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What is Iman?


1. WHAT IS IMAN (BELIEF)?

2. IMAN (BELIEF) AS THE BASIS OF RIGHTEOUS DEEDS

3. BELIEF IN ALLAH AND HIS ATTRIBUTES

4. BELIEF IN DESTINY: QADR

5. BELIEF IN ANGELS

6. BELIEF IN THE MESSENGERS

7. BELIEF IN THE REVEALED BOOKS

8. BELIEF IN THE HEREAFTER

 

 

What is Iman?

Iman (faith) is to proclaim the following Kalimah, thereby verbally, mentally, and spiritually affirming its truth within one's heart.

"There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger."

 

One must affirm ash-Shahadah by attesting to the truth of this principle in the following words:

"I bear witness that there is no god but Allah,

and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Allah."

 

By proclaiming the Shahadah, one affirms his belief in the following articles of faith:

 

1. The existence of Allah SWT and His many attributes;

2. Destiny (at-Taqdir);

3. The angels;

4. The prophets (including the final and the seal of the prophets, Prophet Muhammad (S);

5. All the revealed books;

6. The Hereafter (al-Akhirah).

 

Belief in these six articles of faith defines the Islamic creed. Interestingly, belief in any one of these articles is contingent upon belief in the others. Conversely, rejection of one implies rejection of all. If a person denies belief in any of these articles and instead believes in something contradictory to them, he cannot be considered a true believer.

Iman as the Basis of Righteous Deeds

Iman is the basis of all acts of worship and righteous deeds in Islam. Without the firm foundation of Iman, no act of worship or deed, regardless of the sincerity and devotion of the action, will be acceptable to Allah. One's salvation in the Hereafter entirely depends upon the establishment and maintenance of Iman. The Qur'an declares:

"Whosoever does good deeds, whether male or female, provided that he is a Believer, We shall certainly enable him to live a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions."

(An-Nahl 16:97).

"O Muhammad! Tell them, 'Shall We tell you who are the most unsuccessful people and miserable failures in regard to their deeds? They are those, all whose endeavors, in the worldly life, had gone astray from the Right Way, but all along they were under the delusion that everything they were doing, was rightly directed: those are the people who rejected the Signs of their Lord and did not believe that they would ever appear before Him. Therefore all their deeds were lost, for We will assign no weight to them on the Day of Resurrection."

(Al-Kahf 18:103­105)

 

Belief in Allah and His Attributes

1. The vastness of the universe around us, with its millions of stars and planets, and numerous galactic systems, is truly staggering. Logic does not allow us to believe that our complex universe is merely the result of random biochemical events. Something or someone had to initiate this chain of events; it had to have a beginning somewhere. Our faith tells us that all of creation, much of which is beyond the scope of human intelligence and imagination, has been created by Allah as an expression of His Supreme Will and Design. He alone is its Master and Owner, and it will continue to function directly under His control as long as He wills it to function.

2. Allah is the only Creator of everything in the universe. Nothing has come into being by itself. Everything depends on Allah w for its existence and survival. Allah w is the Sustainer of everything. He wills things to survive, and anything He wills to perish will perish.

3. Allah is Eternal. He is Ever­living and will never cease to be.

4. Allah is One. Everything depends on Him, but He depends on no one. He is All­Powerful, and no one has the power to change or evade His will. He does not have parents or offspring, nor does he belong to any tribe or nation.

5. Allah is unique both in His essence and attributes. No one is a partner in His rights and powers. He exists by Himself and is Self­sufficient, and does not need anybody else's aid to establish His rights, powers, etc.

6. Nothing is beyond Him. Nothing conceivable is beyond His control and power. He is above every conceivable defect, weakness or fault. He is the source of all good. All pure and glorified names and attributes belong to Him. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. He is All­pure and All­perfect.

7. Allah is the real Sovereign of the whole universe. He is the source of all sovereignty: everything is functioning according to His Will. He does not need anyone else in His sovereignty, nor does anyone else possess any real power other than Him. He does what He wills, and He is accountable to no one.

