Iman

INCREASING ONE’S FAITH (IMAN)

Source http://www.missionislam.com/knowledge/increasefaith.htm

Faith is indeed a blessing from Allah and should not be taken for granted. Just as it may increase and become fuller and stronger, it may also weaken and become less and less until it is minimal or non-existent. Hence it becomes very important for a Muslim to take steps not only to preserve his faith but also to increase it.

The uppermost branch of faith is the true, sincere, committed belief in Laa ilaaha illalaah Muhammad Rasoolulaah. Iman has over seventy branches. The lowest or most basic branch is to remove something harmful from the path. Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Faith has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is no God but Allah and the humblest of which is the removal of what is injurious from the path; and modesty is a branch of faith.” (Muslim)

Basically, to do everything that Allah (swt) has ordered us to do is a part of faith and to avoid all that He has asked us to avoid is a part of faith. A Muslim’s level and strength of faith are based upon his attitude and approach when he fulfils this.

“Then we have given The Book for inheritance to such of our servants as We have chosen. But there are among them some who wrong their own souls, some who follow a middle course, and some who are, by Allah’s leave, foremost in good deeds, that is the highest grace.” Qur’an 35:32

Thus, man falls into one of the three following categories:

1 Dhaalim li Nafsihi: This person is self oppressed. He is constantly falling into sin and may be committing various acts of shirk.

2 Al- Muqtasid: he does only the basic obligations and is satisfied with this. He may also indulge in those things that are Makrooh (that which has been discouraged by Allah and His Prophet,(saws) but not prohibited.

3 Saabiq bil Khaaraat: This person lives as if he were in a race with others in doing that which is liked by Allah. He does all of the obligatory deeds and not being satisfied with this, he will strive to do more of the nawafil (the optional acts in the sunnah). He will make every attempt to avoid the Makrooh acts in fear of what they may lead them to.

One may ask, is it within the capacity of man to avoid all haram and makrooh and live his life doing only halal, fard and naafil deeds ? Yes, it is very possible. Allah, (swt), tells us in the Qu’ran: “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear..” Qur’an 2:286

“O you who believe! Bow down, prostrate yourselves and adore your Lord and do good so that you may prosper. And strive in His cause as you ought to strive; He has chosen you and has placed no difficulties on you in religion.” Qur’an 22:77-78

All actions fall into two categories:

1. The obligatory acts which we are asked to avoid or do for the benefit of the individual and society.

2. Those other than the obligatory deeds, which guide us to good in this life and which raise our level in the hereafter, placing us among the Saabiq bil Khayraat. Therefore of the first steps to increase is to work harder to do this second category of optional good deeds.

We must look for the doors that lead to good. These doors are many and we often have the opportunity to enter them but don’t realise it. Kindness to parents and the poor, for example, are entrances to good deeds that are available to most everyone.

And the benefits are twofold:

1. The personal benefit you gain through your deeds; and

2. The benefit that is gained by society when you perform them.

Any door to good that you enter will place you closer to the Saabiq bil Khayraat level of faith. It will help you to attain righteousness and guidance and increase your iman. Even paradise has doors for the faithful, those who were of the Saabiq bil Khayraat in their life on earth..

Abu Hurairah related that the Messenger (saws) of Allah said: “Those who engage in prayer will be invited to enter by the Gate of Prayer; those who take part in jihad will be invited to enter by the gate of Sadaqah; and those who fast will be invited to enter by the Gate of Ar Rayaan.” Abu Bakr said; “No distress will rest on him who is invited to enter by those gates, but will any one be invited to enter by those gates,” He replied: “Yes, and I hope that you may be one.” Bukhari and Muslim

Abu Bakr, (ra) was of the Saabiq bil Khayraat. He was never satisfied in doing a little or just one thing. He constantly opened and entered the doors to good and eagerly sought out others. On one occasion, the Prophet (saws) asked his companions: Who among them had fasted the day before, Abu Bakr replied that he had. He then asked who had visited the sick the previous day, Abu Bakr replied that he did. Then he asked them who had given Sadaqah, and Abu Bakr said that he had. Umar, who always tried to compete with Abu Bakr in doing good deeds, admitted in respect, admiration and humble acknowledgement that he was much less than Abu Bakr. (Not the exact wording of the hadith)

How does one enter these Iman strengthening doors and thereby step up in levels of faith? It occurs by possessing those qualities and performing those deeds that constitute the different parts of faith called Shu’ab Al Eman (shuab meaning parts of faith). In stepping forth, certain approaches must be followed so that one’s effort is sincere and upon the path.

Du’a

The first of all deeds is du’a – supplication. Due to our absorption in today’s worldy life it is very important that before we perform any deed for Allah we clear our minds of such preoccupation’s and direct our attention to Him. There are two kinds of du’a- Du’a of request for help in this life and the hereafter and du’a of worship in which you are actually praising Allah. We should, before setting forth to do any deed, ask Allah to allow us to perform the deed and allow us to perform it well.

A man asked the Prophet, (saws) to teach him a supplication that would embody all supplications. He told him to make the following du’a: Allahuma a’ anee ‘alaa dhikrika wa shukrikah wa husn ‘ibaadatik. Abu Dawood and An Nasai O Allah, help me to remember You often, and to thank You often, and to perfect my worship of You.

Shahadah

The highest branch of faith – Laa ilaaha illallah – must be fully developed within one’s life. The understanding of it’s deep implications will have a tremendous effect in one’s level of faith. As well, the one who says it sincerely in his heart will be admitted into paradise.

Mu’adth bin Jabal asked the Prophet (saws): O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an act which will take me into paradise and will keep me away from Hellfire. He said: You have asked me about a major matter, yet it is easy for him whom Allah Almighty makes it easy for. You should worship Allah, associating nothing with Him; you should perform the prayers; you should pay the Zakah; you should fast Ramadan; and you should make the pilgrimage to the House. Then he said: Shall I not show you the gates of goodness? Fasting (which) is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and the praying of a man in the depths of the night. Then he recited: “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope and spend out of what We have bestowed on them. No soul Knoweth what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” Qur’an 16:32 Then he said: “Shall I not tell you of the peak of the matter, its pillar and its topmost part? I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” “The peak is Islam; the pillar is prayer; and its top most part is jihad.” Al Tirmithi in An Nawawi’s 40 Hadeeth

Salah

The quality of the faithful is that they perform Salah with regularity, humility, and submissiveness (khushoo). Allah tells us in the first verses of surat Al Mu’minoon: “Successful indeed are the believers; those who humble themselves in their prayers.” Qur’an 23:1-2

The Prophet, (saws) said: “There are five prayers which Allah has prescribed for His servants. For those who perform them properly without disrespectful omissions, there is a guarantee that Allah will admit them into paradise, To those who do not observe them (properly), Allah offers no such guarantee. He may punish them or he may admit them to paradise as He wills.” Abu Dawud, An Nasai and Ibn Majaah

“Two members of my community may perform the prayer in such a way that their bowing and their prostration are as one, yet their prayers may be as far apart as heaven and earth.” Al Haarith

“Though a man performs the entire prayer, he may get no credit but for a half of it, or a third of it, or a quarter, a fifth, a sixth, or a tenth. A man gets credit only for that part of his prayer of which he is conscious.” Ahmad

If you were to prepare to visit a dignitary, a king or even your supervisor, you prepare yourself for such a meeting with great concern for every detail, being completely absorbed in this encounter. So what of your encounter with Allah during prayer? Shaytan will try as hard as he can to distract you. He will take away from you as much as he is able to and as much as you allow him to.

A Muslim should always approach Salah with the realisation that he is preparing to face His Lord.

