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The term Iman refers to all kinds of faith and belief. In Islamic terminology there are specific conditions of being a 'momin' or one who has Iman in Islam/who has accepted this religion. Since Iman refers to an acceptance by the heart, it has many levels. From a more scholarly viewpoint, it means accepting the prophets commandments wholeheartedly by knowing that admitting his commandments are no different from admitting those of the God. One step of Iman is simply the declaration and decision of belief, or the shahada. To get to that point, one must be sincerely seeking truth and be blessed with guidance from Allah swt. After being a Muslim, the next step, is to be mo'meen, or a true believer. Perhaps someone can expound clearly the differences between these, but in my understanding a Muslim who someone who professes belief but a momeen is someone who is truly submitted to the Creator, a pious person.

Iman, Islam, Faith, Iman and Morality, believer, steps of Iman

The term Iman refers to all kinds of faith and belief. In Islamic terminology, there are specific conditions of being a 'momin' or one who has Iman in Islam/who has accepted this religion. Since Iman refers to an acceptance by the heart, it has many levels. This means the heart can believe something to an extent, and at the highest stage the heart of the momin submits whole to Allah, reaches the state where there

is full belief in all aspects of Islam, including those that are hidden from normal humans at this time. There are several levels of Iman as mentioned by Agha Mufti Jaffer Hussain (RA) in his tafseer of Dua e Mukarim ul Akhlaq from the Sahifa e Kamela. The first level is acceptance with the tongue. At this stage the believer begins to at least with his tongue show acceptence or support towards the beliefs, and begins to understand some of the basic rules of religion, ie that there is a halal and haram, that Allah exists, and is watching over us, etc. This is the beginning stage, after which the person can begin to explore the religion further. The second level is acceptance from the tongue, and following this acceptance with the heart. Once again at this stage, the believer is not yet acting upon the beliefs, but has understood from the heart, and is trying and aiming to do more, as he begins to ponder over the concepts of faith, which would at the next stage lead to some action. The third level is acceptance from heart and tongue, as well as protecting oneself from the Greater Sins, while struggling to fulfil those responsibilities that if he does not fulfil that itself would be a Greater Sin (ie Salat, Zakat, Hajj, etc) At this stage, the believer is taking some action, but not at the stage of fulfilling all the responsibilities. He understands that he has responsibility on him and is seeking nearness to Allah through his actions. At the forth level, one begins to avoid not only Greater Sins but impermissible things, while fulfilling all his obligatory responsibilities. One is beginning to understand that it is not only the Greater sins that are harmful, and is beginning to see his smallness and the Greatness of his Lord. Therefore, he is taking more responsibility, and working harder. For all of us, i guess this is the state we should at least be on, as we are students trying to find nearness to Allah, but sadly we are not.

The fifth level is one in which an individual begins to fulfill not only the obligatory responsibilities, but also begins to focus on the recommended tasks, and not only avoiding impermissible, but also unrecommended things. The believer is beyond the state of 'responsibility', I would say that he is now at the state where he is truly worshipping Allah because Allah is worthy of being worshipped. Concepts are beginning to become clear, to the point that the believer can almost feel hell and heaven/the next world, and therefore he is not satisfied with just what is required for him, but taking the next step with love and fear of His Lord. Finally the final level, is one in which one has moved beyond the recommended/permissable/ vs impermissable/disliked, but is even careful about those things that are Mubah (neither permissable nor impermissable), and avoids certain acts b/c they could be bring them near to being disliked acts (such as speaking too much, which can lead to telling a lie or speaking ill of others). This is the state of the Prophets (a) and Imams (a), and this is the level which our forth Imam Zain ul Abedin (a) calls "akmal al Iman" the complete and perfect form of belief. In another view the Faith in Allah cannot be complete without acceptance of certain usool (concepts) of religion, which include Tawheed, Prophethood, Imamat, Resurrection, etc. As Surah Baqarah mentions in the start that this book is guidance for those who believe: 1. In the Unseen (which may be mentioning to those things that are not physically present but more spiritual, or could be speaking about the Imam of this Time (atfs) who is not in front of our eyes, but present. 2. In what has been sent to the Prophet (s) and those before him. 3. in the day of judgment.

