Notes on Perfecting One’s Deeds and their Acceptance: ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali made the following beneficial points in one of his smaller monographic work:

وكان السلف يوصون بإتقان العمل وتحسينه دون مجرد الإكثار منه ، فإن العمل القليل مع التحسين والإتقان أفضل من الكثير مع عدم الإتقان ، قال بعض السلف : < إن الرجلين ليقومان في الصفّ بين الصلاتيهما كما بين السماء والارض ، كم بين من تصعد صلاته لها نور وبرهان كبرهان الشمس ، وتقول : حفظك الله كما حفظتني ، وبين من تلفّ صلاته كما يلفّ الثوب الخلق ويضرب بها وجه صاحبها ، وتقول : ضيعك الله كما ضيعتني > . ـ

The salaf used to advise one another to perfect their deeds and to beautify them rather than merely performing an abundance of them. For surely a small amount of deeds performed excellently and perfected is more virtuous than a large amount done without excellent performance. One of the salaf said:

Two men might stand to pray in the same row while the difference between their two prayers is as great as the distance between the heavens and the earth, such that one’s prayer will raise him up in honor with light and a proof like the sun for him and it will say, “Allah will preserve you just as you preserved me.” And such that the other’s prayer will envelope him just as a garment envelopes the body and strike him on the face and say, “Allah will neglect you just as you neglected me.”

ولهذا قال ابن عباس وغيره : < صلاة ركعتين في تفكر خير من قيام ليلة والقلب ساه > . ـ

And in this regard, ibn ‘Abbaas and others said, “Two raka’a of prayer with deep thought is better than standing the entire night in prayer with an inattentive heart.”

قال بعض السلف : < لا يقلّ العمل مع تقوى ؛ وكيف يقل ما يتقيل ؟ > يشير إلى قوله تعالى : < إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ > ، ولهذا قال من قال من الصحابة : لو علمت بأن الله قبل مني ركعتين كان أحب إلي من كذا وكذا ، فمن اتقى الله في العمل قبله منه ، ومن لم يتقه لم يقبله منه . ـ

One of the salaf said, “There is no belittling of good deeds done with taqwa, for how can one belittle that which is accepted?” And he pointed towards Allah’s statement:

إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Allah only accepts from those who exercise taqwa [5:27]

So, because of this, some of the sahaabah said, “If I were to know that Allah accepted a single two raka’a prayer from me, that would be more beloved to me than such-and-such else.” For whoever exercises taqwa of Allah in regards to his deeds, then Allah will accept them from him, and whoever does not have taqwa of him, then He will not accept them from him.

والتقوى في العمل : أن يأتي به على وجه إكمال واجباته الظاهرة والباطنة ، وإن ارتقى إلى الاتيان بآدابه وفضائله كان أكمال . ـ

And al-taqwa in regards to deeds is to perform one’s obligatory deeds with taqwa in an excellent manner – both outwardly and inwardly, and if you can rise up to performing them with their proper etiquettes and merits, then that is even more complete.

والقبول هنا يراد به : الرضا بالعمل ، والمدح لعامله ، والثناء عليه ، في الملأ الاعلى ،  ومباهاة الملائكة . ـ

 And what is intended by ‘acceptance’ here is [Allah’s] pleasure with the deed, and commendation of its doer, and praise of him in the highest gathering and the discussion of the angels [concerning it].

وقد يراد بالقبول : الثواب على العمل ، وإن لم يرض به ولم يمدح عامله ، فيجازى عليه بأنواع من الجزاء ، فضلا من الله وإحسانا ، وإن لم يرض عن عامله . ـ

Or it could be that what is intended by ‘acceptance’ is reward for one’s deeds, even if He is not pleased with it and does not commend its doer, but still He rewards him with some form of reward as a bounty from Allah and a form of magnanimity even if He is not pleased with its doer.

[Majmoo’ al-Rasaa’il li-Ibn Rajab 1/352-353]

See also: The Importance of Pure Intention: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: The story of the two sons of Adam: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Which is more virtuous: reading a small amount of the Qur’an with tarteel and contemplation, or a large amount quickly? – Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: Three Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: “Be more concerned about the acceptance of deeds than the deeds themselves”

See also: Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

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6 thoughts on “Notes on Perfecting One’s Deeds and their Acceptance: ibn Rajab

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Pure Intention: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The story of the two sons of Adam: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: “Be more concerned about the acceptance of deeds than the deeds themselves” | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Three Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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