Question: Upon which thing is it conditional to achieve salvation in the Hereafter?
Some people suppose that every person having belief in the existence of Allah will go to Paradise, but this is a complete fallacy. The iman (belief, faith) of a person who does not believe in one of the six fundamentals of belief prescribed in the Amantu is not valid. For this reason, what matters is not to have belief, but to have a correct belief. To achieve salvation in the Hereafter is conditional upon having a correct belief, not upon the amplitude of acts of worship. Those with the tiniest correct belief in their heart will enter Paradise in the end, even if they have a few or no acts of worship performed with sincerity. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(He who has a mote of iman in his heart will not remain in Hell.) [Bukhari, Muslim]
Getting on a vehicle, all people are traveling on a way destined for the Hereafter. While traveling, what is important is not to get on a vehicle, but to get on a right vehicle. People who get on a wrong one will head for the place where it is en route, not where they want. For example, those who board a plane to Paris with the intention of going to the Ka’ba cannot arrive at the Ka’ba, no matter how pure intentions they may have.
Allahu ta’ala has promised that He will grant the right path, that is, true Islam, to those who have been prompted by simple curiosity over it and who are in search of the truth [Surat-ul-‘Ankabut 69, Surat-ush-Shura 13]. Allah never breaks His promise. [Surat-u Al-i ‘Imran 9].
This means to say that people following the aberrant ways do not ask for the truth, let alone have little curiosity. Allahu ta’ala has guaranteed the sustenance for His creatures. However, He is not the Guarantor of the iman (belief). Before correcting one’s creed, performing acts of worship will be of no avail. The true belief is the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah. We can conceive of the true belief as the number 1. Acts of worship performed with sincerity (ikhlas) are like number 0 placed on the right of number 1. When placed one 0, it is 10. If placed two zeroes, then it is 100. The more zeroes we place on the right of it, the more valuable it will become. However, when we remove the number 1, the result is 0. By the same token, acts of worship performed with insincerity, that is, for ostentation, are worthless like zeroes placed on the left of 1. After people have corrected their i’tiqad (creed), to increase their acts of worship is up to their perseverance, sincerity, and knowledge. They can indulge themselves to their hearts’ content. But if they do not have correct belief, namely, Ahl as-Sunnah belief, their acts of worship are worthless like zeroes on the left.
According to the Mu’tazila and such rationalistic groups, acts of worship are part of iman. They assert that a person who does not perform the fards or who commits sins becomes a disbeliever. In other words, they establish such a link between iman and acts of worship: iman x acts of worship. In this multiplication, they say, if one of them is zero, then the result is zero. That is to say, iman without acts of worship or acts of worship without iman are not valid. However, according to the Ahl as-Sunnah belief, iman without acts of worship is valid, but acts of worship without iman are not valid. According to the Ahl as-Sunnah belief, it can be defined as acts of worship x ikhlas. Without doing the deed itself, if one thinks of sincerely, “If I had money, I would help that poor person,” one will earn thawab (reward) due to one’s sincere intention, even if one does not do that deed. More ikhlas in one’s heart will bring in more thawab when it is multiplied by one’s acts of worship. For example, if our ikhlas is symbolized by the number 1 and if we give a loaf of bread to 1,000 poor people each, the result is 1x1,000 = 1,000 (thawab). Since the ikhlas of the Ashab-i kiram (the blessed Companions of our Prophet) is so strong, for example, suppose it is one million, if one of them gives a loaf of bread to a poor person, they earn one million thawab.
Therefore, it is declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(I swear that if one gave a piece of gold as big as Mount Uhud in the name of alms one would not earn the thawab of a handful of barley given by one of my Ashab.) [Bukhari]
As the iman of the Ashab-i kiram is so strong and their ikhlas is so much, they gain such amounts of thawab. Among the Ashab-i kiram, some of them have superiority over the others. For example, the thawab of a handful of dates given as alms by Hadrat Abu Bakr and the thawab earned by any other Sahabi with the same alms are poles apart.
Again, it is declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(I asked about the matters over which my Ashab would fall into disagreement with each other. My Rabb informed me, “Your Ashab are like the celestial stars in My Sight. Some of them are more luminous than the others. He who adapts himself to any one of them is on the right path.”) [Daylami]
Question: In order to have a correct belief, what are the requisites?
Some of the requisites of the correct belief are as follows:
1. To remain steadfast in your iman: A Muslim who says that they will convert to Christianity three years later becomes a disbeliever as soon as they say so.
2. To take a middle path between khawf (fear) and raja’ (hope): That is, one must have fear of Allahu ta’ala’s punishment as well as hope of His mercy.
3. To have iman before the soul reaches to the throat: When submitting the soul, upon seeing the events pertaining to the life to come, the then iman of a disbeliever is not valid. However, at that time, the tawba (repentance) of Muslims for their sins is acceptable.
4. To have iman before the sun rises in the west: When the sun rises in the west, the door of repentance will be closed.
5. Only Allahu ta’ala knows the ghayb: If Allah informs His prophets or His dear slaves about the matters pertaining to ghayb, then they can also know it.
