The final part of this article will InshaAllaah, cover the pillars of Imaan as detailed in the hadith. Please note this article is NOT a replacement for seeking knowledge on your own; rather I intend for it to act as a catalyst for you seeking your own knowledge InshaAllaah. As believers in Islam; there are three levels of belief; Islam, Imaan, and Ihsan. Islam is just knowing; and practicing the bare minimum obligatory matters, while having the belief in the heart and upon the tongue. Imaan is a higher level of faith; in which a person tries to perform acts that are not obligatory but highly recommended, in the aim of seeking the pleasure of Allaah, and seeks to perfect that which is obligatory; as well as increasing their knowledge in all matters. Ihsan is the highest level, which we should all seek to achieve InshaAllaah. From the aforementioned hadith of Jibreel….
He [Jibreel] said: ” Then tell me about Ihsan.” He [Muhammad] said: “It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you”
Again from the hadith we find Imaan has pillars; and these are:
”It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in destiny [qadar], both the good and the evil thereof.”
Firstly to believe in Allaah; to truly believe in Him one must have a good knowledge of his Names and Attributes (for fear of leaving out any important ones or writing in a way that may be misunderstood; I won’t go into them here but instead will advise further reading), and believe in them without delving into their meanings, twisting their meanings or resembling them to the creation; but at the same time one must not deny their meanings or claim they mean other as is intended. One must also believe the Qur’an is the speech of Allaah; and is NOT created. Also we must know the categories of Tawheed; which by consensus are…
- ‘Tawheed ar-ruboobiyah’ This category entails that the believer singles out Allaah the Exalted with (the actions of) creation, providing sustenance, giving life, causing death, and all of the types of regulation and administration of the dominion of the heavens and earth, and (also) singling Him out, the Exalted, with (the right to) judgement and legislation and sending of the Messengers and revealing of Books. Allaah the Exalted said, “Verily, to Him belongs the creation and the comman, blessed be Allaah, the Lord of the worlds” (al-A`raaf 7:54). Ruboobiyah essentially translates as ‘Lordship’.
- ‘Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah’ is singling out Allaah with worship so that none besides Him is worshipped, so that none besides Him is called upon, so that no one is sought for rescue, or aid except Him. So that no one is sacrificed to or slaughtered for, or made an oath for, except Him. Allaah the Exalted said, “Say: My prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. He has no partner. This is what I have been commanded with and I am the first of those who submit (to him with Islaam and Tawheed)” (al-An’aam 6:162), and He said, “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)” (al-Kawthar 108:2). This category of tawheed is essentially; accepting that only Allaah is worthy of worship; and no-one besides Him.
- ‘Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat’ is describing Allaah the Most High and naming Him with whatever He described and named Himself with, and with whatever His Messenger (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) described and named Him with in the authentic narrations – and to affirm that for Allaah without resemblance (to the creation) or likening (to the creation), and without (false) interpretation (of any of that) or negation (of any of that). There is nothing like Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. And may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions. This bulletted section adapted from Fataawaa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, Vol 1 page 20-21, Fatwa No. 8943, compiled by Shaykh Ahmad ad-Duwaish and featuring fatawa from the likes of Shaykh Ibn Baaz and Shaykh Uthaymeen.
The second pillar of Imaan is belief in The Angels [Malaa’ikah]. The Angels are one of Allaah’s creations, which he created to worship Him and to carry out His commands; they are a creation from the Unseen [Al-Ghayb]; which we have been instructed to believe in with a firm belief. The Angels are created from light. There is a misconception some Muslims have adopted; based on Christian belief, that Satan [Shaytaan or Iblis] was a fallen Angel; however this is very clearly refuted by the Qur’an itself.
And (remember) when We said to the angels; “Prostrate to Adam.” So they prostrated except Iblîs (Satan). He was one of the jinns; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Iblîs) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you? What an evil is the exchange for the Zâlimûn (polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc). (Al-Kahf 18:50)
For more information about the Angels, their roles, names and attributes please refer to the following Article. ‘Belief in the Angels and its effect on The Life of The Ummah’- from Al-Ibaanah
The next thing we must believe in, is Allaah’s books. As Muslims we must believe that Allaah revealed books to his Prophets and Messengers in order to call to the right of Allaah upon his servants; which is ultimately that we worship Him alone. We must also believe that the books mentioned by Allah by name; At-Tawraat [Torah], Az-Zabur [Psalms of David], Al-Injeel [The Gospels] and Al-Qur’an [The Qur’an] were revealed by Allaah to His Messengers, without being created, and without human interpretation. However after they were revealed; all of the books with the exception of the Qur’an have been altered. The Qur’an was revealed to the final Messenger Muhammad; as a guidance and a warning for not only the Arabs; but mankind and Jinn in their entirety. Even non-Muslim historians admit the Qur’an has not been altered; and there are many very early Qur’ans still in existence to testify to this fact. In the time of the sahabah; dots were added to the Arabic letters to make them easy to read for non-native speakers as the Arabic alphabet at that time was very basic and the vowels and even dots idenitifying some letters from others; were not included. This is something that has remained ever since and is now a part of the language itself; but this did not alter the reading of the text in any way.
The fourth matter one with Imaan must believe in; and know about; is the belief In the Messengers of Allaah. As detailed before; this includes belief in ALL the Messengers and Prophets and not just Muhammad Salalahu Alaihi Was Sallam; although we must believe He was the final Messenger; and there will be no other after him. All The Prophets mentioned in the Qur’an or the Sunnah; we must believe in Them; and believe that what is mentioned of them in Qur’an and Sunnah is true. As for that which comes from other sources; such as the previously revealed books as they stand today; if it agrees with what is found in Islam and corroborates that; then it is accepted. If it cannot be found in Islamic sources but is not contradictory to them; then we neither reject nor accept that statement; we reserve judgement as Allaah knows best. If it is something that is clearly contradictory to the Islamic sources; then it is rejected; and Allaah knows best.
