Al-Kāfi - Volume 2 > Obedience and Piety
Hadith #7

7ـ عِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ مُفَضَّلِ بْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ كُنْتُ عِنْدَ أَبِي عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيهِ السَّلام) فَذَكَرْنَا الأعْمَالَ فَقُلْتُ أَنَا مَا أَضْعَفَ عَمَلِي فَقَالَ مَهْ اسْتَغْفِرِ الله ثُمَّ قَالَ لِي إِنَّ قَلِيلَ الْعَمَلِ مَعَ التَّقْوَى خَيْرٌ مِنْ كَثِيرِ الْعَمَلِ بِلا تَقْوَى قُلْتُ كَيْفَ يَكُونُ كَثِيرٌ بِلا تَقْوَى قَالَ نَعَمْ مِثْلُ الرَّجُلِ يُطْعِمُ طَعَامَهُ وَيَرْفُقُ جِيرَانَهُ وَيُوَطِّئُ رَحْلَهُ فَإِذَا ارْتَفَعَ لَهُ الْبَابُ مِنَ الْحَرَامِ دَخَلَ فِيهِ فَهَذَا الْعَمَلُ بِلا تَقْوَى وَيَكُونُ الآخَرُ لَيْسَ عِنْدَهُ فَإِذَا ارْتَفَعَ لَهُ الْبَابُ مِنَ الْحَرَامِ لَمْ يَدْخُلْ فِيهِ.

7. A number of our people have narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Isa from Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar who has said the following: “Once I was in the presence of abu ‘Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant. We spoke about deeds and I said, ‘My deeds are the weakest.’ The Imam said, ‘Calm down. Ask forgiveness from Allah.’ Then the Imam said to me, ‘A little deed with piety is better than a great deal of deeds without piety.’ I then asked, ‘Can there be a great deal of deeds without piety?’ The Imam said, ‘Yes, it is true. It is like a man who feeds people, who is kind to his neighbors and entertains people at his home, but when a door to unlawful matters opens he enters such a door. Such are deeds without piety. There can be another person who does not have such deeds but when a door to unlawful matters opens he does not enter into such doors.’”