6. You must avoid using or saying things which Islam prescribes as signs of kufr (disbelief): For example, a Muslim must not wear a cross or must not say, even as a joke, “I am a disbeliever [kafir].”
7. Not to have doubts about Islamic law: For example, one must not have doubts about Islamic laws, e.g., “Is it fard to perform salat?” or “Is it haram to drink wine?”
8. You must base your belief on Islam: Your belief must be as Hadrat Muhammad (‘alaihis-salam) and Ahl as-Sunnah scholars explained, not as historians and philosophers stated.
9. You must believe in the six pillars of belief expressed in the Amantu: It is necessary to believe that everything, good or bad, is from Allah. Humans have irada-i juziyya (partial will), and they are responsible for the sins they commit. Those who deny any of the six pillars of faith or who add a new pillar to them become disbelievers.
10. To love for the sake of Allah (hubb-i fillah) and to dislike for the sake of Allah (bughd-i fillah): One’s love and hatred must be only for the sake of Allah. It is a sign of kufr (disbelief) to feel hostility towards the friends of Allah but instead to love and make friends with the enemies of Allah, e.g. to love Socrates but to have hatred towards Hadrat Imam-i Ghazali.
11. You must believe that Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book) are dwellers of Hell: Whoever believes that they will enter Paradise becomes a disbeliever.
12. You must rectify your belief according to (Islam’s true creed termed) Ahl as-Sunnat wa’l-jama’at.
Some essential matters in the aqeedah (creed, faith) of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah are as follows:
1. Allahu ta’ala is free from time and space. It causes disbelief (kufr) to say, “Allah is in heaven or on the ‘Arsh.”
2. Allahu ta’ala does not resemble anything. It causes disbelief to attribute human features and characteristics (anthropomorphism) to Him, such as hands, feet, walking, descending, ascending etc.
3. Muhammad ‘alaihis-salam is the last prophet. No prophet will succeed him. To say “No prophet (nabi) will succeed him, but a messenger (rasul) will succeed him” causes kufr (disbelief) that expels the person saying it from the fold of Islam.
4. We must not declare Ahl al-qibla (a Muslim who performs salat and does not have a belief that causes disbelief)) a kafir (disbeliever) owing to their sins because acts of worship (ibadah) do not form an integral part of faith (iman). That is, a Muslim who does not do acts of worship or commits sins must not be declared a kafir. In the Hereafter, Allahu ta’ala may torment a person in return for a minor sin, and He may forgive major sins.
5. The Muslims in Paradise (Jannah) will see Allahu ta’ala. The Mu’tazila sect does not believe this fact.
6. A person either has iman (faith) or not. Faith does not increase or decrease. However, the brightness and strength of it increases or decreases.
7. The Qur’an al-karim is not something created (makhluq).
8. It is permissible to do masah (wiping with wet hands) over khuffs (waterproof shoes covering the part of the foot which is obligatory to wash in wudu’).
9. The Mi’raj was an event that involved both soul and body.
10. Mu’jizah and karamah are haqq (true and established).
11. We must love all of the Sahaba (Blessed Companions of our Prophet) and must not speak ill of any of them because all of them will be in Paradise.
12. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq is the most superior and best of the Sahaba.
13. The soul does not die.
14. It is permissible to visit a grave, and it is permissible, too, to ask prophets, martyrs, and awliya’ in the grave for help.
15. The questioning and torment in the grave are haqq (true and established). The torment in the grave will be inflicted on both the soul and the body.
16. In the Hereafter, there will be shafa’ah (intercession), the Sirat Bridge, Reckoning, and Mi’zan (for weighing deeds and conduct).
17. When one reads the Qur’an al-karim or gives alms, it is permissible to present the thawab (reward) of them to the deceased. It will reach them and cause their torment to be lightened or to be removed altogether.
18. When a person dies because of murder or committing suicide, they have died because their appointed time of death (ajal) has come.
19. No sin, whether minor or major, issues from prophets.
20. Both Paradise and Hell exist now, and they are endless. Sinful Muslims will not dwell in Hell eternally. It is disbelievers who will dwell in it eternally.
21. Today, a Muslim must adopt one of the four true madhhabs. Whoever does not follow any of them has deviated from Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. (Hashiyah Durr-ul-Mukhtar)
22. It is of the main points of the aqeedah of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah to believe the signs before Doomsday, e.g., Dajjal, Dabbat-ul-ard, and Hadrat Mahdi will appear; Hadrat ‘Isa (Jesus) will descend from the sky; the sun will rise in the west.
23. It is not permissible to rebel against the sultan or caliph.
All of the abovementioned facts have been quoted from the books Fiqh al-Akbar, Nuhbat al-Laali, Riyad an-Nasihin, Maktubat-i Rabbani, and Faraid al-Fawaid.
Doubting one’s iman
Question: Is there any difference between having such doubts as, “Do I have iman now?” or “Will my iman continue?” and being fearful of dying without iman at one’s last breath?
They are not the same. If one who does acts of worship worries that one’s belief may be undermined and thinks that one’s acts of worship will not rescue one, this comes to mean that one has a strong belief. However, one who has doubts about the continuation of one’s belief becomes a disbeliever. If one does not want to fall in such doubts and dislikes it, this means that one is a Believer. (Bazzaziyya)
It is not permissible and causes disbelief to doubt whether one has iman or not or whether one’s iman will continue permanently. A Believer should never doubt their present or future iman. They should say “I am a Believer until I die.”
As for their last breath, they must be between hope and fear. It is not a doubt, but a sign of iman, to be fearful of dying without iman at one’s last breath. Ahl as-Sunnah scholars state, “If one is not fearful of dying without iman at last breath, one dies without iman.” It is not known whether we can preserve our iman until our last breath. Therefore, we should always live fearfully, avoid what is prohibited, do everything commanded, and be hopeful of Allah’s mercy.
How to protect our iman (faith)?
Question: Since the most valuable blessing that has been granted is iman, what should we do to protect it?
You have to comply with the following in order to protect it:
1. You have to believe in the ghayb. If we saw angels, Paradise, and Hell with our eyes, it would not be iman to say “There are Paradise and Hell” because we would see them with our eyes then. Seeing Paradise and Hell at the time of death, all disbelievers will say, “We believe in them,” but their iman will not be valid. When Believers are praised in the Qur’an al-karim, it is said, “They believe in the ghayb” (Surat-ul-Baqara 3).
2. You have to believe that only Allahu ta’ala knows the ghayb. Prophets, angels, or genies cannot know the ghayb. However, if Allahu ta’ala wills, He informs them of it. Therefore, it is not permissible to deny the mu’jizat and karamat.
3. You have to believe, that is, accept, a haram as haram, and a halal as halal. A person who calls deliberately a prohibited act permissible or a permissible act prohibited becomes a renegade.
4. You must be very fearful of the wrath of Allahu ta’ala and must not feel secure from His torment. It is declared in the Holy Qur’an that those who are fearful of the chastisement of their Lord do not feel secure from it. (Surat-ul-Ma‘arij 27-28)
5. Whatever the number of your sins, you must not consider that your abode will certainly be Hell. Allahu ta’ala declares in a hadith-i qudsi:
(If My slave commits so many sins that they reach skies, but if he does not despair of My mercy and begs Me for forgiveness, I forgive him.) [Tirmidhi]
A Qur'anic verse says (what means):
(O My slaves who have committed a great many sins! Do not despair of Allah’s Mercy! Allah forgives all of your sins. Certainly, He is the One with infinite forgiveness and mercy.) [Surat-uz-Zumar 53]
6. You must not feel safe from the torment of Allah, but at the same time, you must not despair of His Mercy! A hadith-i sharif declares:
(If a Believer takes a middle path between khawf (fear) and raja' (hope), Allahu ta’ala gives him what he hopes for and makes him secure from what he fears.) [Tirmidhi]
7. It is the essence of iman to love someone for the sake of Allah (hubb-i fillah) and to dislike someone for the sake of Allah (bughd-i fillah). It is said in a hadith-i sharif:
(The basis of iman is to love Muslims and to dislike the enemies of Allah.) [Imam-i Ahmad]
Allahu ta’ala said to Hadrat 'Isa:
(Even if you do acts of worship that equal those done by all creatures on the earth and in heavens, it will be of no value unless you love My friends and unless you feel hostility towards My enemies.) [Kimya-i Sa’adat]
8. In order for the iman to be valid and for us to protect it, some of the necessary conditions are as follows:
* Allahu ta’ala is wajib al-wujud (the One whose existence is necessary), real ma’bud (the One worshiped), and the creator of all things.
* It is Allahu ta’ala alone who created whatever is in the world and in the Hereafter without material, time, and similarity, out of nonexistence.
* Tawakkul is fard (obligatory).
* One is not allowed to perform qiyas (analogy) in those matters pertaining to belief that are known indispensably and through ijma’ (consensus). Thus, one who makes a wrong ijtihad or qiyas on such matters becomes a kafir (disbeliever). However, one who performs an incorrect ijtihad in those matters pertaining to belief that have not been conveyed indispensably and through ijma’ will not become a disbeliever, but ahl al-bid’at (exponent of heresy).
* Faith (iman) does not increase or decrease. That is, it does not increase or decrease with respect to matters that must be believed in. However, its brightness and strength increases or decreases with respect to yaqin and confirmation. All Muslims are equal in faith and tawhid, but they differ from one another in their deeds.
* One must take one’s belief from the Islamic religion and believe in the same way as the Messenger of Allah prescribed.
* If a sinner dies as a Believer without repenting of their sins, Allahu ta’ala, if He wills, will torment them in Hell, or He, if He wills, may forgive them and will not inflict any torment on them.
* Angels, unlike what disbelievers claim, are not Allahu ta’ala’s partners or daughters. They do not commit sins. They are neither male nor female.
