The articles Of Iman (faith)
THE ARTICLES OF IMAN (faith)
We have already mentioned that the first article of iman is the Testimony:
There is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad, is the Messenger of Allah", peace be upon him. The second part of the Testimony necessitates attesting to the truth that he is sent by Allah to mankind at large, and it is imperative to attest to the veracity of everything he told, to obey him, and avoid his prohibitions. And of the things he commanded is believing in Allah. His angels His Scriptures, His Messengers, the Last Day, and the Qada' and Qadar.
The firm belief that Allah is the self-sufficient, who stands in need of none of His creatures. Allah is neither an offspring of previous roots, nor does He have offspring. Allah describes Himself saying: He neither begets, nor is He begotten. He is far removed from having a spouse or a son. He is qualified with all attributes of perfection.
It is imperative to believe that Allah is ever-living, unaffected by cessation or extinction, and that He is ever alert, and He is the Proprietor of all. It is also incumbent upon us to believe that intercession is valid only after He permits, and that He is the One and only, having no partner in His Ruboobiyyah, nor in His divinity, nor is there anyone to share His names and attributes. He has no intermediaries from among His creatures. It is He in Whose hand is the provision, life and death, and harm and benefit. He hears their supplications, responds to the distressed when they call Him for help. Allah's creatures stand in need of Him, while He stands in need of none. Believing in all this makes man expect relief from only Allah, fear only Allah, and ask only Allah, without going through middlemen or intercessors. Allah's creatures have no power to extend benefit, or cause harm to anyone without Him. What some allege that there are intermediaries or intercessors to whose graves they go seeking help, and whom they call, awliya, or the favorites of Allah is not only false allegation, but it is paramount to shirk, or ascribing partners to Allah, the Ever living, the All-knowing, the All-powerful.
The angels are part of the unseen world about which Allah the Exalted, has informed His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. The angels are honorable slaves of Allah. Allah says:
They do not rebel against His commands, and do exactly what they are commanded.
Allah has created the angels to worship Him, and charged them with duties that they fulfill obediently as Allah the Exalted, mentions in the Qur'an rebuffing thus what some people falsely believe that the angels are the intercessors and the daughters of Allah.
Since it is imperative to believe in the existence of the angels, it is also imperative to believe in what Allah, and what Muhammad, peace be upon him, has informed about them, including the fact that Jibreel (Gabriel) is one of them, and that he was the one who brought down revelation to the Messengers of Allah.
Among the angels also are those who keep count of man's deeds; the record which will be shown to man on the Day of Resurrection when man will be able to recognize his record of deeds, and would deny none of its content. Once he denies any of his deeds, man's own organs will bear witness against him.
Believing in the divine Scriptures is one of the articles of faith. It is mandatory to believe that they are revealed and sent down by Allah. Belief in the Scriptures is of two levels; general, and particular. The general entails believing in all Scripture sent down to any of Allah's Messengers, whether we know him by name or not. As for the particular belief, we must believe in every Scripture that is mentioned in the Quran by name. They are five:
- The Quran, which is in our hands, the Book that was sent down to Muhammad, peace be upon him.
- The Torah, The Old testament, sent down to Musa, peace be upon him.
- The Injeel, The Evangel, or Gospel, sent down to Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him.
- Az-Zaboor, the Psalms, sent down to Dawood (David), peace be upon him.
- The Sheets of Ibraheem, peace be upon him.
We know that it is obligatory to believe in all those Books. But, do we have to believe in all of the Scriptures circulated today? Or, are the Scriptures available today the same as those revealed to the Messengers of Allah? These are general questions. The answer is that although the Scriptures that preceded the Qur'an may contain parts of the original texts, but they cannot be considered as genuine, for the following reasons:
- The complete original texts of those Scriptures are no longer in existence. What is available today is only the translation with which the opinions of the translators, and the exegeses are mixed.
- The original texts of those Books were not written down during the Messengers' lifetime, rather, they were written down hundreds of years thereafter. They were collected from reports given by the Messengers' followers as was the case of the Bible. The original text itself disappeared and was compiled for the second time from reports and narratives, and so was the case of the Torah.
- All previous Scriptures were not meant to address mankind at large, rather each Book was sent to one particular nation, for the divine Message was not completed then. Every Messenger gave his people the good news of the Messenger who would succeed him.