The Prophet, (saws) said: “Verily Allah faces his servant in prayer as long as he does not turn away.” Tirmidhi

The sharh (explanation) of this hadith tells us that to turn away has two meanings:

1. The turning away of the heart so that your heart is not really present in your prayer.

2. The turning away of the eyes, looking about is distraction while praying.

The renown scholar Ibn Al-Qaym, has described the different performances of Salah in relation to Khushoo and classified people into four categories:

1. The one who offers prayer but is late in doing so, does not observe the requirements such as a proper ablution, and does not cover the awrah. As for the performance of the prayer itself, the pillars of the prayer are deficient, standing and prostration are not performed properly.

2. This person fulfils the physical conditions for prayer and performs the prayer as required yet is overcome by Al -Wasaawis the whisperings of Shaytan. His mind is completely removed from his prayer until the time of tasleem.

3. The person also offers the prayer properly and is also afflicted by Al-Wasaawis but he fights it and is in constant battle.

4. This very special person is he who finds prayer an oasis. He approaches it having fulfilled the prerequisites perfectly and with humility and performs the prayer with khushoo’, humbling himself before his Lord. He may even be unaware of happenings around him due to his absorption in his private meeting with Allah.

In the first case, this person has made the attempt to fulfill his obligation to pray but is not sincere. He will be punished for the deficiencies in his prayer. In the second case, we have a person who makes sincere efforts to fulfill the prayer but is weak against shaytan and does not fight him. He will be rewarded for only the part of his prayer he did well as described in the previous hadeeth, one half, one third, etc. As for the third category, this person is considered a mujahid against the whisperings of shaytan He will be rewarded for his sincere efforts and Allah will direct him to righteousness. The final category is of those very rare individuals, the one we all wish to be in. They perform the prayer as the Prophets of Allah did, removing their hearts completely from the world. They love prayer most of all. Their eyes are filled with joy and ecstasy when they perform it. There is no question of their reward and their superiority of faith.

Prayer is a very important part of one’s iman and plays a significant role in life. To achieve its benefits, it must be performed properly. It helps prevent one from committing evil and makes one successful in this life as well as in the Hereafter – but only when it is performed properly, humbly and sincerely. At the time of prayer angels spread about calling man to put out the fire of sin” that he is burning.

Allah has promised us that prayer removes sin committed between them The Prophet (saws) said: “Verily, When a Muslim performs Wudu properly, and then observes salat five times a day his sins fall off , just as leaves fall off a tree.” Ahmad

He then recited the following Ayat: “And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of night for those things which are good, removes those things which are evil. That is a reminder for the mindful.” Qur’an 11:114

It is not possible that a Muslim who observes prayer correctly could stand before his Lord without asking forgiveness for the sins he has committed. If you develop khushoo in your prayer, you cannot consist in committing sins, because the effort of your prayer makes you aware and ashamed of your misdeeds. For example: If you are backbiting, your prayer will make you conscious of your deed. Your level of consciousness will be elevated and your faith will increase. This will make you less likely to fall into major sin.

Fasting

When a Muslim fasts he does so not only, through abstaining from food and drink, but also shuns bad deeds, false words, etc. The Prophet (saws) said: “Whoever does not give up false words and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.” Bukhari

Fasting also presents many benefits other than simply fulfilling the commandments of Allah, and being rewarded for it. If you are prone to, incline, or fall into sin fasting will lessen your evil inclination. For example: A man who is unable to marry is recommended to fast, this will lessen his desires. We also know from the hadith “ The devils are chained during Ramadan” that during fasting, man is not as easily influenced by them. This you can see in your own personal change of religious consciousness when you fast during Ramadan.

For the one who fasts properly, gaining the full benefit, it is an exercise and training for the whole year. You gain a kind of power and change which you carry through the whole year. But you should not stop once Ramadan ends. Make fasting a habit, at least occasionally.

The Prophet (saws) consistently fasted at least three days a month. By fasting periodically, you retrieve some of the spiritual uplifting that Ramadan brings throughout the year. This is a very strong faith strengthening tool that all can apply.

Sadaqah

Here we are referring to the charity you give voluntarily, not the obligatory Zakat. It is the voluntary sadaqah that strengthens faith, the more you do, the more you erase your bad deeds. Sadaqah is not only monetary. There are many deeds that are considered sadaqah. If someone wishes to give sadaqah, and you assist in its delivery, for example, you are rewarded for giving sadaqah yourself.

Ayesha (ra) related that the Prophet (saws) informed them as to who would follow him in death saying: “The one who has the longest hands amongst you would meet me most immediately. (Muslim) She further said: “The Prophets wives used to measure their hands as to who was the biggest. It was the hand of Zainab that was the longest amongst them, as she used to work with her hands and spend that income in charity.” Muslim

It was Zainab bin Jahsh whose long hand reached out to the poor so often, not with money but food and other things that she had to give, she was the first of his wives to die after him. The Prophet (saws) said: “Every Muslim has to give sadaqah.” He was asked “If someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” He said “He should work with his hands and benefit himself, and also give in charity (from what he earns)”. The people then asked:

“If he cannot find even that?” He replied. “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” Bukhari and Muslim

He also said: “None of you women should consider even a sheeps trotter to insignificant a gift to give to her neighbor.” Bukhari and Muslim

Mu’aadh bin Jabal related from the Prophet (saws): “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” Ahmad, Al-Tirmidi and Ibn Maajah

The Prophet (saws) said: “The believers shade on the day of resurrection will be his sadaqah.” Ahmad

Note: Ibn al Qaym was a student of ibn Taymeeyah who played a significant role in guiding his footsteps upon the way of the Qur’an and Sunnah in the age of innovative religious teachings, he died in 752 AH, leaving us a treasure of wisdom. May Allah have mercy on Him.

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THE GOOD DEEDS

By Omar Tarhuni

Royal Holloway University of London

A-úthú billáhi minash shaytánir rajím. Bismilláhir Rahmánir Rahím!

In my previous Khutba (Aly — Posted to the list yesterday), I talked about Surat Al Asr which reads: “By [the token of] time through the ages, Verily, Man is in loss except those who have faith and do righteous deeds and exhort one another to truth and patience.”

As you can see, faith is not a passive thing. It should always be confirmed and manifested in good deeds. Deeds that are consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah. The word “deed” or “action” has been mentioned 360 times in the Quran. However, it is difficult to count them in the same way in the Hadith.

The Quran provides several examples of actions and deeds.

For example, there are religious deeds, political deeds, industrial deeds, agricultural deeds, social deeds, military deeds, intellectual deeds and so on. All of these deeds could be divided into two categories – religious deeds and worldly deeds.

All acts of formal worship, such as Salat, Siyam, Haj, Zakat and charity fall under the first category, along with all other acts that are performed in accordance with divine commands or an authentic Hadith, such as Jihad, kindness, helping the poor and the needy, etc. The deeds that are performed as part of our daily lives and all other acts that are intended to satisfy a legitimate need or interest, whether individual or collective, fall under the second category.

Observations.

The characterisation of deeds into these two categories leads us to the following observations:

1- Both types of deeds must compliment each other. The religious deeds contain the aims and objectives of this life, while the other deeds provide the means to achieve these objectives and aims. It is futile to have aims without the means to achieve them or to have means without objectives.

Once the Prophet noticed a man constantly staying at the mosque. He asked his companions: “Who is supporting him?” They replied: “His brother.” So the prophet said: “His brother is better than him.”

The worshipper satisfied himself with the religious actions, but did not care to work and earn his living, while his brother combined worship with earning a living and supporting him.

Religiousness does not mean laziness and indifference. Religiousness is not withdrawal from life and desertion of work and action. This may be true in other religions, but most certainly, it is not true in Islam. We are told in the Quran: ” And say: Work righteousness. Soon will Allah observe your work and His messenger and the believers. Soon you will be brought back to the Knower of what is hidden and what is open. Then He will Show you the truth of all that you did. [Sura 9/v105]

“Work”, is a call to the believers to be active, to be positive and productive, to spread goodness and righteousness. Our life is but a test as to whom will be best in deeds.