It is clear that if our heart does not accept certain things, our faith in Allah would not be complete, and we would be unable to act upon it. For example, if we do not follow the commands told to us by the Prophet (s) or Imams (a) , then how can we claim to believe in Allah when this was a guidance sent from Allah, as mentioned in Surah Tawbah near ayat 129, "the Prophet (s) is grieved at your falling into distress, and is Rauuf o Raheem to the believers. How should we go about making our Iman better? I am at the stage myself where i would need an answer to this. However, there are guidelines sent to us, and one of them is the Quran. Surah Yunus, near ayat 57 mentions that the Quran is an "admonishion" which has come to them (us) from our Lord, healing what is in hearts, a guidance and Mercy for the Believers. We have to note here that healing our hearts may mean bringing Iman into the hearts. The Surah further mentions the acceptance of the believers towards the rules of Islam, whereas Surah Tawba mentions near ayat 124 that the kafiroon (unbelievers) are those in whose hearts is a disease. When our faith is incomplete, even when we been shown the right path, it is a disease in our hearts that must be preventing us from going near that guidance, and the Quran has mentioned itself (The Quran) to be a source that heals those hearts. The unblelievers are said to be those for whom it adds 'uncleanliness to their uncleanliness' which may be referring to the dirt on our hearts created by sins, which further harden our heart.

Islam and Iman:

The differences between Islam and Iman are many, we will outline a few. 1. Islam is simply the outer submission and does not necessarily entail action according to ones beliefs or having a firm conviction deep down inside the heart (no internal submission). He openly submits to the will of Allah (s.w.t), but his heart is still empty of true submission to Allah (s.w.t) and he may simply be accepting Islam for convenience. However, Iman covers both the internal and

external submission to all the commandments of Allah (s.w.t) through the heart, tongue and actions that a person performs, he shows that he has truly submitted to Allah (s.w.t). The Holy Prophet (s.w.t) said, Al-Islam is the apparent (declaration) and al-Iman is the hidden (belief). 2. The contrast between Islam and Iman is that Islam is accomplished by saying the shahadatain. However Iman, in addition to the testimony of shahadatain, also entails true belief in the heart and action according to the belief, accepting and following the Wilayah of Imam Ali (PBUH) and the Imams (PBUH) after him appointed by the Holy Prophet (s.w.t). 3. According to 5th or 6th Imam (PBUH): Islam is confession by the tongue without acting while Iman is the confession by the tongue and acting according to ones responsibility. Iman means to recognize and believe in Wilayah of the Imam Ali (PBUH) and eleven Imams after him and if he testifies but does not recognize Wilayah of Imams, then he is a Muslim but misguided. 4. Islam has no special effect on the heart and soul of a person and his outward appearance, meaning he may look like any other Muslim or even like any other person in the society. Iman is related to the heart, soul and the outward appearance, his true faith will manifest in the way he dresses and his physical appearance and his actions in terms of religion and obligations towards his kin. 5. By one professing Islam, there is no reward of paradise thus we understand paradise is limited only to the Momin or one who has Iman. Our 6th Holy Imam (PBUH) said, Anyone who accepts Islam, his blood will be sanctified (he can not be killed), anytime he gives you a trust, it must be returned and relations are made permissible (after marriage) however the reward from Allah (s.w.t) is limited to Iman (true faith). 6. If one has false beliefs, his Islam will not fall at risk, this means that he is a marginal Muslim and he will not leave his apparent state of submission to Allah (s.w.t). However, if one has Iman and starts to entertain false beliefs or is

corrupted by deviant thoughts, his Iman will drag him to complete disbelief (Kufr) and loss in this world and more importantly the next world. In sura Ankaboot V.52, Allah decrees who are at loss. (52)

[Shakir 29:52] Say: Allah is sufficient as a witness between me and you; He knows what is in the heavens and the earth. And (as for) those who believe in the falsehood and disbelieve in Allah, these it is that are the losers.

7. Islam is similar to a body with no spirit (spiritually dead person). However, Iman is comparable to a body with a soul, a person who is alive both physically and spiritually. In sura Yaseen V.70 Allah says: (70)

[Shakir 36:70] That it may warn him who would have life, and (that) the word may prove true against the unbelievers.

8. Islam only gives protection to the person in this world and there will be no protection for him in the next world, Iman and the one who is a Momin, will never enter the hell fire. Allah says in sura Anam V.82 (82)

[Shakir 6:82] Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with iniquity, those are they who shall have the security and they are those who go aright.

9. Islam will not be covered with the Wilayah (Guardianship or Protection) of Allah (s.w.t) rather, the Muslim or one who only has Islam can be covered and taken over

by the Guardianship of shaitan. As for the one who has Iman, he can never be under the Wilayah of shaitan , Allah (s.w.t) alone is his Guardian and Wali. In sura Baqara, V.257 Allah says:

(257) [Shakir 2:257] Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.

In sura Anaam V. 27, Allah says:

(27) [Shakir 6:27] And could you see when they are made to stand before the fire, then they shall say: Would that we were sent back, and we would not reject the communications of our Lord and we would be of the believers.

In sura Nahl V.99-100, Allah says:

(99) [Shakir 16:99] Surely he has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord.

(100) [Shakir 16:100] His authority is only over those who befriend him and those who associate others with Him.

10. As it is commonly known, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) is the Amir (Commander and final authority) of the Momineen, he is not the Amir of the Muslimeen. Thus, there is a big difference between the leadership of the Ahlul-Bayt (PBUH) and specifically the first Imam of the Ummah, he is the leader of those who have Islam and Iman, however, he is specifically the Amir or the Commander and final authority for those who possess Iman. In sura Ahzaab V.6, Allah says:

(6) [Shakir 33:6] The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves, and his wives are (as) their mothers; and the possessors of relationship have the better claim in the ordinance of Allah to inheritance, one with respect to another, than (other) believers, and (than) those who have fled (their homes), except that you do some good to your friends; this is written in the Book.

11. It is possible that a Muslim or one who has only Islam can and will take enemies of Allah (s.w.t) as their close friends and protectors over Allah (s.w.t) and the believers. Practical examples are the Middle Eastern countries who literally bow down to their master(s) and take all their orders directly from that colorless house and not the house of Allah nor the house of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) or the AhlulBayt). However, the one who has Iman or is a Momin will never take his enemies or the enemies of Allah (s.w.t) as their friend or protector. In sura Mumtahina V. 1, Allah says:


[Shakir 60:1] O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.

12. Those who have Iman are of the Hizbullah or the Party of Allah however those who are Muslims or have Islam only are not a part of the Hizbullah. Again this point is mentioned in a beautiful verse of the Quran where Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) states with all clarity. In sura Mujadila V.22 Allah says:


[Shakir 58:22] You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their (own) fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk; these are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and whom He has strengthened with an inspiration from Him: and He will cause them to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are wellpleased with Him these are Allah's party: now surely the party of Allah are the successful ones.

One thing also to consider is the steps of Iman that take course throughout life. The criteria for Iman is different depending on the age of the individual.

Imam in Childhood:

Iman is the axis round which the life of a child mostly revolves. It is Iman in those associated with him, e.g. his parents, brothers, sisters, teachers etc., in the matter of things which he does in imitation of them or according to their instructions and Iman in his own efforts and discernment in the matter of things which he does on his own account. The children trust their parents, their brothers, their sisters and their teachers. They have faith in the correctness of what their elders teach them and in what they do independently on their own account." "In principle the Iman of a child is largely a reflection of the love and trust which his parents show to him and to each other. Similarly the Iman of a teacher has a profound and constructive effect on his pupils, especially during the early years of their education"

Imam in Adolescence:
"During this period another Iman fills the place of the first Iman (viz. Iman in the opposite direction of the first Iman), without the child being faced with a prolonged doubt. But during this period he does not suffer from a feeling of uncertainty and usually develops confidence in the opposite direction. That is why a child often changes his views rapidly and in quick succession." Constructive doubt in adolescence: "Adolescent incredulity is a very effective factor in the human development, provided it is accompanied by a sort of earnestness and faith in investigation and search. Only this sort of incredulity may be called constructive doubt. Although the function of doubt is to destroy all that we already believe and construction is connected with the search and investigation which we undertake after this destruction, but as we do not undertake investigation and research unless the unstable beliefs of childhood are destroyed we consider doubt also to be a participant in this construction and call it the "constructive doubt".

"He wants to be independent and to show that he is no more a child. This doubt is, therefore, accompanied by a sort of Iman Iman in himself; Iman in this that he should stand on his own legs and should see what he can understand himself. " "If adolescent incredulity is not followed by a positive desire to discover and an earnestness in inquiry, it cannot be called constructive. In that case it will shake our confidence in everything and will bring about only boring reluctance. Thus Iman, in rediscovery, has a positive role during the marvelous period of adolescence." "Constructive and positive Iman naturally creates certain obligations and limitations. In human society every ideology has its own rules to which those who believe in it, have to adhere. Even the nihilists who do not accept any system have to observe certain norms and rules. The groups which form clubs to oppose the conventional way of life, do not allow a person conforming to the normal standards, to attend them, because they consider such a thing to militate against their system. If a system of `no system' creates certain duties, how can it be expected that a constructive ideology should involve no moral and legal obligations. The liberal minded section of our society should know that escape from responsibilities is neither in keeping with realism nor with true liberal mindedness." "The Iman of childhood despite its purity and serenity is incomplete because it does not originate from consciousness accompanied by an analysis. It is mostly an involuntary response to the environment and is a sort of its echo. That is why it cannot stand its ground in the face of the doubts of adolescence, and as we said earlier, is shaken with the onset of puberty." "The Iman of such people even in their mature age is more or less a follow up of that which they had during their childhood. It only deepens with the passage of time." "On the question of the adoption of a doctrine the Qur'an emphasizes that Iman should be based on knowledge and satisfactory study. If it is not based on

knowledge, it has no value and search for truth should be continued." "From Quranic point of view it is the duty of man that irrespective of the ideas imparted to him by his parents or acquired by him from his environment during his childhood, he should exercise his learning and knowing faculties, to look carefully at himself and the world surrounding him and should continue to contemplate coolly till he arrives at a definite conclusion which may form the basis of his belief and personal and social behavior in life." Here are what Momeen practices for increasing his/her faith:

1. Recognize and Repent They are as follows: First: Giving up of the sin itself. Second: Remorse over what has been committed. Third: A resolve not to repeat it, and, Fourth: Compensating those who have been wronged or obtaining their forgiveness. 2. Perform Salah Regularly "The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses -this Quran- are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone); who perform salah and spend out of that we have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise) (Al-Anfal: 2-4). 3. Quranic Recitations 4. Engage in Dhikr Some beneficial dhikr include: Subhan'Allah- 'Praise be to Allah'

Al-Hamdullilah- 'Thanks be to Allah' Allahu Akbar 'Allah is the Greatest.' La ila ha illallah- There is no worthy of worship except allah 5. Voluntary Fasting 6. Carrying out Good Deeds 7. Remembering Death 8. Gaining Knowledge Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 269 reveals: "Allah grants wisdom to whom He pleases and to whom wisdom is granted indeed he receives an overflowing benefit. 9. Making Much Dua 10. Having Trust In Allah In Surah At-Tauba: 51, Allah (SWT) says "Say: 'Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector': And on Allah let the Believers put their trust."

The Steps of Iman in Traditions:

The Osul-alKafi; Book 5: The Book of Belief and Disbelief Chapter 16 - Islam precedes belief -Samaa requested Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p) to explain the difference between Islam and Belief (Iman). The Imam (p): I shall give you an example. Islam and Belief are like the Sacred Precincts and the Kaba respectively. Sometimes a person is inside the Holy Precincts but not inside the Kaba and also cannot reach inside the Kaba without entering into the Sacred Precincts. Similarly, a person can be a Muslim but not a believer (Momin). But he cannot be a believer (Momin) unless he is a Muslim.

Chapter 26--Superiority of faith over belief and conviction over faith -Imam Muhammad al-Baqir said: God has made faith (Iman) superior to belief (Islam) just as Kaba has been made superior to the sacred mosque. Imam Jafar as-Sadiq asked Abu Baseer: O Abu Muhammad! (The epithet of Abu Baseer), does Islam have a status? Abu Baseer: Yes. The Imam (p): Does Faith (Iman) have a higher status than Islam? Abu Baseer: Yes. The Imam (p): Is Piety (Taqwa) higher than Faith (Iman)? Abu Baseer: Yes. The Imam (p): Is Conviction (Yaqin) higher than Piety (Taqwa)? Abu Baseer: Yes. The Imam (p): People have been endowed with the least degree of Conviction (Yaqin) -Imam Ali ar-Reza (p) was requested to explain the difference between Islam and Belief. Imam Ali ar-Reza (p) quoted Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p): Islam is the name of the religion. Belief is one degree higher than Islam, piety is one degree higher than belief, conviction is one degree higher than piety and the least that has been endowed among people is conviction. He (p) was requested to define conviction. The Imam (p): Trust in God, obeying His commandments, to remain content with His will and to surrender all your affairs to the will of God. -Imam Ali ar-Reza (p): Belief is one degree higher than Islam, piety is one degree higher than belief and conviction is one degree higher than piety and nothing has been endowed to people higher than conviction.

The Steps of Iman in Quran

Enter into submission (Surah Al Baqarah 208) Believe in what has been revealed to Prophet Mohammed saww (Surah Al Baqarah 1-5) Believe in what was revealed to the previous prophets saw (Surah Al Baqarah 1-5) Believe in the hereafter (Surah Al Baqarah 1-5) Believe in unseen (Surah Al Baqarah 1-5) Do not follow Shaitaan (Surah Al Baqarah 208) Should be ready to accept distress and affliction, but remember Allah swt through it (accept trials) (Surah Al Baqarah 214) Establish prayer (1-5), Recite Quran (Surah Yunus, 61) (These are more practices than the internal beliefs, but they are also important in this journey). Safeguard selves with full awareness of Divine laws (Surah Al Baqarah 206 and a lot more) Spend in way of their Lord, out of what the Lord has provided them with, but do not show it off, and do not follow it up with injury or hurt. Do not give something YOU would not like to receive.( Surah Al Baqarah 1-5), (Surah Al Baqarah 261267)(This is another practice, but one of the major practices which we have been told to follow, and will inshaAllah bring a momin closer to Allah swt). Do good deeds (Surah Al Baqarah 195) Do not deal unjustly with others, the way you would not want to be dealt with unjustly (Surah Al Baqarah 279) Use kind words and forgive people as much as possible (Surah Al Baqarah 261266)

Guide orphans to the right path and help them (Surah Al Baqarah 220).

Another perspective of steps of Iman in view of Imam Ali (PBUH) in Nahjul Balagah:
First step is Humility. This is important step in our Iman, it is the root of all virtues, and without humility we would not be able to submit ourselves fully to Allah. A humble person is always submissive before the majesty and greatness of Allah, and lays the foundation of his acts of worship on the platform of this significant virtue. A Shia Speaker said when I wish to present myself to someone I show my face, This is where my honour is, May be you dont think my face is very honourable but to me that is where it is, and where you keep your honour, an example when someone slaps us across the shoulders we usually brush it off casually maybe even joke about it , but if someone slaps you across the face thats a different matter, our honour has been slapped we find it hard to ignore it or joke about it. If our honour was not on our face then why do we react so strongly to it been slapped. Yet when we say namaz 5 times a day we have to place our face on the earth accepting our humility to Allah, we dont grumble or complain we do it willingly, we are accepting that to him we are nothing greater than the person next to us saying namaz, and we would never be anything more than this. We humble ourselves in front of him submit to his will. We place our honour on the floor without even a second thought because Allah commands it. The holy Prophet said there is none, who exhibits humility for (the sake of) Allah, except that Allah grants him greatness and eminence. Imam Ali said If you have been guided to your goal, then be as humble as you can.

