Three Kinds of Actions for the Servant

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from the Purification of the Soul, compiled from the works of Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (r.a.), Imam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) and Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (r.a.).

There are three kinds of actions that the servant has:  First, the acts of obedience which Allah (s.w.t.) has Commanded His servants to do since He has Made them the means for rescuing them from the Fire and their entering the Garden.  These must be done, while at the same time, still relying on Allah (s.w.t.) when doing them and seeking this outcome, for there is no strength and no power except from Him.  Whatever He Wishes to be has already happened, and whatever He Wishes not to be will never happen.  Whoever does not fulfill one of the duties which have been imposed on him by Allah (s.w.t.) deserves to be Punished in this life and in the next life in accordance with the shari’ah and as Decreed by Allah (s.w.t.).

Shaykh Yusuf ibn Asbat (r.a.) said, “Do what you do like a man who can only be saved by his actions, and rely completely on Allah like a man who can only be afflicted by the afflictions that have already been Decreed for him.”

Second, the actions which Allah (s.w.t.) has Made a part of life in this world, and in which He has Told His servants to take part such as eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty, seeking shade in the heat, keeping warm in cold weather, and other such things.  Being involved in such actions is also a duty.  Whoever does not do so, to the extent that he does himself harm by abandoning them, even though he was perfectly capable of doing them, has been negligent and deserves punishment.

Third, the actions which Allah (s.w.t.) has Made a part of life in general, without their being essential.  Allah (s.w.t.) can Make exceptions for whomever of His servants He Chooses.  There are several kinds of these actions.  One of which is taking medicine.  The ‘ulama have given varying answers to the following question: Is it better for a sick person to take medicine or, in the case of those who rely completely on Allah (s.w.t.), to abstain from taking it?

There are two better known answers to this question.  Imam Ahmad (r.a.) said that reliance on Allah (s.w.t.) for the one who has it is better.  The imam cited the saying of the Prophet (s.a.w.), “Seventy thousand people of my ummah will enter the Garden without being taken to account or being punished.  They are the ones who do not make talismans, or seek them, or look for omens, or treat their body by burning, and who completely rely on their Lord.”

Those ‘ulama who approve of taking medicine say that the Prophet (s.a.w.) used to take it, and he only did what was best; and that the above hadits only applies to the use of talismans, which are rightly regarded with suspicion because they can lead to reliance on other than Allah (s.w.t.), and which are accordingly equated with looking for omens and treatment by burning.

Imam Mujahid ibn Jabr (r.a.), Imam ‘lkrimah mawla ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), Imam an-Nakha’i (r.a.) and several of the pious predecessors said, “No one has been given permission to totally abandon trying to use the ways and means of this world for treating his afflictions, except one whose heart has altogether ceased to relate to the Creation.”

Imam lshaq ibn Rahwayh (r.a.), the imam of the ‘ulama of Khurasan, was asked, “Can a man engage in warfare without making any preparation for it?”

He answered, “He can, if he is like ‘Abdullah ibn Jubayr - otherwise he cannot.”


  1. Asalamu alaikum,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, do visit and leave some wise words..Tabdhir - The prohibition of spending wastefully is the latest posting.

    Take Care


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to share our thoughts. Once approved, your comments will be posted.

Popular posts from this blog

In Saudi Arabia, Mawlid is Bid'ah, the King's Birthday is Fine

Singapore Bans Ismail Menk from Entry

Some Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in Art