“He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed. “Sura Mulk, 67/v2

2- A good deed is not limited to bringing benefit or gain. It should go beyond that to oppose and fight evil.

Thus, the good deed should not only aim to please Allah and bring benefit to the believer but should also aim to prevent an evil act detested by Allah. A believer who fulfils the two aims is called (Saleh Musleh)”useful and reformer”, while the one who is only concerned with the first aim is called “useful”.

The useful and the reformer Muslim is the ideal example that Islamic education (Tarbiya ) seeks to produce. Such individuals are praised in the Quran which says: “They Believe in Allah and the last day. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And they hasten in all good works. They are in the ranks of the righteous.” Sura 3/v114

If each member of the community is useful and a reformer, then the scope of evil and corruption in the society will be very small and limited indeed.

The extent of evil and corruption in any society increases when its members become selfish and egotistic and where each one cares only for himself and his own interest regardless of the common good and the collective interest.

3- The good deed should also be a proper and successful deed. Relying on the nature of the deed as proper does not necessarily mean to give up and abandon causes and exerting best efforts to achieve the expected goals of our actions and deeds.

For example, Dawa to Islam is a good deed. However, it could be far from successful if it is done the wrong way. Building a mosque could be bad deed if it is intended to cause mischief and disunity.

” And there are those who put up a mosque by way of mischief and infidelity – to disunite the believers and in preparation for one who warred against Allah and His messenger before. They will swear that their intention is nothing but good, but Allah does declare that they are certainly liars.9/107

The verse refers to what is known as the “mosque of mischief”. (dirar) which was built by some Hypocrites not far away from the mosque of Quba, the first mosque built by the Prophet on his way to Medina. The mosque built by the Hypocrites was a result of conspiracy they had made with a notorious enemy of Islam called Abu Amir who had fought against Islam in Uhud.

His supporters wanted a mosque for him to come to, but it would only be a source of mischief and division. The conspiracy was exposed and disappointed.

At the Battle of Uhud the Muslims suffered a painful defeat because some of them disobeyed the Prophet and ignored his orders. Fighting for the sake of Allah did not justify the abandoning of proper rules for sound military planning. These rules necessitated strict discipline and total obedience to Mohammed, as a messenger of Allah and a leader.

The lesson from Uhud is that the Muslim community cannot afford to ignore discipline, order and leadership.

Our actions and deeds must follow these criteria. Unfortunately, there are many proper actions that fail because of bad planning, lack of resources or emotional involvement that obscures rational thinking and proper judgement.

Hasty decisions and rushing to short cuts do not bring success.

Good intentions do not justify that we neglect or ignore Sunnan Allah, His Rules that He created for the universe. These rules do not favour us simply because we are Muslims. If we want to be triumphant, then we must follow the rules, we must do all that is required to the best of our ability and then put our trust in Allah, because He” does not waste the reward of those who do good”. 9/120

4- A good deed is useful and beneficial to its doer.

If any one does a righteous deed it will be to the benefit of his soul. If he does evil it works against his own soul.45/15

None of our deeds, no matter how good they may be, are beneficial to Allah. Also none of our sins, no matter how ugly they may be, are harmful to Allah. He does not need our deeds, good or bad. Whatever we do, we do for our own benefit to gain His Pleasure and His Grace.

Islam acknowledges the principle of self-interest, provided that it does not cause harm to others.

Self-interest, which is not limited to worldly benefits, but extends to the hereafter.

There are many examples in the Quran for the benefits of good deeds and consequences of bad deeds.

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman and has faith, We will give him a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.16/97

“Then, as to those who Believed and did righteous Deeds, their Lord will Admit them to His Mercy: That will be the Achievement for all to see. 45/30

“For those who Believe and work righteous deeds is a reward that will never fail.41/8

On the other hand there are also many verses, which deals with the consequences of evil and bad deeds.

” Whoever works evil will be Requited accordingly. Nor will he find besides Allah, Any protector or helper. 4/123

” Taste the Penalty of eternity for your evil deeds”.32/14

“..If any does evil, The doers of evil are only punished to the extent of their deeds. 28/ 84

A good deed has its sure reward, and that reward will be better than the merits of the doer. An evil deed will not be punished with a severer penalty than justice demands. On tope of that, sins and evil deeds may be forgiven by making repentance at the right time.

“Allah accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them, Allah turn in mercy..” 4/17

” Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent”. Nor of those who die rejecting Faith. For them We have prepared a most grievous punishment.4/18

Repentance from bad deeds and Kufr, when facing death, is no good. That is too late. Those who miss the opportunity to repent will stand at the Day of Judgment before their Lord bending their heads saying:

“Our Lord. We have seen and we have heard. Let us go back to the world. We will work righteousness for now we do believe indeed”. 32/12

For those, there is no going back, there is no return to this world. There is no second chance for them to work righteousness. They had their time. They had their opportunity. They missed it. Now it is time to face the consequences of their deeds and action. Now is the time to be paid for their evil and their sins.

Let us pray to Allah:

To increase and strengthen our faith

To Guide us and help us to work righteous deeds acceptable and pleasing to Him so that we may gain His Mercy and Grace.

To keep us away from evil and all bad deeds.

To forgive our sins and accept our repentance. And make us among the winners and the joyful – the day we meet Him.

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FOUNDATIONS OF TRUE FAITH

By Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Hasan aalush-Shaykh (d.1285H)

LOVE FOR ALLAAH

Allaah – the Most High said, “Say: If you truly love Allaah, then follow me, and Allaah will love you.” [Soorah Aali-’Imraan 3:31]

This aayah is also known as aayatul-muhabbah (the aayah about love). Some of the Salaf have said, “The people claimed that they loved Allaah, so Allaah the Most High revealed the aayah about muhabbah (love), “Say: If you truly love Allaah, then follow me, and Allaah will love you.” So this aayah indicates the proofs and evidences for muhabbah and its fruits and benefits. So from the proofs of muhabbah and its clear signs is: to follow the Messenger (saws); and from its fruits and its benefits is: that Allaah will love you. So whosoever does not seek to follow the Prophet (saws), then such a person will not attain the love of Allaah.

CHARACTERISITICS OF TRUE LOVE

Allaah – the Most High – also says: “O you who believe! If any of you turns back from his religion (then wait) Allaah will create a people who will love Him and He will love them, who will be soft and gentle with the Believers and harsh with the disbelievers, who will fight in the path of Allaah, and will not be afraid of the blame from the blamers.” [Sooratul-Maa‘idah 5:54]

Here, Allaah has mentioned four characteristics of those who love Him:

Firstly and secondly, they are gentle and soft towards the Believers. It is said that this means: to be merciful, compassionate and kind. ’Ataa‘ (d.114H) – rahimahullaah – said, “A Believer’s gentleness for another Believer is like that of a child towards his father, or a slave towards his beloved master; and against the disbeliever, it is like that of a lion towards its prey: “Strong against the disbelievers, and merciful towards each other.”

Thirdly, Jihaad in the Path of Allaah with the soul, the hand, the tongue, and with wealth and property. This is the characteristic by which the true muhabbah is ascertained.

Fourthly, they are not afraid of the blame and reproach of the blamers. This being the truest characteristic of muhabbah.

If the one claiming muhabbah, whilst loving his beloved, fears the blames and reproaches or others, then this is in reality, not considered to be true muhabbah. Allaah the Most High says: “Those whom they call upon, themselves desire the waseelah (means of approach) to their Lord to which of them should be nearest. They hope for His mercy and fear His punishment.” [Sooratul-Maa‘idah 5:54]

Here, three levels which are linked to muhabbah have been mentioned, [i] Love, which is desiring to seek nearness to Him; [ii] at-Tawassul (seeking the means of approach) to Him, through righteous and correct actions; [iii] Hope and fear, a proof of desiring the means of approach to Him through righteous and correct actions is that such actions are done hoping in His mercy and also fearing His punishment.