* One must have no doubts about a law stated in the Qur’an al-karim or in our other Islamic books. For example, one must not have such a doubt, “I am not sure whether it is fard for a woman to cover herself.”
* No matter through which means (halal or haram) one obtains, it is still one’s rizq (sustenance). Everyone eats their own rizq. No one can eat the rizq allotted to someone else.
* One who says something which Islam states to be a sign of disbelief (alfaz-i kufr) becomes a disbeliever even though one does not accept its meaning. [That is, if it is said to make a joke or to make others laugh, it will still result in disbelief. For example, if one says for a joke, “I am a prophet,” one becomes a disbeliever.]
* If a drunk says something that constitutes disbelief, (s)he must not be declared a disbeliever (kafir).
* The universe was created when it was nonexistent. [Philosophers do not accept this fact, and they become disbelievers as they say, “This is the way it has been, and this is the way it goes.”]
* We must not call Ahl al-qibla (a person who performs salat) disbelievers because of their sins. [However, if a belief of a person who is Ahl al-qibla goes against a definite evidence whose meaning is very clear, then this belief will be kufr. This one is a disbeliever, even though they offer salat and perform other acts of worship.]
* Sufism (tasawwuf) should not be denied. (Awarif-ul-ma’arif)
* After prophets, the highest and the best of all human beings is Hadrat Abu Bakr. After him, the highest of all human beings is the other three caliphs in successive order.
* All the Blessed Companions (Sahaba) will go to Paradise. (Surat al-Hadid 10)
* It is stated in the Qur’an al-karim that Allahu ta’ala is pleased with the Sahaba. To speak ill of any of them means disbelieving the Qur’anic verses in question. (Tathir-ul-Janan)
* Good and evil, advantage and harm coming upon human beings are all by Allahu ta’ala’s decree.
* Qadar means Allahu ta’ala’s knowing with His Eternal Knowledge and willing all deeds of human beings and of other creatures that they will do. Qada means the [instance of] creation of anything just compatibly with qadar. Both are termed qada and qadar.
* Allahu ta’ala guides whomever He wills to the right way as a favor to that slave of His. Similarly, He guides whomever He wills to aberration out of His Justice because all deeds of human beings are created by Allahu ta’ala. Yet He has given partial will to human beings and has thus held them responsible for what they have done.
* The time of death (ajal) of a person who has been killed or who has committed suicide is the moment when that person has died. A death does not take place before the appointed time for it comes.
* The Salat al-Janaza for a Muslim who has committed suicide is performed. (Durr-ul-Mukhtar)
* All people will be resurrected after death.
* Questioning, the return of the soul to the body, and torment for disbelievers and sinful Muslims are true and take place in the grave.
* All Muslims will enter Paradise by the grace of Allah because no one can deserve it due to their deeds.
* On the Day of Resurrection, all people will give accounts of their deeds, and their deeds will be weighed on Mi’zan.
* Prophets, scholars, and pious Muslims will intercede (shafa’ah) for the forgiveness of sinful Muslims. Likewise, the shafa’ah of our Prophet is for those who have committed major sins. People with numberless sins, too, will benefit from the shafa’ah, little or much. All sinners, except those who will become beneficiary of forgiveness and shafa’ah, will be punished for their sins. It is declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(Every prophet has a du’a [supplication] that is fulfilled. I have reserved my du’a to make intercession for my Ummah in the Hereafter.) [Bukhari]
* Beware of denying shafa’ah because it is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(Whoever does not believe in my shafa’ah will not benefit from it.) (Shir’a)
* Believe in the portents of Doomsday.
It is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(Doomsday will not take place until these signs appear: the sun will rise in the west; three places will sink into the earth; Isa will descend from the sky; Smoke, Dabbat al-ard, ad-Dajjal, Ya’juj [Gog] and Ma’juj [Magog] will appear; a fire will break out in Aden.) [Muslim]
* It is one of the essentials of the aqeedah of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah to believe that Mahdi will appear.
A hadith-i sharif says:
(Before Doomsday, Allahu ta’ala will create one of my descendants, whose name and father’s name will be the same as those of mine. The earth, which will have been filled with cruelty before him, will be filled with justice during his time.) [Tirmidhi, Ibn ‘Asakir]
[All the above mentioned facts have been quoted from Fiqh al-Akbar, Amali, Riyad-un-Nasihin, Maktubat-i Rabbani, and Faraid-ul-Fawaid.]
The importance of correct belief
Question: What is the reason for your laying great emphasis on correct belief?
The reason is that acts of worship will be of no avail unless people correct their beliefs. The correct belief is the Ahl as-Sunnat belief. We can conceive of the true belief (the belief of Ahl as-Sunnat) as the number 1. Acts of worship performed with sincerity are like number 0 placed on the right of number 1. When placed one 0, it is 10. If placed two zeroes, then it is 100. The more zeroes we place on the right of it, the more valuable it will become. However, when we remove the number 1, the result is 0. By the same token, acts of worship performed with insincerity, that is, for ostentation, are worthless like zeroes placed on the left of 1. If people do not have a correct belief, namely, Ahl as-Sunnat belief, their acts of worship are worthless like zeroes on the left. This matter being so crucial, Hadrat Ubaydullah-i Ahrar quddisa sirruh said, “If they gave me all the karamats, yet if my creed were not correct, I would deem myself destroyed, ruined. If they piled up all the disasters and desolations upon me, yet if my creed were correct, I would never worry.”
A person with a correct belief
Question: It is said that the Muslims who have correct belief will not go to Hell. What will their sins be then?
A person who avoids what is prohibited and who carries out acts of worship is a friend of Allah. Allah does not put His friend into Hell-fire. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(I swear by Allah that Allah does not put His friend into Hell-fire.) [Jami’us saghir]
If a Muslim does not commit an act of disbelief (kufr), sufferings they have endured in this world will be atonement for their sins. Also, they will benefit from the shafa’ah, and so they do not enter Hell at all.
Two bases of the Ahl as-Sunnat path
Question: What is the reason that Ahl as-Sunnat belief has survived intact up until now?
It has remained in its original form and has come to us so thanks to the perseverance of Ahl as-Sunnat scholars. They strictly abided by these two things:
1. They preserved its original form and did not omit anything from it.
2. They did not add anything to it. That is, they obeyed sunnat and opposed bid’ats.
Obeying sunnat means obeying Islam, but one must obey it as it has been communicated, without making any changes. Therefore, Ahl as-Sunnat scholars did not make any removal or any addition to what came to us from the Messenger of Allah. They accepted the text verbatim, and they made commentaries, that is, explanations, to it. For this reason, the pillars of Ahl as-Sunnat belief have remained intact up until now.
Protecting the iman
Question: What are the points to follow in order to protect the iman?
Iman is like a five-storey castle. It consists of copper storey, iron storey, bronze storey, silver storey, and gold storey.
1. Copper storey is adab.
2. Iron storey is sunnats.
3. Bronze storey is fards.
4. Silver storey is ikhlas.
5. Gold storey is pleasure of Allahu ta’ala.
If you do not observe adab, you cannot find a way to sunnats. If you do not observe sunnats, you cannot find a way to fards. If you do not observe fards, you cannot find a way to ikhlas. If you do not have ikhlas, you cannot find a way to attain the love of Allah.
This means to say that in order to reach the top, that is, the fifth storey, you should pass the first, second, third, and fourth storeys one by one. One cannot reach the top in a flash without passing the others.
The most dreadful disaster
Question: What is the most dreadful disaster?
The most dreadful disaster is to die without iman (faith). In order not to die without iman, it is necessary to have ilm (knowledge), to practise it sincerely (ikhlas), to abstain from what is prohibited and to perform acts of worship. One dies just the way one lived, so one must live in iman. To live in iman, it is necessary to refrain from what is prohibited and to perform acts of worship.
The second disaster is that one considers oneself a Muslim even though one has fallen into kufr because of a word or deed. One does not seek forgiveness either as one does not know whatever one did has caused kufr. In this case, one may die without iman. What is worse than not knowing a sin is to perform it as an act of worship. An example of this is heretical belief and other heretical innovations. In order to protect oneself from this disaster, Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani said, “Ilm, amal and ikhlas [doing evertything for Allah) are essential.” That is, we have to learn our religion correctly and apply sincerely what we have learnt. Just as it is a disaster to apply it without knowledge, so it is a disaster to apply it insincerely.
The fundamental condition of iman
Question: Does a person who believes in the six pillars of faith certainly a Muslim?
If we study the society, it cannot be said that everybody is Muslim.
Some examples are as follows:
1. If one states that one believes in the holy books, a pillar of faith, but if one at the same time states that the Qur’an is historical and some rules of it are not valid until Doomsday, then one is not a Muslim. One’s belief in the holy books is of no use.
2. If one believes in angels, one of the six pillars of faith, but if one says that angels commit sins and claims, as Christians do, they are girls, one cannot be a Muslim.
3. If one says that one believes in Allah but if one does not love the friends of Allah and bears enmity towards them but loves the enemies of Allah, makes friends with them and wishes Allah’s mercy on them when they die, one cannot be a Muslim. The essence of faith is loving someone for Allah (hubb-i fillah) and disliking someone for Allah (bughd-i fillah). It means loving those whom Allahu ta’ala loves and that which He commands while abstaining from His enemies and that which He prohibits. This fact differentiates a Believer from a disbeliever. It is hubb-i fillah to love Ahl as-Sunnah Muslims and those who serve the religion of Allah. It is bughd-i fillah to dislike disbelievers, Allahu ta’ala’s enemies, and adherents of 72 deviant sects. This is achieved by way of the heart. We should not quarrel or fight with those whom we must not love. Quarreling with a person, a friend or an enemy, is harmful. In this case, if he/she is a friend of ours, the friendship dies away. If he/she is an enemy of ours, then the enmity increases.