The fifth pillar of imaan, is belief in The Last Day; or The Day of Judgement which has many names in Arabic. It entails believing in everything that the Qur’an and Hadith say will happen on that day; as it is described; without claiming it to be metaphorical, or a parable and the like. This pillar includes belief in questioning by the angels after the soul is taken from the body, where a person will be asked ‘who is your Lord?’, ‘who is your Messenger?’ and ‘What is your religion?’. It also entails belief in the punishment or reward in the grave; as well as the day of judgement and the ressurection of all the souls. Also it includes everything which will happen on this day such as the gathering of all the souls to be called to account, the placing of the bridge [siraat] over hell, the placing of the balance [mizaan] on which ones deeds will be weighed, and the books of the believers being given to them in their hands in order to call them to account. There will be those who are righteous who will recieve their book in their right hand; and those who are sinful who will recieve it in their left hand or from behind their backs. There will be no injustice on that day and everyone will be treated with the justice they deserve. All of these events will physically come to pass in reality; and are not metaphorical or allegorical desciptions of something else. Believing in this pillar also entails in believing in the Fountain or Basin [Hawd] which will be given to The Prophet Muhammad and the believers will be able to drink from; that everyone will be placed in either the paradise or the hellfire after being called to account, and that the believers will see Allaah at least once; and He will talk to them, in the hereafter. Also this belief entails believing in the intercession of Prophet Muhammad Salalahu Alaihi Was Sallam; for the believers.
The final pillar of Imaan is to believe in destiny [qadar] , also translated as ‘pre-decree’. Belief in this pillar includes belief in the following.
- That Allaah already knows what has happened and also that which will happen in the future. Also that Allaah knows in every detail the condition of all his creation, their provision, their life-spans, their deeds and everything to do with their lives.
‘Verily Allaah is knowledgeable of everything’ (Noble Qur’an. Surah Al-Mujaadilah 58: 7)
‘That you may know Allaah has Power over all things; and that Allaah encompasses everything with His Knowledge’ (Noble Qur’an. Surah At-Talaq 65:12)
- Secondly; That Allaah has also recorded everything that has happened and that he has ordained will happen in the future, in a preserved tablet [Al-Lawh ul-Mahfuz]
‘Know you Not that Allaah knows all that is in the heavens and the earth? Verily it is all in the preserved tablet. Verily! That is easy for Allaah.’ (Noble Qur’an Surah Al-Hajj. 22:70)
- Thirdly, believing what Allaah Wills; will be carried out and come to occur; and what Allaah does not will to happen; will not occur.Basically nothing can happen without the Will of Allaah; and nothing that He has willed to happen; will not happen.
‘Verily Allaah does what He Wills’ (Noble Qur’an Surah Al-Hajj 22:18 )
- Fourthly, believing that Allaah created everything; and he has complete power over all His creation.
‘Allah is the Creator of Everything and He is The Guardian of all Affairs’ (Noble Qur’an Surah Az-Zumar 39:62)
What also falls into the overall category of Imaan is the belief that Imaan is belief; speech and action; and that it increases with good deeds; and decreases with sins. Also with the exception of cases of clear Kufr, Shirk; and in the view of some ulema the complete abandonment of the Salah (as opposed to occasionally missing prayers, or praying late); one must believe it is not permissible to declare a Muslim a non-believer on the basis of a major sin they committed; ie fornication, stealing, dealing in interest or lying; provided the individual did not believe that sin to be permissible.
‘Verily Allaah does not forgive that partners be ascribed to Him; but he forgives what is less than that to whom He wills.’ (Surah An-Nisaa 4:116)
Also it is mentioned in several authentic hadith that anyone who has an atoms weight of faith in their heart; will be removed from the hellfire and will not dwell therein forever as the non-believers will. However this is a matter known only to Allaah; and the severity of the punishment of the hellfire is so severe; that no believer in Allaah would want to end up there even for less than a second. Faith in Allaah also entails loving and allegience for the believers for the sake of Allaah and hating and emnity against the unbelievers for the sake of Allaah [Al-Wala Wa’al Bara]. It also entails love, without going to excess (such as giving them attributes of The Prophet; or even worse, Allaah), of the Companions [sahaba] and wives and family of The Prophet Salalaahu Alaihi Was Sallam , those that came immediately after them [tabi’een] and the righteous from the next 300 years after that; known as the Salaf-us-Saalih. It also entails believing that the best in rank amongst the Companions was Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman and then Ali. It also entails not entering into disputes about the Prophet’s Family and Companions and their character or any disagreements they may have had, or calling them names or belittling their faults. I have used this article as a reference for this one, ‘The Correct Belief and what Opposes It’; may Allaah bless its Author Shaykh Bin Baaz Rahimahullaah; I highly recommend reading it seperately as it contains many more references; and also information upon what takes a person outside Islam; that I was not able to include here for the sake of brevity. All good in this article is from Allaah; and all bad is from myself; and please make du’a for me that this article is a cause of my burden being lessened on the day of Judgement InshaAllaah.
Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika ash-hadu an la ilaaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk. [How Perfect you are, O Allaah, and all praise is due to You. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except You. I seek Your Forgiveness and turn to you in repentance].