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Branches of Eeman (Faith)


Islam is not the name of a caste or community so that anyone who is born in it automatically becomes a Muslim without having to do anything on his own part. Islam is not only the name of a faith but complete way of life, which was brought into the world from Almighty Lord, Allah through His true and devoted Apostle, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam)...The Islamic way of Life is preserved to this day in its pristine purity in the Quran and the holy Traditions (Ahadith). Those who accepts the correct Islamic beliefs and practices are called Muslims and those who practice upon them according to their ability are on their way to become true believer.

The Holy Prophet (Rasulullah )(Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) has said, “Imaan has more than seventy branches* of which the most important is the recitation of Kalimah (Laa ilaha illallaho) "There is no one worthy of worship but Allah", and the least one is to remove some obstacle (stone, wood, thorn, etc.) from the way; and modesty also is a special requisite of Imaan.

According to some Imaan has Seventy Seven (77) branches.

Modesty:

Modesty has been specially mentioned, because it serves as a safeguard against many sins like adultery, theft, dirty talk, nakedness, abusive language, etc. Similarly, the fear of bad reputation leads to virtuous acts, in fact, fear of getting a bad name in this as well as in the next life actuates a man towards all good deeds including of course Salaat, Hajj, and is incumbent on every believer.

Removing Obstacles:

The least thing (in the order of merit) is the removal of anything that is likely to cause obstruction or inconvenience to anyone

The degree of importance of all the remaining essentials of Imaan lies in between the two; (i.e. Kalimah and removing obstacle) it is enough to believe in them in a general way just as it is necessary to believe in the angels in a general way without knowing their nearness and details. Some Mohaddiths (scholar of Hadith) have however written books about their details.

Abu Abdullah Halirni (Rahmatullah alaih) wrote a book, Fawaidul Minhaj on this topic,

Imam Behaqi (Rah-matull-ah alaih) and Shaikh Abdul Jalil (Rahmatullah alaih) wrote books which they called Shuabul Imaan.

Ishaq bin Qartabi (Rahmatullah alaih) wrote Kitabul N saaih and Imam Abu Hatim wrote `'Wasful Imaan wa Shuabehi."The commentators of Bukhari, the most famous collection of Hadith, have summarized the contents of these books at one place. The gist of this summary is that complete Imaan in reality consists of three components: firstly, confirmation by heart of all the essentials of Imaan, secondly, confirmation of word of mouth; and thirdly, confirmation by our physical actions. Thus, the branches of Imaan are divided into three categories, the first of which concern the intention, belief and action of the heart, the second concern the use of the tongue, and the third concern all the remaining parts of the body. All the things of Imaan are included in these three categories. The first category includes thirty articles of faith, as follows:

Articles of Faith; Confirmation of heart (30):

  1. To believe in Allah-in His Being and His Attributes, and that He is One, has no partner, and none like of Him.

  2. To believe that all things, except Him, were created afterwards by Him, and that only He has been there forever.

  3. To believe in the angels.

  4. To believe in the revealed Books.

  5. To believe in the Apostles of Allah.

  6. To believe in the Destiny, i.e. whether good or bad, it is ordained by Allah.

  7. To believe in the life after death, including interrogation in the grave, punishment in the grave, resurrection, the Day of Judgment, rendering account of ones deeds, and passing over the Siraat Bridge.

  8. To believe in the existence of Paradise, and that (by the grace of Almighty Allah) the believers will live in it for ever.

  9. To believe in the existence of Hell, with its severest punishments, and that it will last for ever.

  10. To love Almighty Allah.

  11. To love or hate other people for the pleasure of Allah (i.e. to love the pious and hate the disobedient ones). It includes, of course, loving the Sahabah specially Muhajirs, Ansars, and descendants of Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam).

  12. To love Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) which includes cherishing the highest esteem for him offering Durood on him, and following the Sunnah i.e. his way of life.

  13. To practice Ikhlas, which includes avoiding show and hypocrisy.

  14. To do Taubah' i.e. to repent over one's sins from the core of the heart, and to determine not to repeat them.

  15. To fear Almighty Allah.

  16. To hope and pray for the Mercy of Allah.

  17. Not to despair of the mercy to be granted by Almighty Allah.

  18. To remain thankful to Allah.

  19. To be faithful in one's promise.

  20. To exercise patience.

  21. To show humility, which includes respect for the elders.

  22. To show kindness and pity, which includes kindness to children.

  23. To be resigned to one's fate.

  24. To practice Tawakkul i.e. to depend on Almighty Allah

  25. To refrain from self-praise and self-aggrandizement. This includes self-reformation also.

  26. Not to harbor rancor and jealousy against other.

  27. To cultivate modesty (omitted by Ainee)

  28. To restrain one's rage.

  29. Not to deceive, cheat or suspect others.

  30. To expel from one's heart the love of the worldly things, including that for wealth and status.

According to Allamah Ainee (Rahmatullah alaih) this list covers all the functions of the heart. If anything is found apparently missing, a little thought will show that it is covered by one item or the other of this list.

