Hadith 26

Chapter: Those who say that belief lies in actions in accordance with the words of Allah, “That is the Garden (paradise) you will inherit for what you used to do.” (43:72)

Some of the people of knowledge said that the words of Allah, “By your Lord, We will certainly question them all, about what that they used to do!” (15:92-93) concern, “There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah.”  (i.e. they will be questioned about tawheed) He says:  “It is for the like of this (reward) that all workers should work!” (37:61)

Ahmad Ibn Yunus and Musa Ibn Isma’eel said that Ibrahim Ibn Sa’d narrated from Ibn Shihab from Sa’eed Ibn Al-Musayyab from Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah was asked, “What action is best?” He replied, “Belief in Allah and His Messenger.” He was asked, “Then what?” He replied, “Jihad in the way of Allah.” He was asked, “And then what?” He replied, “An accepted hajj.”

Ibn Hajar’s Explanation

Allah’s saying, “…you will inherit for what you used to do” (43:72)

This is general reference to the (good) actions. Some of the interpreters (of the Quran) said that “to do” here means “to believe in” interpreting the meaning to be specific (to eemaan). While the words (of Allah) “about what that they used to do!” (15:92-93) are specific to the actions of the tongue as the author (Bukhari) relayed. Allah’s saying “that all workers should work!” (37:61) is a general statement. His (the Prophet’s) answer in the hadith “Belief in Allah” to the question “Which action is best?” indicates that utterance and belief are both parts of action.

-If it said that the narration signifies that jihad and hajj are not from eemaan due to the word “and” (ثم) used to indicate variance and order. (i.e. they are different aspects of the religion)

The answer: eemaan here means belief, which is its reality. Eemaan can also be used to represent physical actions required for its completion.

Allah’s saying, “(paradise) you will inherit”

Meaning that it (paradise) will become yours as inheritance does (for the person who rightfully deserves it). The word inheritance means ‘that which is given to fulfill rights’.

-If it asked, how can we combine between this verse and the hadith which states “None of you will enter jannah (paradise) on account of his actions?”

The answer is that the hadith negates that anyone will enter jannah solely due to his actions, while the verse affirms that a person will enter jannah due to accepted actions which only come about from the mercy of Allah. Therefore, entrance (into jannah) will not occur except by the mercy of Allah.  Other answers which have also been given to this question will be recalled in coming narrations.


Different answers were given at times (by the prophet) to similar questions due to the different situations of the questioners (and their levels of knowledge).

His (Bukhari’s) saying, “Some of the people of knowledge said”

This group includes;

  • Anas Ibn Malik whose narration is recorded by At-Tirmithi and others with a week chain of narrators.

  • Ibn ‘Umar whose narration we recorded in the tafsir of At-Tabari and ‘Al-Du’a’ for At-Tabarani.

  • Mujahid whose narration we recorded in the tafsir of Abd Ur-Razzaq and others.

Allah’s saying, We will certainly question them all”

An-Nawawi said they will be questioned about all of their actions, as there is no proof that the general words of Allah, “question them all”, refer specifically (only) to matters of Tawheed. The disbelievers were mentioned up until his (Allah’s) words “and do not grieve over them. And lower your wing to the believers” (15:88), so both the believer and disbeliever are included (in the questioning).

The disbeliever is addressed with the call to tawheed without a doubt, unlike all other actions where a difference of opinion lies (as to whether the disbeliever will be held accountable).  Those who said that they are held accountable (for all actions ordered by the Shariah) held the view that the disbelievers are also addressed by the orders (of Allah), while those who say that they will only be questioned about matters of tawheed held the view that the disbelievers are not addressed by the specific orders. The fact that they will be questioned about tawheed is a matter of ijmaa’ (agreement of all scholars). Therefore, understanding the verse according to this basis takes precedence over understanding that they will be questioned about all of their actions.

Allah’s saying, “It is for the like of this (reward) that all workers should work!”

Meaning work (action) should be put forward in the worldly life for this ultimate success.  It seems that the author (Bukhari) interpreted this verse, as he did the two previous verses, to mean that they should all believe, or that the work refers to actions in general because whoever believes must perform the actions of belief, and whoever performs the actions will attain (the reward). Then when he attains (the reward) he will say, “It is for the like of this (reward) that all workers should work!”


It is possible that the one who makes the statement (mentioned in the verse) is the Muslim when he sees his qareen (a devil assigned to mislead a person), or it may be that his (the believer’s) speech ends at Indeed, this is the great attainment” (37:61) and what came after it is the beginning of Allah’s speech or that of the angels, rather than the words of the believer. All three of these possibilities are mentioned in the tafseer, and that may be why the author (Bukhari) didn’t specify (whose statement it is).

The questioner in the narration was Abu Thar Al-Ghifari.

His saying, “An accepted hajj

The accepted hajj is the one that doesn’t include any wrongdoing and some (scholars) added that it doesn’t include riyaa’ (showing off). Imam Nawawi pointed out that in this hadith jihad was mentioned after eemaan, while in the hadith of Abu Thar freeing slaves was mentioned rather than the accepted hajj.  The narration of Ibn Mas’ood started with the prayer, then piety, then jihad while in another narration guarding the hand and tongue (from injuring people) was mentioned. The scholars said that the varying answers were due to varying circumstances and the situations of the questioners.  At times, he (the prophet) would mention aspects )of the religion) that the questioner wasn’t familiar with and leave off what they already knew.

-If asked why did he mention jihad prior to hajj although hajj is one of the pillars of Islam?

The answer is that the benefits of hajj usually only apply to the individual performing it, while the benefits of jihad usually extend to others. Another possibility is that jihad was an obligation at the time when the narration was mentioned so it was more important at the time.


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