The Soundness of Actions & Intentions

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In Ustadz Said Ukur Nursi’s (q.s.) “Treatise on Scrupulosity”, from “The Second Station of the Twenty-First Word,” as translated by Dr. Colin Turner, he said, “This is a scruple arising from searching for the best form of an action.  Supposing it to be fear of God, the more rigorous it becomes, the more severe the condition becomes for the person.  It even reaches the point that while searching for even better forms of action, he deviates into what is unlawful.  Sometimes searching for a sunnah makes him give up what is obligatory.  He says, ‘I wonder if my act was sound?’, and repeats it.  This state continues, and he falls into terrible despair.  Satan takes advantage of this state of his, and wounds him.  There are two cures for such a wound.

In the first cure, scruples like this are worthy of the Mu’tazilites, because they say, ‘Actions and things for which a person is responsible are either, of themselves and in regard to the Hereafter, good, and because of this good they were Commanded, or they are bad, and because they are bad they were Prohibited.  That means, from the point of view of reality and the Hereafter, the good and bad in things is dependent on the things themselves, and the Divine Command and Prohibition follows this.’

According to this school of thought, the following scruple arises in every action which a person performs, ‘I wonder if my action was performed in the good way that in essence it is?’  While the true school, the Sunni school, says, ‘Almighty God Orders a thing, then it becomes good.  He Prohibits a thing, then it becomes bad.’  That is, goodness becomes existent through Command, and badness through Prohibition.  They look to the awareness of the one who performs the action, and are established according to that.  And this good and bad is not in the apparent face which looks to this world, but in the face that looks to the Hereafter.

For example, you performed the prayers or took the ablutions and there was a cause that of itself would spoil them, but you were completely unaware of it.  Your prayers and ablutions, therefore, are both sound and acceptable.  However, the Mu’tazilites say, ‘In reality, it was bad and unsound.  But it may be accepted from you because you were ignorant and did not know, so you have an excuse.’  Therefore, according to the Sunni school, do not say about an action which is conformable with the externals of the shari’ah, ’I wonder if it was sound?’; do not have scruples about it.  Say, ‘Was it accepted?’; do not become proud and conceited!

Regarding the second cure; this is, there is no difficulty in religion.  Since the four schools of law are true; and since realising a fault which leads to the seeking of Forgiveness is preferable for the person afflicted with scruples to seeing actions as good, which leads to pride, that is, it is better if such a person sees his action as faulty and seeks Forgiveness, rather than considering it to be good and falling into pride; since it is thus, throw away your scruples and say to Satan, ‘This state is a difficulty.  It is difficult to be aware of the reality of things.  It is contrary to the ease in religion expressed by: There is no difficulty in religion.  It is contrary to the principle, religion is facility.  Certainly, such an action is conformable with a true school of law.  That is enough for me.  And at least by admitting my inability to perform the worship in a way worthy of it, it is a means of taking refuge with Divine Compassion through humbly beseeching Forgiveness, and to meekly supplicating that my faulty actions be Accepted.”


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