Knowing Piety & Sin

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Abu al-Layts Naswr ibn Muhammad as-Samarqandi (r.a.) wrote, in his Tanbih al-Ghafilin, that a man came to Sayyidatina ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr (r.a.) and asked, “When will I know that I am pious?” 

She replied, “When you realise that you are a sinner.” 

He asked again, “And when will I realise I am a sinner?” 

She replied, “When you think you are pious.” 

This pertains to tawhid al-af’al.  All acts Originate from Allah (s.w.t.) so the performance of good deeds is His, and only the intention is ours.  Therefore, when a person thinks that he is pious, he has committed minor shirk, and taken ownership of something that is not his.  And when a person thinks he is a sinner, he has admitted his poverty before the Generous and Merciful Lord.


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