Want to overcome heart aches, release your pain, master your fears and worries? Who doesn’t? It’s through remembering God, sticking to Him, you manage all this.
By Rehab Ramadan
There is a feeling that comes to the heart, a feeling of unrest. No matter what is done that feeling of unrest doesn’t leave. Sometimes we try and numb it with entertainment or by distracting ourselves, but again it returns.
And it is after this constant return of this feeling of unrest that we may finally remember the verse: “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” (Ar-Ra`d 13:28)
There are many verses and traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that show us the extreme importance of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) in our lives. One interesting hadith (narration) is that of a man who came to the Prophet who felt that the rules had become too much for him. He felt a burden on his shoulders, unsure if he was to be able to fulfill his roles and obligations to his Lord.
He came with a concern to the Prophet and asked: “O Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam have become many for us, so give us a means of access which is comprehensive to which we can cling”. Notice, he wants something to cling to, something to hold on to so that he doesn’t slip away. What then did the Prophet respond? “Let not your tongue cease to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, the Glorious, the Magnificent.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Another powerful hadith is that which describes people who will go to Paradise. They will have already made it to the land where all their wishes and dreams are merely a thought away. Where they get to do whatever they please whenever they please and are not plagued by the ups and downs of this worldly life. Will these people, who have made it so far, have any regrets?
Will they wish that they could change something in their previous lives, anything? The Prophet tells us about the regrets of the people of Paradise. He says “The people of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah.” (Muslim)
Lastly, think back to a story mentioned in many traditions and in our Qur’an. The story of Prophet Yunus (Jonah, peace be upon him), who had been swallowed by a whale. He lay there in the stomach of this whale, alone and in darkness—a feeling that some of us can relate to without ever having to find our way into the belly of any animal.
His reaction was not to curl up and fall into despair; rather he spoke to the only one who could take him out of this darkness and take him out of his lonely state. He said, “La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min adhalimin” (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified are You (above all that (evil) they associate with You). Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers).
He made dhikr. When in unimaginable hardship, he made dhikr. Then what happened? Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted is He) removed him from the darkness. He saved him and took care of him. Allah then tells us in the Qur’an a very important point which brings this all home. He says:
Had he not been one of My glorifiers, he would have remained inside the whale’s stomach until Judgment Day. (As-Saffat 37:143-144)
The dhikr he made saved him from the loneliness and the darkness that he was enveloped in, along with the pain and suffering he was undergoing in the inside of the whale; imagine then what it can do for us.
An issue that often times arises when we try to implement adding dhikr into our lives is that we start off excited and really feeling it. We start off feeling like a fish that has just been placed in water after struggling to breathe on land. But then, the feeling starts to fade and we stop feeling our words. We start feeling that we are speaking empty words and then Shaytan (Satan) comes in telling us that since we don’t feel it, there is no point in doing it.
A wise man from our history, Ibn `Ata’illah, speaks of this eloquently and holistically. He says: ‘Do not stop mentioning God just because your heart is not present. Forgetting Him completely is worse than being inattentive while you are mentioning him; perhaps He will elevate you from being inattentive to being attentive, and from being attentive to being fully present with Him, and from being fully present with Him to being fully absent from anything but Him; “and this is not difficult for God”. (Fatir 35:17).
Take a moment right now to make a commitment to yourself to add more dhikr to your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be something big, take it easy and take baby steps, but make a commitment that you won’t leave. Remember, Allah loves those deeds which are consistent even if they are small. Not only that, but when you take one step towards Allah He takes ten steps towards you.
Oh Allah, assist us in remembering You, thanking You and worshipping You in the best of manners.
Hence it becomes very important for a Muslim to take steps not only to preserve his faith but also to increase it
Faith is indeed a blessing from Allah and should not be taken for granted. Just as it may increase and become fuller and stronger, it may also weaken and become less and less until it is minimal or non-existent.
Hence it becomes very important for a Muslim to take steps not only to preserve his faith but also to increase it.
So how does one enter these iman strengthening doors and thereby step up in levels of faith?
The quality of the faithful is that they perform salah (prayer) with regularity, humility, and khushu` (submissiveness). Allah tells us in the first verses of Surat Al-Mu’minun:
Successful indeed are the believers; those who humble themselves in their prayers. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1, 2)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“There are five prayers which Allah has prescribed for His servants. For those who perform them properly without disrespectful omissions, there is a guarantee that Allah will admit them into paradise, to those who do not observe them (properly), Allah offers no such guarantee. He may punish them or he may admit them to paradise as He wills.” (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)
“Two members of my community may perform the prayer in such a way that their bowing and their prostration are as one, yet their prayers may be as far apart as heaven and earth.” (Al-Harith)
“Though a man performs the entire prayer, he may get no credit but for a half of it, or a third of it, or a quarter, a fifth, a sixth, or a tenth. A man gets credit only for that part of his prayer of which he is conscious.” (Ahmad)
If you were to prepare to visit a dignitary, a king or even your supervisor, you prepare yourself for such a meeting with great concern for every detail, being completely absorbed in this encounter. So what of your encounter with Allah during prayer? Shaytan (Satan) will try as hard as he can to distract you. He will take away from you as much as he is able to and as much as you allow him to.
A Muslim should always approach salah with the realization that he is preparing to face his Lord.
The Prophet said: “Verily Allah faces his servant in prayer as long as he does not turn away.” (At-Tirmidhi)
The sharh (explanation) of this hadith tells us that to turn away has two meanings:
1. The turning away of the heart so that your heart is not really present in your prayer.
2. The turning away of the eyes, looking about is distraction while praying.
The renowned scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim has described the different performances of Salah in relation to khushu’ and classified people into four categories:
1. The one who offers prayer but is late in doing so, does not observe the requirements such as a proper ablution, and does not cover the `awrah (parts of the body that must be covered). As for the performance of the prayer itself, the pillars of the prayer are deficient, standing and prostration are not performed properly.
2. This person fulfils the physical conditions for prayer and performs the prayer as required yet is overcome by al-wasawis (the whisperings of Satan). His mind is completely removed from his prayer until the time of Tasleem (Termination of salah with As-Salamu `alaykum).
3. The person also offers the prayer properly and is also afflicted by the whisperings but he fights it and is in constant battle.
4. This very special person is he who finds prayer an oasis. He approaches it having fulfilled the prerequisites perfectly and with humility and performs the prayer with khushu’ (humbling himself before his Lord). He may even be unaware of happenings around him due to his absorption in his private meeting with Allah.
In the first case, this person has made the attempt to fulfill his obligation to pray but is not sincere. He will be punished for the deficiencies in his prayer.
In the second case, we have a person who makes sincere efforts to fulfill the prayer but is weak against Satan and does not fight him. He will be rewarded for only the part of his prayer he did well as described in the previous hadith, one half, one third, etc.
As for the third category, this person is considered a mujahid (striver) against the whisperings of Satan he will be rewarded for his sincere efforts and Allah will direct him to righteousness.
The final category is of those very rare individuals, the one we all wish to be in. They perform the prayer as the Prophets of Allah did, removing their hearts completely from the world. They love prayer most of all. Their eyes are filled with joy and ecstasy when they perform it. There is no question of their reward and their superiority of faith.
Prayer is a very important part of one’s Iman and plays a significant role in life. To achieve its benefits, it must be performed properly. It helps prevent one from committing evil and makes one successful in this life as well as in the Hereafter – but only when it is performed properly, humbly and sincerely. At the time of prayer angels spread about calling man to ‘put out the fire of sin’ that he is burning.
Allah has promised us that prayer removes sin committed between them
The Prophet said: “Verily, When a Muslim performs wudu’ properly, and then observes salah five times a day his sins fall off, just as leaves fall off a tree.” (Ahmad)
He then recited the following verse:
And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of night for those things which are good, removes those things which are evil. That is a reminder for the mindful. (Hud 11:114)
It is not possible that a Muslim who observes prayer correctly could stand before his Lord without asking forgiveness for the sins he has committed.
If you develop khushu’ in your prayer, you cannot consist in committing sins, because the effort of your prayer makes you aware and ashamed of your misdeeds.
For Example: If you are backbiting, your prayer will make you conscious of your deed. Your level of consciousness will be elevated and your faith will increase. This will make you less likely to fall into major sin.
