Your Questions - June, 2017

Eman is essential with Fast. But have we understood the term Emaan correctly?

Answered by: Shaykh Zafar ul Hasan

For most of us, just reciting the Shahada, Ash’hadu anla ilaha illaAllah, wa’ash’hadu anna mohammedarusulullah’ is enough to be qualified to be a Mo’min. Besides these, there are thousands others who have not even recited the shahadah, but just because they are born in a Muslim family they consider themselves fit for being a Mo’min. Emaan is not just a term that consists the Shahadah.

There are two parts of the shahadah, La ilaha + illAllah = La ilaha illAllah

In the phrase, La ilaha there is a rejection and in the phrase, illAllah there is acceptance. In one sentence Allah has collected kufr and Emaan. The first phrase rejects every deity and the second phrase accepts only Allah as deity. With simple translation it would go,

La = No

Ilaha = God

Illa = except

Allah =Allah

If you sum up you have, ‘No God (deity worthy to be worshipped) except Allah.’

So this phrase known as Kalimah, rejection of all false gods and accepts only Allah as one true God.

The first condition is to reject all the ‘False-gods’ or Non-Gods

To say ‘There is no god besides Allah’ is a wrong translation because there are many gods in the world of religions. Therefore the correct understand would go like this: There may be hundreds of objects being worshipped as god but there is no god who qualifies to be God except Allah. The rest of the gods are artificial and not worthy to be worshipped. Rejecting false gods is a rejection of Shirk.  If a person does not save himself from shirk then he is not a Mo’min even after reciting Shahadah.

Can a Muslim fall into Shirk?

If you refer to Surah Yusuf, “And a majority of them do not believe in Allah (except while) doing shirk,” you will get the answer. For your salvation, your success and your prayers to be accepted it is compulsory that after becoming a Mo’min, one should save himself from shirk. As the Qur’an states, “Those who believe and do not corrupt their faith with  zulm( shirk) for them is security and they are the ones who are on guidance.” (Surah al-An’am)

Emaan must be protected from shirk

Many people fail to understand what is shirk and due to this ignorance they fall into shirk. For a Mo’min, shirk will not arrive while announcing its arrival but the Devil  will let it creep inside the Belief of a Mo’min without letting him know. “Shirk enters in you, the way a dark ant walking in a dark night on a black stone remains unnoticed by its movement.” This was a cautionary notice from the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is why many people do not readily accept the fact when they are cautioned about being involved in shirk. Many of them are heavily devoutly involved in regular worship and deeply observing nawafil acts. Some of them are even willing to die for Islam but alas!

Trends of the silent Shirk

The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned three times, “Tayyarah is shirk, tayyarah is shirk, tayyarah is shirk. Who ever involves in it is not from me” Tayyara means to consider certain objects as a source of fortune or good luck. Let us study a few common belief prevailing in the Indian sub-continent which refers to good luck and bad luck...

  1. The cawing of a crow on your window pane indicates that there will be a death in your family. It is quite astonishing that a person believes that a crow can carry  the news of death!
  2. The hooting of an owl at night is a sign of ill fate.
  3. The passing of a black cat crossing your way indicates that the work that you are going for will not be fulfilled. The ancient Arabs believed that if a bird flies pass by your right hand side then it is an indication of a great fortune and if it flew from the left side then it was a sign of bad luck.
  4. Do not cut nails or sweep your house after sunset.

Vastushastra is an architectural shirk

There is a very common trend among people that they hire someone who is an expert in a study called Vastu-shashtra when they buy a house. This person guides them to chose an apartment based upon the direction of the doors and windows and guides them in the placement of the furniture so that the new house be fortunate for the buyer. Many people blame things and people in their lives if they undergo any difficulty whereas the Qur’an refutes such blames, “No hardship befalls you except with the permission of Allah.” Thus silently, our faith is transferred from believing in Qadar to materialistic substances. This is considered to be the worst form of shirk.                      

Belief in four things that can annul your Faith

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “There is no Adwa, no tayyarah, no hamma and no Safar.”

Adwa was, to believe that interacting with people of certain sickness can spread that sickness. No sickness can spread on its own without the command of Allah. When the above statement was delivered a person got up and said, “Our experience says that there is Adwa, because if one of our camels fell sick and if the sick camel stayed with other camels then all of them would fall sick.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him, “From which camel did the first camel infected the sickness?” The man replied, “At the command of Allah.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “ If the first camel felt sick as per the command of Allah then even the rest of them fell sick only at the command of Allah.”

Tayyarah means to consider certain objects as a source of fortune or good luck.

Hamma means the belief that the hooting of an owl at night is a sign of ill fate.

Safar was the month during which travelling was considered to bring a misfortune so the Arabs avoided traveling in the month of Safar.

In those days when a person embraced Islam he was instructed not to believe in the above four things because they posed a grave threat to Eemaan.

All types of astrology is haram in Islam

A person known to me informed me about his wife’s illness and said that he tried all the medical options. When all the reports showed her normal someone suggested ‘Spiritual Healing’. Go to so and so person as such and such place. Reluctantly they went to the person who was a famous ‘Baba’ (a term used for senior in Indian subcontinent).

The (non Mahram) man inspected her by touching her head and hands and announced, “Her stars are on decline.” The man got immensely worried so he showed his own hands to the ‘Baba’ who responded, “Your stars are in a position worse than hers.”  The method of such fraudsters is to create a panic in the heart of the people and then go for hefty fees but while doing so they even drag people to shirk. The Baba offered to ‘reset’ the man and his wife’s stars in three months for a hefty fee.

