Question: What is iman?
Iman means believing in the six fundamental principles of faith (Amantu) along with all the commandments and prohibitions revealed to Muhammad (‘alaihissalam) by Allahu ta’ala and delivered by him to us and stating this belief with the tongue.
The six fundamental principles of faith (Amantu) are as follows:
Amantu bi’llahi wa mala’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wal-yawm-il-akhiri wa bil-qadari khairihi wa sharrihi minallahi ta’ala wal ba’thu ba’d-al-mawt haqqun ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ’abduhu wa rasuluhu.
[That is, I believe in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Day of Resurrection and Judgement, and in qadar and that good (khair) and evil (sharr) are from Allah. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad (‘alaihissalâm) is His human slave and His final messenger.]
Iman itself is, without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to like and to believe the religion which Muhammad ‘alaihissalam communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms it because it is reasonable, one has confirmed the mind, not the Prophet. Or one has confirmed the Prophet and the mind together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not iman. Allahu ta’ala says (what means) in the third verse of Surat-ul-Baqara: “They believe in the Unseen [they believe in everything My Prophet communicates, even though they do not see it].” His Messenger, too, declares, “There is no one more corruptive than he who judges the religion [Islamic facts] by his mind” (Tabarani).
If one who does not believe in the effects of evil eye says, “Today science explains that rays that are invisible to the eye effect tasks in many fields. For example, we can operate our TVs, radios, and cars by using a remote control machine. For this reason, from now on, I believe that the rays coming out from eyes may cause damage,” this reasoning has no worth then because this person does not believe in what the religion communicates, but in the rays streaming from a remote control machine. Or one believes in both the rays and the Prophet. In other words, one believes them on account of the fact that science accepts the existence of rays and that one bears witness to the effects of them, which is not iman in either case. It is necessary for us to believe all the facts of the religion, even if science cannot prove them and even if we cannot see their benefits and harms with our eyes. The true belief is to believe in the Unseen (ghayb), that is, to believe in something without seeing it. After one has seen it, it is not iman any more. In fact, it will be a confession of what one has seen. What is praised in the third verse of Surat-ul-Baqara is to have belief in the ghayb, that is, to believe without seeing. Likewise, the six fundamental principles of iman necessitate having belief in the ghayb because we have not seen any of them with our eyes.
Our Master the Prophet explained iman as follows by clarifying the following verses concerning belief:
(Iman is to have belief in Allahu ta’ala, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Last Day [that is, to have belief in the Day of Resurrection, Paradise, Hell, Judgement, and Mizan] in qadar and that good (khair) and evil (sharr) are from Allahu ta’ala, and in death and Resurrection. It is to bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that I am His human slave and messenger.) [Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai]
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(The real goodness is to believe in Allah, in the Last Day, in His angels, in His books, and in His messengers.) [Surat-ul-Baqara 177]
(They believe in the Unseen [they believe in Allah, angels, Doomsday, Paradise and Hell, even though they do not see them].) [Surat-ul-Baqara 3]
(They believe in that which is revealed to you and the books which were revealed before you, and they have belief in the Hereafter.) [Surat-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 verses.
(Allah knows what they did and what they will do.) [Surat-ul-Baqara 255]
(No one can die without Allah’s permission.) [Surat-u Al-i ‘Imran 145]
(Only Allah decrees the time of death.) [Surat-ul-An’am 2]
The three verses above state that whatever comes upon human beings is by Allahu ta’ala’s Will and show 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: “Kullun min indillah [all things are from Allah].” Why do these people not understand any word?) [Surat-un-Nisa 78]
The verse above notifies us of the fact that good and evil are from Allah.
(Muhammad [‘alaihissalam] is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets.) [Surat-ul-Ahzab 40]
This verse states that Hadrat Muhammad is the Prophet.
The meaning of Amantu
Belief in Allah
It means accepting and believing in one’s heart in His existence, His Oneness, His having no partner, His creating everything out of nothing, and there being no creator other than Allah. It means accepting and liking the religion completely which He has sent through the mediation of the Last Prophet Muhammad (‘alaihissalam) who came as mercy to the whole creation.
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(Believe in Allah and His Messenger, the ummi Prophet.) [Surat al-A’raf 158]
Belief in His angels
Angels are nurani [luminous, spiritual] creatures. They are neither male nor female. We have to accept and confirm that they are all sinless and obedient, and we have to like their deeds.
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(The real goodness is to believe in Allah, in the Last Day, in His angels, in His books, and in His messengers.) [Surat-ul-Baqara 177]
Belief in His Books
We have to believe that the Zabur, the Tawrat, the Injil, the Qur’an al-karim, and all other Divine Books were sent down by Allahu ta’ala and that all of them are true. Belief in the Books means knowing, accepting, and confirming the fact that the Books before the Qur’an al-karim were changed by people and that they are no longer the word of Allah. It is necessary to believe that even if all of the Books sent down before the Qur’an al-karim were intact and unchanged, Allahu ta’ala invalidated them, that is, abolished the validity of them. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(They believe in that which is revealed to you [Qur’an al-karim] and the Books which were revealed before you.) [Surat-ul-Baqara 4]
Belief in prophets
We must accept and confirm that all prophets were selected by Allahu ta’ala, that they were all devoted, truthful, and that they did not commit any sin. A person who does not accept or who belittles any of them becomes a kafir [disbeliever]. We must believe, accept, and confirm that the first prophet is Adam (‘alaihissalam) and the last one is Muhammad (‘alaihissalam). We must put faith in the fact that our Master the Prophet communicated the rules of the religion completely and precisely, and we must accept and love all these commandments and prohibitions.
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(Those who believe in all of the prophets and do not make a distinction between any of them will have their rewards from Allah.) [Surat-un-Nisa 152]
Belief in Qada’ and Qadar
Having belief in qada’ and qadar requires a person to believe that Allahu ta’ala has bestowed irada-i juz’iyya [partial will] upon people, and that people make options using their partial will, and that all of their deeds are created by Allahu ta’ala in the end. The meaning of khair (good) and sharr (evil) is to know, to accept, to confirm and to like that all deeds are opted and willed by people, and that Allahu ta’ala creates them if He also wills.
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(The command of Allah is a predestined qadar that will certainly take place.) [Surat-ul-Ahzab 38]
Belief in the Last Day
Belief in the Last Day means believing, accepting, and liking that people will be resurrected after the annihilation of everything; and after Judgement and Mizan, Muslims will be awarded eternal Paradise and disbelievers will be in eternal Hell.
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(They [Muslims] believe in Yawm al-akhir.) [Surat-ul-Baqara 4]
Belief in Kalima-i shahâdat has to be as follows:
I bear witness; that is, I know and utter as if I saw that there is no god save Allah. And again, I bear witness that Muhammad (‘alaihissalam) is human slave, the Messenger, and the Last Prophet of Allahu ta’âlâ.
The Qur’an says (what means):
(Muhammad [‘alaihissalam] is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the prophets.) [Surat-ul-Ahzab 40]
(For those who believe in Allah and His Prophet, there are nur and rewards with their Rabb.) [Surat-ul-Hadid 19]
What is “having belief”?
Question: In order to be a Muslim, it is obligatory that we have belief in all six pillars of faith in the Amantu. But what is “having belief”?
Believing something means admitting, confirming, and liking 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. However, it does not suffice just to believe. One must also like 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 thawab (rewards), accepting and loving them are related to iman (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 like any of them is a sign of disbelief no matter whether one believes it or not.
What is the definition of iman?
You define iman as follows:
Iman itself is, without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, to confirm, to believe the facts which Muhammad (‘alaihis-salam) communicated as the Prophet. If one confirms them because they are reasonable, one has confirmed mind, not the Prophet. Or one has confirmed the Messenger and the mind together, in which case the Prophet has not been trusted completely. When confidence is incomplete, there is not iman. Iman is to believe for certain in the six pillars of belief in the Amantu. For when the pious are exalted in the Qur’an al-karim, it is said, ‘They believe in the Unseen.’”
This definition contradicts the Qur’an and is contrary to the 62th verse of Surat-ul-Baqara. Iman is to have belief only in Allahu ta’ala and the Last Day. This definition has nothing to do with Muhammadian path, either.
The term Muhammadian 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’an is not the Word of Allah, but the Word of Muhammad (‘alaihis-salam). Are the principles that must be believed in highlighted only in the 62th verse of Baqara? Why are you drawing a veil over other verses? However, in this way, you cannot hide the truth. Iman is not to have belief only in Allah and in the Last Day. In fact, iman is to have belief in all six pillars in the Amantu. What is praised in the 3rd verse of Surat-ul-Baqara is to believe in the ghayb, that is, to believe in the Unseen. Likewise, the six pillars of belief requires believing in the Unseen because we have not seen any of them with our eyes.
Do you know how Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, the highest of all human beings after prophets, was promoted to this high grade and earned the epithet of Siddiq? The reason for his receiving this honor is his saying with his heart, “Every word Allahu ta’ala 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 Abu Bakr because he believes and confirms his ascent to the Mi’raj in a moment.”
Question: Suppose that one believes in the six pillars of faith but dislikes any of Allah’s commandments or prohibitions, e.g., one says “Hell is unnecessary” or “Prohibition of wine is meaningless.” Is such a person not a Muslim despite the fact that he/she believes in the six pillars of faith?
He/she is not counted as a Muslim. Belief in Allah is included in the six pillars of faith. Belief in Allah means belief in Him together with all His attributes. It is also a condition to believe that all His commandments and prohibitions, that is, Islam, are right and proper. Whoever does not meet these conditions is not considered a Believer (mu’min). That is, whoever has believed in the six pillars of faith has to like Islam as well because Islam is Allah’s prohibitions and commandments. Not liking even of them causes disbelief (kufr).
Likewise, liking for Allah and disliking for Allah is included in the pillars of faith. Loving Allahu ta’ala is to believe that all His commandments and prohibitions are appropriate and good. It is necessary to love Allah and His friends and to dislike those whom He dislikes, too.
(He who loves for Allah, who dislikes for Allah, who gives for Allah, and who prohibits for Allah is the one with true faith.) [Abu Dawud]
Faith is necessary for everyone
Question: Is faith not essential?
Our Master the Prophet reported that anyone who has no faith will be burned eternally in hellfire. This message is surely true. It is necessary to believe in this message as we believe that Allahu ta’ala exists and is One. What does burning in Hell eternally mean? Anyone who considers the calamity of being burned in fire eternally may be expected to lose his/her mind for fear of it. At least, one should try to find ways of avoiding this terrifying disaster. The remedy for it is very simple. To believe that Allahu ta’ala exists and is One and Muhammad ‘alaihis-salam is His final prophet and whatever he reported is true protects humans from that eternal catastrophe.
If one says that one does not believe in such a calamity of being burned in fire eternally, that one is not afraid of something like that, and that one is not trying to find a way of avoiding it, we will ask one, “Have you any proofs or evidences not to believe it? Which fact or scientific proof prevents you from believing this message?” Surely, one cannot provide any proofs. How can a word which is not based on any proofs or evidences be called knowledge or science? A word of that kind is called supposition or probability. Is it not necessary to avoid such a frightful calamity of being burned eternally in a fire even if there is only one-in-a-million or one-in-a-billion chance of it happening? Should not even a person with meagre wisdom try to avoid it? Does one not try to find a way of protecting oneself from this probability of being burned in a fire eternally? As you see, every intelligent person has to have faith.
In order to have faith, you do not have to bear troubles, such as paying taxes or giving property or refraining from sweet and enjoyable things. It is enough to believe in heart sincerely. You do not have to declare your belief to disbelievers. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states, “Against the probability of being burned in fire eternally, is it not foolish and even a great absurdity to abstain from having faith, which is the only and definite remedy for this calamity?”
One without faith
Question: What does it mean “What doesn’t a believer have? What does a disbeliever have?”
The judgement is according to the end. What counts is eternal profit or eternal loss. Attaining eternal blessings or undergoing eternal torments depends on whether one has the treasure or not. This treasure is faith (iman), being a Muslim. If one has this treasure, it means one has everything. If one does not have it, it means one does not have anything. For example, think that the poorest person in the world is a pious Muslim. If it is said to him, “If you leave your faith, we will give you all the wealth of the world and you will be the leader of the world,” that poorest Muslim never accepts it. That is, one who has faith possesses a treasure that cannot be bought even with all the wealth of the world and a rank that cannot be reached in any way.
In conclusion, if one who believes in Allah dies in this state, one will be in Paradise eternally, so it does not matter even if one does not have anything else. On the other hand, one who is without faith will be in Hell eternally, so is it important if one possesses all the wealth of the world? Therefore, before doing any deed, one has to think whether Allahu ta’ala is pleased with it or not. If He is pleased with it, it does not matter even if others are not pleased. If He is not pleased with it, it is of no value if others are pleased and like it. Then our sole criterion in all our affairs should be earning the pleasure of Allahu ta’ala.
Confirming with the tongue
Question: I have a friend from England. He has become Muslim, and he performs salat five times a day. However, he does not tell anyone the fact that he has become Muslim because he says that if those in England learn his faith they will have a bad opinion of him. He has read in the books that it is necessary to confirm in the heart and testify with the tongue. He asks how many people there should be when he testifies with his tongue. Will he not be considered Muslim if he dies before he testifies with his tongue?
Yes, confirmation of the heart and testimony with the tongue is necessary for faith, but he does not have to testify with his tongue to others. He has to testify with his tongue in a Muslim country so that he may be known as a Muslim and he may be treated with Islamic rules and thirdly he may be buried in a graveyard where Muslims are buried.
Believing and liking
Question: It is said that anyone who believes in Paradise, Hell, and Allah is a Muslim and is of the people of Paradise. Is it right?
It is not right. Shaitan believes in Allah, Paradise, and Hell. He even believes in the other pillars of faith. He believes in angels, prophets, holy books, resurrection after death, accounting. That is, he knows them. It is not enough only to believe in or to know the six pillars of faith. In addition to belief in the six pillars of faith, one has to accept all prohibitions and commandments ordered by Allahu ta’ala and to like all of them. Disliking any of them excludes one from Islam. Additionally, there are loving for Allah (hubb-i fillah), disliking for Allah (bughd-i fillah) and belief in ghayb. That is, one must consider the friends of Allah as friends and the enemies of Allah as enemies and has to believe in ghayb. If one considers the friends of Allah as enemies and the enemies of Allah as friends or does not believe in ghayb, one is not a Muslim.
That is, Shaitan, too, believes in and knows the six pillars of faith, but he does not accept or likes what he believes in and knows. He thinks the friends of Allah as enemies and the enemies of Allah as friends. Whoever knows and believes in the way Shaitan does cannot be a Muslim.
The most virtuous faith
Question: What is the most virtuous faith (iman)?
The most virtuous faith, after belief in the six pillars of faith and ghayb and performance of hubb-i fillah and bughd-i fillah, is to remember Allah all the time and to do every deed for Allah in compliance with the rules of Islam. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(The most virtuous faith is to know that Allah is with you wherever you are.) [Tabarani]
Is iman something created?
Question: Is faith (iman) something created?
Islamic scholars state: “Iman is not something created from the angle of being guidance of Allahu ta’ala, but it is something created from the angle of the human’s confirmation and testimony. The doer of a deed is not the one who has created it but the one who has done it. Just as the human is created, so is his/her belief and disbelief.” (Milal and Nihal)
In order to become a Muslim
Question: It is written in the book Endless Bliss, “In order to become a Muslim, there is no need for any formality or visiting a Mufti or a local imam.” After it, it is quoted from Makamat-i Mazhariyya, “It is enough to say ‘I believe in Allahu ta’ala, His Messenger, and all of what he brought from Allahu ta’ala. I like and accept it. I love the friends of Allahu ta’ala and those of His Messenger. I do not love their enemies.’” It may be concluded from these statements that it is not necessary to believe in the six pillars of faith in order to become a Muslim. How can one who does not believe in the six pillars of faith be a Muslim?
It is not incomplete. The pilllars of faith are explained concisely there. When one says, “Whatever the Messenger of Allah stated, I believe in it in the way he stated. I accept it and like it,” one has explained everything in a nutshell.
Even if one may believe in the six pillars of faith, one may not be a Muslim, though. There are conditions in each pillar, so it is not enough to recite the six pillars of faith and to say that one believes in them. Examples are as follows:
1. Believing in Allah: It is not enough to say “I believe in Allah.” If one says “Allah is over the poles” or “Allah is on Mars” or “Allah is over Arsh,” one becomes a disbeliever because Allah is clear of being in a place. If one believes that Allah is not capable of everything, it causes disbelief. That is, it is not enough to say “I believe in Allah.” It is necessary to believe in Him with His perfect attributes.
2. Believing in angels: It is not enough to say “I believe in angels.” If one believes, as Christians do, that angels are Allah’s daughters, one becomes a disbeliever. That is, it is not enough to say that one believes in angels. One has to believe in them with the attributes that our religion has stated.
3. Believing in Books: It is not enough to say “I believe in Books.” One becomes a disbeliever if one believes in wrong information in corrupt books about faith in Books. Then one has to believe Books in the way our religion has described.
4. Believing in prophets: It is not enough to say “I believe in prophets.” If one believes that prophets were liars and ignorant, one becomes a disbeliever. That is, one has to believe in the attributes of prophets in the way our religion has stated.
5. Believing in the hereafter: It is not enough to say “I believe in the hereafter.” If one says “There is no Paradise or Hell in the hereafter” or “There is Hell and Paradise but they are not eternal,” one becomes a disbeliever. Then we have to believe whatever our religion has stated about the hereafter.
6. Good and evil are from Allah: It is not enough to say “I believe that good and evil are from Allah.” For example, if one says “Vices are evil and sinful. Allah makes us commit evil and sins against our will,” one becomes a disbeliever. Then we have to believe good and evil in the way our religion has stated.
If one says “I believe in the six pillars of faith” without accepting what we have written above, one cannot be a Muslim. The statements in the book Maqamat-i Mazhariyya is wonderful. It is written there “I believe whatever he brought from Allahu ta’ala. I like and accept it.” The six pillars of faith and how we should believe in them are one of those he brought from Allahu ta’ala. The statements in that book include prohibitions, lawful things, and acts of worship. Nothing is missed. One who believes in this way is a perfect Muslim.
Is belief in the heart enough?
Question: In the books about Islam, it is written: “Iman is to believe in the heart and to testify with the tongue whatever Muhammad ‘alaihissalam brought from Allahu ta’ala.” If a non-Muslim man believes in the way our religion states but conceals his faith if he is likely to suffer harm, is he a Muslim?
Of course he is a Muslim because it is written in Islamic books that testimony with the tongue is excused if there is an obstacle to it.
One of the benefits of testimony with the tongue is that he is treated as a Muslim. After his death, Salat al-Janaza is performed for him and he is buried in a graveyard where Muslims are buried. Muslims invoke dua for him. If one does not affirm one’s faith with the tongue, one will be deprived of these benefits. Therefore, if there is no obstacle, we should say openly “Praise be to Allah, I am Muslim” and recite the six pillars of faith to the end.
Iman is confirmation and testimony
Question: Ahl as-Sunnat scholars defined iman in their books as follows, “Iman is to believe in heart whatever Muhammad alaihis-salam brought from Allahu ta’ala and to testify this belief with the tongue.” If a non-Muslim becomes a Muslim but does not tell anyone for any reason whatsoever that he/she is a Muslim, will he/she die without iman?
One is excused if there is a hindrance to verbal testimony. For example, verbal testimony is not necessary if one is intimidated [if one is likely to suffer harm] or if one is ill or if one is dumb or if one has died without time to say it. (Islam Ahlaqi)
According to the majority of Hanafi scholars, iman is belief in the heart and affirmation with the tongue. According to verifying (muhaqqiq) scholars, affirmation with the tongue is a condition for the performance of Islamic laws. According to them, if one, after believing in heart, is asked to affirm with the tongue anytime and if one refuses to affirm it without there being an obstacle to it, it is deliberate disbelief, in which case belief in the heart is useless. (Durr-ul-Mukhtar)
The answer to the question is as follows: If one cannot state openly that one is Muslim for fear of suffering harm or for any reason whatsoever, one dies in iman.
Religion leads one to endless bliss
Religion means the way prescribed by Allahu ta’ala in order to guide people to endless bliss. The unwholesome ways which people make up under the name of religion are not called religion. Since the time of Prophet Adam alaihi-salam, Allahu ta’ala has sent mankind a religion by means of a prophet every thousand years. These prophets are called rasul. On the other hand, in every century, by making the purest person the prophet, He has strengthened the religion through him. These prophets who followed the rasuls are called nabi. All the prophets have taught the same iman; they have asked their umma (community of followers of a prophet) to believe in the same things. Yet, since their religions, that is, the things that are to be done and avoided through the heart and body, were different, they were different in being Muslims.
One who has iman and adapts oneself to what Islam has stated is a Muslim. One who wants to adapt Islamic rules to one’s desires and pleasures is a disbeliever. Allahu ta’ala has sent religions in order to break the desires and pleasures of the nafs and to prevent its excessive indulgence.
Every subsequent religion has abolished or changed the religion previous to itself. The latest religion that has changed all the religions prior to it, which has assimilated all the previous religions within itself, and which will never change until the end of the world is Muhammad’s (alaihi-salam) religion. Today, the religion which Allahu ta’ala likes and loves is the Islamic religion. To those who perform the fard and abstain from the haram, which this religion communicates, Allahu ta’ala will bestow blessings and favors in the Hereafter. As for those who do not perform the fard and do not abstain from the haram, there are punishments and suffering in the next world. The fard performed by those who have no iman will not be accepted. The sunna performed by the Muslims who don’t perform the fard, that is, who owe a debt to Allahu ta’ala, will not be accepted, and they will not be given rewards. They are not looked upon as having adapted themselves to our Prophet. If one does all the fard and omits one fard without an excuse, none of the nafila (supererogatory) acts of worship and sunna of this kind will be given rewards, until one pays this debt. Our Master the Prophet said to Hadrat Ali: “Oh Ali! When the people are busy with the fadail [supererogatory] try to complete the fard.”
When mubahs are done with good intentions and with beautiful thoughts, one will receive rewards (thawab). When they are done for evil purposes or if doing them prevents one from performing a fard in time, they will be sins. If evil thoughts are involved while the fards are being performed, the debt will be paid but no reward (thawab) will be obtained. It may be a sin instead.
The fard and sunna of those who commit haram will be acceptable. That is, they have paid their debt, yet they will not receive rewards.
It is written in the book Hadiqa that the acts of worship of those Muslims who do not abstain from sins are not accepted, even if they are valid.
Learning iman, fard and haram
To have iman means to begin following Muhammad alaihi-salam and to enter through the door of bliss. Allahu ta’ala has sent him to invite all the people of the world to bliss and says in the 28th verse of Surah Saba (what means):
(O my beloved Prophet! I have sent you to humanity so that you should give the good news of endless bliss to all people in the world and to guide them along this way to happiness.)
For example, a short midday sleep of a person who adapts themself to Prophet Muhammad (alaihi-salam) is much more valuable than spending many nights worshipping without following him. It was his honorable habit to perform qaylula, that is, to sleep for a while before noon. Also, not fasting on the feast day, but eating and drinking because his religion commands it, is more valuable than years of fasting that doesn’t exist in his religion. A small amount given to the poor according to his religion, which is called zakat, is better than giving a pile of gold coins as big as a mountain with one’s own wish. After performing the morning prayer in jama’a, Hazrat ‘Umar looked at the jama’a and, seeing that one of the regulars was absent, he asked where he was. His companions said, “He worships until morning at nights, so maybe he fell asleep.” Hadrat Umar said, “I wish he has slept all the night and performed morning prayer in jama’a. It would have been better.”
Those who have deviated from Islam blunt their nafs (a force in man that is enemious to Allahu ta’ala) by subjecting themselves to inconveniences and by striving hard. Yet this is worthless and low because they do not do it compatibly with this religion. The benefit for these efforts of theirs, if there is any, consists in a few worldly advantages. Then, in fact, this world is worthless; therefore, what could be the value of a part of it? These people are like trash collectors; they work harder and become more tired than anybody else, but their wages are lower than anybody else’s. As for those who adapt themselves to Islam, they are like jewelers, who deal with fine jewels and precious diamonds. They do a little work, but their earnings are great. Sometimes an hour’s work provides them a hundred thousand years’ earning. The reason for this is that an action compatible with Islam is accepted and liked by Allahu ta’ala; He loves it.
Then, the thing which is of the highest necessity, which is the most important fard for every Muslim, is to learn iman, the fard and the haram. There is no Islam unless these are learned. Iman cannot be maintained. The debts to Allahu ta’ala and to human beings cannot be paid. Intentions and morals cannot be corrected and purified unless the basic principles of Islam are learned. Unless correctly intended, no fard will be accepted. For this reason, everyone has to learn principles of Islam. It was declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(Learning or teaching knowledge [ilm] for one hour is more blessed than worshipping until morning.)
Believing is easy
Having belief in Allahu ta’ala and in what He sent through His prophets is very easy. It is wajib on everyone to think, observe and ponder about the existing order, balance and harmony among the created things and beings. The order that exists in an atom or in the solar system or everything in between and their relationships to each other clearly shows that these things do not exist by chance. They were created by an all-knowing and all-powerful Being. A person who possesses the ability to think clearly can see, when he studies the subjects like astronomy, science, biology and medicine, that the created things have a Creator. It is impossible for such a creator to have any kind of defect. Prophet Muhammad ‘sall-Allahu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ is His Messenger. Whatever he communicated was revealed to him by the Creator. This reasoning engenders belief in Him. When a person wise enough learns that disbelievers or people who die as disbelievers will stay in Hell forever and Believers will live among the blessings of Paradise forever, he becomes a Muslim willingly and lovingly. Allahu ta’ala, out of His mercy, has stated the things that cause one to go to Hell and the things that lead one to Paradise. It is written in Ma’rifatnama:
“Knowledge of science and astronomy, machinery and factories are based on experiments and intellectual activity. Therefore, by the passage of time new information proves that the old information was wrong. Old or new, wrong or right, all scientific knowledge points out that the universe was created out of nothing and that it is a necessity to believe in a Creator who has infinite knowledge and power.”
Allahu ta’ala has beautiful names; they are eternal like His Self. That is, there is no beginning to them. Just as everything has come into existence out of nothing, so it is seen that everything becomes extinct afterwards. It is not possible that this process comes this way and will go on in the same way eternally. All things were created out of nothing by a Creator who never becomes nonexistent. The Creator has sent prophets and holy books in order to make known His existence. The names of prophets and of books are written in libraries all over the world. Something evident cannot be denied. Not believing in the existence of Allahu ta’ala is to deny something evident. Not believing in the existence and oneness of Allahu ta’ala is like not believing daily events that we read in books, which is not a wise move.
When a just person who reads and understands the life, good moral qualities, and mujizat of Muhammad alaihis-salam, he/she is going to understand and believe that he is a prophet and what he said is true.
Question: What is Allahu ta’ala’s first order to humans and what is His first prohibition on them?
His first order to all His slaves is to have iman. His first prohibition on them is disbelief. Iman is to believe that Muhammad alaihis-salam is Allah’s final prophet and to believe all that he brought and stated.
People are divided into four groups
Question: Are all humans the same or different in terms of belief and disbelief?
Islamic scholars divided people into four groups according to their belief and disbelief in prophets:
1. The first group of people believe in the Prophet. They live in comfort and serenity in worldly life and go to Paradise in the hereafter. The sins they commit due to following their nafses will be forgiven through repenting in the heart and seeking forgiveness by the tongue and worldly sufferings. Then they will go to Paradise and live in blessings eternally. They are called pious (salih) slaves.
2. The second group of people believe in the Prophet. They live in sufferings, discomfort, and illnesses. They have patience with sufferings and express gratitude for them. Their patience elevates their degrees and endless blessings. They do not follow their nafses. They are called awliya’ and are few.
3. The third group of people believe in the Prophet, but they do not follow him, but their nafses. They live in discomfort in the world. After staying in Hell as much as their sins they commit because of following their nafses, they will enter Paradise. They are called fasiq slaves.
4. They do not believe in the Prophet. If these disbelievers find the commandments and prohibitions of Islam by intelligence and follow them and Muslims, they attain felicity in the world, but they are to avail in the hereafter.
In order for evil people to become much more evil, success, easiness and comfort are given in their affairs. One who does not like even only one commandment of Islam becomes a disbeliever. Disbelievers will not enter Paradise; they will stay in Hell eternally.
Question: In order to have iman, is it necessary to believe all things that our Master the Prophet stated?
Iman is to like and believe in the heart whatever our Master the Prophet said and communicated. One who believes in this way is called a Believer (mu’min). It is disbelief (kufr) not to believe even one word of our Master the Prophet or to suspect whether it is good or true. Such a person is called disbeliever (kafir).
Is iman the same in all people?
Question: Is the iman of prophets and that of other people the same? Is there any difference between them in terms of belief?
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states the following in his Maktubat:
Iman means to believe everything coming from our Prophet, which is written in the books of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, and to express one’s belief. Worships are not parts from iman. But they perfect and beautify it. Imam-i a’zam Abu Hanifa ’alaihirrahma’ said that iman does not increase or decrease, for iman means the heart’s confirmation, admitting and believing. There is not scarcity or abundance in iman. Belief which has its decrease and increase is not called iman, but it is called supposition and illusion. Iman’s being much or little means muchness or scarcity in acts of worship. When one worships much, one is said to have much perfection in one’s iman. Then, the iman of all Believers are unlike the iman of Prophets. For Prophets’ iman has reached the summit of perfection on account of acts of worship. The iman of other Believers cannot reach there. But both have the common quality of being iman. The former has become different through acts of worship. It is as if there were no resemblance between them. All Believers and Prophets share the property of being human. But other values, superiorities have made Prophets reach high grades. Their humanity has become sort of different. In a way, they are higher human beings than the common humanity. Perhaps, they only are human beings. Others, as it were, are not human beings.
