The pillars of Iman
What are the six pillars of faith, and how is the correct way to believe in these?
1.| The belief in Allah:
To believe in the ONENESS of Allah, Almighty. (i.e. Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya, Tauhid-al-Uluhiyya, Tauhid-al-Asma was-Sifat).
Part of the belief in Allah is the belief in all that with which He has described Himself in His Book or with which His Prophet (peace be upon him) has described Him without any distortion, negation, speculation (as to the exact nature of these attributes), nor analogy (i.e. between Allah’s attributes and those of His creation bearing the same names).
The Jahmiy (follower of the deviations of Al-Jahm ibn Safwan) negates Allah’s statement about himself that he “sat on the throne” by adding an extra letter to the word in the Qur’an.
[Istawaa ‘alaa al-‘arsh] innovated to [Istawlaa ‘alaa al-‘arsh]
The innovators who changed the case of a noun in the Qur’an in an effort to negate Allah’s attribute of speech:
[Wa kallama Allahu Musa takleeman] innovated to [Wa kallama Allaha Musa takleeman]
Others distorted meanings of Allah’s attributes without actually changing the words. Examples include those who said that Allah’s anger (Ghadhab) means His intention to punish, His mercy (Rahma) means his intention to have mercy, His hand (Yad) is His generosity or His power, etc.
- Negation/Denial (At Ta’teel)
Negation of the Exalted Perfection of Allah Most High via the negation of His Names and Glorious Attributes.
Negation through negation of appropriate interaction with Allah and neglect of worship of Him and obedience to Him, or the association of others with Him in acts of worship and/or obedience.
Negation of the relationship of the creation to its Creator, such as the negation of the philosophers who claimed that this physical universe has no beginning, and that it has always and will always work according to its own internal rules. They turn Allah into an essence with no attributes – which is impossibility.
- Speculation and Analogy (At-Takyeef wa At-Tamtheel)
At-Takyeef means attempts to ascribe a detailed understanding of the exact nature of the various attributes with which Allah has described Himself. Just use the words and understanding given in the Qur’an and not your own philosophies as to what Allah is.
At-Tamtheel means to make a direct comparison or analogy between one of Allah’s attributes and a human attribute having the same name, such as the comparison of Isa (Jesus) by the Christians to Allah Most High, or that of Uzair by the Jews or that of the idols by the polytheists to Allah Most High. Likewise the Mushabbiha among the Muslims who compare Allah with His creation by saying that He has a face like our faces, hands like our hands, hearing and sight like ours, etc.
2.| The belief in Allah’s angels:
Angels are real beings, not illusions, a metaphysical force, or figments of human imagination. They are created from light.
A Muslim must believe specifically in all the angels named and/or described in the Qur’an and the Sunnah:
- Mika’il: in charge of bringing the rain.
- Israfil: the blower of the horn on Qiyama (Judgement Day).
- Malik-ul-Maut: the Angel of Death who takes people’s souls at death.
- The Noble Recorders: those who record people’s actions.
- The Protectors: who keep people from death until its decreed time.
- Ridhwan: in charge of Paradise.
- Malik: in charge of Hell.
- Munkar and Nakir: the questioners in the grave.
The Carriers of the Throne.
- Those who record the future of the fetus.
- Those who enter the Haram: 70,000 every day.
- Those who move about, descending upon gatherings at which Allah and His Book are mentioned and studied.
- Belief in the angels is an integral part of iman (faith). [See 2/285 Al-Baqarah]
- Kufr (disbelief) with respect to the angels is kufr (a state of disbelief). [See 4/136 An-Nisaa]
3.| Belief in Allah’s Messengers
- Belief in the prophets, prayers and salutations of Allah be upon them.
- Belief in the process of prophethood.
- Allah in His wisdom did not neglect His creation.
- Prophets sent to guide us in this life and the next.
Specific belief in the 25 prophets named in the Qur’an:
- Dhu Al-Kifl,
- Muhammad, (prayers and salutations of Allah be upon him and upon all the messengers of Allah).
General belief that there are many other prophets and messengers, but never assuming anything without knowledge from Allah (i.e. Qur’an and Sunnah).
The subject matter of the prophethood.
- Warnings and glad tidings.
- So the disobedient will have no excuse before Allah. (Prophets sent to every nation.)
- Enjoining the worship of Allah and the avoidance of At-Taghoot (Shaitaan, etc.) [Study: 4/165, An-Nisaa; 16/36, An-Nahl]
Attributes of the Prophet Muhammad:
Seal of the prophets; Imam of the pious; Foremost among the sons of Adam; Imam and Khatib of the prophets when they assembled; Possessor of the Praiseworthy Position which all of mankind will wish they had attained (and which is mentioned in the Du’a of hearing the adhan); Owner of the pool in paradise; Intercessor for all mankind on the day of Qiyama (Judgement Day).
- Allah sent him with the best of the books and the best of His law. Allah made his nation “the best nation brought forth for mankind.” Allah gave him (and us) all of the good that was given only partially to the previous nations. His nation is the last in creation, the first in resurrection.
- From the moment of his prophethood, Allah made him the criterion (Al-Farooq) for distinguishing Allah’s allies and their actions from His enemies and their actions: None can have any relationship to Allah except through belief in the Prophet (peace be upon him) and following what he brought in public and in secret. Whoever claims love or closeness to Allah while disobeying the message is actually drawing closer to Shaitaan, farther from Allah.