When Muslim fasts he does so not only, through abstaining from food and drink, but also shuns bad deeds, false words, etc.
The Prophet said: “Whoever does not give up false words and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhari)
Fasting also presents many benefits other than simply fulfilling the commandments of Allah, and being rewarded for it. If you are prone to, incline, or fall into sin fasting will lessen your evil inclination.
For Example: A man who is unable to marry is recommended to fast, this will lessen his desires. We also know from the hadith “The devils are chained during Ramadan” that during fasting, man is not as easily influenced by them. This you can see in your own personal change of religious consciousness when you fast during Ramadan.
For the one who fasts properly, gaining the full benefit, it is an exercise and training for the whole year. You gain a kind of power and change which you carry through the whole year. But you should not stop once Ramadan ends. Make fasting a habit, at least occasionally.
The Prophet consistently fasted at least three days a month. By fasting periodically, you retrieve some of the spiritual uplifting that Ramadan brings throughout the year. This is a very strong faith strengthening tool that all can apply.
Here we are referring to the charity you give voluntarily, not the obligatory zakah. It is the voluntary sadaqah that strengthens faith, the more you do, the more you erase your bad deeds. Sadaqah is not only monetary. There are many deeds that are considered sadaqah. If someone wishes to give sadaqah, and you assist in its delivery, for example, you are rewarded for giving sadaqah yourself.
`A’ishah (may God be pleased with her) related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed them as to who would follow him in death saying: “The one who has the longest hands amongst you would meet me most immediately.” (Muslim)
She further said:
“The Prophets wives used to measure their hands as to who was the biggest. It was the hand of Zaynab that was the longest amongst them, as she used to work with her hands and spend that income in charity.” (Muslim)
It was Zaynab bint Jahsh whose long hand reached out to the poor so often, not with money but food and other things that she had to give, she was the first of his wives to die after him.
The Prophet said:
“Every Muslim has to give sadaqah.” He was asked ‘If someone has nothing to give, what should he do?’ He said: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself, and also give in charity (from what he earns)”.
The people then asked:
‘If he cannot find even that?’ He replied. “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” Bukhari and Muslim)
He also said: “None of you women should consider even a sheeps trotter to insignificant a gift to give to her neighbor.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Mu`adh ibn Jabal related from the Prophet: “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
The Prophet said: “The believers shade on the day of resurrection will be his sadaqah.” (Ahmad)
God’s attributes point to the fact that God alone deserves worship. He is One, without relatives; He has neither father, son, mother nor wife.
Only God should be worshiped because He is the Creator and sustainer of all that exists. This Great Universe and everything that is in it cannot be the product of chance, and could not have created itself.
Signs testifying that Almighty Allah is the only Creator can be seen throughout the earth and in the very soul of each person. God says in the Qur’an:
It is Allah who created the sky and the earth, and sent down from the sky water by which He brought forth fruits for your sustenance. He subjected for you the ships to sail upon the sea at His command, and He subjected for you the rivers. And He subjected for you the sun and moon in continuous cycles, and He subjected for you the night and day. And He gave you all you asked Him for. (Ibrahim 14:32-34)
In the Qur’an, God mentions Prophet Abraham’s search for truth as an example of how those who follow God’s signs will be rightly guided to the worship of Him alone; Allah says:
In this way I showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth so that he would have faith with understanding and certainty. When the night covered him with darkness, he saw a star and said: ‘This is my Lord’, but when it set, he said: ‘I don’t like those that set.’ When he saw the moon rising up, he said: ‘This is my Lord’, but when it set, he said: ‘Unless my Lord guides me, I will certainly be among the people who went astray.’ When he saw the sun rising up he said: ‘This ismy Lord, this is the greatest of all.’ But when it set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from what you join as partners with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Allah who created the heavens and the earth and I reject those who associate partners with Allah (in worship). (Al-An`am 6:75-79)
Actually, in the Qur’an God calls people to continuously look at the Universe, as this will affirm the divine truth of His existence, His greatness and that He alone should be worshiped.