This man realised his error and regretted but there are so many around us who plunge into the ocean of shirk hoping to pick emeralds. People keep faith on such Babas without knowing the reality of such people. Anyone wearing up a long robe with along with a grown beard projecting himself as a spiritual healer gets a good crop of customers. No one can peep in the book of destiny. Allah has not given the power to know the destiny to anyone. Even the angels and prophets are also not given the power to check and correct people’s destiny.

There are people who use parrots to pick up fortune cards and forecast your future. Many of us trust such ways to know unseen what Allah has not allowed anyone to know. How can parrots in India know about future!

Swearing upon anyone besides Allah is Shirk

People swear upon their child or parents. There are some who even swear upon angels and prophets! The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever swears upon anyone besides Allah has committed  a shirk. ” Scholars have said that such a person should recite Shahadah again as he has lost his faith.

Hudhaifa bin Yemen (Allah be pleased with him) was passing down the street once. A man coming from opposite side noticed Hudhaifa (Allah be pleased with him) and rushed towards him happily to meet the companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him). When he forwarded his hand to greet, Hudhaifa (Allah be pleased with him) noticed that the man had a thread around his wrists. He was shocked to see it and asked the man, “Why are you wearing this?” The man replied, “This prevents me from sickness.” Hudhaifa (Allah be pleased with him) instructed, “Throw it away, it has no power to prevent sickness rather it will make your Emaan sick. I swear by Allah if you die in this state, you will not die on the Faith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Then he recited the verse from Surah Yusuf: A majority of the people do not believe in Allah except that they associate partners with him.”                      

Islam put an end upon such ignorant rituals and beliefs

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated straightforwardly: “Whoever approaches a fortune teller or stargazer or palmist and asks him his future has committed shirk” and in another Hadith it says, “Allah annuls his forty days of worship.”

As long as one does not save himself from such beliefs his Emaan is not complete. So take care of your Emaan

Mere recitation of Shahadah is not Emaan but Emaan is a collection of many qualities

Consider this: The shirt that you are wearing is made up of collar, sleeves, button and fabric but no one pick up a sleeve and calls it a shirt or looks at the unstitched fabric and call it a shirt but only when all these things are assembled after being stitched  you can call it a shirt.

Similarly, “Emaan has more than 70 branches” said the Prophet (peace be upon him). Therefore one needs to strive to develop those 70 branches to complete his Emaan. If one drops even one quality then his Emaan is disturbed.

That is why Allah has compared Emaan (shahadah) with a tree whose roots are deep and branches well spread.

“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky?It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded.” (Surah Ibrahim verse 24-25)

Emaan cannot be a cocktail of good deeds and wrong beliefs

Besides developing these 70 plus qualities we have to shun all the beliefs and deeds which are connected with shirk and biddah. If we carry on with these corrupted beliefs while believing in Allah then our Emaan does not remain pure. The Qur’an says that, “We have revealed to each prophet ( and their followers) that if you commit shirk, your (good) deeds will be destroyed.”

Can you do good deeds merely claiming to love Allah but without any desire of Jannah or fear of Jahannam?

Ih’tisab is a proof of a strong Emaan.Worship of Allah should be done out of desire to get most of the reward that He has offered. For example a person reaches the Masjid to offer prayers and looks for a place in the front row closer to the Imam though he can pray anywhere in a Masjid. He knows the reward of praying in the front row so he enthusiastic about it.

In the Indian sub-continent some people promote the mysticism brand in which deviated Muslim poets and philosophers are quoted with beliefs that appear to be too Islamic but in reality they directly clash with the core belief and even put the Emaan in danger. One such belief is to do good deeds just out of love towards Allah without any desire of having reward or fear of punishment of Allah.  There are many stories floated among the masses that speak about mysticism which serves as sources to corrupt faith.

Even fabricated stories appearing to be religious can corrupt Emaan

There is a concocted story of  Rabia Basriyah who was a popular devotee. One day she see saw hundreds of people worshipping in the Masjid. This provoked her Emaan and she  took  a burning charcoal in one hand and a bottle of water in the other hand and she started running fast. People asked her where is she rushing towards? She replied, “I see some people remember Allah frequently out of greed to get Jannah and some worship Allah out of the fear of His punishment. People are not devoted to Allah out of His love but out of greed and fear. So I am carrying this fire and water, to burn the Jannah with this fire and extinguish the fire of the Hell with this water so that people do not have any other reason to worship Allah except out of His love.” What a strange kufr! When Allah has created Jannah as a reward and Jahannam as a punishment then what right Rabia Bashriya has to burn them away? This is interference in the administration of Allah. How much power did that charcoal, which she carried, had that could burn the whole Jannah or was that kettle of water enough to extinguish the entire fire of Hell? No

Not a single Prophet of Allah had such a weird Creed

Each prophet worshipped Allah out of desire to win reward from Him and out of the fear of His punishment. This is the Sunnah of each and every Prophet. Glad tidings serve as a motivation to do good and our own Prophet (peace be upon him) has given umpteen glad tidings of rewards specifying with good deeds.

Consider this example:

Whoever fasted one day to please Allah, then Allah will keep him away from Jahannam at a distance which is equal to the distance between the east and the west.

One of the titles of the Prophet is Bashir and Nazeer. Bashir means one who gives good news and Nazir means one who warns.

Therefore Worshipping Allah or doing any good deed is to be done with Emaan and Ih’tisab and that is the real parameter of a person’s intention. May Allah guide us to truth and keep us firm on it and protect our Emaan from being corrupted.