A Believer tries to perform amr-i ma’ruf and nahy-i munkar. That is, he/she endeavors to teach people that which Allah commands, which is one of the conditions of faith.
Question: It is said that it is permissible to renew iman for fear that one may have fallen into kufr, but at the same time it is said that it is kufr to doubt about the existence of one’s iman. What is the difference between these two? Are both not faith-related doubts?
These two are different. A person who renews their faith (iman) knows that they have faith. However, they renew it because maybe one may have fallen into kufr (disbelief) without knowing or maybe one’s faith may have weakened or worn out. Our Master the Prophet said, “The faith inside you wears out just as clothes wear out. Renew your faith.” We should frequently repeat Kalima-i shahadah in order to renew our faith.
It is kufr to doubt whether one has iman or not. That is, one must not doubt whether one has iman or not. However, it is a sign of existence of faith inside us to fear now whether we can protect our iman at the time of death, which is not considered faith-related doubt. It is a fear arising from the worry of the likelihood of losing faith. It is just like the fear of losing or having someone steal precious jewelry one has. Such a person does not doubt whether they have jewelry or not but fears that they may lose it or have it stolen.
Fear of losing faith
A Muslim should think of the consequences of their words and deeds. In anything they do, their faith should take priority over other considerations. They should never take any sin lightly. For example, upon committing a venial sin, if one is reminded by others that one should repent for that venial sin and if one replies that one did not do anything which would require repentance or if one says, for instance, “Why should I repent?” or makes other similar retorts, this response will cause disbelief. A Muslim child is theoretically a Muslim, for its faith depends on its parents’ faith. Once it reaches puberty, its credal status will no longer depend on its parents’. If it does not know Islam and its credal points or cannot answer questions asked on them, it has deserted Islam and its marriage bond becomes null and void if it is married because validity and maintenance of nikah (Islamic marriage bond) require holding a belief as prescribed by Islam. When a person murders a Muslim or someone orders another to kill a Muslim, one becomes a disbeliever if one says “Well done!” If one beats or kills another unjustly, it is kufr to approve this cruel act by saying, for instance, “You have done a very good job. They deserved it.” To lie in the name of Allah by saying, for instance, “As Allah knows, I love you more than I do my children” is kufr. It is kufr also not to take Islam’s commandments seriously. For example, not to perform salat, not to fast during Ramadan, not to pay zakat because one does not consider them important things cause disbelief. To become hopeless of the mercy of Allahu ta’ala also causes disbelief. Money or property that is not normally prohibited but has become prohibited later due to an external cause or reason is called haram li-ghayrihi, e.g., stolen things or things that are obtained by forbidden means. Calling them halal does not cause disbelief. Things such as carcass, pork, and wine, which are forbidden in essence, are called haram li-aynihi. Calling them halal causes disbelief. Calling any of the certainly known sins halal causes disbelief.
Belittling or making mockery of things that are held respectable by Islam, i.e., adhan, mosque, fiqh-books, also causes disbelief. Performing salat under the following conditions causes disbelief: while one knows that one does not have wudu’ or one knows that one is performing salat in a direction other than the direction of Qibla.
Calling a Muslim a disbeliever (kafir) to show their evil character does not cause disbelief. However, it would cause disbelief if calling them so was intended to express one’s wish that that Muslim were a disbeliever.
Committing sins does not cause disbelief
Commandments of Allahu ta’ala are termed fard. His prohibitions are termed haram. His commandments and prohibitions are called Islam. Doing something contrary to Islam means committing a sin. Committing a sin does not cause disbelief. However, not caring the fact that it is a sin causes disbelief. Not believing that performing acts of worship or abstaining from sins is necessary causes disbelief; one moves out of the bond of Islam.
Statements which are made to show that one is a person of literature or a knowledgeable and wise person, or only to amaze others or to make others laugh or to please others, may cause disbelief by judgement (kufr al-hukmi). Saying certain things while one is motivated by fury or greed may cause disbelief, too.
In order to learn Islam correctly ...
Question: If Muslims have doubts about matters pertaining to belief or other Islamic matters, what should they do? What should they do to stay away from these doubts?
One who feels uncertain about something conveyed by our religion must say, “I believe whatever Allahu ta’ala and His prophet mean by this.” One must immediately begin searching for a religious savant to dispel this doubt. One must look for and find an exalted person who is dependable as to his knowledge and has loyalty to his faith, who is intelligent and arif, who avoids what is prohibited, knows the subtleties within the religious knowledge, and is able to solve problems. When the answer one gets from him removes one’s doubt, one must believe in the way shown. It is fard to look for such an exalted person. One should not leave it to chance, but should begin looking for him as soon as possible. If one cannot find him or if one cannot get rid of one’s doubt though one finds him, one should say, “I believe as Allahu ta’ala and His Messenger would like me to believe” and should pray and entreat Allahu ta’ala for the resolution of one’s doubt. For this reason, it is fard-i kifaya for there to be an exalted person who can solve problems in every city. There has to be an Islamic scholar who can answer philosophers’ slanders with scientific and philosophical facts, who can tackle the objections raised by sham scientists with scientific methods, who can refute the wrong statements of disbelievers with holy books by disproving the unsound parts of their books, who can extinguish the fire of mischief caused by heretical people and who has learned world’s history well, who has strong mathematical knowledge, and who has reached the depths of Islamic knowledge. Islamic countries used to educate such savants. If there is not one such religious savant, Islam will become a plaything in the hands of the enemies of the religion. They will write religious books as they wish and thus cause the youth to be brought up irreligiously. The establishment of Islam in a country depends first of all upon educating real religious savants. If there are no religious savants, we should strive to spread the books of Ahl as-sunnah scholars. If these books are not available, enemies of Islam will mask themselves as religious men, publish books and magazines, give lectures, and thus steal away the faith of the people.
