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Chapter 40. 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 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."


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