Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virtues of Iman (Part 3 of 3)

Virtues of Iman continued

This article adapted from Ustaz Zakaria's discourse night of 18 Ramadan 1429H between tarawihs. Based on a chapter of the book "Jaharul Mauhub" by Syaikh Wan Ali Kutan(rh)

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
or download the whole article in Acrobat format here

Sharpen up Our Faith

It has been related that Nabi Muhammad (saw) said that in the beginning, faith is naked (al imanu ‘uryan), and fear of God is the clothes (wa libasu taqwa), and shyness is the decoration (wa zinahu ahya’), and the fruit is knowledge (wa tsamaratuhu ‘ilm).

We should learn tauhid, fiqh and tasawwuf in a proper way - with a kitab and through a knowledgeable syaikh. A kitab acts as a guide, and as reference once we alone at home. We also rely on the blessings (barakah) of the author, who are not just knowledgable, but also achieved status of friends of Allah (Waliyyullah). Ulama such as Syaikh Wan Daud al-Fatoni (rh - died 1847) has been famous even among his own contemporaries. Syaikh Daud wrote his kitaab (Munyatul Musolli etc) illuminated by special lights – those emanating from his fingers and his heart. There is definitely no room for us to belittle his works. The language he used might be difficult to understand, and modern interest in his works is minimal, but that is our generation’s fault, not his.

In another hadith, Rasulullah (saw) said that faith is in the chest of man. And faith is not complete unless we complete religious deeds, be it fardu (obligatory) or sunnah (recommended).

So never look down upon sunnah doings, because together with fardu they steer us towards faith. Once we renounce these two, then our iman would self-destruct.
Wearing turban is recommended to every muslim man, as Rasulullah (saw) wore one most of the time. If we find turban is unfashionable, then just keep quiet, don’t show objection to it. Another example of sunnah is carrying a walking stick when you are past forty.

All things that bring benefit can be given away as charity (sadaqah), and we get a divine reward for it. Giving away one kilogram of rice is beneficial to the receiving party, but giving away only one grain of rice is not.

Along this spirit, we can do tahlil sessions, and sadaqah the reward to the deceased muslims. This is the best we can do, since there is no way the dead can benefit if we give them material things. For many centuries, it has been common practice to supplicate for well being of the deceased among fellow muslims. At least all of us do once a week - such as done during Friday sermon.

It is already a loss that we skip sunnah deeds, it is even worse if we prohibit others from doing them.

Signs of Faith

Imam as-Suyuti (rh) in his kitab ‘Niqayah’ said there are 70 branches of faith. Other imam and ulama have different opinion, some say 64, 76, or 77 branches. The most important branch is the syahadatain (testify about Allah and His messenger). The least significant is getting rid of whatever that pose nuisance to people, such as moving away fallen branches from middle of the road. Menial work like this ensures reward from Allah and strengthens our iman.

There is a hadith: You do not have faith until you start to love your fellow Muslims like you love yourselves.

Never argue with others such that you break connections them. Some of us hate each others simply because we vote for opposing parties in the elections. Do not show enmity towards anybody just because their political ideology is not Islamic. Make friends with them and guide them little by little. Even with non-muslims, you should not declare enmity to ever one of them. Some are muahad, muawwaman, zimmi, and some are harbi. We have different obligations on them base on this classification.

In conclusion, we all should go to Islamic lessons because they give us proper guidance. Add to that the blessings of Allah descending upon such a gathering. Surely good things will come out of it.

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