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On Eemaan, Ibaadah and Tawheed : Their Link and Interrelation.
  Lesson 1: Eemaan Consists of Speech and Action
Author: Abu Iyaad as-Salafi
Article ID : SCL010001  [44208]  
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All Praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds and Prayers and Peace upon His Messenger, Muhammad.

This lesson will help us to have a proper understanding of the definition and meaning of Eemaan. What is eemaan? How do we understand it? Etc.

"Eemaan consists of Speech and Action"

This is the saying of the Salaf regarding this topic, and this statement needs further clarification and explanation.

What is "Speech" and what is "Action"? What is meant by them? How did the Salaf explain this?

When we say eemaan is speech, we mean two things:

  • the speech of the heart

  • the speech of the tongue

When we say eemaan is action, we mean three things:

  • the actions of the heart

  • the actions of the tongue

  • the actions of the limbs

For this reason we find that the Scholars of the Salaf (such as Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah etc.) have statements similar to the following:

Eemaan is the speech of the heart and tongue, and the actions of the heart, tongue and limbs.

The following diagram should help us to see this more clearly:


We will now explain precisely what each one is:

As for the ‘speech’ aspect of eemaan:

The speech of the heart: This actually refers to the belief of the heart with respect to Allaah and the other pillars of eemaan (such as the Angels, Books, Messengers, Qadr, the Last Day etc.). In other words it refers to the knowledge that the heart contains and its firm belief in this knowledge. So this would include Tawheed and its two categories of Ruboobiyyah and Asmaa was-Sifaat because both of these are related to knowledge. (The other category of Tawheed, al-Uloohiyyah will come later under the ‘Action’ section).

The speech of the tongue: This refers to the tongue’s confirmation of what the heart contains. In other words the tongue professes what the heart contains. When a person says with his tongue; "I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone without any partners and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger" then he is confirming what is in his heart. So note how the ‘speech of the tongue’ still relates to knowledge.

As a summary of this first section on ‘Speech’, we should notice that it relates to knowledge and the specific details of faith such as having the correct belief in Allaah, His Tawheed and the matters of the Unseen, such as Hellfire, Paradise, the Bridge over Hellfire etc. and the hearts belief and conviction in these things.

As for the ‘action’ part of eemaan:

The actions of the heart: This refers to the various states and feelings of the heart such as love, fear, hope, sincerity, reliance, submission etc. So you should now realise that the heart is firstly, a place of knowledge and belief (and this is its speech as discussed above) and it is also a place for these feelings and emotions which actually constitute its worship (and these are known as the actions of the heart). You should also now realise how Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah comes under the ‘actions’ aspect of eemaan. Because these acts of worship should only be for Allaah and for no one else.

The actions of the tongue: This refers to things such as dhikr (remembrance of Allaah), enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, seeking forgiveness from Allaah, etc. This is because these are acts of worship which are performed by the tongue. Notice how this also relates to Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah because these actions should be for Allaah alone. And notice also, just like the heart, how the tongue has two roles; firstly, to affirm what is in the heart with respect to its belief, so the tongue says what is in the heart (i.e. its belief in Allaah etc.) and secondly to perform the various acts of worship which are specific to it such as remembrance of Allaah, enjoining good and forbidding evil, seeking forgiveness. So this is very similar to what we discussed for the ‘speech’ of the heart and the ‘actions’ of the heart.

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