Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virtues of Iman (Part 1 of 3)

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

The Virtues of Faith

Iman (faith) is the root of Islam. To learn Islam, it is of the utmost importance to get to know about iman first.

As Allah mentioned in the Quran (al-Baqarah:25) :

وَبَشِّرَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْوَعَمِلُواْالصَّٰلِحَٰتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّٰتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَاالاْءَنْهَٰر

Give good news O Muhammad to those who are faithful and who perform good, that
for them Gardens through which rivers flow

Allah has promised the gardens (jannah) to those obedient to Him. Gardens by themselves are already beautiful; what more, they are decorated with flowing rivers.

What significant here is that Allah mentioned the reward ‘to the faithful’ first, and ‘those who perform good deeds’ second. Throughout Islamic methodologies, the higher ranked point is always mentioned first.

Among the good deeds prescribed in Islam are solah, fasting, reciting zikir, sending salawat to Rasulullah (saw), reading al-Quran and giving in charity. Deeds - no matter how virtuous - performed by unbeliever are rejected! Therefore a muslim should always safeguard his faith.

Islamic ‘Pillars of Faith’ consists of 6 basic articles that offshoot into many more. The most important article is belief in God. One has to know God and be convinced about Him. Mere believing, but having doubts in one’s heart - about some aspects of God - does not count.. Ulama say you should know God with 3 conditions:

الجزم الموافق ل الحق عن دليل

Which means :
Al-jazam : You have a true conviction
Muafiq lil-haqqi : Truth of which of consensus (among scholars of Islam)
‘an dalili – Substantiated by proof (logic as well as from al-Quran and ahadith).

As in any education, to know something and be convinced, one has to attend proper learning. Simply listening to hearsay will not lead to faith. Ulama have prescribed learning at least 3 disciplines of Islamic knowledge:
Tauhid – also known as faith, belief or creed
Fiqh – a.k.a. jurisprudence or law
Tasawwuf – a.k.a. purification of the heart

If we take care to learn atleast all these three, Insya Allah we will be taken care of in the afterlife. If we have not, we will encounter difficulties. Do not be misled by your worldly achievement. Do not regret after you are already a few feet underground, and weighed down by the 2 tombstones. There is no way to climb up and go seek knowledge then.

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