Second is Obedience This is also a very important step in our Iman, we must be obedient to Allah and every command of Allah should be carried out without any questions asked. We must in our servitude to Allah do everything ordered by him, his Prophets and Imams, because everything they tell us is a relay of what Allah requested us to do. A Mumin performs the obligatory and the recommended acts for these are the basis for Allahs obedience and subservience. Imam Sajjad (as) said One who performs (all) that Allah has made obligatory upon him, is the most worshiping of all people. Imam Ali (as) said, the heart of the matter is gnosis of Allah the exalted and what supports it is obedience to Allah the mighty and the majestic.

Third is Sacrifice If we cannot sacrifice ourselves, our time or our possessions, then how will we be able to reach the ultimate goal to nearness to Allah? The first sacrifice we offer every day is our time, 5 times a day we stop what we are doing to do wudu and say our prays, In the Holy month of Ramadan we give up a full month of eating, drinking, and our normal everyday routines in order to spend time with Allah Praising him, and worshiping him, in this month we also give up our nights for extra worship.We give charity and help the poor. We visit the sick and infirm, we give our time and efforts to the mosques and Imam Barghas. We also do extra mustahab prayers and fasts, which are not compulsory on us, but we sacrifice our time to perform these mustahab acts to show our commitment to Allah and the worship of Allah.

Forth is determination and forbearance We have to be determined to perform our wajib acts of worship. If there is no determination in our mind to fulfil these wajib acts, then we would have no determination or willpower to fulfil any other acts of worship. We have to be determined to stand up for what we believe in against none Islamic religions and being Shia against the discrimination we may get from other Islamic sects. We have to be determined in our dress code, especially if we are female, because in the Western World it is easy to put hijaab to one side, were as it takes determination to wear it against any opposition or feeling uncomfortableness for being different. Also we must show forbearance to follow in the steps of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and the Imams (AS), no matter what challenges or situations arise. A forbearing person in the face of ill-treatment by his family, friends and other people, exhibits patience for the sake of divine pleasure. Allah, the wise, has said, Most surely Ibrahim was forbearing, tender hearted, oft-returning (To Allah). Allah, the wise, has said, then stand you fast (O, Our apostle Muhammad)(on the right path) as you are commanded, (by your Lord) as also he has turned (to Allah) with you.

Fifth is Repentance This is the most loved step by Allah (SWT) he is pleased when we turn to him in repentance. When we admit our weaknesses, fault and we ask for his forgiveness with a promise we will try not to do it again, our repentance should be from the depth of the heart. We should also regards the depth of our wrong doing, not look upon our sin as being trivial and insignificant, no matter how small we see our sins.

As Allah sees what that sin leads to and how many other sins we may have had to commit for that one. It is vital that when we repent, we make an amends for it by refining from committing the same sin in the future. We should always regret our lapse, testify against them to our Allah, and clean our souls from sins. Allah, the wise, has said, "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and then turn to Him in repentance." Those that turn (to Allah. in repentance; that serve Him, and praise Him; that wander in devotion to the cause of Allah,: that bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer; that enjoin good and forbid evil; and observe the limit set by Allah.(These do rejoice). So proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers.