- The languages of those Scriptures have been altered, or became archaic. Even if those Scriptures were available today in their original texts, it is most unlikely that there would be any people, who would be able to decode their languages, thus such Scriptures would not be valid to use without understanding their texts. As for the text of the Qur'an, it is still available in its original language in which it was sent down to Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Qur'an maintains its originality and validity for the following reasons:
- Allah Himself has promised to preserve the Qur'an. He said: We it is Who sent down the Dthikr and we are preserving it.
- The Qur'an was written down during the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Whenever a verse, or a surah was revealed, the Messenger, peace be upon him, would dictate it to a scribe, telling him to place it in the order and the surah it belonged to. Besides, many companions had committed the Qur'an to memory, and knew the circumstantial events that prompted the revelation of the surahs, or the verses. All this information is compiled in authentic works.
- Jibreel, used to review the Qur'an with the Prophet, peace be upon him, once a year. The year in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, died, Jibreel reviewed the Qur'an with him twice.
- The men around the Prophet, peace be upon him, committed the Qur'an to memory. Therefore no one would have been able to change anything in the Qur'an, for any supposed alteration would have been spotted right away by those who memorized the Qur'an.
- The language in which the Qur'an was revealed is still the same, therefore anyone who knows Arabic can easily understand the Qur'an and the signification of its text.
- The exegetes have separated their commentaries from the main text of the Qur'an to keep the letter chaste.
There is another important proof of the Qur'an's originality. If samples of the Qur'an copies were collected at random from Arab and non-Arab countries and. compared with each other, they would have been found identical. Those who have committed the whole Qur'an to memory, would have ascertained this fact.
- The Qur'an is the last Book revealed to the last of the Messenges.. The wisdom necessitates preserving it. Had the Qur'an been affected by any change, mankind would have been left without a chaste Book as a reference. The infinite wisdom of Allah and His mercy necessitate that Allah would not neglect His creatures, or leave them to their own whimsical opinions staggering in the darkness of ignorance, and deviation.
Believing in the Messengers is an article of faith. This does not mean to recognize some of the Messengers and deny the others. Rather it is obligatory to believe in all of them in general, whether we know their names or not. Those Messengers whose names are mentioned in the Qur'an must be recognized in particular. Allah has made mandatory recognizing them all, for they are like a chain whose rings are connected to one another; everyone of them completed the Message of the proceeding Messenger until Allah has sent Mohammed, peace be upon him as the last Messenger with whom He concluded their line. Peace be upon them all. A person who acknowledges some of the Messengers, and denies the others is as though he has broken their chain.
The Qur'an mentions the names of only twenty-five Messengers. Allah says:
And We sent Messengers whom We have already mentioned to you, and some Messengers whom We have not mentioned to you.
The belief in the Messenger is indispensable due to the fact that it is impossible to know the Message of Allah without the Messengers, for it is they who conveyed His message. It is obligatory to believe in them indiscriminately.
As for the privileges with which Muhammad, peace be upon him, has been distinguished, they are as follows:
- All of the Messengers that preceded him were sent to their own peoples in particular, where as, Muhammad, peace be upon him, was sent to mankind at large, for he would be succeeded by no Prophet, or Messenger.
- The teachings of the preceding Prophets, and the signs of their veracity had vanished along with them. The proof of Mohammed's veracity, is still and will remain effective until the end of time. His teachings are preserved in the books that are available to public.
- The Message of Mohammed, peace be upon him, includes the Messages of the preceding Messengers. The Message and the teachings of the Messengers are like a palace which is erected by the joint efforts of men; each constructed a section thereof, and Muhammad, peace be upon him, has completed the whole structure.
This belief necessitates:
- Believing that this world and all that is in it has an end.
- Allah, the exalted, will resurrect the creatures once again.
- The people will be held accountable for their deeds. He who does good, it will be good for him, and he who errs, will suffer the consequences. Everyone will be held responsible for his own deeds.
- Mankind's deeds are being recorded and will be reviewed by them on the Day of Reckoning.
- The Muslim will eventually be admitted to Jannah, (the heavenly garden), and the unbeliever will be admitted to Hell Fire.