And it is known with necessity that seeking nearness (to Allaah) can only be achieved when there is a desire and love for this, and the desire and love for seeking nearness (to Him) stems from love of Him. Indeed, true love for Him necessitates desiring to draw near to Him. However, the Jahmiyyah and the Mu’attilah, none of this has any value. Since, in their (false) view, Allaah does not draw near to anyone, nor does anyone draw near to Him, nor does He love anyone. So they deny life for the hearts, bliss for the souls, coolness for the eyes and highlights the delights of this world and the Hereafter. And due to this denial, their hearts became hardened, and between them and Allaah there came barriers and obstacles from knowing Him and loving Him. They do not know Him, nor do they seek to love Him, nor do they mention Him, except by negating and denying His Names and Attributes. They criticize and condemn those who make mention of the perfect and majestic Names and the Attributes of Allaah, accusing them of that which is more befitting to be attributed to themselves! And sufficient is it for one possessing knowledge and possessing a heart with life, that they view the sayings of such people with harshness, contempt and hatred; knowing that such people have disassociated themselves from the love of Allaah the Most High and from knowing and understanding His Uniqueness and Oneness (with respect to His Names, Attributes and Actions).

Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu) relates that the Messenger of Allaah (saws) said, ‘Allaah – the Most High – has said, ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw nearer to Me by anything more beloved to Me than the obligatory duties. And My servant continues to draw near to Me with the optional actions, so that I shall love him. So when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask me for shelter, I would surely grant it to him.” [2]

Footnotes:

[1] Fathul-Majeed Sharh Kitbaabut-Tawheed (p. 470-473)

[2] Related by al-Bukhaaree (11/340-341)

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THE POWER OF FAITH

By Sahar Kassaimah

Although religion, since the beginning of mankind, has been seen as a potent resource that makes people feel happy and secure, a new study published this week says that some forms of religious anxiety may, in fact, increase the risk of death among people who are ill.

Researchers found that patients who connect their illness with God’s love for them and those who question their love for or satisfaction with God are more likely to worsen their already poor health. The patients whom the study surveyed were almost exclusively Christian, with the majority representing conservative or mainline Protestant denominations.

However, though it seems bizarre and though it did not mention anything about Islam, the study leads the reader to a very important reality: Islam is the only solution for all human problems.

The study, which surveyed 596 elderly hospitalized patients in 1996, found that those who questioned God’s love for them were more likely to have died two years earlier than patients who did not endorse such statements. Harold G. Koeing, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center and an author of the study, said, “It’s normal to ask God, ‘Why is this happening to me? Did I do something wrong? Why aren’t You responding to my prayers?”

“All these are normal feelings, but people work through them usually, and people who can’t, who get stuck there, they are going to have worse health outcomes,” added Koeing.

When asking Sheikh Nourel Deen Giayash of Oklahoma about the study, he said that by comparing it to what Islam says, we would find that being satisfied and content with the fate of Allah (SWT) is an essential part of iman (faith).

“No one could live without being tested by Allah (SWT),” said Giayash.

“A.L.M. Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, ‘We believe’, And that they will not be tested?” (Qur’an, Al-Ankabut: 1-2)

Giayash continued to say, “So, we should never connect sickness with Allah’s love for us. The prophets are the people who were most tested in life. Prophet Job [Ayoub], peace be upon him, was tested by Allah by being deprived of health, children and money. He didn’t question Allah’s love for him. Instead, he remained patient and satisfied with his destiny.”

“The second point is that we have been taught not to wish to die even if we are suffering. Rather, we are to ask Allah to give us whatever is better for us. We need to authorize everything to Allah (SWT),” he relayed.

“Who created me, and It is He who guides me; Who gives me food and drink, And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; Who will cause me to die, And then to live [again]” (Qur’an, Ash-Shu’araa: 78-81).

A Muslim should believe that death is not the end; there is a permanent life after death whether in Janah (heaven) or in Nar (hell). Therefore, he should always be content with his destiny and should always remember what Allah (SWT) said, “..But it possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth. And ye know not” (Qur’an, Al-Baquarah: 216 ).

When asking Howayda Refaat, a psychotherapist in Egypt, whether a patient could die because he cannot accept his destiny or because he makes a connection between his illness and God’s love for him, she said, “Of course, yes. If the patient doesn’t accept his destiny, he could be depressed to the point that he can refuse to live or to be treated. Subsequently, his body can also refuse the treatment.”

“However, there is no comparison between a patient who refuses what happened to him and questioned God’s love for him and another one who feels content with the destiny of Allah and who feels that all that has happened to him is from Allah, who always chooses the best for him,” added Refaat.

“Life is full of tests and sadness and if we learn the Islamic way to deal with and react to these tests, we will accept our destiny and then, we will suffer less.”

Layla Ossyran of Los Angeles is a mother of two and suffers from cancer. When asked about this study, she said, “Without my iman (faith), my relation with Allah (SWT), I could’ve been dead a long time ago. I know many people whose du’a [supplications] and prayers helped to ease their own suffering and pain.”

“I believe that every one has his moment to die and to meet Allah (SWT). Whether he is sick or not, he cannot change the moment Allah has chosen for him. I lived through lot of pain and nothing helped me to handle it other than my Iman and my relation with Allah (SWT),” she continued.

Another mother, who asked to remain anonymous, when asked whether her relation with God helps her to feel better said, ” I am a mother of three kids. One of them is just two months old. Doctors told me that I may not live more than six more months.”

“It’s sad. Sometimes, I look at my newborn son and ask ‘Who will take care of him and of his sisters after my death?’ Sometimes I feel that I will miss them.”

“These feelings could kill you if you do not have iman. Just my iman helps me to remember that this is my destiny and my children’s destinies and to remember that Allah is the only one who can protect them, not me,” she added.

“The only thing that gives me light and makes me feel happy is to remember that Allah wants the best for me. In the meantime, this not the end of it, I will see my children once again in Janah insha’Allah (God willing). Therefore, I have to be content with Allah’s fate. I should also be patient to earn Janah.”

“Of course, it’s hard to live through these feelings, but only your Iman can help you to accept it and to be satisfied with it.”

“Life is short anyway and every body will die. No matter how or when. So, we better think about the hereafter, work hard to earn Janah and leave our destiny in the hands of Allah (SWT).”

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THE CONCEPT OF FAITH WITH AHL US-SUNNAH

Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin bin Hamd Al-‘Abbad Al-Badr

Sharh Hadeeth Jibreel fee Ta’leem ad Deen: P: 70-73 / The Explanation of the Hadeeth of Jibreel in Teaching the Deen

Translated by Abu Sumayyah Abdur-Raoof Muhammad

Faith (Eemaan) with Ahlus-Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah comprises of belief with the heart, statement of the tongue and action of the limbs. These three affairs with Ahlus-Sunnah all enter into what is specified and termed as Eemaan. Allaah the Mighty and the Majestic has said: “The believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His verses are recited unto them, they (the verses) increase their faith, and they put their trust in their Lord. [Those] Who perform the prayer and spend out of that which We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth, for them are grades of dignity with their Lord and forgiveness and a generous provision.” (Al-Anfaal: 2-4)

So in these verses the actions of the hearts and the actions of the limbs enter into Eemaan. Imaam Muslim has narrated in his Saheeh from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah-may Allaah be pleased with him- who said that the Messenger of Allaah Sallahu ‘Alihee Wasallam said: “Al-Emaan is seventy odd or sixty odd branches, the best of them is the statement: No one is worthy of worship except Allaah and the lowest of them is removing something harmful from the path and Hayaa (shyness) is a branch of Eemaan.” So indeed this Hadeeth shows that what is established and founded with the heart, the tongue and the limbs is from Eemaan…

Eemaan increases with obedience and decreases with sins, from the evidences that it increases, is the statement of Allaah the Mighty, the Majestic: “Those (believers) unto whom the people (hypocrites) said: Verily the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them, but it only increased them in faith.” (Al-Imraan: 173)

Also His statement: “And when the believers saw the confederates they said: This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth. And it only added to their faith and to their submissiveness.” (Al-Ahzaab: 22).

