Question: Upon which thing is it conditional to achieve salvation in the Hereafter?
Some people suppose that every person having belief in the existence of Allah will go to Paradise, but this is a complete fallacy. The îmân [belief, faith] of a person who does not believe in one of the six tenets of belief in the Âmantu is not valid. For this reason, what matters is not to have belief but to have a correct belief. To achieve salvation in the Hereafter is conditional upon having a correct belief, not upon the amplitude of acts of worship. Those with the tiniest correct belief in their heart will enter Paradise in the end, even if they have a few or no acts of worship performed with ikhlâs. It is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(He who has a mote of îmân in his heart will not remain in Hell.) [Bukhârî, Muslim]
Getting on a vehicle, all people are traveling on a way destined for the Hereafter. While traveling, what is important is not to get on a vehicle but to get on a right vehicle. People who get on a wrong one will head for the place where it is en route, not where they want. For example, those who board a plane to Paris with the intention of going to the Kâ’ba cannot arrive at the Kâ’ba no matter how pure intentions they may have.
Allahu ta’âlâ has promised that He will grant the right path, that is, real Islam, to those who have been prompted by simple curiosity over it and who are in search of the truth [Sûrat-ul-‘Ankabût 69, Sûrat-ush-Shûra 13]. Allah never breaks His promise. [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 9].
This means to say that people following the aberrant ways do not ask for the truth, let alone have little curiosity. Allahu ta’âlâ has guaranteed the sustenance for His creatures. However, He is not the Guarantor of the îmân [belief]. Before rectifying one’s credal state according to the Islam’s true credal tenets termed “Ahl as-Sunnat belief,” performing acts of worship will be of no avail. We can conceive of the true belief (the belief of Ahl as sunnat) as the number 1. Acts of worship performed with sincerity are like number 0 placed on the right of number 1. When placed one 0, it is 10. If placed two zeroes, then it is 100. The more zeroes we place on the right of it, the more valuable it will become. However, when we remove the number 1, the result is 0. By the same token, acts of worship performed with insincerity, that is, for ostentation, are worthless like zeroes placed on the left of 1. After people have corrected their i’tiqâd [belief] in accordance with the true credal tenets of Ahl as-Sunnat, to increase their acts of worship is up to their perseverance, sincerity, and knowledge. They can indulge themselves to their hearts’ content. But if they do not have correct belief, namely, Ahl as-Sunnat belief, their acts of worship are worthless like zeroes on the left.
According to the Mu’tazila and such rationalistic groups, worships are part of îmân. They assert that a person who does not perform the fards or who commits sins becomes a disbeliever. In other words, they establish such a link between îmân and acts of worship: îmân x acts of worship. In this multiplication, they say, if one of them is zero, then the result is zero. That is to say, îmân without acts of worship or acts of worship without îmân are not valid. However, according to the Ahl as-Sunnat belief, îmân without acts of worship is valid, but acts of worship without îmân are not valid. According to the Ahl as-Sunnat belief, it can be defined as: acts of worship x ikhlâs. Without doing the deed itself, if one thinks of sincerely, “If I had money, I would help that poor person,” one will earn thawâb due to one’s sincere intention, even if one does not do that deed. More ikhlâs in one’s heart will bring in more thawâb when it is multiplied by one’s acts of worship. For example, if our ikhlâs is symbolized by the number 1, and if we give a loaf of bread to 1,000 poor people each, the result is 1×1,000 = 1,000 (thawâb). Since the ikhlâs of the Ashâb-i kirâm [the blessed Companions of our Prophet] is so strong, for example, suppose it is one million, if one of them gives a loaf of bread to a poor person, he earns one million thawâb.
Therefore, it is declared in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(I swear that if one gave a piece of gold as big as Mount Uhud in the name of alms one would not earn the thawâb equal to the amount that one of my Ashâb would be given for alms worth a handful of barley.) [Bukhârî]
As the îmân of the Ashâb-i kirâm is so strong and their ikhlâs is so much, they gain such amounts of thawâb. Among the Ashâb-i kirâm, some of them have superiority over the others. For example, the thawâb of a handful of dates given in the name of alms by Hadrat Abû Bakr and the thawâb earned by any other Sahâbî with the same alms are poles apart.
Again, it is declared in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(I asked about the matters over which my Ashâb would fall into disagreement with each other. My Rabb informed me, “Your Ashâb are like the celestial stars in My Sight. Some of them are more luminous than the others. He who adapts himself to any one of them is on the right path.”) [Daylamî]
Question: In order to have a correct belief, what are the requisites?
Some of the requisites of the correct belief are as follows:
1. To remain steadfast in your îmân: Anyone who desires to become a disbeliever three years later will become a disbeliever as soon as one says this.
2. To take a middle path between khawf [fear] and rajâ’ [hope]: That is, one must have fear of Allahu ta’âlâ’s punishment as well as hope of His mercy.
