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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  [54835]  
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The actions of the limbs: And this refers to doing all the commanded things and keeping away from all the forbidden things. And this refers to the physical acts of worship, such as prayer, fasting, giving zakah, performing pilgrimage, removing something harmful from the floor, not stealing, not cheating, not backbiting, not disobeying parents etc. and the other acts which are physical in nature. Notice how the actions of the limbs are also related to Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah in that they should be performed for the sake of Allaah alone.

As a summary of this ‘Action’ aspect of eemaan, we should realise that it relates to the actual acts of worship, whether internal or external, of the heart, tongue or limbs.

At this stage we should, inshaa’allaah have a good understanding of the definition and meaning of eemaan. We should also be able to see how it relates to the three categories of Tawheed, two of which are related to ‘Knowledge and Belief’ and the third of which is related to ‘Actions’. For this reason Ibn al-Qayyim understood Tawheed to be of two types:

  • The Tawheed of Knowledge and Acquaintance (which would be both Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah and Asmaa was-Sifaat, because they are both knowledge-based)

  • The Tawheed of Purpose and Intent (which is Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah or Ibaadah because it is related to the sincerity of the actions, what is the reason and motive behind them, who are they done for etc.)

In other words, there is no contradiction when we say that some of the Salaf understood Tawheed to be of two types (like Ibn al-Qayyim) and others understood it to be of three types, because Ibn al-Qayyim simply combined two of the categories of Tawheed and made them into one category - so in essence it is the same understanding. If we go back and revise the diagram we showed earlier, we can include this point in it as well:


Important Note: Be aware that using the terminologies ‘Speech of the Heart’, ‘Speech of the Tongue’, ‘Actions of the Heart’ etc. is to help us to understand the solid principles and concepts that are found in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. And by using these terminologies we have not innovated any principle or concept into the religion. Rather these terms are simply identifying and labelling the actuals and principles and concepts found in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, to help us to understand them easily. So don’t be fooled by the meanderings of the foolish!

Now we will move onto another related issue to further increase our understanding.

If we have understood that eemaan consists of these five things (and that we cannot remove any one of them from the definition and understanding of eemaan), i.e.

  • the speech of the heart

  • the speech of the tongue

  • the actions of the heart

  • the actions of the tongue

  • the actions of the limbs

then we should realise that is possible for eemaan to "increase and decrease" and that for any Muslim or Believer, it will not remain constant. This is because, from year to year, or month to month, or week to week, or day to day, or hour to hour or even minute to minute, a persons strength of belief changes, his feelings of love, fear and hope decrease or increase, his level of sincerity to Allaah changes, how much he remembers Allaah, seeks his forgiveness or enjoins good and forbade evil changes, how perfect he performed his prayers, how many voluntary good deeds he did, all of this changes and therefore a persons eemaan will always be "increasing or decreasing." It will be increasing or decreasing for numerous reasons and factors. For example, a persons success or failure in facing the trials that Allaah has decreed for him A person’s persistence or abstinence from sins and other forbidden actions, and so on.

For this reason we will go back and revise our statement so it now becomes:


Eemaan Consists of Speech and Action, it increases with (acts of) obedience and it decreases with (acts of) disobedience

And this what the Salaf used to say.

Now we shall mention some proofs for all of this - and this is the way of the Salaf - to always mention the proofs and to stick to the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the Aathaar (sayings) of the Companions and of the two generations after them.

The Speech of the Heart:

Allaah said,

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