God alone deserves our worship because only He can answer our prayers. God says in the Qur’an:
And your Lord says: Call on Me and I will answer your prayer. (Ghafir 40:60)
Indeed, Prophets who are worshiped besides God did not tell people to worship them. Instead, the Prophets warned their people against doing just that. For example, Islam teaches that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was a human being who was created by God in a miraculous way. He was born of a mother, Mary, without a father and he worshiped God. He was not God, nor was he the son of God. He was neither one of three manifestations of God as Christians say, nor was he the son of a prostitute as the Jews say. He told his people (the tribes of Israel) to worship God alone. He did not tell people to worship either himself or his mother. Furthermore, Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) did not worship himself when he worshiped, rather he worshiped God.
However, those who claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ today worship Jesus himself, claiming that he is God, and others also worship his mother calling her ‘the mother of God.’! God says in the Qur’an that He will ask Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) on the Day of Judgment:
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?’” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. (Al-Ma’idah 5:116-117)
God emphasizes in the Qur’an that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was neither killed nor crucified, but God raised him up into the heavens in body and spirit and he will be returned to the earth before the end of the world. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated that Prophet Jesus would rule the earth according to the Islamic law, then he will die on earthlike other human beings and will be buried and resurrected like them on the Day of Judgment. Hence, Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) who was given life, was born from a woman’s womb and circumcised, ate, slept, went to the toilet, grew up, prayed, and will die, should never be taken as God as all these characteristics are not the attributes of God, but of His creatures.
The New Testament states that Jesus Christ taught his followers to pray to God saying: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:2 / Matthew 6:9-10) Also, he taught that only those who submit to God would inherit paradise: “None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of God, except one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”(Matthew 7:21) Prophet Jesus also pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of God: “I cannot do anything of myself. I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” (John 5:23)
In fact, there are many reports in the Gospels that show that Prophet Jesus made it clear to his followers that he was not God. For example, when speaking about the final hour, he said: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
Buddha, was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles in the Hindu religion practiced in India. He did not claim to be God, nor did he suggest to his followers that he be worshiped. Yet, today most Buddhists have made him their God and they prostrate themselves before idols representing his likeness. In brief, from the perspective of the object worshiped, all religions today [except Islam] invite people to the worship of creation!
God’s attributes point to the fact that God alone deserves worship. He is One, without relatives; He has neither father, son, mother nor wife. He is the Eternal Absolute. He neither gives birth, nor is He born, and there is nothing like Him. He is perfect in His knowledge, in His power, in His will, in His mercy and in all His other attributes. God is all-powerful and perfect, while human beings are weak and imperfect. That is how He defined Himself and how all prophets defined Him.
Another proof that God alone deserves to be worshiped can be found within the human soul. Islam teaches that all human beings have imprinted on their souls an awareness of God and a natural inclination towards worshiping Him alone imprinted on their souls. In the Qur’an, God explained that when He created Adam He caused all of Adam’s descendants to come into existence and then He took a pledge from all of them saying:
Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied: Yes, we testify to it. (Al-A`raf 7:172)
God then explained why He had all of humankind bear witness that He is their Creator and only true God worthy of worship:
That is in case you, humankind, may say on the Day of Resurrection: Indeed we were unaware of this. (Al-A`raf 7:172)
God further elaborated on this point saying:
It is also in case you may say: It was our ancestors who made partners with Allah, and we are only their descendants, will you then destroy us for what those liars did? (Al-A`raf 7:173)
Hence, people who associate partners with God in worship cannot claim on that day that they had no idea that Allah was the only god who deserved to be worshiped.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reported that God said: “I created my slaves upon the right religion, but devils made them go astray.”(Muslim) He also said: “Each child is born in a state of Islam. Then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.” (Al-Bukhari)
Thus, Islam is the birthright of every human being, since every child is born with a natural belief in the existence of God and an inborn inclination towards worshiping Him alone. Just as the child submits to the physical laws which God has imposed on the physical world, in the same way its soul also submits naturally to the fact that God is the only Lord and Creator. But if their parents are following a different path, the child is usually not strong or aware enough to recognize the truth or resist the will of the parents. In such cases, the religion which the child follows is one of custom and upbringing. But God, the Most Merciful and Compassionate, will not hold him to account or punish him for following a false religion before he reaches the age of reason and is exposed to the pure message of Islam.
