Testification with the Deeds and Actions of the Limbs
The Shahada is not just a statement we make in our hearts and upon our tongues but one that also needs affirmation with our limbs, with our actions, our amaal. This affirmation, testification upon our limbs means that we act upon it and according to it. Indeed Iman, belief, is not complete until we believe in our hearts, affirm it upon our tongues and act upon it with our limbs [al-`Aqeedat ul-Wasitiyyah of Ibn Taymeeyah].
The testification with the limbs means that a Muslim will act upon his Iman, and do good deeds, indeed the remaining 4 pillars of Islam such as the prayer, the fasting, the zakah and the hajj are all part of the actions, the testification of the limbs.
A Muslim prays, does dhikr (remembrance of Allah), walks towards good, and away from sin and temptation, smiles upon his brother, gives charity with his hand, are all actions of the limbs. These actions of the limbs also means that he will not commit sins like robbing, killing, stealing, illegal sexual intercourse, drinking alcoholic beverages, cheating in trade, bribery and earning money through illegal means, telling lies, back-biting etc.,
The Quran and Sunah tell us that our limbs will be a witness for us or against us before Allah on the Day of Judgement, when the tongue will be made silent and our limbs will be questioned:
“Till, when they reach it (Hell-fire), their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do. And they will say to their skins, ‘Why do you testify against us?’ They will say: ‘Allah has caused us to speak.’ He causes all things to speak, and He created you the first time, and to Him you are made to return” [Quran: Surah Fussilat 41: Ayahs 20-21]
It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: “We were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he smiled and said, ‘Do you know why I am smiling?’ We said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘Because of how a person will address his Lord. He will say, ‘O Lord, did You not guarantee me protection against injustice?’ He will say, ‘Yes.’ He will say, ‘I do not deem valid any witness against me but my own self.’ Allah will say, ‘Your own self will be sufficient as a witness against you this Day, and the honourable scribes (recording angels) will also bear witness.’ Then a seal will be placed over his mouth and it will be said to his limbs, ‘Speak!’ And they will speak of his deeds. Then he will be allowed to speak and will say, ‘Away with you! It was for your sake that I argued.’” [Muslim, 2969].