Imam-i A’zam Abu Hanifa ‘’alaihirrahma’ said that one should say, “I am certainly a Believer.” And Imam-i Shafi’I ‘alaihirrahma’ said that one should say, “I am, insha-Allah, a Believer.” Both are true. When one expresses one’s present iman one should say, “I am certainly a Believer.” When expressing one’s iman at one’s last breath, one will say, “I am, insha-Allah, a Believer.” However, in this latter case, too, it is better to say, ‘certainly’ than saying it with some doubt.
Iman is belief in what was stated
Question: Should we believe what Islam states after consulting experimental knowledge or in the way our Master the Prophet explained?
If, concerning a fact which is to be believed, one consults experimental knowledge and believes it when it is suitable with experiments but denies or doubts it when one cannot prove it through experiments, one has believed experiments, not the Messenger. Such iman, let alone being perfect, is not iman itself, for iman cannot be broken. It cannot be great or small.
If one attempts to measure religious knowledge with philosophy, one has believed the philosopher, not the Prophet. Yes, mind, philosophical and experimental knowledge are of great help in realizing that Allahu ta’ala exists and that Muhammad ‘’alaihissalam’ is Allah’s Prophet. But, after believing the Prophet with their help, it is not right to consult mind, philosophy, or experimental knowledge about any of the facts stated by him. For, as is shown by some examples appearing in literature, many of the facts acquired through mind, philosophy and experimentation change in the process of time, and when new ones are found old ones are discarded.
Iman is to trust and believe all the commandments which our master Rasulullah ‘sall-Allahu ’alaihi wa sallam’, as the Prophet, brought from Allahu ta’ala and conveyed to all people. It is kufr (disbelief) to deny or doubt any of these commandments and other facts. For, to deny or distrust the Messenger means to say that he is a liar. Lying is a fault. A faulty person cannot be a prophet.
Iman means to believe all the facts that are stated clearly in the Nass, i.e. in the Qur’an al-karim and in hadiths that are known through ijma’ and believed indispensably. Here, ijma’ means the consensus of the Sahaba. If something has not been stated with consensus by the Sahaba, the consensus of the Tabi’un becomes ijma’ for that thing. If it has not been explained unanimously by the Tabi’un, either, the consensus of the Taba-i tabi’un becomes ijma’ for it.
Without consulting mind, experience or philosophy, iman is to confirm and to believe the facts which Muhammad alaihissalam stated as the Prophet. If one confirms them because they are reasonable, one has confirmed the mind, not the Messenger.
Question: Does strong opinion constitute iman? Or does one have to know thoroughly things to be believed?
Acts of worship are counted as valid by way of one’s strong opinion. Iman is not valid by way of one’s strong opinion, but by way of precise knowledge.
The human has a natural inclination to religion
Question: Does every human, believer or disbeliever, have a natural inclination to religion?
When Islam came, people in Arabia had been worshipping idols and statues. Their thoughts were fixed into the existence of many gods. For this reason, Islam laid much emphasis on the evils of polytheism, and Muslims’ belief began with kalimat at-tawhid. Humans possess religious feelings naturally. For this reason, he who does not believe in Allah is spiritually sick, psychopathic. Such defective people are deprived of a great spiritual support and are in a very deplorable condition. As one of the European men of idea has said, “Piousness is great happiness, but I could not attain this happiness,” so Tevfik Fikret, one of the religion reformers in our country, ridiculed Islam and Muslims in his poem “Tarikh-i qadim”, but he could not help expressing the need of having iman gushing out from his poetic spirit in his following lines:
This loneliness is a loneliness like the loneliness in the grave,
To believe! That is the spiritual embrace in that loneliness.
Question: Is a Muslim who has become insane still Muslim?
In iman, acts of worship, and deeds, Allahu ta’ala does not hold a person responsible for that beyond his/her capability. For this reason, while a Muslim is in a state of insanity, negligence, sleep or death, he/she is still a Muslim, though he/she is not in a state of confirmation then.
Question: In order to become a Muslim, does one’s nafs have to believe, too?
In order to become a Muslim, it is not necessary that one’s nafs has to believe, too. If one suffers from waswasa from one’s nafs in the form of blasphemy, it is a sign of strength of one’s iman.