Iman – Part 1
The Fundamentals of Faith (Iman):
Iman is a word that you will hear very often. It basically means a person’s faith (belief). In Islamic terms, it is often mentioned the ‘”level of Iman”, meaning the level of one’s belief, how convicted he is. A Muslim’s Iman is not always the same. However, it should always be increasing and not decreasing, meaning you learn each and every day a little more, and how to put your complete trust and belief in Allah.
The 6 pillars of Iman are:
To Believe in:
- His Angels
- His revealed books
- His Messengers
- The Last Day
Let us look at each item in some detail:
- Allah – In His Existence, His Oneness, in His Attributes, His deserving to be worshipped and supplicated and His right to legislate.
Belief in Allah is the cornerstone of Islamic faith. All of the other Islamic beliefs revolve around belief in Allah. It is a must that a Muslim have the correct beliefs about Allah. If a person’s belief about Allah are not correct, then his whole faith may be ruined.
Allah is the name of the essence of the only true God who exists by necessity and deserves all the praise. Hence, He prefers it to the rest of His names, extolled be His glory. It is this name – Allah- out of all the names that combines all attributes of perfection. Allah is One and Unique. He has neither a wife, a son, a partner, nor an equal. He is the sole Creator and the Rubb of the universe.
Believing in Allah means believing in His Oneness, in HisRuboobiyah, Uloohiyyah and His names and attributes.
A believer loves and is grateful to Allah for His bounties, but being aware of the fact that this good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with Divine favours, he is always anxious lest because of his sins Allah should withhold from him some of these favours or punish him in the Hereafter. He therefore fears Him, surrenders himself to Him, and serves Him with great humility.
There is thus no real worship unless the heart is filled with the feeling of love and glorification for Allah. Along with this flows the other necessity components of having hope in Allah and fear of Allah in the heart. Fear of Allah comes about when one truly glorifies and exalts Allah. Hope in Allah flows from a complete and true love of Allah. All of these components must be present and in a proper balance. If they are not present at all or if they are not properly balanced, one’s worship becomes distorted and incorrect.
It is said about fear and hope, “They are like two wings of a bird. The believer flies towards Allah by his two wings of hope and fear. If they are balanced, he flies properly. If one of them is missing, he has a shortcoming. If they are both missing, the bird is on the edge of death.”
- His Angels – To believe in the existence of the angels because Allah mentions this in His Book. They are bodies of light who fulfill the commands of Allah obediently, celebrating His praise day and night without slackening or exhaustion. They are neither male nor female. They are unseen by man. Though they have been created from light they do have forms and bodies. They are servants of Allah and have no aspect of divinity to them whatsoever. They submit to His command completely and never stray from fulfilling His orders. They have many duties such as recording our acts; angel Jibreel was assigned to convey the revelation to the prophets; Malikilmout is assigned as the angel of death.
Hence if a person does not believe in the angels, he then cannot believe in the coming of revelation to the prophet ( ). This is because it was an angel, Jibreel, that brought the Qur’aan to the prophet Muhammad (e). Therefore, belief in the Qur’aan cannot be confirmed unless one believes in the angels, as a class, and the angel Jibreel, in particular, who brought the revelation to the prophet (e).
According to some scholars, proper belief in the angels comprises four matters:
- Believe in their existence.
- Believe in them in general but also one must believe in their names that have been explicitly stated in either the Qur’aan or authentic sunnah.
- Believe in their attributes as stated in the Qur’aan or sunnah.
- Believe in the actions that they perform as mentioned in the Qur’aan or authentic hadith.
- His revealed books – To believe in all His Books that was sent with His prophets and messengers to convey them to their peoples. Those scriptures comprise the speech of Allah. They were doubtlessly, truthful, and chaste at the point of revelation. The Qur’aan however, has abrogated all the scriptures that were revealed before it. There are forms of revelation that are mentioned by name in the Qur’aan such as the Suhuf of Ibraheem, the Torah, the Gospel of Jesus, the Psalms of David and the Qur’aan which is the best of them.
How do we believe in the divine scriptures?
We believe in what was revealed in the previous Books, and that adhering to them was incumbent upon those nations to whom they were sent. We also believe that the Divine Books support and attest to the veracity of one another. He who denies any Book sent by Allah becomes an infidel. We believe, however, that every Book abrogated the set of laws of the one preceded it, partially or entirely. Based on this the Qur’aan abrogates all of the Books that preceded it.
The Qur’aan was revealed in portions, as circumstances warranted over a period of 23 years, 13 in Makkah and 10 in Madinah. It is divided into 114 chapters (surah’) of different lengths.
The Qur’aan is the only book that a Muslim should go by as this has not changed, as it is protected by Allah. Also the content of the other books (i.e. Torah, Gospel, etc.) presently have so many changes and distortions that it cannot be regarded as the words of Allah anymore.
New Words and Expressions
Iman Belief (Faith).
Jibreel The Angel that came to convey the message and teach prophet Muhammad (e).
Malikilmout The angel that extracts ones soul at the time of death.
Suhuf Scripture sent to prophet Ibraheem.
Continued in the next lesson.
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