Indeed all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we rely solely on Him. We seek His refuge from the evil in our souls and from our wicked deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, with no partners, and I testify that Mohammad (ﷺ) is His Messenger and His slave.
The paper is divided into five parts:
- Part 1 - Introduction: Pillars of Islam & Ethics (1)
- Part 2 – Deen ul Islam & Foundation of Ethical code: Pillars of Islam & Ethics (2)
- Part 3 – Muslim Character Building through faith: Pillars of Islam & Ethics (3)
- Part 4 – Pillars of Islam, Morals & Character Building: Pillars of Islam & Ethics (4)
- Part 5 – How to attain high morals standards: Pillars of Islam & Ethics (5)
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PILLARS OF ISLAM & DEVELOPMENT OF EXCELLENT MORALS & CHARACTER
PART 5: HOW TO ATTAIN THE HIGH MORALS OF ISLAM?
1. Knowledge (علم)
The first step to acquire High Islamic Moral values is to educate and learn Islamic Teachings. Islam is is first “علم” knowledge then “ايمان” believe in it. The real difference between believer and non believer is “Elm” علم – knowledge. Without knowledge, there is only ignorance (جهل) and ignorance equates with weak character. Thus, Allah (swt) said:
Muslim is not a Muslim just because he was born with Muslim name, but because Muslim is one who has acquired “Elm” knowledge of Allah’s Deen (and follows it).
How can one follow guidance of Muhammad when he does not even know what Muhammad said? Allah (swt) said: قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الأَعْمَى وَالْبَصِيرُ أَفَلاَ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ – “Say, "Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Then will you not give thought.” 420
Muslim is really the person who knows the system of Islam, its teachings, its tenants, his role and his responsibilities, his obligations, and then only by knowing and understanding it, he submits to it, and he leads his life according to this teaching. The first revelation of the Quran is:
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ - خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ - اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ - الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ - عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
96:1-5 Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught (the writing) by the pen (the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch) ),Has taught man that which he knew not.
Thus, Islam from its inception emphasized the value of knowledge, and declared the war against ignorance and negligence. Leaning is the foundation in Islam. This was the real mission of all Prophets including Prophet Mohammad (pbuh): كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُونَ - “Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our verses and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know.” 421
When a person does not even know what the difference between Kufr and Islam is, and what the difference between Tawheed and Shirk is, then how can he distinguish between what is right (truth - Haq) and what is wrong (false - Batil)? How can he distinguish what came as command from Allah or what was the vain desire of corrupt people. Allah (swt) said: ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَى شَرِيعَةٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاء الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ – “Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know.” 422
Thus, we established that Islam and ignorance cannot co-exist. One cannot claim to have practiced Islam without having prior knowledge of it. One with weak intellect and narrow understanding cannot comprehend the might and majesty of Allah swt. He can’t see signs of Allah (swt). That’s why Allah (swt) gave honorable rank to people of knowledge. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “One the Judgment Day when Allah will sit on His throne to judge between His slaves. He will say to the learned: ‘I gave you My knowledge and tolerance so that I forgive your mistakes” 423
It is then obligatory on every Muslim to know what his Deen is all about, what does Quran speaks to, what are the teaching of our beloved Prophet (pbuh), what is kufr and what is haq. What makes obedience to Allah and what makes Allah (swt) angry and displeased.
شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ وَالْمَلائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
3:18 Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise
Here Allah (swt) first bears witness himself, then the noble angels, and then mentioned the people with knowledge424. This verse is the evidence for significance and high status of أُولُو الْعِلْمِ in Quran.
The Prophet (pbuh) emphasized Muslims to educate themselves. He said: طلبة العلم فريضة علي كل مسلم – Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.
The ignorant person is the one with least amount of moral standard. The biggest threat Islam has is from within itself. That is why Islam emphasizes highly on learning and education. The Prophet (pbuh) has reportedly said: من يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه في الدين – “Whoever Allah wants to do good, He gives him knowledge of His Deen.”
Allah (swt) said:
Hence, after accepting Islam one must fully comprehend the meaning of word “La Illah illa Allah” and what it truly means. He must at least learn the basic as why did Allah (swt) created us and send us to this earth, and what were we suppose to do here. Learn the basic tenets of Islam and learn about Islamic Ethics and moral standards that must be observed by every Muslim.
We are not suggesting that every Muslim becomes scholar, but what is often observed is that person learns to pray salah and fast, but he is not aware of common mistakes of Shirk . Or While he fast he doesn’t truly understand the purpose of fasting, one of which is to understand how it feels in hunger and third. Learning this dimension of fasting will teach the person to help poor and needy people especially when they are in hunger.
Islam requires that Ummah to learn, because the core fundamental priniciple of Deen ul Islam is education. Muslims can not become intelligent simply by putting charms and amulets (which is a shirk anyways). Nor they will learn the core values of Islam by only reciting quran. Rather there has to be people of right understanding with good methodology to explain them the good morals and values of Islam. The Deen can only be ground in the hearts of people, if they are well grounded in knowledge (علم) and posses a sound reasoning. As Allah (swt) said:
هَـٰذَا بَلَاغٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَلِيُنذَرُوا بِهِ وَلِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَلِيَذَّكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
14:52 This (Quran) is a Message for mankind (and a clear proof against them), in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is the only One Ilah (God - Allah) - (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and that men of understanding may take heed.427
It is not possible for actions to be correct or righteous without acquiring knowledge and education, especially the right knowledge. One type of Elm (knowledge) is what relates to secondary aspect of our lives (علم جزئي). These usually what they teach in schools today and relates to various sciences, languages and art. Second type of Elm (knowledge) is comprehensive (علم كلّّّي). This knowledge deals with “us” instead of dealing with our daily affairs. It discusses who are us?, what is our status in this world?, who created us and this universe?, what is our relationship to our creator?, what is the right way of living the life?, how can we learn this right way?, what is our ultimate destiny?. This second type of knowledge is root and foundational for all other knowledge. All other knowledge areas are secondary and dependant on correctly understanding the foundational knowledge. Hence, whatever ethical and moral standard we choose, it will always be dependent on this core or root. And if this root is wrong or corrupt, then ultimately all other secondary knowledge will be wrong which in turn will affect moral, ethical and judicial standards428. Allah (swt) said:
Thus, it is important to understand and learn this Core or Foundational knowledge and identify what are the core aspects of our Deen. In Islamic System, the core and secondary knowledge are separate. And the secondary aspects are founded based on the core values. These core values are around Iman (faith) and correct understanding of Tawheed. That’s why Quran teaches us that if our Iman is weak then the results from it are fruitless.
Allah (swt) says: وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ – “And whosoever disbelieves in the Oneness of Allah and in all the other Articles of Faith (i.e. His (Allah), Angels, His Holy Books, His Messengers, the Day of Resurrection and Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments)), then fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.”430 Similarly, Allah has explained this with the examples of Good Tree and Bad Tree.
A strongly rooted tree is equivalent to a person with strongly rooted Knowledge of this core and foundational (Tawheed) that can withhold strong winds and storms. It will provide shade and fruits to people that surround it. While a bad word is like bad tree, as Allah (swt) said: وَمَثلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ - “And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.” 431
2. Understanding of Deen (معرفة الدين)
Thus, second important aspect is to get basic understanding of Deen. Islam is a complete way of life. Allah (swt) said: إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنـدَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ – “Indeed, the (only) Deen in the sight of Allah is Islam”432 . It is based on the guidance provided by Allah (swt), who is the Creator of the Universe. It covers all aspects of life, it tells us Purpose of our creation, our place among other creatures, our Final Destiny. It shows us way to conduct ourselves publicly and privately, It shows us way to deal with social, political, moral and spiritual affairs, It teaches us economics and transactions, It teaches us governance and administration
One of the most important messages of Quran is to reject blind following (تقليد). Allah (swt) said: وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ قَالُواْ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئاً وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ – “And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has revealed," they say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?” 433. Hence, Muslims do not blindly follow customs, traditions or what’s popular! They judge every action and weight it against the teaching of Islam. If Allah (swt) or beloved Prophet (pbuh) prohibits us from something, we refrain from it as this is better for us.
The understanding of Deen is dividend in two Components or two branches of Deen:
- أصـل الــدين / تـوحيــد : The Core or the Principles or Tawheed
- فـروع الـــدين : The Branches or the fiqh or the methodology (Shariah)
It is essential that we must distinguish between the Shariah Law of Islam (الشريعة) and the Core (أصـل الــدين). The Core of Islamic System (Deen) is based on understanding of Tawheed (wahdaniyat) of Allah (swt). It is a common message sent by Allah (swt) through thousands of His Messengers, and it has never changed. From Adam (as) , to Noah (as), to Abrahim (as), to Moses (as), to Jesus (as), to Mohammad ((pbuh)) --- this message remained the same --- the Message of Oneness --- the Message of Tawheed. This is considered as Principle of Deen - أصـل الدين
Thus, Allah (swt) explained that He send us down same guidance through all of His Prophets, i.e.
- Submit to Allah (swt) alone
- Denounce and reject Taghoot.
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوتَ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلالَةُ فَسِيرُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
16:36 And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghoot (all false deities, etc.)." Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). An-Nahl 16:36
The core and the root of Deen (Islam) has always been the same amongst all Prophets, even though their Shariats (فروع الدين) were different. That’s why the Prophet (pbuh) has said that all prophets have same Deen and they are like brothers. Hence, they all said that there is no Illah but Allah and they submitted to Allah alone. In every era they prayed according to how Allah (swt) asked them at the time, but the Deen itself remained the same
ِAlthough the Shariats between Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and other Prophets (as) differed, but the core principle of Deen remained same. Allah (swt) never asked to worship to anyone else (or submit to other laws than Allah’s): But for Shariats (فروع الدين), for instance, at one time Muslim prayed facing towards Baitul Muqdas in Palestine, however, it was later changed to Baitul Haram in Makkah. Similarly, Allah (swt) made Saturday for day of worship for Bani Isreal, however, changed it to Friday for Mohammad (pbuh).
شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يَشَاء وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ
42:13 He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him].
Thus, all the “core” values of all Prophets (as) have always been the same. From Adam to Noah, to Abraham to Moses to Jesus to Mohammad (peace be upon all of them) the core values remained same. Some of these core values can be summarized as:
- Submit to Allah as Rabb (Sustainer of everything) and Illah (The only God to whom everyone worship and submit in complete obedience)
- Reject All Taghoot (Rebellion against Allah’s Deen)- other false deities, gods and systems.
- Implement Allah’s Deen (System) and Commands
- Abolish Shirk (associate partners with Allah), Kufr (Reject Allah (swt)), Fisq (disobedience of Allah’s command) and Dhulm (Injustice).
- The above four will purify the soul – Tazkiya Nafs
3. Sincerity (اخلاص)
While we start all our activities with Allah’s name, we include sincerity (اخلاص) and good intentions. As Prophet (pbuh) said, أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال الأعمال بالنية - “The reward of deeds depends upon the intention.” 434
The sincerity means that we put our faith in Allah and follow his guidance and the guidance of his messenger. And we do all our activities with the intention of pleasing Allah (swt) in the way he prescribed it and how the prophet (pbuh) performed them. And we do not follow our own desires or of those who do not know the Deen of Allah (swt). And we maintain the Taqwa (fear) of Allah and the Day of Judgment, where we stand accountable for all our actions. And we do not approach Deen of Allah and His Shariah with preconceived notion; rather we approach it with open heart with total intention and conviction to find out the truth. And whoever followed his own desire and followed the footsteps of Satan and rebelled against Allah (swt), he will end up as a looser. Hence, Allah (swt) said: فَأَمَّا مَنْ طَغَى - وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا - فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى - وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى - فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى – “So as for he who transgressed, And preferred the life of the world. Then indeed, Hellfire will be [his] refuge. But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination. Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” 435
One of important thing in learning is to remember that damage scholars have caused, especially those who did not have high moral character and locked nobleness and purity of intentions. When one intends to learn, he must make sincere intention to learn the truth and seek Allah’s guidance to reach it. He should make prayers to Allah (swt) to open his heart and give him the guidance. He should remember that it is only and only Allah (swt) who can give him this knowledge and no one else. The Prophet (pbuh) has reportedly said: من يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه في الدين – “Whoever Allah wants to do good, He gives him knowledge of His Deen.” 436
Secondly, Islam makes it mandatory that while we learn, we practice it. The knowledge that’s not practice is indeed not knowledge, it’s only news. If one doesn’t practice it himself, then it is extremely difficult for him to comprehend it, let alone teaching it to others. Importantly, the person who learns the Deen of Allah should try his utmost best to alter his life style and align it to Allah’s Deen, instead of trying to alter the Deen of Allah to align to his life style. This is very common error that Muslims frequently make that while they only know few verses of Quran, they run to alter the Shariah of Allah with their limited know how of Deen.
Thirdly, Learning should not be with intention of earning money or fame, because it will destroy any value. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “He who learned something from which Allah’s pleasure could be sought did not learn it except for worldly gain, will not get the fragrance of Paradise” 437
The Prophet (pbuh) said: Do not acquire knowledge in order to impress the learned, nor to argue with ignorant, nor to dominate gatherings. If someone did it , his abode will be in Hell” 438
4.Believe in Day of Accountability (محكم يقين على يوم الحساب)
The wisdom behind resurrection and judgement day is to reward the person for their doings in this life that they choose to do out of their freewill. Hence, the earthly life is a place for actions, while the afterline is either reward or punishment for their actions. Hence, its called day of accountability,
Allah swt said: كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ - “Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” [2:185]
We see in this world everyone has different situation, some are rich and others struggle to earn. Some are honest, and kind, while other oppresses. Some are healthy and smart, while other weak or sick. Some earn great honor, and others are humiliated. Now, if everyone just dies and they are never resurrected to be accountable for their actions in this world, then would it not be contrary to any wisdom and justice?