The sign of iman
Question: How can we understand that one has iman?
There are six pillars of faith, which are related to belief. Belief in the six pillars is iman. Before these six pillars of faith, there are two primary conditions: belief in ghayb and hubb-i fillah bughd-i fillah. Whether a Believer has iman or not depends on these two conditions:
The first is belief in ghayb which means belief without seeing and without consulting one’s logic or knowledge. What is essential and necessary is belief in ghayb because all the felicity of this world and hereafter depends on belief without seeing.
The second is hubb-i fillah and bughd-i fillah. If these two conditions are lacking, one cannot be a Believer, even if one believes in the six pillars of faith in the Amantu. Hubb-i fillah means loving for the sake of Allah. Bughd-i fillah means disliking for the sake of Allah. The sign of faith is hubb-i fillah and bughd-i fillah. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(There are some servants of Allahu ta’ala. They are not prophets, but prophets and martyrs will be envious of them on the Day of Resurrection. They are Muslims who love each other for Allah’s sake even though they are not acquainted with each other but live far away from each other.)
The act of worship Allahu ta’ala likes the most is hubb-i fillah and bughd-i fillah. It is necessary to love those whom Allahu ta’ala loves, which is the sign of iman and superior to all acts of worship. Our Master the Messenger of Allah said:
(The basis of and the strongest sign of iman is to love Muslims and not to love those who have enmity for Muslims.)
(Allahu ta’ala revealed to a prophet, “Tell so and so, ‘Through renunciation of worldly pleasures, you have given comfort to your nafs and made yourself worthy. But what have you done for Me?’” When he asked what he could do for Him, Allahu ta’ala said, “Have you felt hostility for My enemy for My sake and have you loved whomever I love for My sake?”)
(If one does not consider Allahu ta’ala’s enemies as enemies, one has not believed truly. If one loves Believers for Allah’s sake and considers disbelievers as enemies, one will attain Allahu ta’ala’s love.)
Question: In order to be a Muslim, does it suffice only to believe?
After learning pillars of belief and correcting their creed accordingly, every Muslim should learn things from halal, haram, fard, wajib, sunnat, mandub, and makruh according to their needs from fiqh and ilmihal books written by Ahl as-Sunnah scholars.
Things that cause one to lose faith
Question: Are there words or deeds that cause one to lose faith? If there, what are they?
The following is written in Miftah-ul-Jannat about this subject:
There are about 40 things that cause one to lose faith though one has faith now:
1. Holding a heretical (bid’ah) belief,
2. A weak faith, that is, faith without deeds,
3. Derailing your nine organs from the right path,
4. Continuing to commit grave sins,
5. Quitting being thankful for the blessing of Islam,
6. Not fearing for the likelihood of dying without iman,
7. Perpetrating cruelty,
8. Not listening to the adhan performed in accordance with sunnat,
9. Being rebellious to one’s parents. Harshly refusing their orders that are mubah and compatible with Islam,
10. Swearing frequently even if it is true,
11. Abandoning tadil-i arkan in salat. Tadil-i arkan means remaining motionless for as long long as a time during which one could say Subhanallah.
12. Considering salat unimportant and not caring about teaching it to your family and children,
13. Drinking wine or any beverage, even in small quantities, that intoxicates when taken in large,
14. Harming Believers,
15. Making a false show of being a wali or being learned in Islam. Representing oneself a religious man without acquiring Ahl as-Sunnat creed,
16. Forgetting about your sins and taking them lightly,
17. Being arrogant,
18. Ujb (self-admiration); admiring one’s learning and piousness,
20. Being jealous of your Muslim brother,
21. Not to obey the commandments of the government or of one’s master that are not against Islam,
22. Saying that so and so is a good person without putting that person to the test,
23. Being an inveterate liar,
24. Avoiding scholars and not reading the books of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars.
25. Growing your moustache longer than the limit put by the sunnah,
26. For men, wearing silk,
27. Being a habitual backbiter,
28. Maltreating your neighbors even if they are disbelievers,
29. Often getting angry for worldly matters,
30. Charging or paying interest,
31. Boastfully wearing garments with sleeves and/or skirts too long,
32. Practicing sorcery,
33. Not visiting mahram relatives who are pious,
34. Not loving those whom Allahu ta’ala loves but loving those who strive to distort Islam,
35. Bearing a grudge against one’s Muslim brother for more than three days,
36. Making fornication a habit,
37. Committing sodomy but not making repentance,
38. Not reciting adhan according to sunnah in times prescribed in fiqh books,
39. Seeing someone committing a sin and not preventing them from doing it though you are capable,
40. Not advising those whom you have the right to advise.
In order for iman to remain permanently
Question: Are there conditions and reasons for iman to remain in a Muslim permanently?