3. To have îmân before the soul reaches to the throat: When submitting the soul, upon seeing the events pertaining to the life to come, the then îmân of a disbeliever is not valid. However, at that time, the tawba [repentance] of Muslims for their sins is acceptable.
4. To have îmân before the sun rises in the west: When the sun rises in the west, the door of repentance will be closed.
5. Only Allahu ta’âlâ knows the ghayb: If Allah informs His prophets or His dear slaves, then they also know it.
6. You must avoid using or saying things which Islam dictates as signs of kufr [disbelief]: For example, a Muslim must not wear a cross or must not say, even as a joke, “I am a disbeliever.”
7. Not to have doubts about things that are to be believed: For example, one must not have such doubts as, “Is it fard [obligatory] to perform namâz?” or “Is it harâm [prohibited] to drink wine?”
8. You must base your belief on Islam: Your belief must be as Hadrat Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm) stated, not as historians and philosophers stated.
9. To love for the sake of Allah [hubb-i fillah] and to dislike for the sake of Allah [bughd-i fillah]: One’s love and hatred must be only for the sake of Allah. It is a sign of kufr [disbelief] to feel hostility towards the friends of Allah and to love and make friends with the enemies of Allah, e.g. to love Socrates but to have hatred towards Hadrat Imâm-i Ghazâlî.
10. You must rectify your belief according to (Islam’s true credal tenets termed) Ahl as-Sunnat wa’l-jamâ’at.
Some essential matters in the aqeedah (creed, faith) of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah are as follows:
1. Allahu ta’ala is free from time and space. It causes disbelief (kufr) to say, “Allah has sat on the ‘Arsh.”
2. Allahu ta’ala does not resemble anything. It causes disbelief to attribute human features and characteristics (anthropomorphism) to Him, such as hand, feet, walking, descending, ascending etc.
3. Muhammad ‘alaihis-salam is the last prophet. No prophet will succeed him. To say “No prophet [nabi] will succeed him, but a messenger [rasul] will succeed him” is an act of kufr (disbelief) that expels the person saying it from the fold of Islam.
4. We must not declare Ahl al-qibla (a Muslim who performs salat) a kafir (disbeliever) owing to his/her sins because acts of worship (ibadah) do not form an integral part of faith (iman). That is, a Muslim who does not do acts of worship and commits sins must not be declared a kafir. In the Hereafter, Allahu ta’ala may torment a person in return for a minor sin, and He may forgive major sins.
5. The Muslims in Paradise (Jannah) will see Allahu ta’ala. The Mu’tazila sect does not believe this fact.
6. A person either has iman (faith) or not. Faith does not increase or decrease. However, the brightness and strength of it increases or decreases.
7. The Qur’an al-karim is not something created (makhluq).
8. It is permissible to do masah (wiping with wet hands) over khuffs (waterproof shoes covering the part of the foot which is obligatory to wash in wudu’). Whoever says that it is not permissible is not considered a member of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah.
9. The Mi’raj was an event that involved both soul and body.
10. Mu’jizah and karamah are haqq (true and established).
11. We must love all of the Sahaba (Blessed Companions of our Prophet) and must not speak ill of any of them because all of them will be in Paradise. (Al-Hadid 10)
12. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq is the most superior and best of the Sahaba.
13. The soul does not die. After death, the souls of disbelievers and those of Muslims hear.
14. It is permissible to visit a grave, and it is permissible, too, to ask prophets, martyrs, and awliya’ in the grave for help.
15. The questioning and torment in the grave are haqq (true and established). The torment in the grave will be inflicted on both the soul and the body.
16. In the Hereafter, there will be shafa’ah (intercession), the Sirat Bridge, Reckoning, and Mi’zan (for weighing deeds and conduct).
17. When one reads the Qur’an al-karim or gives alms, it is permissible to present the thawab (reward) of them to the deceased. It will reach them and cause their torment to be lightened or to be removed altogether.
18. When a person dies because of murder or committing suicide, s/he has died because his/her appointed time of death (ajal) has come.
19. No sin, whether minor or major, issues from prophets.
20. Both Paradise and Hell exist now, and they will exist endlessly in the Hereafter. Sinful Muslims will not dwell in Hell eternally. It is disbelievers (kuffar) who will dwell in it eternally.
21. Today, a Muslim must adopt one of the four madhhabs. Whoever does not follow one of them has deviated from Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. (Hashiyah Durr-ul-Mukhtar)
22. It is of the main points of the aqeedah of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah to believe the signs before Doomsday, e.g., Dajjal, Dabbat-ul-ard, and Hadrat Mahdi will appear; Hadrat ‘Isa (Jesus) will descend from the sky; the sun will rise in the west.
23. It is not permissible to rebel against a sultan or a caliph.
All of the abovementioned facts have been quoted from the books Fiqh al-Akbar, Nuhbat al-Laali, Riyad an-Nasihin, Maktubat-i Rabbani, and Faraid al-Fawaid.