Human deeds and actions are of two kinds:
1. Inward or ideological, such as assertions and beliefs, and
2. Outward or physical, such as enunciation and bodily movements.
Each of these two consists of obligations and prohibitions.
Since intellectual actions and beliefs are the cause of physical actions, they have a greater effect and are of more importance. Accordingly, the words and actions of a person are generally the results of her/his beliefs and will.
This book is arranged into two sections:
1. Inward obligations and prohibitions, under the title “Beliefs,” and
2. Outward obligations and prohibitions under the title “Laws of Action.”
The two following points deserve attention:
1. From the viewpoint of a sound mind and the manifest law, learning the principles of belief and the laws of action is the individual responsibility of every person. Having character conforming to the principles of belief is known as faith, and following the laws of action is termed as justice. One who is successful in acquiring these two great bounties has reached a high level in human perfection. It is as if one has performed all the commandments of the Glorified God and has realized reverence in belief and action.
Renouncing the principles of belief indicates disbelief, and renouncing the laws of action indicates sinfulness. These two things cause wickedness and bear severe retribution in the other world.
Now with the intention of performing my duty, which I deem important, I present, yet briefly, these writings so that those seeking prosperity may reach perfection in faith by correcting their beliefs and following the laws of action, treading on the path of justice. Finally, this Qur’anic verse will be applicable to them:
“…those who believe and do good deeds. (2/25)”
2. Issues pertaining to belief stated in the first part of this book are derived from Qur’anic verses (ayat, sing. ayah) and chapters (surah), sayings of the Ahl al-Bayt, and books of theology. I have presented them to the extent I saw necessary in this book.
The secondary issues of Part Two, which are derived from books of reasoning and Islamic laws, were combined with the recommended (mustahabb), undesirable (makruh), and permitted (mubah) actions, along with other rulings pertaining to purity (taharah) and impurity (najasah) as well as other issues.
I have separated the obligations and prohibitions from the other rulings and have stated them in this book. Because our duties comprise nothing but these two parts, although performing the recommended and refraining from the undesirable things bring about perfection, the lack of observing the discretionary rulings will not bring punishment, unless they prevent one from performing the obligations or cause a sinful deed.