8. Allah is the real source and center of all power. No power exists other than His. No one in the universe can dare move or function without His will and approval. Neither man, nor angel, nor jinn, nor any other creature in the universe, howsoever powerful, nor any known or undiscovered entity has any value against His infinite energy.

9. Allah is Omnipresent. He watches over everything. Whether in the depths of earth or in the limitless vastness of the heavens, nothing is hidden from Him. He knows feelings and hidden motives. He is nearer to His creatures than their jugular vein. He possesses full and exact knowledge of what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future. There is not even a leaf falling from a tree, or a minute grain hidden in the depths of the earth of which He is not fully aware.

10. Life and death are totally under His control. He grants life to whom He wills and brings death to whom He wills. No one can bring back to life a person or thing whom He wills to die. Similarly, no one can cause the death of anyone whom He wills to live.

11. All treasures are with Allah. No one can bestow anything on anyone whom Allah wills to deprive, and no one can withhold anything from anybody whom He wills to favor. Giving or withholding of offspring is in His hands; He gives only daughters to whom He wills and only sons to whom He wills; both sons and daughters to whom He wills, and no offspring at all to whom He wills.

12. Only Allah bestows gains and inflicts losses. No one can ward off a misfortune that He wills one to suffer, and no one can thwart a good life that He wills one to enjoy. No one else has the power to inflict a loss or bestow a favor.

13. Allah is the Provider for every creature. All provisions of life are under His control. He is fully aware of the needs of His creatures and provides them accordingly. He restricts His provisions or gives generously to whom He wills. Every creature will get its destined share of provisions as Allah wills it.

14. Allah is Just, All­Knowing, All­Wise. His decrees are just. He does not deprive anyone of his due. Good and evil are not equal before Him. He will reward or punish everyone according to his deeds. He will neither punish a sinner unduly nor deprive a righteous person of his rewards. All His decrees are based on knowledge, wisdom and justice.

15. Allah has great love for His creatures. He forgives their sins, accepts their repentance and is ever Merciful to them. A Believer should never lose hope of His Mercy and Grace.

16. Allah alone deserves to be loved. One should seek only His pleasure and approval. All one's love for other objects should be for His sake and love for Him should dominate over all other loves.

17. Allah alone deserves to be thanked, worshiped, and adored. One should stand humbly, bow down and prostrate in adoration, pray and express one's humility and servitude only before Him.

18. Allah alone has the right to be worshiped, and His Law must be obeyed unconditionally. He alone has the right to declare things lawful or unlawful.

19. Allah alone deserves to be feared. Only He can fulfill hopes, grant prayers, and give help in difficulties and hardships. Only He deserves to be trusted for all kinds of support.

20. Allah alone can give guidance. No one can misguide anyone whom Allah wills to guide, and no one can show guidance to the one whom He deprives of guidance.

The most unfortunate people on the earth are those who do not believe in Allah, reject His guidance, associate others with Him and worship themselves and their own desires instead of Him. Cursed are the ones who die as disbelievers, because they only earn the displeasure of Allah and everlasting torment and ignominy in the Hereafter. Ascribing partners to Allah is a falsehood and a most grave sin. Allah will forgive all other sins but not the sin of Shirk (polytheism; associating others as partners with Him).

"Allah does not forgive Shrik (associating others with Him). He may forgive whom He wills, other than this sin, for whoever associates partners with Allah goes, in fact, too far astray."

(an-Nisa' 4:116)

 

Belief in Destiny: QADR 

Belief in one's destiny is indeed an integral part of one's belief in Allah's existence and His attributes, as noted in the Qur'an. The traditions of Rasulullah (S), describe this belief as an article of faith. Belief in destiny implies that all good and evil that takes place in the world is within the power and knowledge of Allah. His knowledge is all­comprehensive. It encompasses all the good and evil deeds that man will commit after his birth. Not a single particle moves anywhere in the universe against the will of Allah. No power can deprive or withhold anything from a creature, which Allah ordained for it. No one can provide a creature with anything that Allah has deprived it. Allah is the Maker of all destinies, good or otherwise. All one's future actions, good or bad, are within His knowledge.