Hence, it is obvious that death is not the end of life, rather it is a borderline between the short transitional life, and the eternal life. But will all men lead the same life? Certainly not! They are not alike. Those who obey Allah will certainly be rewarded; and those who disobey Him will be punished. Believing in the Last Day is an intellectual necessity, for man in this world to do things, the results of which, do not appear, or may not exist. Query! Would this world terminate in the same manner? Would the oppressor get away with his oppression, while the oppressed to be left unprotected? This surely would have been unwise and unfair. Hence, justice is indispensable, but in a world other than this; the world to come. The Prophet's authentic traditions pertaining to the world to come are sufficient to confirm this fact. The ultimate purpose of believing in the Day of Resurrection is to motivate the believers to make vigorous efforts to achieve good deeds, and discourage others from committing imperious deeds and acts of disobedience, and the results of the tests and afflictions in this world will become evident in the next world.
Believing in Al-Qadar is one of the central fundamentals of Islam. Allah does not accept any good deed from a person until he believes in the Al-Qadar, even if he observes fasting, performs prayers, and claims to be a Muslim, because he did not maintain sound belief in Allah. He who does not believe in Al-Qadar, implies that Allah is incapable, unaware of the events taking place in the universe, and impotent. Such is not fit to be a god; for among the intrinsic attributes of Allah the Ever-living, the One Who sustains and maintains the creatures, the Omnipotent, the All-Hearing, All-Seeing The Perfect. Disbelieving in Al-Qadar necessitates denying Allah all of these attributes of perfection. Far is Allah removed from every imperfection.
The belief in al-Qadar necessitates believing that:
Allah has known all things and recorded them before bringing them into existence.
When Allah, the Exalted, wills something to take place, He would only say to it: "Be". and it is. If Allah wants something to exist, it will exist, and if He does not want it to exist, it will not exist.
Every existing thing, other than Allah is created by Allah, be it good or evil, and that He has brought it into existence for a wise purpose known to Him. Therefore, there is nothing in the universe that exists without a
wise purpose. Allah is the All-Knowing, All-Wise.
- Nothing occurs, or takes place in this universe without the will of Allah, and His permission. Allah is capable of preventing what He does not permit to take place. It should be borne in mind however, that this does not mean that Allah approves of everything in existence. Allah, for instance, does not approve of disbelief, nor does He enjoin mankind the commission of the abominable, nor does He love corruption. In fact, He does not prevent these things to exist for a wise purpose known to Him. The purpose of believing in Al-Qadar is that it provides man with the capability of achieving good deeds knowing that life and death are in the hand of Allah, the Exalted. Hence, no one else can prolong or shorten his life-term by a single second. Once his term is over, there is none to withhold its termination. Allah says:
And when their term has come, they cannot remain behind a single moment, nor can they get ahead of it.
This belief provides man with the sense of security and contentment when he knows that nothing would befall him except that which has already been assigned for him. If all mankind gather to ward it off him, they would not be able to do so, nor would they be able to grant him what Allah has withheld from him. And because man knows that his duty is to pursue all available legal means to earn his living, he also knows the results remain Allahs Hands. Among the issues discussed earlier, in which we are obliged to believe, are things that are neither tangible nor can they be defined by the senses. What is our attitude towards these things?
Believing in al-ghaib is also a central fundamental in Islam. Allah has endowed us with the ability to believe in it. Man cannot perceive the essence of Allah, His nature, or attributes with his senses, nor can he imagine them in his mind, and yet he sees the effects of Allah's existence, and His disposal of the affairs of the universe. Of the greatest graces that Allah conferred on man is enabling him to believe submissively in the issues of al-ghaib.
Among the issues of al-ghaib in which we submissively believe without conceiving their nature is the soul. If the belief in al-ghaib is not acquired, man would have lost many fundamentals of his faith. Man would have lacked the belief in Allah, His angels, the Final Day, and other ghaib matters. Belief in al-ghaib is important enough that Allah considers it as one of the most particular characteristics of the God-fearing people. Allah says:
This is the Book, wherein there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are God-fearing. Who believe in the ghaib, perform prayer, and spend out of what We have provided them.
It is good enough reason for us to believe in al-ghaib as it is Allah, the Exalted, Who has informed us about it by the tongue of His Messenger, peace be upon him. Consequently, one who does not believe in al-ghaib denies Allah and His Messengers, peace be upon them all.
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