Source: Taken from a book entitled Islam Is Your Birthright.
The article discusses the concept of the Existence of Allah, its evidence and the fruits of believing in this Divine Attribute.
The primary and fundamental essential of faith in God is to believe in His Eternal and Absolute Existence. It is the first of the four elements of faith in Allah that include the belief in His Existence, Lordship and Divinity, and in His Names and Attributes. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There was Allah, and there was nothing else besides Him.” (Al-Bukhari) Those who deny the Existence of Allah are called atheists or unbelievers and they are not considered as Muslims, since the belief in this element is a basic part of faith. Unlike ours, Allah’s Existence has not been preceded by nonexistence or is vulnerable to extinction for He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.
‘Allah’s Existence is known of the religion. It is one of the Divine Attributes according to the consensus of Muslims as well as all reasonable people, even the polytheists. Nobody disputes about except the atheists and unbelievers. The concept of existence is of two types:
First: Self-existence: That is whose existence is established in him not obtained from another being. This applies only to Allah the Almighty because His Existence has not been preceded with or susceptible to nonexistence. Almighty Allah says,
He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing. (Al-Hadid 57:3)
Second: Created-Existence: It applies to those who came into existence from nothing. This type of existence applies to creatures and requires a creator to cause it to happen, who is Almighty Allah, He said,
Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs. * To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. And they who disbelieve in the verses of Allah – it is those who are the losers. (Az-Zumar 39:62-63)
Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators [of themselves]? * Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain. (At-Tur 52:35-36)’
Ibn Al-Qayyim said in His book Madarij As-Salikin, “Almighty Allah has been singled out with Eternal Existence. He is the First that nothing preceded Him, and the Last that nothing succeeds Him. The existence of everything other than Him is based on and made by Him. He is the One with essential, right, perpetual and established Existence… His is Self-Existence… Nothing but Him is self-existed and anything else is brought by Him.”
“The evidence on the Existence of God is divided into three categories: Instinctive evidence,Tangible Evidence and Shari`ah Evidence.
1 – Instinctive evidence:
‘The instinctive evidence that God exists is the strongest evidence for those who have not been led astray by Satan. Allah says:
So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:30)
Man’s sound nature testifies to the Existence of God, and man cannot turn away from this unless the Satan has misled him.’ (Ibn `Uthaimin, Sharh Al-Safariniyyah)
Every person feels inside himself that there is a Lord and Creator, and also feels that he is in need of Him; if some major calamity befalls him he turns his hands, eyes and heart towards the heavens, seeking help from his God.
2 – Tangible evidence:
This refers to the things that exist in this universe; we see around us a lot of things such as trees, rocks, mankind, the earth, the heavens, seas, rivers… The question is who did create and take care of them?
Did these things come into being by accident, spontaneously and with no cause? This is impossible. There must be a creator who created them, and that Creator is Allah. This is what is stated in the Qur’an, where Allah says:
Were they created by nothing? Or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm Belief. (At-Tur 52:35-36)
It is Allah who has given to each thing that which is suited to it and guarantees its survival. If you ponder on the universe, it will lead you to the belief in the Existence of a Powerful Creator, the Almighty God.
3 – Shari`ah Evidence:
All divinely-revealed laws point to the Existence of Allah. Sheikh Ibn `Uthaimin said: “All the divinely-revealed laws point to the Existence of the Creator and to the perfect nature of His Knowledge, Wisdom and Mercy.” (From Sharh Al-Safariniyyah)”
Fruits of the Belief in God’s Existence
The belief in God’s Existence generates in the heart of the believer inner consciousness and observation of Allah. A believer recognizes that Allah is watchful of his whole deeds, whether publically or privately and thus abstains from committing anything that displeases His Lord. Allah says,
Have you not considered that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth? There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing. (Al-Mujadilah 58:7)
The one believing in God feels fear of Him, attends to what pleases Him, keeps away from all that displeases Him and constantly seeks His Support, Guidance, Peace, Mercy and bountiful reward in this worldly life and the Hereafter. Almighty God maintained that His Help, Protection, Guidance, Graciousness and Bounty will be bestowed to those who believe in Him, He (Glory be to Him) says,
Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. And those who disbelieve – their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein. (Al-Baqarah 2:257)
Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone treacherous and ungrateful. (Al-Hajj 22:38)
Allah is the protector of those who have believed and the disbelievers have no protector. (Muhammad 47:11)
And indeed is Allah the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path. (Al-Hajj 22:54)
They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided. (Al-An`am 6:82)
Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)
 Committee for Scholarly Research and Fatwa, KSA
 Islamqa.com with modifications.
To be continued…
Essentials of Faith in Allah
The True God is the One Whom all hearts worship and for Whom they are full of love, to the exclusion of any other thing.
Belief in Allah can be fulfilled in the following ways:
First: Belief that this universe has only One God, Who alone created it. He is its sole Owner, Controller and Director of all its affairs in terms of sustenance, actions, life, death, benefit and harm. There is no lord besides Him. He alone does whatever He wills and decides whatever He wishes. He gives glory to whomsoever He wills and He disgraces whomsoever He wills. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earths and He is capable of doing all things.
He has knowledge of all things and has no need of anyone. To Him belongs the command and in His Hand is all that is good. He has no partner in His deeds and none has control over His affairs. The whole creation including the Angels, mankind and the jinn are His slaves and none of them dares go out of His command, power and will. His deeds are uncountable and innumerable and all perfect qualities are His sole right without any partner. None deserves these attributes but Him alone and it is not allowed to attribute them or any part thereof to anyone besides Allah the Exalted. Allah says,
O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah) Who created you and those who were before you so that you may be pious. (It is He) Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. (Al-Baqarah 2:21-22)
Second: To believe in the Oneness of Allah and in His beautiful Names and perfect Attributes, part of which He taught His slaves in His Book or in the Sunnah of the seal of His Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah the Exalted says,
And all the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. (Al-A`raf 7:180)
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has ninety nine Names, whoever believes in them and acts by them shall enter Paradise. Allah is One and He loves odd numbers.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This belief however is based on two great foundations:
First: That to Allah belong all beautiful Names and sublime Attributes that indicate perfect qualities that are free from all kinds of defects. None of the creation shares with Allah any of these qualities.
Second: That Allah the Exalted is absolutely free from all attributes of defects and imperfection like sleep, incapability, ignorance, injustice and the like. He is also free from being compared to any of His creatures. This belief therefore, necessitates that one refutes what Allah has refuted of Himself and what His Messenger (peace be upon him) has refuted of Him.
Belief in the Names, Attributes and Works of Allah is the only way to know Him and to worship Him. For Allah prevents the creatures from seeing Him with their eyes in this world and therefore, opened for them instead, the way of knowledge through which they can know their Lord, their Sustainer and their God, so that they can worship him according to this correct and sound knowledge.
While affirming the Beautiful Names of Allah, the following matters should be taken into consideration:
– Belief in the authenticity of all the Beautiful Names that are mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah without adding anything to or reducing anything from them. Allah says,
He is Allah , other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. (Al-Hashr 59:23)
It is authentically reported in the Sunnah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard a man saying, ‘O Allah, I invoke You with the fact that, to You belongs the praise. There is no god worthy of worship but You, the Benefactor, the Originator of the heavens and the earth. O You the Possessor of Majesty and Honor! O the Ever Living! O the Sustainer of all that exists!’ The Messenger of Allah said to his companions, “Do you know that by which he has invoked Allah?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, ‘By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! He has invoked Allah by His Greatest Name which if He is invoked by it, He answers and if He is asked by it, He gives.” (Abu Dawud)
– To believe that it is Allah Who names Himself and that none among His creature has authority to give Him names. It is Allah Who praises Himself with these Names and so they are not invented and created.
To believe that the Beautiful Names of Allah indicate meanings that are in utmost perfection in which there is no defect in any way. It is therefore, obligatory to believe in those meanings, as it is obligatory to believe in those Names.
– It is obligatory to respect the meanings of those Names and they should not be altered or denied.
– To believe in the rules, deeds and impacts that each of these Names entails.
Third: Believing that Allah is the only True God that deserves to be sought in all acts of worship, both apparent and hidden ones. He is One and He hasno partner. Allah says,
And verily, We have sent among every nation a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allah alone and keep away from all false deities.” (An-Nahl 16:36)
In the Sahihs of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told Mu`adh ibn Jabal: “Do you know the right of Allah upon His slaves and the right of the slaves upon Allah?” Mu`adh said, ‘I said: Allah and His Messenger know best.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then said, “The right of Allah upon the slaves is that they should worship Him and not associate anything with Him in worship; and the right of the slaves upon Allah is that He would not punish the one who does not associate anything with Him in worship.”
The True God is the One Whom all hearts worship and for Whom they are full of love, to the exclusion of any other thing. He is the One Whom all hearts are full of hope for to the exclusion of all other things and whom all hearts are contented with supplication to Him, seeking His Help and fearing Him to the total exclusion of others.
Source: Taken from a book entitled “Pillars of Iman” by Islamic University, Madinah, Deanship of Scientific Research, Translation Department.
Belief in Allah is the first and premier pillar of faith in Islam.
Belief in Allah is the first and premier pillar of faith in Islam. It is the cornerstone of the Islamic creed and the basis on which one’s faith is built up. When entering Islam, a person declares that Allah is the Only God and He Alone deserves to be worshiped while other god are purported and counterfeited. This declaration must be accompanied by absolute belief inside the heart without any hesitation or doubt.
Indeed, the belief in Allah is on the top of virtuous and lofty deeds of Islam. It seizes this standing from the fact that it is attributed to the Ever-Great, the All-Powerful and the Most-Gracious God, the Almighty Allah. Imam Al-Bukhari narrated from Abu Huraira that the Prophet was asked, “Which is the best deed?” He said, “To believe in Allah and His Apostle.” He was then asked, “Which is the next (in goodness)?” He said, “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s Cause.” He was then asked, “Which is the next?” He said, “To perform acceptable Hajj.” Moreover, Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an,
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Prophets… (Al-Baqarah 2:177)
Thus, a Muslim should strive hard to maintain sound and perfect faith, one that overwhelms both the heart and soul without any suspicion or uncertainty. Those with perfect faith are blessed in this world and the hereafter. The Qur’an says,
Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. (Al-Baqarah 2:62)
So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him- He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path. (An-Nisa’ 4:157)
The Qur’an criticizes some people who claimed their attaining faith although they did not perfect it in their heart as they declared Islam with tongue only without conclusive credence in Allah and submission to Him. Almighty Allah says,
The Bedouins say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat 49:14)
Faith in Allah has certain conditions and requirements. Sheikh Ibn `Uthaimin explains this saying,
“Faith in Allah implies four things; whoever believes in them is a true believer. They are as follows:
– The belief in the Existence of Allah.
A Muslim believes that Allah is Existent. He is above the seventh heaven, far away from people, established upon His Throne, in the way that fit Him.
– The belief in the Lordship of Allah.
It is the belief that Allah Alone is the Lord, with no partner or helper. He has the power of creation, dominion and control. There is no Creator except Allah, no Sovereign except Allah, no controller of affairs except Allah.
– The belief in Allah’s Divinity
It is to believe that Allah is the One True God, with no partner or associate. There is none who is rightfully worshipped except Allah. Everything that is taken as a god alongside Allah and worshipped instead of Him, its divinity is false.
– The belief in His Names and Attributes.
It is realized by affirming the Names and Attributes which Allah has affirmed for Himself in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) in a manner that befits Him, without distorting or denying the meanings, or asking how, or likening Him to His creation. We must affirm what Allah has affirmed for Himself or what His Messenger (peace be upon him) has affirmed of the divine Names and Attributes.” (Sharh Usul Al-Iman)
The Prophet paid great attention to teaching the companions the matters of faith and instilling in their hearts the sound faith in Allah. Jundub ibn `Abdullah narrated, “We learned Iman (the faith) before we learned the Qur’an, then we learned the Qur’an which increased our Iman. Yet, these days you learn the Qur’an before iman.” (Al-Bayhaqy)
Thus, we should be keen on learning the matters of our creed and how to have sound faith as stated by Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him). Talking in detail about the articles of faith will be the subject of our coming articles, if God wills.
To be continued…