What is eemaan? The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) in his answer to this question when posed by Angel Jibreel (AS) said:
"Eemaan is that you believe in Allaah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Judgment, and that you believe in the Divine Decree both its good and evil." (Muslim).
This is the minimum level of eemaan that every believer must have for him to even become a believer. They are usually referred to as the "pillars" of eemaan. A believer must believe in each and every one of these "pillars" . Eemaan has levels. There are different levels of eemaan. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) also said:
"Eemaan has sixty odd or seventy odd branches. The uppermost of all of these are the testimony of faith: Laa ilaaha illa Allaah' (there is no true god worthy of worship except AIlaah) while the least of them is the removal of harmful object from the road. And shyness is a branch of Eemaan." (Bukhaaree)
Eemaan Increases and it decreases.
In another hadith that shows that eemaan is of different levels, Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (RA) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Whoever of you sees an evil must then change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then [he must change it] with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so then [he must change it] with his heart. And that is the weakest of faith." (Muslim).
The belief of the Muslims, the people of Sunnah, is that eemaan increases and it decreases. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Eemaan wears out in the heart of anyone of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allaah to renew faith in your hearts." (Haakim).
He also said:
"Among the Muslims, the most perfect, as regards his faith, is the one whose character is excellent (Tirmidhee).
Eemaan is therefore belief and actions of the heart, actions of the tongue and the limbs. It increases with obedience 'and decreases with disobedience to Allaah. Its root is in the heart - and this must be sound for other parts of the body to be sound.
Eemaan: What Boosts It:
If eemaan increases, then there must be some actions and deeds that boosts it. From them are:
From the actions of the heart: Complete Submission vs Resistance: Allaah says:
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (0 Muhammad SAW) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (Q4:65).
So to attain complete faith, we need to submit to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) without feeling any resistance whatsoever to whatever he commands. He cannot say we should go in one direction and we decide to check out another direction, if we should do this, then it would be a deficiency in faith.
Certainty in Belief vs Doubt: Allaah say:
"Only those are the believers who have believed in Allaah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allaah. Those! They are the truthful. "(Q49:15).
"And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said, "My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead." He (Allaah) said: "Do you not believe?" He [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said: "Yes (I believe), but to be stronger in Faith." He said: "Take four birds, then cause them to incline towards you (then slaughter them, cut them into pieces), and then put a portion of them on every hill; and call them, they will come to you in haste. And know that Allaah is All-Mighty, All- Wise." (Q2:260).
In the preceding verse; the effect of certain knowledge/belief over doubt/hesitation can be seen. Here, Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) asked Allaah. To show him how He gives life to the dead so that he may grow stronger in faith. Similarly, we should seek out those actions and deeds that will increase our eemaan and grow certainty in our hearts.
Knowledge vs Ignorance: Certain belief, the above example also shows, was also a result of adequate/sufficient knowledge. So knowledge also serves to dispel doubt. -lt is the cure for ignorance. If we are ignorant of how great and powerful Allaah is, we would definitely not be able to give Him what is due to Him. We will underestimate His Power and Ability.
However, if we know that Allaah is AII Seeing and All-Hearing, this knowledge should increase the awe of Allaah in us, and make us reluctant to do that which He has forbidden us from doing.
Realising the Might of Allaah alone is sufficient to make our hearts tremble. Allaah says:
"The believers are those who, when Allaah is mentioned; feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the verses) increase their faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)."(Q8: 2)
From the actions of the tongue: Good Statements vs Bad Statements: Allaah says:
"Bad statements are for bad people (or bad women for bad men) and bad people for bad statements (or bad men for bad women). Good statements are for good people (or good women for good men) and good people for good statements (or good men for good women)." (Q24:26)
And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or be silent." (Muwatta)
The tongue should be used to say that which is good, and the best of statements is the statement of shahadah as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Eemaan has sixty odd or seventy odd branches. The uppermost of all of these are the testimony of faith: La ilahailiAllaah' (there is no true god worthy of worship except AIlaah) while the least of them is the removal of harmful object from the road. And shyness is a branch of Eeemaan." (Bukhaaree).
It is also part of good statements to use our tongue for the remembrance of Allaah as against using it for bad statements for example statements of kufr, shirk, music etc. Not only would we be sinful if we engage our tongues in evil speech, we are also losing out-on the magnificent reward awaiting us if we used it in the remembrance of Allaah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said:
"Cleanliness is half of faith and Alhamdulillaah (Praise be to Allaah) fills the scale, and Subhanallaah (Glory be to AIlaah) and Alhamdulillaah (Praise be to AIIaah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Our'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. Ail men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves". (Muslim)
Righteous Deeds: These are deeds enjoined on us by the Shariah, and the foremost amongst them are the acts of Ibaadah. Doing these deeds raises our level with. Allaah because they are done in obedience to His commands. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"AIlaah says'Whoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it."(Bukhaaree)
Foremost amongst the righteous deeds are the acts of Ibaadah that Allaah and His Messenger made obligatory upon us, like the salah, fasting, zakah, hajj etc. Still, there are other several riqhte; JS deeds that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) informed us about and their virtues as being part of eemaan, let us find Jut about more of these deeds and engage in doing them.
Salaah: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) also told us that salah wipes out sins committed in between them. He said:
The five daily prayers, and the Jumuah to the Jumuah are an expiation for what is between them, as long as one is not guilty of major sins" (Muslim)
Fasting: Allaah says:
"0 Believers! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa (God-consciousness)" (Q2:183)
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Fasting is a shield from the Hell-Fire like one of your shield shielding you while fighting" (Ahmad)
Charity: The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said:
"Prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you." (Muslim)
Hajj: Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said;
"Whoever performs the Hajj for the sake of Allaah and does not commit any lewdness or sins returns like the day in which his mother gave birth to him"( that is without sin) (Muslim)
Studying and reflecting on the Book of Allaah: Allaah says:
"And whenever there comes down a Surah, some of them (hypocrites) say: "Which of you has had his faith increased by it?" As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice." (Q9:124) Also He says, "The Believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this qura) are recited unto them, they (the verses) increase their faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone);" (Q8:2).
Eemaan: What Bursts It. Sins generally cause decrease to one's eemaan, and they generally lead to one another.
Unrighteous Deeds: The Messenegerof Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"A fornicator while committing illegal sexual intercourse is not a (true) believer. A thief while committing theft is not a (true) believer. A drinker while drinking alcohol is not a (true) believer." (Bukhaaree)
He also said:
"When a person commits illegal sexual intercourse, eemaan leaves him and remains above his head like an awning. When he discontinues this behaviour, eemaan comes back to him." (Tirmidhee)
Leaving Obligatory Deeds
After having conviction about our beliefs, we should then turn away from evil deeds, and part of evil deeds is to neglect the obligatory acts expected of us. It will not be sufficient for us to say we are not guilty of any major sin, so there is no need of doing what has been made mandatory upon us. Neglecting obligatory duties is a sin in itself.
On a final note, remember the words of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) that "Eemaan wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out" and when we pray to Allaah to renew our eemaan, He responds and renew it. Ameen
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited