A Righteous Act

‏مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحاً مِنْ ذَکَرٍ أوْ اُنْثَی وَ هُوَ مُؤمِنٌ فَلَنُحْیِیَنَّهُ حَیَاةً‏‎ ‎‏طَیِّبَةً
[16:97] Whoever acts righteously, [whether] male or female, should he be faithful, —We shall revive him with a good life
Imam Khomeini: According to this non-descript, the reason for why the word righteous act (ṣāliḥan) has been used in its singular form is because other than a single righteous deed – which is acting for the sake of Allah – there is no other act considered righteous for humans. As the following verse testifies:
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُم بِوَاحِدَةٍ ۖ أَن تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مَثْنَىٰ وَفُرَادَىٰ
[34:46] Say, ‘I give you just a single advice: that you rise up for Allah’s sake, in twos, or individually…’
In addition, Amīr al-Mu’minīn (a) has mentioned a similar meaning in Du’ā of Kumayl:
حتّی تکون أعمالی و أورادی کلّها ورداً واحداً
So that my works and my litanies may all be a single litany.
Hence, if humans remain in multiplicity, they are not within the scope of a righteous deed, because their litanies are multiple, and this is not reconcilable with being human.
Currently we are in multiplicity, even our worships are polluted with various desires – the desire to possess authority, the desire to be identified and personified, the desire of priority, the desire towards our wife and children, some of us with the desire of an easy life entered into the field of scholarship, and some others chose this field with the desire to gain priority over others, while some others have resorted to feigning sanctity for themselves in order to deceive the poor laity.
In summary: we have various desires, various litanies – the litany for health, for the stomach, to gather followers, litany for gaining position, government, wealth and gains, the litany for carpets, chairs and rugs, litany for a house, a place of residence and comfort, the litany for being the center of attention and seeking the obedience of people, and the litany for being influential with our words and a desire for superiority. These different litanies and desires are not reconcilable with being human, rather they prevent humans from gaining felicity. That which is reconcilable with being human is a righteous deed – and that is only one.
Source: Taqrirat Falsafeh Imam Khomeini, transcribed by Ayatullah Sayyid Abdul-Ghani Ardebelli; v. 3. pg. 464-465.

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