"Principles of Iman"

“Principles of Iman”

“O mankind!
There has come to you convincing proof of Truth from your Lord.
We have sent to you a glorious light (Al-Qur’an) that shows you the Right Way clearly.
Now those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him,
Allah will soon cover them with His mercy and grace
and will show them the Right Way to Himself.”
[an-Nisaa 4:174-175]

Assalamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

The Faith (Iman) for a believer is a source of power and greatest protection. Allah says “…Allah is the Protector (mawla) of the Believers while the unbelievers have no protector.” [Surah Muhammad 47:11].

But if our Faith weakens because of our ignorance and disobedience, Allah will withhold His Protection and He will treat us like any other disbeliever or even worse than them. The principle is that Allah will never give upper hand to the non-believers over the believers in both worlds: i.e. here and hereafter. Quran mentions this fact as “…Allah will not leave the way for the unbelievers to triumph over the believers.” [an-Nisaa 4:141].

“Most surely We help Our messengers, and those who believe, in this world’s life and on the day when the witnesses shall stand.” ¤ [Ghaafir – 40:51]

“When such a time comes, We save Our Messengers and those who believe; Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers.” ¤ [Yunus – 10:103]

From these Ayaat we see that Allah’s protection and help is granted to those who believe. So what is this Faith (Iman) that gives distinction to a Muslim over others?

O believers! Believe in Allah, His Messenger, the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger, and every Book which He previously revealed. He who denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Last Day has gone far astray.” ¤ [Nisaa – 4:136]

In the above ayah, Allah is commanding the Muslims, i.e. those who claim that they believe, to really believe in Allah and His Ayaat. How many people claim that they believe in Allah, His Prophets, His Angels, His Books, the Destiny and the Life after death… but still we are in a hopeless and miserable situation? In fact, many of us might have never paid any attention to all these beliefs. It is mentioned in the very beginning of the Quran that this book (Quran) guides to those who Believe in the Unseen (al-Ghayb). Today we will try to discuss some important aspects of Iman (Belief) in relation to this.

First of all, we need to understand the importance of Belief in life. The life of the individuals of this physical world is constructed on: Beliefs and Senses; and the combination of these two lead to different kinds of Actions. For example, a person sees a fire; knowing that fire can burn, he abstains from it. In this incident, the Senses of the person will acknowledge that fire as the ‘fire’ by its features (i.e. the color, flame, heat…). TheBelief will be his understanding of the properties of fire (i.e. fire can burn). The Action is his decision to abstain from the fire. We can find countless number of similar incidents from our daily life that are happening so quickly at every moment that we no longer pay any attention to how we are actually living this life. Every physical law forms a belief. For example, if a glass is dropped from a certain height, we will all be sure (in our belief) that the glass will go down (because of the gravity) and that it might actually break when it hits the ground. We have been observing these physical phenomena since we were born.

Thus every physical law constitutes a belief. But this belief is only the belief of the ‘seen’. The Prophets of Allah have introduced mankind about the ‘unseen’. To prove the truthfulness and reality of their Message, Prophets have been showing miracles. We all know that miracles do not follow physical laws. For example, fire in our daily observation can burn but it did not burn Prophet Ibrahim (‘alaihi salam) when he was cast into a huge fire. From the perspective of the medical sciences, dead people cannot become alive, but Prophet Isa (‘alaihi salam) has shown that even a man died centuries ago can become alive (Maidah 5:110). Therefore these miracles prove that this physical world and its laws are not absolute. Ifthis physical world and its laws are not uniform and can be altered then… why do we depend our life on this world and its apparent features? The gist of the Message of the Prophets is that everything is dependant, and only Allah is independent. We, our body, our life, the physical laws, the spiritual laws, and everything is dependent on Allah but Allah is Absolute and Independent. La ilaaha illa-Allah (there is no god but Allah). Therefore, from the perspective of the prophetic teachings: fire can/cannot burn only if Allah wanted it to burn or not to burn, dead can/cannot become alive only if this is what Allah wanted, medicine can/cannot cure if this is what Allah wanted. All this is essentially to believe in Allah. This belief that ‘Allah has power over all things’ (Inna Allaha ‘ala kulli shayin qadeer) is well rooted in the minds of the Prophets and the same has been taught to the followers. Therefore, Muslims should always keep in their mind that everything is possible if this is what Allah wants, and nothing can possibly happen if Allah does not want it to happen.