This is the reason that Allah (swt) has ordered a day of reckoning, where each an every one of us will be presented with our deeds from this world, and Allah (swt) will justly deal with all to reward or punish them.
Allah (swt) said: زَعَمَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَن لَّن يُبْعَثُوا ۚ قُلْ بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّي لَتُبْعَثُنَّ ثُمَّ لَتُنَبَّؤُنَّ بِمَا عَمِلْتُمْ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ يَسِيرٌ – “Those who disbelieve have claimed that they will never be resurrected. Say, "Yes, by my Lord, you will surely be resurrected; then you will surely be informed of what you did. And that, for Allah, is easy."” [64:7]
And also said: وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّـهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ ۙ لَا يَبْعَثُ اللَّـهُ مَن يَمُوتُ ۚ بَلَىٰ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٣٨﴾ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي يَخْتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَاذِبِينَ ﴿٣٩﴾ إِنَّمَا قَوْلُنَا لِشَيْءٍ إِذَا أَرَدْنَاهُ أَن نَّقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ ﴿٤٠﴾ - “And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths, that Allah will not raise up him who dies. Yes, (He will raise them up), a promise (binding) upon Him in truth, but most of mankind know not.”, “In order that He may make manifest to them the truth of that wherein they differ, and that those who disbelieved (in Resurrection, and in the Oneness of Allah) may know that they were liars.”, “Verily! Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: "Be!" and it is.” [16:38-40]
Believing day of accountability is a part of our Iman (faith), and its at the core of Islam. It is this belief that provides ( استقامة) integrity, honesty and righteousness to a Muslim to remain steadfast. Because he/she believes that one day they have to stand in front of Allah (swt) and give account of their actions.
5. Repentance (توبة)
Allah (swt) has created us human can called us (إنسان) Insaan, which is drived from (نسية) meaning to forget. Human in their nature makes mistakes and are forgetfull. We make mistakes and commit sins, which causes us to depression and despreration. Some times we turn to Allah (swt) and seek repentance and help, and sometimes we turn away from the Creator. Often, we remember Allah (swt) is watching over us, and we return to him and repent. Sometimes people are neglectful that Allah (swt) is watching, and they become arrogant. However, none is free of sin and mistakes, we all do them.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you did not commit sin Allaah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sin then pray for forgiveness.” [Sahih al-Muslim]
The Prophet (pbuh) also said: “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
It is the mercy of Allah (swt) that he has kept the door of repentence open for everyone. He said: ا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّـهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ ۖ – “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) the Day that Allah will not disgrace the Prophet (Muhammad pbuh) and those who believe with him” [66:8]
The repentence provides hope and dignity to a depressed and despair person, and restores him moral to revert back to goodness, and reject evil. Allah (swt) said: قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ – “Say: "O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [39:53]
Allah (swt) said: إِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ – “And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death).” [20:82]
No matter what the sins is, Allah (swt) door is open to accept everyone. He said: الَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّـهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ – “And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; - and none can forgive sins but Allah - And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.”[3:135]
Even for hypocrites, Allah (swt) will shower His mercy if they repent: إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِي الدَّرْكِ الْأَسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيرًا ﴿١٤٥﴾ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَأَخْلَصُوا دِينَهُمْ لِلَّـهِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ – “Except those who repent (from hypocrisy), do righteous good deeds, hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion for Allah (by worshipping none but Allah, and do good for Allah's sake only, not to show-off), then they will be with the believers. And Allah will grant to the believers a great reward.” [4:146]
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah spreads out His hand at night to accept the repentance of the one who sinned during the day, and He spreads out His hand by day to accept the repentance of the one who sinned during the night, (and that will continue) until the sun rises from the west.” [Sahih al-Muslim].
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah will accept the repentance of His slave so long as the death-rattle has not yet reached his throat.” [al-Tirmidhi]
Hence, when the person seeks repentence from Allah with sincerety, He rewards it with tranquility in this world. Allah (swt) said: وَأَنِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُمَتِّعْكُم مَّتَاعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى وَيُؤْتِ كُلَّ ذِي فَضْلٍ فَضْلَهُ ۖ – “that you may seek forgiveness of your Lord and turn to Him in repentance whereupon He will grant you a fair enjoyment of life until an appointed term, and will bestow favour on everyone who merits favour” [11:3]. And also said: وَيَا قَوْمِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًا وَيَزِدْكُمْ قُوَّةً إِلَىٰ قُوَّتِكُمْ وَلَا تَتَوَلَّوْا مُجْرِمِينَ – “My people! Ask your Lord for forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance. He will shower abundant rains upon you from the heaven, and will add strength to your strength. Do not turn away as those given to guilt.'” [11:52]
6. Harmonize sayings and actions (قول و عمل)
Iman “ايمان” (faith) is both, first “قول” - saying then “عمل” - action. I.e. we believe in it first and then we follow it with actual actions.
