What is the Reality of My Iman?
- 49:14 - قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
The bedouins say, "We have believed." Say, "You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], 'We have submitted,' for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
- 47:19 - فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ
So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place.
- 6:153 - وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.
- The second question in the Hadith of Jibreel
- Prophet (s) was with a companion (narration from At-Tabarani) and he asked his companion: “how have you woken this morning?” Al-Harith (the man) responded: “I woke up as a true believer”. So the prophet (s) said: “every single thing has a reality to it, what is the reality of your eman?” Al-Harith said: “My self has become disillusioned with the dunya, and it’s as if I see the throne of Allah, and it’s as if I can see the people enjoy the beauty of jannah, and I see others being punished in the hellfire...” Upon hearing this, the prophet (s) said: “you know now, so be steadfast and committed to the path that you are on.”
Recap of the First Dimension: “What is islam?
- Deduced that the essential nature of the believer is to submit to the worship of Allah. Concluding:
- Allah cares about what we do
- Allah has a Qur’anic discourse that speaks to the actions of those who are legally responsible ( af'al al mukallaf).
- Allah has told us and shown us how to act through the examples in the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet (saw).
- Actions are significant in the realms of spiritual and psychological well-being.
- The actions that take place in the seen realm impact the unseen realm.
The Second Dimension: What is Iman?
- Foundational, intellectual orientation is founded on the belief in Allah.
- Belief in angels is the belief that they are the essential messengers from the realm of the unseen to that of the seen.
- Belief in the messengers to whom Allah communicated the divine revelation.
- Belief in the divine revelation that was brought to guide us in this world.
- Belief in the day of judgement/accountability and that it will certainly happen at the end of time.
- Belief in destiny/decree of Allah - the seemingly good of it and the seemingly bad of it.
We Exist in this World with the Single Purpose of Pleasing Allah
The Word Iman
- What does it mean to believe in something? What is the reality of belief in the life of the Muslim?
- Just as the Qur’an speaks to the material reality/actions that we do, it also speaks to the capacity to know (aql).
- Hundreds of ayat speak to those who think, reflect, process ideas, research, observe, critique, analyze, etc.
- When we sit in front of Divine revelation, Allah is not just giving us a list of do’s and don'ts. He is challenging us to think, have opinions, reflect, and arrive at conclusions.
- Iman is not a superficial idea that “I believe in Allah, Muhammad (saw), etc., but I live out my life how I want to”.
- Prophet Muhammad (saw) was with a companion (narration from At-Tabarani) and he asked his companion, “How have you awakened this morning?” Al-Harith (the man) responded, “I woke up as a true believer”. So the Prophet (saw) said, “Every single thing has a reality to it, what is the reality of your iman?” Al-Harith said: “My self has become disillusioned with the dunya, and it’s as if I see the throne of Allah, and it’s as if I can see the people enjoy the beauty of Jannah, and I see others being punished in the Hellfire...” Upon hearing this, the Prophet (saw) said: “You know now, so be steadfast and committed to the path that you are on.”
- This question should compel each of us to ask this question of ourselves every morning and evening.
- Allah would not give us this ability to think without expecting us to use this capacity to think, a lot.
- Why is the first point of revelation/first word a command to the intellect: Iqra - read!
- Imam Al-Ghazali says this means to read, study, analyze the book of Allah that is seen and the book of Allah that is written.
- When you read, critique, analyze you arrive at a conclusion and in everything that we read/think/analyze is a sign to indicate that Allah is One.
- How much of myself has been dedicated to processing this idea?
- When I say I am a believer (mu’min), how much of my mind, my being, myself has been dedicated to living out this reality?
- When the Arabs said that they believe, Allah told them not to say that, and instead to say that they are Muslims and when Iman enters their reality, that is a different state.
- There is a reality to Iman. It is not mere words to be uttered on the tongue.
- Allah says: “https://quran.com/47/19”
- You can’t just say this
- You must know it with certainty
- You must live it
What is Iman?
- Words uttered on the tongue, settle/resonate in the heart, and are manifest in actions;
- They are in the depth of my essence
- Every fiber of my being is obsessed with the idea of the Kalima
- That I only see Allah, that I only think of Allah, that I only care about Allah, that I am only motivated by Allah, that I only move for Allah, that I only feel for Allah; this is the reality of the meaning when it settles in the heart
- The word aqidah comes from the word aqeedah meaning that which is tied with/entrenched with because when Iman is realized it becomes part of the being.
- Iman is conviction
- Actions are not in contradiction to Iman
- Actions manifest/realize and affirm Iman
- We are not talking about being fake or real Muslims. This is a journey of self-exploration/discovery where I sit with myself Allah and say: here is the reality of my Iman.
- I am no longer going to be a Muslim in spite or despite others and I must take control of my belief because I am accountable in front of Allah on the Day of Judgement.
- Our effective belief system today needs to be put in question.
- If you want to read the journey of someone who was really questioning the essence of his existence, read the autobiography of Imam Al-ghazali entitled the deliverance from error:
- He asked himself: am I really, really a believer? Do my life, my actions, my thoughts, my considerations reflect the truth that was revealed in the Qur’an or not?
- Went through each of the philosophies that were present at the time, extracted that which was beneficial from them and documented what was problematic with those ideas to the extent that he became an expert in those ideas. Ultimately, when he came to discuss ziman, he guided us to a deeply spiritual theological conclusion.