The teachings of Islam dictate that one should continue doing as much good as one is able and avoid violating or neglecting religious commands and injunctions. Rather than probing unnecessarily into the question of destiny, one should focus on pleasing Allah remembering that He will bless the righteous with admission to Paradise and punish the unbelievers in Hell.

Rasulullah (S) has said:

"Allah w pre­ordained the destinies of His creatures 50,000 years before the creation of the earth and heavens, when His sovereignty was over water."

(Mishkat al-Maabih: section on Iman)

 

Belief in Angels

1. Angels are invisible, genderless creatures made from "light." They have been appointed by Allah to carry out His Commands.

2. Angels are helpless creatures and have no will of their own. They have no share in Godhead. They carry out all the Commands of Allah without question and dare not oppose or neglect them in any way.

3. They are constantly engaged in the praise and glorification Allah and never tire in doing so.

4. They are in awe of Him and can never conceive of disobeying or revolting against Him.

5. They carry out their respective functions honestly, efficiently and are never guilty of shirking their duty.

6. Only Allah knows the number of angels in existence. However, four of them are well­known to believers, as they are nearest to Him in status and position. They include:

a. Jibra'il: whose duty is to convey Allah's revelations and messages to the prophets. Since the institution of prophet hood came to an end with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S), he no longer performs this duty.

b. Israfil: who by Allah's command will blow the Trumpet on the Day of Resurrection and bring the present order of the world to an end.

c. Mika'il: whose duty is to arrange for rainfall and supply provisions to the creatures of Allah under His command.

d. 'Izra'il: who has been appointed to take people's souls.

7. Two angels have been attached to every human being: one to record their good deeds and the other their bad deeds. They are called "Kiraman Katibin."

8. Two angels, named "Munkar" and "Nakir," are sent to the grave to interrogate a person after his death.

 

Belief in the Messengers

1. The arrangement made by Allah to convey His messages and commands for the guidance of mankind is called "messengership," and those chosen for the mission are known as messengers.

2. Throughout human history, Allah's messengers have conveyed the Divine message most faithfully, taking scrupulous care not to alter it in any way. They have never exaggerated or concealed anything.

3. Messengership is God­given and cannot be acquired by effort or appeal. Allah may bestow messengership on anyone He pleases. It is a special gift from Allah to be chosen from among mankind to deliver His message to His servants. Only Allah knows who to appoint to this great office.

4. All the messengers have been men. None of them was an angel, jinn, or any other creature. They did not claim any share in Godhead. Their only distinction was that God had chosen them as His messengers and sent His revelations for mankind down through them.

5. The messengers have faithfully practiced what they presented and preached; each of them had been a perfect, true, practical model of their teachings. They did not only preach Allah's Message, they became living models of their own teachings.

6. Throughout the ages, the messengers had been sent to every community and country. Muslims believe in all the messengers and reject none. They have complete faith in those messengers who have been mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith and hold them in the highest esteem. However, they should neither accept nor reject those who have not been mentioned in the Qur'an or Hadith as prophets, nor say anything to dishonor them.

7. All the prophets brought the same message and invitation; therefore, the rejection of any one of them will be the same as a rejection of all of them.

8. Belief in a prophet implies that one should follow him faithfully and sincerely in both word and deed. A mere verbal affirmation of a prophet is virtually meaningless.

9. The institution of prophet hood came to an end with Prophet Muhammad (S). He was the last in the chain of prophets; no prophet is to come after him. His prophet hood, therefore, will last until the Day of Resurrection. Only those who believe in him and spend their lives in complete obedience to the law brought by him will attain salvation in the Hereafter.

10. The personal example set by Prophet Muhammad (S) is the perfect model for all aspects of life. His judgment is decisive in all religious matters. A Muslim must faithfully and sincerely follow everything that the Prophet (S) enjoined and avoid all that he forbade.