In the very beginning of the Quran, we have been told that his Quran guides to those who believe in the ‘unseen’. To believe in the ‘unseen’ is to believe in the hidden controls. For example, when we see a human being, all we see is the outline, the skin, the movements of the body, etc. But medical science tells us that there is a brain, a heart, lungs, nerves, bones behind the apparent human being. When there is movement created in the body by the nervous system, we see the arm going up, we see the person walking, we see him speaking… and so on. In brief, we all know that there is a system working inside a human being that is controlling the outer movements. Similarly, this physical world and its phenomena are also controlled in another world, which is told by the Prophets as ‘The Unseen/Invisible World’. It is well known by us that a human body cannot perform any activity after death. But why is it so? When all the internal body organs that were previously used by the person for different activities are still present in the dead body, then why a dead man cannot perform any activity? Prophets of Allah have told that the activities of the body are not created by the internal body organs alone, but it is the soul that actually performs these operations. But after the death, the soul leaves the body and moves to another world. When Allah will wish, He will resurrect the dead ones.

This brings us closer to the belief in Angels. Briefly speaking, the duty of the Angels is to establish the Command that they receive from Allah in all worlds, whereas the rest of the creatures have to act upon these Commands. The world of the Angels and Souls is the Unseen world, while this phenomenal world is the ‘seen world’ (ad-dunya). No activity can possibly happen in the worlds of Jinn and Man unless the command for that thing has not been issued by Allah in the unseen world. Belief in the Angels is essential in Islam. Discussion about how the Angels obtain these Commands, what is the nature or format of the Commands, and how Angels establish these Commands in the phenomenal worlds… would be out of the scope of today’s topic. All we can hint is that souls are brought down and taken away by Angels, under the Authority and Instruction given by Allah. Understanding of the matters of the Unseen (i.e. Soul) is not possible without: (1) The belief in the Unseen (including destiny/judgment) , (2) belief in the Moral Laws contained in the Quran as well as in the previously revealed Holy Scriptures, and (3) the Sincerity (Purification) . Quran in the very beginning informs us about the same. Allah says in Surah Baqarah:

“This is the Book in which there is no doubt. It is a guide for those who are Muttaqoon, ¤ who believe in the Unseen, who establish Salah and spend out of what We have provided for their sustenance; ¤ who believe in this Revelation (the Qur’an) which is sent to you (O Muhammad) and the Revelations which were sent before you (Torah, Psalms, Gospel…) and firmly believe in the Hereafter. ¤ They are on true Guidance from their Lord and they are the successful.” ¤ [al-Baqarah – 2:2-5]



We have just said that nothing can possibly happen in this world unless it has been commanded by Allah. Allah says in the Quran: “No affliction can happen on earth nor to your own selves, which is not recorded in a Book, before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy for Allah.”[Hadeed- 57:22]. In other words, the future of this world and our own self is in the hands of Allah. Allah says “And to Allah belongs the Ghayb (unseen) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him return all affairs (for decision). So worship Him and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.” [Hud – 11:123]. Everybody want to have a better future but this future is actually in the hands of Allah, regardless of whether one believes in it or not. The question that now rises is: what can we do to have a brighter future in here and in hereafter? Answer to this is contained in the very beginning of the Quran (the Ayaat we just quoted above 2:2-5).

We have just said that nothing can possibly happen in this world unless it has been commanded by Allah. Allah says in the Quran: “No affliction can happen on earth nor to your own selves, which is not recorded in a Book, before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy for Allah.”[Hadeed- 57:22]. In other words, the future of this world and our own self is in the hands of Allah. Allah says “And to Allah belongs the Ghayb (unseen) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him return all affairs (for decision). So worship Him and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.” [Hud – 11:123]. Everybody want to have a better future but this future is actually in the hands of Allah, regardless of whether one believes in it or not. The question that now rises is: what can we do to have a brighter future in here and in hereafter? Answer to this is contained in the very beginning of the Quran (the Ayaat we just quoted above 2:2-5).