And from the evidences that it (Eemaan) decreases is his statement Sallahu ‘Alayhee Wasallam: “Whoever sees an evil from amongst you, then let him change it with his hand, and if he is unable, then with his tongue, and if he is unable then with his heart, and that is the weakest of Emaan.” (narrated by Muslim)…

So Ahlus-Sunnah hold the middle ground, with regards to the one who commits a major sin, between what the Murji’ah are upon and between what the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah are upon. So the Murji’ah compromise and fall short and make him (the one who falls into major sin) a believer with complete Eemaan and they say: Sins do not harm a person’s state of Eemaan, just like obedience does not benefit a person’s state of Kufr (disbelief). And the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah go to the other extreme and to exaggeration and remove him (the sinner) from the fold of Eemaan, then the Khawaarij place a ruling of Kufr upon him. The Mu’tazilah say that he is in a state between two states ( i.e. he is not a believer and not a Kaafir), and in the hereafter they both agree that he will reside in hellfire forever.

Where as Ahlus-Sunnah describe the sinful person, as being a believer with deficient Eemaan. So they do not make him a believer with complete Eemaan, as the Murji’ah say, nor do they remove him from Eemaan as the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah say. Rather Ahlus-Sunnah say: “He is a believer with regards to his Eemaan and a sinner with regards to his major sin.”

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THE REASONS FOR THE INCREASE AND DECREASE OF IMAN

Ash Shaykh Al ‘Allaamah Muhammad ibn Saaleh Al ‘Uthaymeen

Fiqhul ‘Ibaadaat: P.59. By Shaykh Mohammad ibn Saalih Al ‘Uthaymeen.ÑÍãå Çááå

Translated by Abu ‘Abdul Waahid, Nadir Ahmad.

Question: We wish to know what things enable Eemaan to increase and what things make it decrease?

Answer: As far as the things that make Eemaan increase, then from them:

The first reason: To know Allaah Ta’aala with His names and attributes. Indeed whenever a person’s knowledge of Allaah and His names and attributes increases, then his Eemaan increases without a doubt as a result. This is why you will find that the people of knowledge, those who know about the names and attributes of Allaah what others do not, you will find that they have stronger Eemaan than other than them from this perspective.

The second reason: To Ponder over the Ayaat (signs) of Allaah, Both the universal and legislated signs. Indeed whenever a person ponders over the universal Ayaat, which is the creation; the heavens, the earth, humans, animals and other than that, will increase in Eemaan. Allaah Ta’aala says: {And on the earth are signs for those who have Faith with certainty. And also in your own selves, Will you not then see?} There are many verses that prove this. What I mean is, the verses that prove that if a person was to ponder and contemplate upon the universe, his Eemaan as a result will increase.

The third reason: To practice a lot of good deeds, for whenever a person increases in practicing good deeds, his Eemaan will increase, whether these deeds are from the deeds of the tongue or actions of the body parts. For indeed Dhikr, (remembrance of Allaah) increases Eemaan in its amount (i.e. the number of times one makes Dhikr) as well as in the way it is practiced. Salaat and Sawm (fasting) as well, and Hajj increases Eemaan as in regards to the number of times it is practiced, as well as in regards to the way in which it is practiced.

As for the reasons why Eemaan decreases then it is the complete opposite of what has been mentioned. So ignorance of the names and attributes of Allaah will make Eemaan decrease. Because if a person does not know the names and attributes of Allaah, then he lacks knowledge of them that [if he had] would in turn enable him to increase in Eemaan.

The second reason: That one does not ponder over the universal and legislated Ayaat of Allaah. Indeed this causes Eemaan to decrease, or in the least will stop its growth .

Thirdly: Falling into sins, for indeed the sin has a tremendous effect on the heart and on Eemaan!. This is why the messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: “The zaanee (adulterer) does not commit zinaa (adultery) while he is a believer at the time of the act.”

Fourthly: Leaving off obedience (to Allaah and his Messenger), for indeed leaving off obedience is from the reasons that decrease one’s Eemaan. However, if this certain action of obedience was Waajib (compulsory), and one leaves it without a reason, then this is a decrease in Eemaan that one is blameworthy as well as punished for. But if it isn’t Waajib, or it is Waajib and one leaves it with an excuse, then it is a decrease of Eemaan that one is not punished for. This is why the Messenger of Allaah declared that women are deficient in ‘Aql (mentality) and Deen (Religion), and the reason he said that they had a deficiency in their Deen is because they do not pray or fast during their menses, rather they are ordered not to pray or fast, but because they are unable to practice these actions (during menses) that a man is able to practice , they decrease (in Deen) compared to a man from this perspective.

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DOES IMAN INCREASE AND DECREASE?

Ash Shaykh Al ‘Allaamah Muhammad ibn Saaleh Al ‘Uthaymeen

Fiqhul ‘Ibaadaat: P.59. By Shaykh Mohammad ibn Saalih Al ‘Uthaymeen

Question: Does Eemaan increase and decrease?

Answer: Indeed Eemaan according to Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah is the Iqraar (firmly establish) with the heart, the saying with the tongue, and actions with the body parts . So it includes these there affairs; the Iqraar with the heart, speech with the tongue and actions with the body parts. So if this is the case then surely it will increase and decrease, and this is because the Iqraar with the heart differs from person to person. To know something by someone telling it you is not like seeing it for yourself, and to know something by one person telling it to you is not the same as knowing it if two people told it to you, and so on. This is why Ibraheem (alayhi salam) said: {And (remember) when Ibraheem said: “My lord show me how you give life to the dead?” He (Allaah) said: “Do you not believe?” He Ibraheem said: “Yes (I believe) but to be stronger in faith.”}

So indeed Eemaan increases in regards to the Iqraar of the heart, its tranquility and its serenity.

One notices this in himself, for when one sits in a gathering that consists of the remembrance of Allaah and a sermon is being delivered mentioning Jannah and the hellfire, his Eemaan will increase to the point where he feels as if he can see them with his eyes. At times when one is inattentive and leaves such a gathering, that surety that he had will decrease in strength in his heart.

Eemaan increases with regards to speech as well. For indeed, the one who mentions Allaah ten times is not like the one who mentions Allaah a hundred times, the second one increases by a lot.

Also the one who practices ‘Ibaadah (actions) in the most perfect manner, his Eemaan will increase more than the one who practices them in a deficient manner.

Likewise knowledge, for indeed if a person practices more good deeds than another, then his Eemaan will increase more than the other person.

The Quraan and the Sunnah establish the increase and decrease of Eemaan, Allaah Tabaarakah wa Ta’aala says: {And We have not set none but angels as guardians of the fire. And We have fixed their number (19) only as a trial for the disbelievers, in order that the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) may arrive at a certainty [that this Quraan is the truth as it agrees with their books regarding the number [19] which is written in their books] and that the believers may increase in faith.}

He also says: {And Whenever there comes down a Surah, some of them (hypocrites) say: “Whom from amongst you has had his faith increased by it?” As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubt, disbelief and hypocrisy), it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt: and they die while they are disbelievers.}

In the authentic Hadeeth the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: “I have never seen anyone with a deficiency of ‘aql (intellect -meaning the witness of two women is equal to the witness of one man. An Nawawee said: meaning they have weak memories) and Deen (religion –meaning they do not pray or fast during their menses) that are more overpowering to men than one of you [women].”

So Eemaan therefore, increases and decreases but what are the reasons for the increase and decrease of Eemaan?

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THE CORRECT FAITH

By Sheikh Husain Aali Ash-Sheikh

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds, may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah in your words and deeds, for “whoever fears Allaah, and keeps his duty to Him, He will provide him a way out (of every difficulty), and He will provide him from sources he could never imagine.” (At-Talaaq: 2-3)

Dear Muslims! The greatest blessing that Allaah bestowed on mankind is His sending of Muhammad – peace and blessings be on him – with a pure religion that brings all good to mankind and protects them from all that is evil through its principles of justice, brotherhood, freedom and peace.

Brothers in Islaam! The faith that the Prophet established its pillars is the source of all good and felicity for those who follow its guidance. This faith is the pure tree with ripe and everlasting fruits. Allaah says, “See you not how Allaah set forth a parable? – A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches (reach) to the sky. Giving its fruits at all times by the leave of its Lord…” (Ibraahiem: 24).

Islaam is the treasure of all good for mankind without which they will go astray and live in misery and loss. Allaah says, “By the time! Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.” (Al Asr: 1-3).

The Islamic creed with which the Prophet Muhammad was sent is the bringer of all good and prosperity and the preventer of all evil and its causes. Whoever adheres to it will ever remain on the straight path. He will not be carried away by whims nor deceived by the beauties of this world. Allaah says, “Then whenever there comes to you guidance from Me and whoever follows My guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah: 38).

Brothers in faith! Only through true faith can man know his appropriate place and march on the path marked for him with light and sure knowledge. He will follow only the right guidance and live his life in righteousness in line with his pure nature and clean conscience far from ugly deeds and behaviours.

Fellow Muslims! The impact of faith is great in the mind and its fruits are wonderful. Apart from its purification of the heart and developing it, it is also an infinite living treasure. It gives man power, perseverance, firmness, peace of mind and hope in this world where there is unending war between truth and falsehood; good and evil, it gives absolute security, complete guidance and perfect light. Allaah says, “Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest.” (Ar Ra’d: 28).

Whoever lives in the vastness of faith, holds fast to its strong rope and follows its illuminating light by living a life that will make him understand the infinite wisdom of Allaah, His vast Mercy, His past laws and His Divine Power. That will then give him peace of mind, because he will know then that whatever good that comes his way has already been predestined for him and that whatever calamity that he suffers has also been predestined for him. He will have neither doubt nor worries but march on with firm step towards his virtuous goals.

The Messenger of Allaah said, “Observe the rights of Allaah, He will protect you; observe His rights upon you, and you will find him before you. If you ask, ask of Allaah; if you seek assistance, seek it from Allaah. Know that if the whole world gathered together to benefit you, they could not do so except by that which Allaah has destined for you; and if they gathered together to harm you, they could not do so except by that which Allaah has destined for you. The pens have been raised and the sheets have dried.” (Which means everything has already been predestined by Allaah.)

True faith gives man certainty, confidence and power to persevere. IF he is in bliss, he will not be arrogant, but will rather praise his Lord and thank Him and if he is afflicted with calamity, he will not despair, but will rather have patience and be satisfied with his fate. This is because he exemplifies his faith with clarity and power of will, and derives his power of forbearance during hardship from it. Nothing will then be able to divert him from his faith and his seeking for the pleasure of his Lord. He will rather increase in purity, sincerity, truthfulness, patience and firmness. The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘The affair of a believer is wonderful; all his affairs are good for him and that is for none except the believer. When he gets a bliss he thanks Allaah for that, and that is good for him and when a calamity befalls him, he is patient and that is also good for him.’ (Muslim).

Brothers in Islaam! A nation that is governed by the Islamic creed and its life is controlled by the realities of faith is a powerful nation in itself; a nation that has a natural immunity that enables it – with permission of Allaah – to overcome all hardships and trials; and prevent its children from being affected by despair during calamities. It will rather be a nation that calamities and trials only increase it in good, reform and constructive life. It is actually a nation that has passed through all kinds of tribulations in its long history. If any other nation were to have a similar experience, it would have disappeared from the pages of history. Yes, it is a nation that has been promised a clear victory.

“Allaah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds that He will certainly grant them succession (to the present rulers) in the earth as He granted it to those before them and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islaam). He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me.” (An-Noor: 55).

Brothers in faith! Abandoning the pleasant source of faith, its realities and light of Islaam cause dangerous crises. Perpetual darkness and a life that is devoid of happiness or bliss. Allaah says, “But whoever turns away from My reminder, verily, for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” (Taa Haa: 124).

The winds of evils that blow among mankind these days as well as wars and instability are all a result of keeping away from the divine path. true faith and the correct concept of freedom and equality. Allaah says, “And transgress not the limits. Truly Allaah likes not the transgressors.” (Al-Baqarah: 190).

Therefore as long as the life is not based on the foundation laid by the Creator, as long as the wise men of the world do not fully recognise sources of evil and as long as the solution to the worlds problems is not based on comprehensive justice and common-sense, there will never be any visible end to wars and the ship of this world will not find its way to the port of peace – regardless of efforts exerted towards this goal.

Fellow Muslims! Some world communities are afflicted with some calamities. The frightening danger does not lie in these incidents but in the methods taken to face the problem and overcome it. Common-sense should be used in tackling them and proper steps should be taken to avoid their reoccurrence. Investigation should be adequately made and conclusions should not be hastily drawn in order to avoid more severe consequences. Allaah says, “O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a piece of news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.” (Al-Hujuraat: 6).

The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘Deliberateness is from Allaah, while haste is from Satan.’

Brothers in faith! Muslims nowadays are passing through difficult situations and they are surrounded by dangers that threaten their very existence. They are therefore looking towards better conditions. However, there is a fact that should be clear to everybody: this community of ours has a special nature that distinguishes it from other people; that is its belief which is based on total and complete submission to Allaah, the Exalted.

It is this very belief and action according to its injections – in all spheres of one’s life that can guarantee the much desired peace and security. Allaah says, “Truly, Allaah defends those who believe.” (Al-Hajj: 38).

Therefore, there is no way for this nation out of its present predicaments except by faithfully returning to Allaah, adhering truly to the Sunnah of the Prophet and being sincere towards its religion inwardly and outwardly. There is no way out except by loving Allaah and his Messenger with all the hearts and abiding by His law in governance and arbitration and in all matters of life. Allaah says, “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any opinion in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.” (Al-Ahzaab: 36).

Now is the time for dead hearts to awake! Now is the time for the heedless to remember Allaah and for the one deep in the sea of sin to cling to the ship of salvation! Allah says, “Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allaah’s reminder and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture (the Torah and Gospel) before (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were rebellious, disobedient (to Allaah).” (Al-Hadeed: 16).

O journalists! The obligation of the mass media is to understand its role. The mass media should build and not destroy; correct and not damage. It should be occupied with issues of high importance not trivialities. Let it be an avenue for guiding the Muslim children to their religion and actions that lead towards unity of Muslims, sincerity to this great religion, serving and defending it faithfully.

“And who is better in speech than he who invites men to Allaah’s (religion) and does righteous deeds and says I am one of the Muslims.” (Fussilat: 33).

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SWEETNESS OF FAITH

Shaykh Saalih bin Humayyid

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah as He should be feared. For fear of Allaah is the best provision. Fear Allaah wherever you are and carry out the deeds for which you were created. Allaah says, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhaariyaat 51:56)

Dear brethren! The keen observer of the affairs and situations of this life will find out that many people live in hardship and misery. They lack security and peace of mind and their hearts are full of rancour, hatred and selfishness. On the other hand, he finds other people who live comfortable life. They are honourable in the eyes of the people. They are good-heart and their minds are pure from rancour and they are cheerful. The observer is then forced to ask: ‘What is the cause of difference between these tw o groups?’ It is the sweetness of faith. The Messenger of Allaah said, “One who is pleased with Allaah as his Lord, with Islaam as his way of life and with Muhammad as [his] Messenger would taste the flavour of faith (Eemaan).”

