What is “having belief”?
Question: In order to be a Muslim, it is obligatory that we have belief in all six tenets of faith in the Âmantu. But what is “having belief”?
Believing something means admitting, confirming and loving as if we saw it. In order for one to be a Muslim, it is obligatory that one have belief; that is, one has to believe in the commandments and prohibitions of our religion. Indeed, it does not suffice to believe alone; additionally, one must also love and esteem them highly. So this issue is a matter of knowledge. Practising the rules of the religion is separate from accepting, loving and respecting them. Whereas whether one performs these commandments or not is related to committing sins or gaining thawâb, accepting and loving them are related to îmân (belief). The six fundamental principles of faith, which are crucially important, are considered as a whole. They do not tolerate even a shadow of doubt. Not to love any of them is a sign of disbelief no matter whether one believes it or not.
What is the definition of îmân?
You define îmân as in the following:
“Îmân itself is, without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to believe the facts which Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm) communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms them because they are reasonable, one has confirmed mind, not the Prophet. Or one will have confirmed the Messenger and the mind together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not îmân. Îmân is to believe for certain in the six tenets of belief in the Âmantu. For when the pious are exalted in the Qur’ân al-karîm, it is purported, ‘They believe in the Unseen.’”
This definition contradicts the Qur’ân, and is contrary to the 62th âyat of Sûrat-ul-Baqara. Îmân is to have belief only in Allahu ta’âlâ and the Last Day. This definition has nothing to do with Muhammadî path, either.
The term Muhammadî is not appropriate. This term belongs to orientalists and missionaries who do not believe in our Master the Prophet’s prophethood and who allege that the Qur’ân is not the Word of Allah but the Word of Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm). Are the principles that must be believed in highlighted only in the 62th âyat of (sûra) Baqara? Why are you drawing a veil over other âyats? However, in this way, you cannot hide the truth. Îmân is not to have belief only in Allah and in the Last Day. In fact, îmân is to have belief in all six tenets of belief in the Âmantu. What is praised in the 3rd âyat of Sûrat-ul-Baqara is to believe in the ghayb, that is, to believe in the Unseen. Likewise, the six tenets of belief requires believing in the Unseen because we have not seen any of them with our eyes.
Do you know how Hadrat Abû Bakr as-Siddîq (radiy-Allahu ta’âlâ ‘anh), the highest and the most auspicious of all human beings after prophets, was promoted to this high grade and earned the epithet of“Siddîq”? The reason for his receiving this honor is his saying with his heart, “Every word Allahu ta’âlâ reveals is true, and every word declared by His Prophet is true.” These words of his bewildered the disbelievers, and being at a loss, they said, “How amazing! Verily, Muhammad bewitched Abû Bakr because he believes and confirms His (Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm) ascent to the Mi’râj in a moment.”
Our Master the Prophet explained “îmân” by clarifying the following âyats concerning the belief:
(Îmân is to have belief in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Last Day [that is, to have belief in the Day of Qiyama, Paradise, Hell, Judgement, and Mîzân] in qadar and that good (khair) and evil (sharr) are from Allah, and in death and Resurrection. It is to bear witness that there is no ilâh except Allah and that I am a human slave and Messenger of His.)[Bukhârî, Muslim, Nasâî]
It is purported in the Qur’ân al-karîm:
(The real piety is to believe in Allah, in the Last Day, in His angels, in His books, and in His messengers.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 177]
(They believe in the Unseen [they believe in Allah, angels, the Doomsday, Paradise and Hell, even if they do not see them].) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 3]
(They believe in that which is revealed to you and that which was revealed [other Divine Books] before you. They have belief in the Hereafter.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 4]
Having belief in Allah, in the Last Day, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, and in the Unseen is declared in the above-mentioned three âyats.
(Only Allah decrees the time of death.) [Sûrat-ul-An’âm 2]
The three âyats above communicate that whatever comes upon humanbeings is by Allahu ta’âlâ’s Will and so indicate that one must believe in qadar.
(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil reaches them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.” Why do these people not understand any word?) [Sûrat-un-Nisâ 78]
The âyat above notifies us of the fact that good and evil are from Allahu ta’âlâ.
(Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm) is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets.) [Sûrat-ul-Ahzâb 40]
This âyat states that Hadrat Muhammad is the Prophet of Allahu ta’âlâ.
Îmân is necessary for every person
Question: Is “having îmân” not a requirement of ‘aql [reason, wisdom]?
Our Master the Prophet (sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam) informed that a person without îmân will burn eternally in the fire of Hell. This information is definitely true. Believing this is as essential as believing in the fact that Allahu ta’âlâ exists and is One. What does it mean to burn eternally in a fire? Imagining being burned eternally in a fire could drive anyone mad with fear. And one would look for a way to secure oneself against this horrifying disaster. The way to do this, in its turn, is very simple. What will secure one against this everlasting disaster is merely “to believe that Allahu ta’âlâ exists and is One, and that Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm) is His Last Messenger, and that all the facts he has informed of are true.”
