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On Faith and Its Requisites

Islam and faith…

An ongoing debate for many years!

In fact, a very well-known Imam of a madhap once said,

“Having faith in Allah, His Rasul and his teachings is sufficient” and recorded this in one of his books.

In response to this Abdulqadir al-Jilani noted in his “Al Ghaniyyah” this Imam and his madhap as one of the deviant madhaps that don’t lead to salvation.

In “Al Ghaniyyah” Gaws al-Azam Abdulqadir al-Jilani mentions the hadith:

“My ummah will divide into 73 groups, and only one group will reach salvation. The rest will remain in darkness and loss.”

In reference to those who remain in loss and who don’t reach salvation, Abdulqadir al-Jilani says, “the Qadariyyah group is one of them” and adds:

This person asserts that faith is simply to believe in Allah and His Rasul without having to practice their recommendations. Based on what Barhuni says this is an incorrect belief.

What Gaws al-Azam asserts is:

If someone believes in Allah and His Rasul (saw) and accepts the practices and recommendations but does not comply with them, then he has deviated from the path of faith and is thus considered faithless!

Is this the case?

Let us explore this a little further…

What is faith and in what do we place our faith?

I discussed this topic in detail in “Intellect and Faith” but based on its importance I shall also discuss it here.

What do you have faith in? In the religion of Islam!

To have faith in Allah and His Rasul is one of the prerequisites of the religion of Islam. It is one of the laws. 

To have faith in Allah and His Rasul (saw), is a requisite of the religion of Islam. 

Now when you have faith in something, you automatically accept its conditions. When you have faith in the religion of Islam you are by definition accepting to comply with its recommendations and practices.

When you have faith that a heater can burn your hand, you won’t touch it. If you know you can drown where you don’t know how to swim, you won’t go in there. 

Actions are the natural by-products of having faith in something.

What do you have faith in? In the religion of Islam! Since You have faith in the religion of Islam this means you accept its requirements, which need to be fulfilled. If they are not being fulfilled, then “faith” is not yet established. 

In other words, faith = actions.

Actions aligned with the requirements of Islam.

If you claim to have faith in the religion of Islam you must fulfill its requisites and recommended practices. 

The five pillars of Islam:

-         Word of Unity, and its natural results

-         Salat

-         Fasting

-         Pilgrimage

-         Giving alms. 

These are the first recommendations!

So, if someone claims to have faith but does not perform salat, does not fast, go to pilgrimage, or give alms, his faith is questionable and may only be known by Allah!

Abu Bakr (ra) as one who has fully understood this principle, sent an army to slay those who refused to pay alms after the Rasul of Allah (saw) passed away. For they had left faith, only those who leave faith may be slayed.

If one does not pay alms he is refusing one of the pillars of Islam which means he has lost his faith. Losing your faith in that practice means he has turned away from religion, which means he can be slayed. 

This makes it evident that faith and its recommended practices are one and whole. One without the other is not possible.

Consider this: One claims to have faith but does not fulfill the requirements of his faith. What will the cost of this be?

As I explained earlier these recommendations are preparatory precautions for the person, for the difficult times awaiting him.

Just like you feel the need to use tongs to hold something that you believe will burn your hands. 

If you don’t feel the need to take the necessary precautions for a potential danger it means you don’t really have faith in its danger. 

When one believes with conviction that there is danger ahead, he will take the necessary precautions.

If he doesn’t have faith in the teachings, then he won’t feel the need to comply with the recommendations. 

The whole purpose of faith is so we take the necessary precautions, to learn about and prepare for the life awaiting us after death.

If the requisites of faith are not being fulfilled, then there is no faith! It’s as simple as that! 

If one chooses to live like those who don’t have faith he must also put up with its consequences.

Since there is no compulsion in religion, everyone is left to his own.

Those who wish to believe may believe and fulfill the requisites of his belief and prepare for the life in which he has faith.

And those who wish not to believe may live however they like provided they know that they will inescapably live the consequences of their choice.

The most important point is to always be mindful of the verse:

And man will only accrue the results (consequences) of his own deeds (what manifests through him; his thoughts and actions)![1]

For whatever one does he will inescapably face its consequence! Nothing happens without a reason or cause!

[1] Quran 53:39

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