- This can be explained further by stating that the first act in Islam is to have knowledge of it (معرفة). Without knowledge, there is no belief, one must learn first before he can claim that he believes in it.
- Secondly, once the knowledge is established he then Testify this knowledge (التصديــق). Some people mistakenly believed that Islam is only about attesting (that is saying shadateen شهادتين), and they further assumed that if a person brings you a news and if you say this news is truth, then attestation (تصديق) is achieved. And they applied same understanding to Shariah meaning of attesting Iman.
The fact of matter is that just attestation doesn’t provide proof for established Iman, as we stated previously, the actions must follow the sayings.
- Thirdly, Islam calls for serious commitment towards Allah (swt). This is called الـتزام – means commitment: or (أو الإقرار أو الطاعة و الانقياد). It is the most important component of Iman that is needed to save from Hell fire (خلود في النّار). By having the Knowledge (of Deen) and attesting it that it’s from Allah does not establish any one as true believer. The attestation must be followed by serious commitments and actions.
The variance between saying and action is usually called hypocrisy (منافقت). Islam denounces hypocrisy and calls for harmonizing saying and action.
If someone sincerely wishes to achieve high moral standards of Islam, He must first have sincere intentions and then acquire knowledge and then make serious commitment to practice what he learns. This is the only way to achieve this goal.
7. Persistent Struggle (جُـهـدِ مسلـسل)
Allah (swt) said: وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ – “29:69 As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allahs Religion - Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good doers)."” 439
- 420 Quran, Chapter 6:50
- Quran, Chapter 2:151
- Quran, Chapter 45:18
- Sunnan at-Tabarani
- Abu Hamid Al-Gazali (Summarized from Ahya Uloomuddin): The superior Knowledge (علم) is the one that by acquiring it person get closer to Allah (swt). Hence, Knowledge (علم) is of two types:
- Shara’i Sciences - شرعى علوم (knowledge of Deen of Allah)
- Non-Shara’i Sciences- غير شرعى علوم (that are not from the Allah and His Prophet)
The non-Shara’i knowledge can be further categorized into three:
- Knowledge that is necessary and recommended. These are related to betterment of worldly life, such as scientific or mathematical. Some of these are considered to be mandatory to be acquired within a community (فرض كفايه) and others are not mandatory.
- Knowledge that is disliked and non-sharia compliant. Those that involve deception, cheating, fraud or mislead. E.g. magic, illusions etc. (And also those that create fitna and results in destruction and killing of mankind, and sway man away from “fitra” on which he was created – author).
- Knowledge that is permissible (مباح): e.g. poetry (if it’s decent and non corrupt), history etc.
Shara’i Sciences (شرعى علوم) are all considered فرض كفايه. These include four fundamentals a) Quran, b) life and traditions of Prophet, c) Ijma (consensus) of Muslim Scholars, d) life and traditions of Companions of Prophet. These four fundamentals drive various sub sciences, e.g. science of fiqh, sciences of quran, (like qirat, exegesis, nasikh-wa-mansook, general and particular), science of hadith (like principles of hadith, Asma-wa-rijal), science of Arabic language and grammar, etc etc).
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim
- People generally understand meaning of Shirk as worshiping idols. However, shirk is much broader term that is applied against making partnership of Allah in any of his Attributes (such as Allah is legislator). The Prophet also included various other actions into Shirk. For instance, show off (ريا) is a form of Shirk./li>
- Quran, Surah Ibrahim, 14:52 /li>
- Based on اسلامي تهذيب اور اسكي أصول و مبادي, Abu Ala al-Mawdudi, page 143/li>
- Quran, Surah Al-Mulk , 67:10/li>
- 430 Quran, Chapter 5:5, Al-Maidah [The Table Spread]
- Quran, Chapter 14:26
- Quran, Chapter 3:19 A'al Imran [Family of Imran]
- Quran, Chapter 2:170 Al-Baqarah[The Cow]
- Sahih Bukhari, Book 2:51]
- Quran, Chapter 79:37-41]
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim]
- Sunnan Abu Dawood
- Sunnan Ibn Majah