What do you say regarding those that say:
“Īmān (belief) is in the heart and not in outward appearance”
This is treading on the mad-hab of Irjā; of removing actions from the essence of Īmān, and this mad-hab is falsehood, rejected by way of the Book and the Sunnah and by consensus of the Companions.
In Sahīh Muslim, is that the Prophet ﷺ said:
(إن الله لا ينظر إلى صوركم ولا أجسامكم ولكن ينظر إلى قلوبكم وأعمالكم)
“Indeed Allah does not look at your shapes nor at your bodies, but He looks at your hearts and your actions.”
Outward appearance is connected to actions, and obligations are ordered in the legislation.
Acting upon it brings about rewards, while abandonment warrant punishment.
Actions are from the essence of Īmān, and a pillar from amongst its pillars.
As Īmān with Ahlussunnah is: Statement and Action.
➖The statement of the heart and tongue,
➖and actions of the heart and the limbs.
This statement (mentioned in the question) is manifest in that actions which are connected to the outward appearance, the actions of the limbs, not being from Īmān, and as preceded this is the position of the Murji’ah.
And many of the layfolk say the likes of this speech, and it’s a mistake, it’s an obligation to clarify the invalidity of this to the people, and to call them to correct these types of statements and beliefs.
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani