This, again, is the meaning of the invocation of Umar, who used to say:
"O Allah, make all of my actions righteous, and make all of them purely for your Face, and do not make therein any share for anyone else."
Enjoining Right: Our Prophet And Those Before Him
This Nation Is The Best Nation For The People
What Is Maruf (right) And Munkar (wrong)?
Let Your Enjoining Of Good Be Itself Good
Benefits Must Outweigh Negative Consequences
Methodology Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong
Pitfalls Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong
Rebellion Against The Imam Of The Muslims
The General Principle Of Enjoining And Forbidding
It Is Obligatory To Measure All Things By The Criterion Of The Shariah
The Love Of Good Should Be In Harmony With What Allah Loves
The Love And Hate Of The Heart
What Exactly Is Hawaa
The Following Of Hawaa In The Previous Religions
What A Person Loves And Hates Must Be In Accordance With The Order Of Allah And His Prophet
What Are "good Works"?
Action Is Not Possible Except With Knowledge And Understanding
Compassion, Patience & Forbearance Are Required In Enjoining Right
The Difficulty Of These Requirements
Disobedience To Allah Causes Difficulty, Obedience Causes Ease
Allah's Punishment Of The Previous Nations For Their Disobedience
Punishment Of The Evil-doers In This World And The Next
Promises And Threats Of Punishment Were The First Part Of Revelation
Differences About Enjoining & Forbidding Are The Cause Of Division
Sins Are Desired By Human Nature
Greed Is The Cause Of Slipping Into Deviation
Types Of Sins
Success In Worldly Affairs Is By Justice
Human Nature: Tyranny, Envy & Oppression
Good Must Support Good As Bad Supports Bad
The Severity Of The Test Causes Elevation Of Rank
The Need For Certainty Of Belief
Human Affairs Will Not Go Straight Except With Courage And Generosity
A Return To Patience And Its Types
The Forbiddance Of Transgressing The Bounds
Fervour And Courage Which Is Praiseworthy
Fear Of Falling Into Temptation As An Excuse For Neglecting Enjoining Right
The Sons Of Adam Do Not Live Except In Societies
Pure Intention To Please Allah Is Required In All Righteous Deeds
The Meanings Of Islam
The Meaning Of Submitting One's Face To Allah
Definition Of Righteous Action
The Meaning Of The "sunnah" In The Discourses Of The Salaf