Related to this subject, the following is written in the book Miftah-ul-Jannat:
There are six conditions and reasons for iman to remain in us permanently:
1. We believe in ghayb (the unseen). Our iman is in the unseen, not in what is seen and apparent. We have not been able to see Allahu ta’ala with our eyes but have believed as if we saw Him. There is not the slightest doubt in our mind about Him.
2. On earth and in heavens, there is no one, a human or a genie, an angel or a prophet, who knows the ghayb. It is only Allah who knows the ghayb, and He discloses whatever He wishes to whomever He wishes. Ghayb means that which cannot be understood through sense organs, calculation, or experimentation.
3. To believe haram as haram,
4. To believe halal as halal,
5. Not to feel safe against the torment of Allahu ta’ala and to always fear Him,
6. Not to despair Allah’s mercy no matter how sinful you are.
If one of these six conditions does not exist in a person but the other five conditions exist or one of them exists but the other five ones do not exist, their faith and submission is not valid.
Question: What should we do to protect our iman? Is there a du’a (supplication) to recite in the morning and in the evening?
A Muslim’s making repentance at their last breath is valid. However, a disbeliever’s having iman at their last breath is not valid. Every Muslim should recite the following dua in the morning and in the evening in order to protect their iman:
Allahumma innee a’udhu bika min an-ushrika bika shay-an wa ana a’lamu wa astaghfiruka li ma la a’lamu innaka anta allaamul ghuyoob.
The supplication prescribed to be recited in the morning can be recited as of midnight. The supplication prescribed to be recited in the evening can be recited as of noon. It is considered repentance to deny having turned back from Islam.
Avoiding eternal torment
Question: In order not to enter Hell and to avoid eternal torment, what should a person do?
Each and every Muslim’s primary duty is not to follow the nafs. The nafs is a person’s arch enemy. It wishes to annihilate their iman. It enjoys doing so. If a person harbors doubts about the correctness and usefulness of a single one of the commandments and prohibitions of Allahu ta’ala and of our Master, the Prophet, they will lose their faith and become disbelievers. A disbeliever will burn eternally in Hell. If a person thinks over the meaning of eternal burning, so strong will the fear they will feel that they will suffer from insomnia the rest of their lives and they will no longer have any appetite to eat or drink. Nor will worldly pleasures any longer mean anything to that person. Unendurably heavy and extremely formidable as is the punishment of kufr (disbelief), it is quite easy to get rid of kufr and sins. Its only medicine is to renew your iman, and the easiest way of doing so is to say the prayer, “Astaghfirullah-al-’adheem” three times before you go to bed every night. It must be said with its meaning in your mind. Its meaning, in brief, is: “O my Rabb! Please do forgive me.” Allahu ta’ala promises that He will forgive those who make tawba, (i.e. those who sincerely invoke Him for forgiveness.) Forgiveness, however, is conditional upon not having debts pertaining to (the daily five prayers called) salat and human rights. If one has a debt of a single salat (i.e. if one has omitted or missed one of the five daily salats,) one’s tawba will not be accepted (by Allahu ta’ala) unless one makes qada (performing a make-up salat at a later time than the original due time) of it. To be safe against being burnt in Hell, it is necessary to pay one’s debts pertaining to salat and pertaining to human rights. No other act of charity will save one from the torment thereby incurred. We should not believe Ibni Taymiyya’s and others’ arguments against this.
Question: Should a Muslim correct their creed first of all?
After correcting creed (knowledge pertaining to belief), one should learn that which is halal, haram, fard, wajib, sunnat, mandub, and makruh from the fiqh books written by Ahl as-Sunnah scholars and live by them. We should not read the heretical books written by ignorant ones who do not appreciate those scholars. Allah forbid! Those Muslims who have beliefs contrary to Ahl as-Sunnah cannot extricate themselves from entering Hell. However, one who has correct Islamic belief may, even without repentance, be forgiven even if one is slack in doing acts of worship. If one is not forgiven, one will still exit Hell after suffering torment. Therefore, the priority is to correct one’s creed. Hadrat Haja Ubaydullah-i Ahrar states:
“If I were given all kashf and karamah but not the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l jama’ah, I would consider myself wretched. If I were not given any kashf and karamah and were in sins but if my creed were Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l jama’ah, I would not worry any.”
Question: Just as acts of worship are acceptable by way of one’s strong opinion, so is knowledge pertaining to creed acceptable by way of one’s strong opinion?
Acts of worship are counted as valid by way of strong opinion. However, creed is not correct by way of strong opinion, but by way of certain knowledge.