If one says that one does not believe in the threat of burning eternally, that one does not fear such a disaster, that one is not looking for a way to escape that disaster, our challenge is: “Do you have evidence, a document to base your disbelief on? What knowledge or science keeps you from believing?” Certainly, one will not be able to adduce evidence. Can a statement not based on documentary facts be said to be knowledge or science? It may be called a supposition or assumption. Would it not be necessary to secure oneself against the horrendous calamity of “burning in everlasting fire” even if it were one to a billion probability? Wouldn’t a judicious person avoid such a misadventure? Wouldn’t one look for safety precautions against the possible danger of burning eternally in fire? As it is seen, îmân is the only choice for any person who has wisdom.
Having îmân does not require enduring hardships such as paying taxes, donating property, carrying loads, and abstaining from pleasant, sweet tastes. A heartfelt, devoted, sincere belief will do. Nor is it necessary to inform unbelievers about one’s belief. Imâm-i-Rabbânî (rahimahullahu ta’âlâ) states, “Even if one does not believe in the fact that there will be eternal burning (for unbelievers), one should at least surmise for prudence’ sake.” Supposing timeless burning in a fire were a mere possibility, would it not be idiocy, a very grave eccentricity to refrain from the blessing of îmân, which is its only and definite remedy?
People who are deprived of îmân
Question: “If one is endowed with the blessing of îmân, is there any other blessing more precious than it? But, if one is deprived of the blessing of îmân, is there any other deprivation more desperate than it?” What do these words of wisdom mean?
The ultimate conclusion is drawn after judging the last status. What is considered important is eternal profit or loss. The cause of attaining the eternal blessings or falling into eternal torments is conditional upon the existence of a treasure in one’s heart. This treasure is having îmân, that is, becoming a Muslim. Accordingly, those words of wisdom mean that one possesses all things if one has this treasure but one is deprived of all things if one does not have this treasure. For example, suppose a pious Muslim who is the poorest of all people in the world. If people say to him, “If you give up your îmân, we will grant you all the imaginable fortunes and the title deeds. You will also lead the world,” that needy pious Muslim never accepts this offer. As it is seen, a person with îmân has acquired not only an unattainable grade but also a treasure that cannot be bought, even when all the fortunes of the world come together.
To sum up, if one who has belief in Allahu ta’âlâ keeps this credal state at one’s last breath, one will be in Paradise eternally. In that case, if one does not have any other worldly things, does it really matter? As for disbelievers, the ultimate doom for them is the eternal Hell fire. Even if they possess the entire world, can it ward off the bitter end? For this reason, when we are doing any deed, our major concern must be the Consent of Allahu ta’âlâ; whether He is pleased with our occupation with a certain deed or not. If He is pleased with that deed, rumblings of discontent from other people do not set any value. Conversely, if He is not pleased with it, it is of no value whether people are content or pleased with it. Then, our supreme measure of value in all our deeds must be the Consent of Allahu ta’âlâ.
Stating the belief with the tongue
Question: I have a friend from England. He has become a Muslim and practises namâzes [ritual prayers], but he has not informed people of his belief. He says that if the English hear about his belief they will have a bad opinion of him. He has read in the books that it is necessary to accept by heart and to state this belief by word of mouth. So he wants to learn that in the presence of how many people he must state his belief with his tongue; and he also wants to learn whether he will be considered a Muslim if he dies before stating his belief with his tongue in the presence of people.
Yes, in order to become a Muslim, it is obligatory to accept the tenets of belief by heart and to state this belief with the tongue. However, (as for your friend) it is not necessary for him to inform others of his belief. You must state your belief with the tongue in a Muslim country so that you can be known as a Muslim, and religious and social dealings which concern Muslims can be applied to you, and you can be interred in a Muslim cemetery.
Believing and loving
Question: It is said that all people who believe in Paradise, in Hell and in the existence of Allah are Mu’mins and they, who believe so, will be awarded Paradise. Is it true?
It is plainly wrong! Shaytân, in the same way, believes in Allah, in Paradise and Hell, in the other tenets of belief, in angels, in prophets, in the Divine Books, in the Resurrection after death, and in the Day of Judgement; that is, Shaytân knows them, too. However, it does not suffice only to know and to believe in the six fundamental principles in the Âmantu. As well as believing in the six fundamental principles of belief in the Âmantu, it is an additional condition that one must also accept and love all the commandments and prohibitions revealed by Allahu ta’âlâ. One who does not love any of them cannot become a Muslim. Apart from these, there is another issue, namely, hubb-i-fillah and bughd-i-fillah.
That is, one must consider Allah’s friends as friends and His enemies as enemies. If one stays away from His friends and loves His enemies, then one is not a Muslim.
As is seen, even Shaytân believes in Âmantu and knows it in detail. But Shaytân does not accept and love them, and what is more, considers the enemies of Allah as the friends and the friends of Allah as the enemies. A person who knows and believes like Shaytân is not a Muslim.
The most virtuous îmân
Question: What is the most virtuous îmân?
After believing in the six tenets of belief and having hubb-i-fillah and bughd-i-fillah, the most virtuous of all good deeds is to remember Allahu ta’âlâ all the time and to do one’s all acts compatibly with the religion and for the sake of Allah.
It is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(The most virtuous îmân is your knowing that Allahu ta’âlâ is with you no matter where you are.) [Tabarânî]