4.| The belief in Allah’s revealed Books
Muslims should have general belief in the phenomenon of the sending of the revealed books. Keep in mind, all the revealed books were allowed by Allah to be corrupted, except the Qur’an.
Specific books mentioned in the Qur’an:
Attributes of the Qur’an:
- Flawless and untampered with: [See 41/42 Fusilat]
- The final authority over any remnants of the previous books. [See 5/48 Al-Maidah]
- A guidance and a mercy. [See 10/37 Yunus]
- The Qur’an must be followed and applied. [See 6/155 Al-An’aam]
5.| Belief in the Day of Resurrection
Belief in the resurrection (Al-Ba’th). Reconstruction of the body and return of the soul to it. People will come forth out of their graves like locusts. Faces bent down. Rushing to the Caller. [See 53/76 Al-Qamar; 70/43 Al-Ma’arij; 17/49 Al-Israa; 36/78 Yasin; 20/108 Taha]
The resurrection is of the body and the soul, not some metaphysical resurrection of the latter.
“The sun will come down toward the people on the day of Qiyama until it is only about a mile up. The people will be in their own perspiration according to their acts: some of them will be in it up to their ankles, some up to their groin and others up to their chins, and he pointed to his mouth.” [Hadith – Narrated by Muslim]
A disbeliever once came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with an old bone, crumbled it with his hand and said: “O Muhammad, will Allah bring this back to life after it has rotted?! The Prophet said: “Yes, Allah will resurrect this and he will cause you to die, bring you back to life, and put you into the fire of Jahannam!”
6.| The belief in Al-Qadar
The belief in Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments and Decree i.e. whatever Allah, The Most High, has ordained must come to pass).
A Muslim believes in Allah’s predestination of all things and events (Qadhaa), His decree (Qadar), His wisdom in His actions, and His will. Nothing in the universe can occur, even the voluntary actions of His slaves, except after Allah’s knowledge, and His decree of that event. A Muslim further believes that Allah is Just in His predestination and His decree, Wise in all of His actions. His wisdom follows His will: Whatever He wills is, and whatever He does not will is not.
There is no power nor any movement except by Allah. This is substantiated by the textual and logical proofs which follow:
Allah (glory and praise to Allah) informed us of this in the Qur’an:
“Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation, as written in the Book of Decrees Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz).” [Qur’an 54/49]
“And there is not a thing, but with Us are the stores thereof. And We send it not down except in a known measure.” [Qur’an 15/21]
“No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allâh.” [Qur’an 57/22]
“No calamity befalls, but with the Leave [i.e. decision and Qadar (Divine Preordainments)] of Allâh, and whosoever believes in Allâh, He guides his heart [to the true Faith with certainty, i.e. what has befallen him was already written for him by Allâh from the Qadar (Divine Preordainments)], and Allâh is the All-Knower of everything.” [Qur’an 64/11]
“And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.” [Qur’an 6/59]
Evidence also in: Quran 9/51, 7/43, 21/101, 18/39, 81/27-29
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has informed us about the reality of Allah’s predestination and decree in many hadith:
“Verily, each one of you is formed in his mother’s womb forty days as a drop, then he is something suspended for a similar period, then he is a piece of flesh like a chewed piece of meat for another period of forty days, then the angel is sent to insert the soul.”
This angel is ordered to record four things: the sustenance which he will receive during his lifetime, the length of his life, all actions that he will do, and whether he will end up miserable (in hell) or joyous (in paradise). I swear by the One other than whom there is no deity, one of you may do the works of the people of paradise right up until there is only an arm’s length between him and paradise, but his destiny overtakes him, so he does the actions of the people of the fire and enters it.
And, verily, one of you may do the works of the people of hell until there is nothing between them and hell except for one arm’s length, but his destiny overtakes him, and so he does the works of the people of paradise, and enters it.” [Muslim]
“Young man, I will teach you some words: Preserve (your obligations toward) Allah and He will preserve you. Guard (your obligations toward) Allah and you will find Him on your side. When you ask, ask Allah. When you seek aid and succor, seek it from Allah. And know, that if the entire nation got together to benefit you in some way, they could never benefit you at all except for that which Allah had already decreed for you.
And, if they all got together to harm you in some way, they could do you no harm except for that which Allah had already decreed for you. The pens have been lifted, and the tablets have dried.” [At-Tirmidhi, and he rated it Sahih]
“The first thing which Allah created was the pen. Then, He said to it: Write. It asked: My Lord, what should I write? He said: Write the proportions of all things up until the Hour.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, and it is hassan]
“Adam disputed with Musa. Musa said to Adam: “O, Adam, you are the father of the human race, Allah created you with His hand, and blew into you of His spirit, and made His angels prostrate to you, why did you expel yourself and us from the garden?”
Adam said to him: “You are Musa whom Allah favored with His speech, and wrote for you the Taurah with His hand, so (tell me) by how many years before my creation did you find it written about me: [… then Adam disobeyed his Lord and got lost.] (Qur’an 20:121)?
Musa said: “By forty years.” Then, Adam said: “So how do you blame me for something which Allah had decreed for me before my creation by forty years?” The Prophet said: “And so, Adam defeated Musa in the dispute.”
“Act, for each of you will find easy that for which he was created.” (Muslim)
“O, Abdullah ibn Qais, should I not teach you a word which is one of the treasures of paradise? (It is to say): There is no movement nor any power except from Allah.”
“Someone said: That which Allah wants and you want. To which the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: That which Allah alone wants.” [An-Nasaa’i, and he rated it sahih]