11. Obedience to the teachings of the Prophet (S) is equivalent to direct obedience of Allah. Conversely, disobedience to the teachings of the Prophet (S) is equivalent to disobedience of Allah. Love for Allah, therefore, demands that one obey His prophet (S), for this is the true test of one's firmness in the faith.

12. Another measure of one's faith is the degree of honor and esteem with which one holds Rasulullah (S). Any insolence or impudence shown with regard to the Prophet (S) will nullify all the good deeds of one's lifetime. The Qur'an says:

"O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the Prophet's voice, nor speak loudly to him as you speak loudly to one another, otherwise your deeds may become fruitless, while you know not."

(Al-Hujurat 49:2)

The Muslims must hold Rasulullah (S) dearer than their own parents, children and loved ones, even their own selves. The Qur'an is quite clear on this point:

"The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves."

(Al-Ahzab 33:6)

13. The belief in prophet hood demands that Muslims invoke Allah's blessings of Mercy on Rasulullah (S):

"O believers! Call for blessings on him and salute him with a (suitable) salutation."

(Al-Ahzab 33:56)

 

Belief in the Revealed Books

1. Allah sent down many Scriptures for the guidance of mankind to teach us how to lead life in an Islamic fashion. The prophets were sent as living examples of the Message of these Scriptures.

2. Belief in all the revealed books is necessary, because essentially, they all taught one and the same creed: to worship and serve Allah alone and avoid Shirk.

 

3. Five of the Scriptures revealed to distinguished prophets are:

· Suhuf Ibrahim: revealed to Prophet Ibrahim A

· The Tawrait (Torah): revealed to Prophet Musa A

· The Zabur (Psalms of David): revealed to Prophet Da'ud A

· The Injil (Gospels): revealed to Prophet 'Isa A

· The Qur'an: revealed to Prophet Muhammad S

4. Of all these revealed Books only the Qur'an is preserved and exists in its original form -- and it will remain so until the Last Day. Allah has taken upon Himself the task of preserving it:

"Surely, We have sent down the Qur'an, and surely, We are its Preserver."

(Al-Hajr 15:9)

God forbid, if a wicked soul were to destroy all the existing copies of the Qur'an, it would still not become extinct, as there are hundreds of thousands of people in every age and country, who have committed it verbatim to their memory.

5. The other four revealed Books have been changed considerably. Not one of them exists in its original form today. These Books were compiled long after the prophets to whom they were revealed had passed away. Misguided people, who interpolated their own opinions and biases into them, thereby often contradicting the original teachings, altered them. Thus, the Qur'an is the only authentic guide in existence today containing the original commandments sent down by Allah. It is thus incumbent on people to believe in the Qur'an as the only source of guidance until the Last Day, without which no one will attain salvation in the Hereafter.

6. No one has the authority to alter the Qur'an in any way. Even the Prophet (S) himself was not authorized to do so; his mission was to simply preach and practice its message faithfully, exactly as it was revealed to him. To misinterpret or derive false meanings from the Qur'an is a major sin.

7. The Qur'an gives clear guidance for the solutions to all human problems. Therefore, ignoring its guidance and/or adopting and following other laws in preference show ingratitude to Allah.

 

Belief in the Hereafter

1. Life is not limited to the time we spend on Earth. Indeed, the real life is the eternal life in the Hereafter, which starts after death. The next life will either be blissful or painful and grievous, depending on the nature of our deeds in this worldly life. This is called belief in the Hereafter.

2. After death, every person is visited by two angels, named Munkar and Nakir, who will ask him the following questions:

(1) Who is your Lord?

(2) What is your religion?

(3) What do you say about this man (pointing to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S)?

This is the first of the tests making us accountable for our worldly deeds in the Hereafter.

3. On the first blow of the trumpet, the present system and order of the universe will come to an end. A terrible earthquake will shake the earth; the mountains will be uprooted and shattered; the sun and the moon will collide; the stars will lose their brightness; all living creatures will cease to live; the universe will be totally destroyed.

4. Then, on the second blowing of the trumpet, all the dead will be brought back to life on Allah's command. A new order will be created in which all human beings will have eternal life. This will be a terrible and dreadful Day; all of humanity will be in awe of Allah's immense power and await the Divine verdict with downcast heads and eyes.

1. All of mankind will be gathered together before the Lord, Who will be the sole Judge and Ruler on that Day. The Qur'an says:

"The day when all people will rise up (from their graves), nothing about them will remain hidden from Allah. (It will be asked): To whom belongs the sovereignty on this Day? (The whole world will cry out): To Allah, the One, the Almighty."

(Ghafir 40:16)

"The sovereignty on that Day rightly belongs to the Beneficent, and it will be a hard Day for the disbelievers."

(Al-Furqan 25:26)

No one will utter a word except with Allah's permission. He will call upon each individual separately to account for all his deeds. Then, Allah will deliver His verdict with full knowledge, justice and wisdom. Each individual will be recompensed equitably for all his deeds, and no one will be treated unfairly.

 

6. The righteous will hold their life­scrolls in their right hand, and the sinners in their left hand; the former will have attained ultimate success, and the latter will suffer ultimate failure; the former will exult in their success with bright shining faces, while the latter will be burning inwardly with gloomy, dark faces. The righteous will be admitted to Paradise where they will enjoy Allah's favors and life of eternal bliss and peace; the criminals will be cast into Hell to suffer Allah's wrath and displeasure.

 

7. The Divine verdict on that Day will be final. No one will be able to escape it by any trick, device, or design; intercession will not be possible except by the permission of Allah. It will not be possible for anyone to return to the world for redemption.

 

8. All one's deeds and actions, verbal and practical, are being recorded by the angels with the strictest attention:

He utters not a word but there is a vigilant guardian by him to record it."

(Al-Qaf 50:18)

9. No one's actions, big or small, remain hidden from Allah's sight. He holds the key to all secrets and mysteries, and everyone will stand fully exposed before Him on that Day:

"(And Luqman said): My son! Allah the Subtle and Aware will bring forth everything, even if it is the weight of a mustard seed and hidden in a rock or anywhere in the heaven or the earth."

(Luqman, 31:16)

10. The Believers will be blessed with favors of bliss in Paradise beyond their wildest dreams. They will be greeted with "Peace" and will enjoy the Divine favors eternally, the best of which will be the incredible vision of Allah Himself, Who will decal

"I favor you today with My pleasure: now I will never be angry with you."

(Transmitted by Muslim)

 

11. Those who rebelled against Allah will be cast into Hell with no chance for escape; this time, death will not end the everlasting torment, and the joys of life will never be theirs again. They will long for death, but death will not come. The blaze of Hell will burn incessantly. Crying out of thirst, the dwellers will be given molten metals for drink, which will scald their mouths and throats. They will wear dresses of tar and fire and heavy collars around their necks. They will be served thorny bushes for food and will face Allah's wrath at every moment.

12. Only Allah knows who will be admitted to Paradise and who will suffer in Hell. The prophets of Allah, however, have clearly defined the deeds that enable one to earn a place in Paradise and the misdeeds that lead one to Hell. It is, therefore, not possible to predict with certainty who will be admitted to Paradise, except those who were guaranteed admission into Paradise by Rasulullah (S) himself. We may, however, expect that Allah will admit us to Paradise on the basis of the good deeds that we perform in this world.

13. According to the Qur'an, Allah will forgive any sin that He pleases, except for the sin of Shirk and outright rejection of the Truth.

14. A person may believe and repent for sins any time in life; Allah is Gracious and Compassionate to His creatures and accepts their repentance most mercifully. No belief or repentance, however, is acceptable when one has reached the final point of death.

By: Muhammad Yusuf Islahi (Everyday Fiqh Vol. 1)