- At my own level, I should be critical and thoughtful because Allah gave me this mind to analyze and to think.
- The questions of Jibreel to the Prophet (saw) were asked to teach us how to ask questions.
Go Through a Process of Critique
- America in 2018 was not brought about in a vacuum - there was a history that brought us to today.
- Our Iman is incompetition with many, many, many other ideas
- Quran 6:153
- Allah tells us that this is one path, so be careful not to follow other paths, so that they might take you away from the path to Allah.
- This is what Allah advises us with so that we are people who are conscious and aware - thoughtful, present in our beliefs
- We say the Kalima, but when we analyze our actions and what informs our behavior, we find that often times it is not the Kalima.
- This is not a question of fake/real Muslims - this is a question of being critical
- Today we have phenomena like the conservative Muslim, liberal Muslim, individualistic Muslim, political Muslim, feminist Muslim, patricarcial Muslim, etc.
- We introduced identifiers to differentiate the “type of Islam” that we follow - as if Islam needs any type of identifier.
- We have been duped into this idea because of our lack of critical thought and consideration about the depth and breadth of the Islamic intellectual, spiritual, theological heritage into thinking that Islam is lesser than - or in need of something.
- Islam is Allah’s religion - Islam the pure religion, is not in need of anything or anyone:
- Islam is pure, safe, and independent of all identifiers and we should be careful of saying that I am this type of Muslim because this is how I am, or this is what I like - devoid of any scriptural, Sunnah, or Prophetic inheritance. I cannot be the skeleton of a Muslim with thoughts, considerations, etc that are animated by something else.
- This is where we have to be very careful:
- Many -ism’s have become the foundational way with which generations of Muslims think and feel about existence, and Islam at best is playing a supporting role in their lives
- Liberalism, secular humanism, conservatism, scientism, individualism, tribalism, culturalism, and many others.
- All of us have to come back to our Iman and ask: what is the reality of my Iman?
- What does it mean to say that I believe in Allah?
- How does that manifest into every moment of my existence?
- Are my actions/thoughts all emanating from alternate ideas?
- This is not to say that Islam is at war with other ideas - Imam Al Ghazali was able to process all of the ideas of his time and deduce benefit and wrong.
- All of these modern philosophies that have come to inform the way we live in 2018 have an origin story.
- Liberalism, secular humanism, scientism, feminism, etc have origin stories that we have to learn from, understand, analyze, and think about and consider: does my life/Iman gel with these ideas or not? Which part of these would benefit my Iman and which of them would conflict with my core beliefs?
- Every time these conversations go public, it becomes a form of identity politics within the Muslim community.
- On the day of judgement, when we stand in front of Allah, as individuals, He will ask me, and you, about what was the truth of your belief?
- Why did you act that way?
- Why did you engage in those behaviors?
- Why were you a part of this movement, or that movement?
- Why did you follow this social trend, or that social trend?
- Why were you so committed to something that you had heard from a professor at school or your forefathers?
- Why were you so committed to the way of your tribe, regardless of how it impacted your Iman or Ihsan?
- Why did you follow this, or that, public individual regardless of how it impacted your Iman?
- Each of us will have to answer these questions for ourselves before Allah.
Welcoming back all of our pilgrims
- May Allah grant us Jannah.
- May Allah help us to become true believers as the Prophet (saw) says, a true believer who lives in this world with the sole concern of attaining Allah’s Pleasure.
- Ya Allah, help us to be more thoughtful, critical, and aware people - who study, analyze, critique, who utilize this mind, and this apparatus that you have given us with in the manner that is pleasing to You.
- Ya Allah, we know we are in this dunya for a short amount of time, and we all believe that we will come to meet You one day, Ya Allah, we ask You to allow us to be prepared for that day - to make our actions representative of the truth of this Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). Make it that our intellects and our heart truly exude belief in Allah.
- Ya Allah, we ask that You beautify this community with the beauty of Iman. We ask for the beauty and the beautiful taste of Iman to resonate within us and to experience it every day.
- We ask Allah to accept the Hajj of those who journeyed, to make it that all of the light and blessings that they were able to experience in those lands to be light and blessings that they brought back to us. We ask that you make the Hujjaj a source of light and blessings for all of us.
- May Allah forgive all of our sins and shortcomings.
- May Allah bless us on this day of Jum’uah.
- May He have mercy upon us and elevate our ranks.
- May He helps us to follow truly upon the footsteps of the Prophet (saw).
- We ask you, Ya Allah, to help us to live every single day of our lives in a manner that is pleasing to You, and to forgive all of our sins and shortcomings because they are many.
- We have fallen short for a very long time and we ask You to help us, Ya Allah.
- Ya Allah, bless our students in their journey of education, and make them steadfast in their journey.
- Ya Allah, we know there are many pressures, impulses and concerns that take us away from You. We ask that You fortify our hearts and our children’s hearts with Iman, with Islam, and make it that we are immovable mountains, regardless of the pressures and regardless of the impulses.
- Bless our children, Ya Allah, protect Iman in their hearts, Ya Allah.
- Beautify our homes, our masajid, and our institutions with the beauty of Iman, and the beauty of Islam, and the beauty of Ihsan.
- How does my Iman inform the various aspects of my life?
- Have I applied my intellect, ability to reason and reflect to my Iman?
- What movements and social trends have I embraced that compromise my Iman?