Allah says that Al-Muttaqeen (Righteous believers) will be the successful (al-muflihoon) [2:5]. Al-Muttaqeen are those believers who abide by the moral laws contained in the Holy Books revealed by Allah. It’s a Quranic principle that for every good action, the reward will be at least ten times of that in the future. And for every evil action, the reward will be same as that evil. Allah says “Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged” [An’am – 6:160]. From the perspective of this material world, a stolen money and a lawfully acquired money have no difference. But in the sight of Allah, the unlawful money is Haram (forbidden) and will have an impact in the life of that individual who acquired this unlawful money. Although, this does not make sense to us from the perspective of this material world, in the spiritual world it is a fact and there are consequences for every action. Allah says:

“Whatever affliction befalls you is the result of what your own hands have done even though for many of your misdeeds He grants forgiveness.” ¤ [Shura’ – 42:30]


“And the evils of that which they earned will become apparent to them, and they will be encircled by that which they used to mock at!” ¤[Zumar – 39:48]

Generally speaking, a believer is he who has no doubt in what Allah has said in His Book and what the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has said even if he does not know it in details. For example, we don’t know the meanings of the letters Alif-Lam-Meem appearing in Surah al-Baqarah, but we believe this too to be part of the Book and guidance for us. If we believe in the Message, follow its teachings, and then reflect upon it, then Allah has told us that this Book will guide al-Muttaqoon. But if we just claim we believe, we believe and never reflect on the message nor follow its teachings then we will only deceive our own selves. We mentioned about life at the start of this text to be composed of Beliefs, Senses, and Actions. For every action that we do, we have to have a decision made in our mind. Decisions are generally made on the basis of capability, importance and urgency. If we had the ability to offer Salah but we pay no importance to it while watching a TV, then obviously we show lack of sincerity towards our faith. Allah says “…obey Allah and His Messenger if you are believers” (waatee’oo Allaha warasoolahu in kuntum mumineena) [Anfaal – 8:1]. It implies that to become a true believer we have to obey Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). In other words, if we disobey Allah and His Prophet, we will lose faith and become the loser. If we decide to perform a bad action, we not only corrupt our belief but also have to face the consequences of it, unless Allah forgives us.

Technically, a true believer is he who cognizes the truth (i.e. Guidance from Allah) from the falsehood (i.e. whisperings of Evil/Shaytan) . This quality of a believer will remain with him as long as he is following the truth after its acknowledgment. This quality will enhance as the believer ponders on the signs of Allah. Allah says “Surely in the heavens and the earth there are signs for the true believers.” [Jaathiyah – 45:3]. The two kinds of beliefs that we have discussed today are in fact two kinds of knowledge. Belief in general is nothing but acknowledgement (knowledge). We are all aware of the knowledge of the Seen by the physical phenomena (everyday life), however, this kind of knowledge is composed of assumptions and guesses. To further understand the knowledge of the unseen (soul), we have to familiarize ourselves with the moral laws and general obligations contained in the Quran. After belief in the unseen and in the moral laws contained in the Books of Allah, the only major step required for Guidance and Success is to purify ourselves. Purification implies that we acquire the angelic qualities that is filled with devotion and devoid of selfishness. We can only purify ourselves with Taqwa (obeying Allah and His Messenger). If we live and think in the same way as the Prophets have done, then we are successful. Rahman (Allahu ta’ala) says:

Be informed! Allah’s friends (Awliya Allah) have nothing to fear or to grieve.
Those who believe (Amanoo) and keep their duty (kanoo yattaqoon).
for them there is good news in
this life and in the hereafter
– Allah’s Words do not change – this is indeed the mighty achievement.” ¤ [Yunus – 10:62-64]


“Glory be to your Lord, the Lord of Honor, He is free from what they ascribe to Him!
Peace be on the Messengers, and praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”
Al-Quran [37:180-182]

wa Assalamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

Abdullah ibn Adam

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