The second category includes the functions of the tongue, and there are Seven essentials in this respect, as follows:

Articles of Faith; Confirmation by tongue (7):

  1. Recitation of Kalimah Tayyabah.

  2. Recitation of the Holy Qur'an.

  3. Acquisition of 'Ilm' (Religious Knowledge).

  4. Propagation of religious knowledge to others.

  5. Duaa, i.e. supplication.

  6. Zikr of Allah, including 'Istighfar'.

  7. To abstain from loose and useless talk.

The third category includes bodily actions. In this respect, there are forty essentials which are divided into three parts. The first part includes actions that relate to the self or person of an individual. These are sixteen, as follows:

Articles of Faith; Bodily Actions “Personal Responsibility” (16):

  1. Observing cleanliness of body, clothes and place. The cleanliness of body includes perform Wudhu and obligatory bath, purification from menstruation and post birth blood.

  2. Offering Salaat, including Fardh, Nafl and Kadhaa Salaat. This would mean offering and fulfilling its pre-requisites.

  3. Giving Sadaqah (Charity), which includes Zakaat, Sadaqah-tul-Fitr, voluntary alms, feeding people entertaining guests, and liberating slaves.

  4. Fasting (obligatory as well as Non-obligatory).

  5. Performing Hajj, obligatory or non-obligatory, It includes doing Umra and Tawaaf.

  6. Perform Aitikaaf, (remaining in a mosque in full devotion), which includes search for Lailatul Qadr.

  7. Leaving one's home for the defense of the Islam, this includes Hijrat (migration for the sake of Allah),

  8. Fulfilling one's vows.

  9. Steadfastness in one's oaths.

  10. Payment of atonement money, if due.

  11. Covering the essential parts of the body, as required by Islam, during and outside Salaat.

  12. Offering of sacrifice of animals and taking care of them

  13. Making arrangements for the funeral.

  14. Payment of debt.

  15. Fair business dealings, and abstaining from usury.

  16. Giving correct evidence, and not concealing the truth.

The second part, which include actions involving treatment with ones relatives and others, has six essentials:

Articles of Faith; Bodily Actions “Family Responsibility” (6):

  1. Getting married as a safeguard against adultery.

  2. To discharge obligation towards one's family members, servants and subordinates

  3. Good treatment towards one's parents and being kind and obedient to them.

  4. Bringing up one's children in a proper way.

  5. Remaining on good terms with one's relatives.

  6. Obeying one's elders, and following their advice.

The third part includes eighteen essentials, which relates to our social obligations to society in general.

Articles of Faith; Bodily Actions “Social Responsibility” (18):

  1. To rule one's domain with justice.

  2. To support the rightful party.

  3. To obey the rulers, provided their orders are not against religion.

  4. To work for the betterment of mutual relations, including punishing the wrong doers and action against the rebels.

  5. To help others in their noble deeds.

  6. To enjoin the good and forbid the evil; it includes work and speech for propagation of religion.

  7. To carry out the punishments enjoined by religion (for specific offenses).

  8. To take part in Jihad i.e. to fight in the path of Allah It includes guarding the defense lines.

  9. To pay off our dues and return the 'Amanat (Trust); this includes payment of Khums (payment of tax equal to one fifth of the booty).

  10. To lend (to the needy) and to pay back the debt.

  11. To discharge our obligations to our neighbors, and to be kind and helpful to them.

  12. To be fair in one's business dealings; it includes savings and earnings in a lawful manner.

  13. To be careful in expenditure; one Could guard against extravagance as well as miserliness.

  14. To wish 'salam' and respond to the 'salam.'

  15. To say Arhmukllah (May Allah have mercy on you) when somebody happens to sneeze.

  16. Not to be the cause of trouble and loss to others

  17. To avoid idle and useless pursuits.

  18. To clear troublesome obstructions from the way.

The seventy-seven branches of Imaan have been counted above. Some of these can be merged together, as for example, earning and spending can be put together under fair dealings. Careful consideration can enable one to cut down the total to seventy or sixty-seven, the numbers given in some Ahadith.

The above list has been prepared mainly from the commentary of Allama Ainee (Rahmatullah alalh) on Bukhari Shareef, wherein these things are mentioned in their order of merit. Selection has been made also from other books, i.e. Fathal-ul-bari of Ibn Hajar and Mirkat of Allarnah Qari. Scholars have written that the implied essential Imaan are as given above. One should ponder over and be thankful to Almighty Allah for the good acquired already, because all goodness is possible through His Grace and Mercy In case of deficiency in of any quality, one should strive for it and ask that Almighty Allah may grace him with His blessings.

  Article taken (with Thanks) from As-Sidq

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