He also said, “Whoever has three qualities will experience the sweetness of Eemaan: Allaah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anything else; he loves a man just for Allaah’s sake; and he would hate to return to disbelief after Allaah rescued him from it just as he would hate to be thrown into fire.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

Brethren in faith! Eemaan has a flavour that supersedes all other flavours. The sweetness of faith is an innermost-felt one. It is the peace of mind that moves throughout the body as water moves in the veins. With the sweetness of faith, there is no sleeplessness nor anxiety or strains. It is all mercy, contentedness and bliss. “That is the bounty of Allaah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allaah is the P ossessor of great bounty.” (Al-Jumu’ah 62:4)

Belief in Allaah is the peace of mind, guidance of the heart, source of light for the travellers, hope for the hopeless, security of the frightened, victory for the fighters in the cause of Allaah, glad tiding for the pious and the gift for the deprived. Faith is the father of hope, the brother of bravery and the companion of hope. It is also the glory of any nation and the very soul of all people.

The first step towards attaining the sweetness of faith and the flavour of happiness is to be pleased with Allaah as the Lord and the Controller of one’s life; that He is the Merciful Lord of this world and the Hereafter; that He is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earths; that He is the Creator of death and life; that He is the Bestower of favours; that He is the One Who answers the distressed when he calls upon Him and that is the Remover of evils. He gave each thing its form and then guided it. He created man in the best form, breathed into him from His Soul, fed him, clothed him, gave him security from fear, guided him from error and taught him after he had been ignorant.

The faith that provides sweetness is the one in which the soul is totally submitted to Allaah and His pleasure; in which soul is free from desires. It is the one in which the soul worships Allaah, hopes for His mercy and fears Him. For all affairs are in His Hand and all things shall return to Him.

It is the faith that makes man pleased with Allaah and spread out his hands to Him in supplication saying, “O Allaah! I take refuge in Your pleasure from Your wrath, and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment and from in You from You. It is beyond my ability to praise You as it is due. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

The second flavour of faith is to be pleased with Islaam as one’s religion. Islaam is the religion of Allaah that He revealed to His Messenger. It is the only religion with whic h He is pleased and besides which He will not accept any other religion.

Listen to this wonderful embodiment of pleasure with the religion of Allaah: ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab one day got angry with his wife ‘Aatikah and he told her, ‘By Allaah, I will hurt you.’ His wife responded, ‘Are you able to drive me away from Islaam after Allaah had guided me to it?’ He said, ‘No.’ The woman then said, ‘By what else can you hurt me then?’

Allaahu akbar! She was confident, was at ease and was contented as long as her religion was preserved, even if she was to face enormous calamities. Her soul was at ease as long as she had to lose it in the cause of Allaah.

Islaam is the source of satisfaction and light, the source of happiness and guidance.

The third flavour of faith is to be pleased with Muhammad as the Messenger and Prophet. Muhammad is the sincere well-wisher, the mercy and guidance, and the excellent model. He has no rival in obedience or in judgment. Al laah says, “But no, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in full, willing submission.” (An-Nisaa 4:65)

Being pleased with Muhammad as the Messenger necessitates following and emulating him practically.

Dear brethren! If the faith is correct and is well-established in the heart it shows in practical life. When a believing Muslim walks in the land, he walks correctly and piously. He is a pleasant fragrance and his movements emanate from faith and tranquillity. Allaah says about him in a Qudsee hadeeth, “When I love him I become his ears with which he hears, his eyes with which he sees, his hand with which he holds and his feet with which he walks. If he asks from Me I will certainly grant him [his request] and if he seeks refuge with Me I will certainly grant him re fuge.”

When one tastes the flavour of faith, his life becomes pleasant. His sight and thought will be attached to the most sublime and everlasting matters. Allaah says, “[To the righteous it will be said], O reassured soul, return to your Lord well-pleasing and pleasing [to Him].” (Al-Fajr 89:28)

Dear brother, have you ever seen an appearance more beautiful than that of righteous men? Have you ever seen toil more pleasant than that of those who pray tahajjud? Have you ever seen tears more tender than the tears of the repentant? Have you ever seen humility better than that of those who bow to Allaah and prostrate to Him in humility? Have you ever seen a paradise greater than that of the believer when he worships his Lord?

Such is the flavour of faith which they experience whenever they worship. As for the hardships they face in worldly affairs, they find sweetness of faith in that. They are contented with what the fate brings to them and therefore have peace of mind.

The true believer faces his life composed, happy and contented however his condition may be. He does not lose hope over what he misses and does not excessively rejoice over whatever he achieves. His faith is characterised with dependence upon Allaah. He learns lessons from the past and prepares for the future. He makes use of the means and does not rage over the decisions of Allaah. He is never reluctant to work. His motto is the saying of Allaah, “And my success is not but through Allaah. Upon Him I have relied and to Him I will return.” (Hood 11:88)

A true believer believes with certainty that he will never miss whatever has been written down for him and that he will never achieve what is not destined to be his. He believes that the entire inhabitants of the heavens and the earth cannot benefit or harm him except with what has already been written down for him.

He does not destroy himself with distress nor does he succumb to failure. He never seeks tranquillity in disgrace and laziness. All his life is full work, tribulations, righteousness, justice, competition in doing noble deeds, fighting in the way of Allaah and patience. He is never disturbed by calamities. The Messenger of Allaah said, “The affair of a believer is wonderful and all his situations are good. When he is in bliss he thanks [Allaah] and that is good for him, and when he is afflicted with hardship he bears it with patience and that is good for him. And none but the believer has that quality.”

It is through strong faith that a believer is liberated from fear and cowardice and anxiety. Allaah says, “Say never will we be struck except by what Allaah has decreed for us; He is our Protector. And upon Allaah let the believers rely.” (At-Tawbah 9:51)

The life of a believer is full of contentedness and flavour. He lives his life under the shade of these principles. If he is given he takes and thanks, an d if he is deprived he is contented and patient. If he is commanded he implements the order, if he is restricted he refrains and if he commits a sin he seeks forgiveness. It is through this faith that a believer frees himself from the shackles of desire, whisperings of devils and temptations of this world. He is full of happiness and contentedness and he is far from avarice and stinginess.

Indeed, the flavour of faith removes materialism and anxiety and implants righteousness and compassion. It is then that the heart can experience tranquillity. Allaah says, “These are those – he has decreed within their hearts faith, and supported with spirit from Him.” (Al-Mujaadilah 58:22)

Fellow Muslims! The weak of faith will always groan in his calamity because he does not know the One Who tries him with the calamity. He hates to travel because he has no provision and he goes astray because he has no guide. Great is the loss of the loners. Allaah says, “Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allaah.” (Az-Zumar 39:22)

He who is not a believer is unfortunate. He will not be conscious of Allaah in his sayings and deeds. His conduct is characterised with selfishness. He does not have confidence in himself and mutual compassion and cooperation are, in his life, replaced with rancour and dissention. Without faith and its sweetness, mankind are like harmful beasts.

Brethren in faith! Modern civilisation with its overwhelming materialism and hollow technology is a living witness that happiness can never be attained through pleasures or materials of this world. They are never satisfying. The avarice for it draws man to wars and thereby causes him to bring misery upon himself and others. Desire for the pleasure of this world creates enmity and aggression. It creates psychological diseases, social disruptions and ideological instability. These consequently lead to drugs and then to psychological clinics. Allaah says, “And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed [i.e. difficult] life, and We will gather [i.e. raise] him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” (Taa Haa 20:124)

Allaah also says, “So whoever Allaah wants to guide – He expands his breast to contain Islaam; and whoever He wants to misguide – He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he was climbing into the sky.” (Al-An’aam 6:125″

Dear brethren! Fear Allaah and believe in Him. Obey your Prophet and hold fast unto your religion. We are pleased with Allaah as our Lord; we are pleased with Islaam as our religion and we are pleased with Muhammad as our Prophet.

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FOUR TYPES OF MURJI’AH AND HOW THEY RELATE TO IMAN

By Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan

Question: What are the types of the Murji’ah? Please also mention their statements with regards to the issues of eemaan.

Answer: The Murji’ah are of four types:

ONE: Those who say that eemaan is merely knowledge (ma’rifah), even if this is not accompanied by testification (tasdeeq). This is the statement of the Jahmiyyah. This is the most evil and the ugliest of statements. It is in fact disbelief (kufr) in Allah Azza wa Jall, because the mushrikoon from the early times, and Pharaoh (Firawn), and Haamaan and Qaaroon and (even) Iblees all acknowledged (the existence) of Allaah, Azza wa Jall, in their hearts. However because they did not state this on their tongues, nor testify to this in their hearts, nor act upon it with their limbs, then this knowledge did not benefit them.

TWO: Those who say that eemaan is testification in the heart only. This is the statement of the Ashaa’irah (the Ashaa’arees). This is also a false statement since the disbelievers (kuffaar) testify in their hearts, they know that the Quraan is True and that the Messenger (sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is True, and the Jews and Christians know that. “Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognise him (Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) as they recognise their sons; but verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it [i.e. the qualities of Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam which are written in the Tawraat and the Injeel].” (Surah Al Baqarah: 146)

And they testify to it in their hearts.

Allaah Ta’aala says regarding the Mushrikoon: We know indeed the grief which their words cause you (O Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam); it is not you that they deny but it is the Ayaat of Allaah that the Dhaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) deny. (Surah Al An’aam: 33) So these people did not state upon their tongues nor did they act with their limbs, yet they did testify in their hearts so they did not become people of eemaan (mu’minoon).

THREE: The statement of those who are the direct opposite of the Ashaa’irah – and they are the Karaamiyah. Those who say that eemaan is statement on the tongue even if the person does not truly believe in his heart. Without doubt, this is a false statement since the hypocrites (munaafiqoon) those who are in the lowest depths of the Fire say: “We bear witness that laa ilaaha ill Allaah and that Muhammad rasool ullaah with their tongues and they act (accordingly) with their limbs, but they do not truly believe in that nor do they testify to it in their hearts.”

This is just as Allaah Ta’aala says: When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad sal Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) they say: “We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allaah. And Allaah knows that you are indeed His Messenger and Allaah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed. They have made their oaths a screen (for their hypocrisy). In this way they hinder (men) from the Path of Allaah. Verily, evil is what they used to do. (Surah Al Munaafiqoon: 1-2)

And He says, Subhaanahu wa ta’aala: They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. (Surah Al Fath: 11)

FOUR: The statement of the murji’ah al fuqahaa, and they are the lightest of the groups in terms of irjaa’ – those who say that eemaan is belief (itiqaad) in the heart and statement upon the tongue, but action does not enter into it. This is the statement of the Murji’ah al-Fuqahaa and this is a statement which is also incorrect since there is no eemaan without action.

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PEOPLE OF IMAN AND PIETY READILY ACCEPT THE TRUTH

By Imam al-Haram Usamah Khayyat

All praise is due to Allâh, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allâh be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

O you who believe! Fear Allâh as He should be feared and work towards your salvation tomorrow on, “The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allâh a clean heart.” (Ash-Shu`arâ 26:88-89)

And “The Day when man shall remember what he strove for.” (An-Nâzi`ât 79:35)

Fellow Muslims! It is part of a Muslim’s magnanimity, nobility and good manners to always seek for and surrender to the truth out of desire for the pleasure of Allâh and out of fear of falling into the abyss of arrogance. The Messenger of Allâh said, “Whoever has the weight of mustard seed of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise.”

A man said, “[What about] a person who likes his clothes to be fine and his shoes to be fine.” The Prophet responded, “Verily, Allâh is beautiful and He loves beauty. Pride is disregard for the truth and contempt for people.” (Al-Bukhârî and Muslim)

Disregard for the truth is to reject it. And contempt for people is to scorn them and show them all forms of arrogance either through words or deeds.

Rejecting the truth also implies denying it, hating it and turning away from it, as former people who were punished had done. The punishment of Allâh came to them in their homes and what happened to them became a lesson for others. Allâh says, “And never an Ayah (sign) comes to them from the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, but that they have been turning away from it. Indeed, they rejected the truth (the Qur’ân and Muhammad (peace be upon him)) when it came to them, but there will come to them the news of that (the torment) which they used to mock at. Have they not seen how many a generation before them We have destroyed whom We had established on the earth such as We have not established you? And We poured out on them rain from the sky in abundance, and made the rivers flow under them. Yet We destroyed them for their sins, and created after them other generations.” (Al-An`âm 6:4-6)

Allâh also says, “Indeed We have brought the truth (Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the Qur’ân), to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:78)

As for those who have faith and fear Allâh, their most prominent characteristic is acceptance of the truth, submitting to it and calling others unto it. That is why they are the wisest of all people and the most knowledgeable of the causes of happiness, victory and success. Wisdom is the lost property of a believer; he takes hold of it wherever he finds it. Refraining from rejecting the truth is safety from being in the same group with the erroneous and deniers of the signs of Allâh. It is also the safety from sharing in the consequences of their rejection of the truth as a result of their arrogance in the land.

You will notice that those who fear Allâh have habituated themselves on accepting the truth irrespective of the person from whom the truth comes. Hence you find them accepting the truth from children, ignorant and enemies. This is the opinion of eminent scholars like Qâdî `Iyâd and others.

Another noble quality of those who fear Allâh is that when anyone of them debated with someone, he supplicated secretly for his opponent to Allâh to strengthen his opponent, make him reach at the truth and let the truth come from him. An example of this is Imâm Ash-Shâfi`î who used to say, “Whenever I argued with someone, I always wished that Allâh show the truth through him.”

Brethren in faith! The God-fearing Muslim treats his brother as gently as he can. He lowers his voice when he speaks with him, he guards his tongue and hands from attacking his honour and never harms him with any form. He always bears in mind the saying of the Messenger of Allâh that goes thus, “A Muslim should neither be slanderer nor a curser, nor an immodest nor foul.”

And his saying, “A Muslim is someone from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” (Al-Bukhârî and Muslim)

He also abstains from useless argument and he fears the malice and hatred that quarrelling leads to. In this regard he follows the Prophet’s admonition that goes thus, “I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right.” (Abû Dâwûd)

And his saying, “No nation went astray after they had been on guidance except that they were afflicted with quarrelling and deprived of (fruitful) actions.” (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhî)

In short, sincerity of purpose and an intention to arrive at the truth is the goal. The Muslim must beware of promoting his personal ego and showing that he is better than other. He should also treat all people with compassion and wish them well. Allâh says, “That home of the Hereafter (i.e. Paradise), We shall assign to those who rebel not against the truth with pride and oppression in the land nor do mischief by committing crimes. And the good end is for the pious.” (Al-Qasas 28:83)

Fellow Muslims! A scholar among our righteous predecessors wrote a letter to a brother of his in which he asked him for admonition and advice on an issue. The scholar wrote him the following reply: “To proceed, if Allâh is with you who are you then afraid of? And if Allâh is against you, who is he unto him you can fix your hope? Bye.”

Dear brethren! This short statement is a great admonition, a strong reminder and a brilliant word. Allâh’s care for His slave supersedes all other cares; and with the care of Allâh, the slave is in no need of the care of others. The special divine care means protection and support. Allâh tells us about those who deserve this protection when He says, “Truly, Allâh is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him), and those who are good-doers.” (An-Nahl 16:128)

May Allâh include us among the pious and the righteous. May He guide us to the path of His sincere slaves and keep us away from causes of His wrath and punishment.

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