Sixth is Self-preservation This is ourselves, we have to think what we are aiming for, this is our ultimate goal, to receive the blessing from Allah (SWT) and to enter Jahannet. If we fail in this goal, then anything we have done in our whole life was for nothing. Why do we say our wajib prays? To getAllahs blessings. Why do we fast in the holy Month of Ramadan? To receive forgiveness and blessings from Allah (SWT). Why do we Respect and look after our elders? Because, it pleases Allah and earns us extra blessings. Some things we do because we want to, whilst others we do because Allah wants us to, he is happy with us when we do them. we know that these acts earn us extra blessings and whether anyone else is happy with what we do or not we dont care because we know that Allah is happy with us and he is the one who will reward us for them.

Imam Ali (as) said, It is by reflecting over consequences that you will preserve yourself.

Seventh is Love Most importantly, we must have love for our religion, our Almighty Creator and the Ahlul-Bayt. Our love for the Ahlul-Bayt should be very strong as Allah (SWT) has created them and loves them, so in our love for them we inshaallah will be loved by Allah. We should be aware of and love all the creations of Allah, we should care for them. For example, the environment, we should not use and abuse it as it was created by Allah (SWT) and a gift from Him to us. If we love the people and everything around us, we become more humble and respectful, thus pleasing Allah (SWT) and also showing our love for Him. Hadith no. 34: Wilayat and Tawhid

The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, The Wilayat of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib is the Wilayat of Allah; love for him ('Ali) is worship of Allah; following him ('Ali) is an obligatory act from Allah; his friends are the friends of Allah and his enemies are the enemies of Allah; fighting with him is (like) fighting against Allah; and making peace with him is (like) making peace with Allah, the Noble and Grand.

Eight is Trust We must place our trust in Allah, know that he will watch over us and keep us safe. That the test he gives us are not more than we can bear, we trust he guides us

on the right path, away from evil, that he will fulfil his promises to us, forgive us when we repent, help us when we need him. Our trust in Allah can never be revealed by just words or action, it is an internal trust we have for him and it has its roots in our faith and belief. Allah, the wise, has said, So when you have decide, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust. Imam Ali (as) said, Placing one trust in Allah is the means of deliverance from every evil.

Mastership of Imam Ali (PBUH): The Measure of Belief

There exists a long-standing debate between scholars and traditionalists as to what is the difference between 'Islam' (submission) and 'Imaan (Belief)? Who is a Muslim? Who is a be-liever? What is the basic difference between a Muslim and a Believer? Some of the general differences cited are as follows: 1. A Muslim does not act according to his belief, while the believer acts as per the necessi-ties of the belief close to his heart. 2. A Muslim's belief is only verbal and due to this apparent expression of faith he is called a Muslim though, in fact, he is a disbeliever. For example, a hypocrite. But, a believer possesses absolute faith from the depth of his heart. His words deeds are the interpreters of the feelings of his heart. 3. A Muslim will get the reward of his good deeds in this world itself and in the hereafter; he will be devoid of any rewards. While a believer will be amply rewarded in both the worlds, this world as well as the hereafter. Are only these three the basic differences between a Muslim and a believer or is there still a more important basic difference between them?

In various parts and chapters of innumerable Sunni books, we find more basic differences which are taken as standards to differentiate between a Muslim and a Believer. This basic difference is,, the belief in, and the acceptance of the Mastership and successor ship of Hazrat. Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) as the Caliph without doubt after the Holy Prophet (PBUH). If anyone does not belief in the mastership of Hazrat Ali (PBUH), he is automatically excluded from the group of believers and will be deprived of the unaccountable rewards of the hereafter. The basic condition of belief is the faith in Hazrat Ali (PBUH)'s Mastership itself. Hafiz Muttaqi Hindi in Kanzul Ummal vol 6, Pg. 218 and Hafiz Ibn Asakir in Tareekhe Demeshqi have narrated a tradition from the Holy Prophet (PBUH): "O Ali ! Islam is unclothed. Its covering is piety. Its hairs and wings are guidance. Its adornment is modesty, its population is guarding against evil. its standard is good deeds and its foundation is my love and the love of my progeny (Ahle Bait)." In this tradition, along with the previous three differences between a Muslim and a Believer, a fourth difference is also hinted at and that is, the love of the Prophet (PBUH) and his progeny must be in a believers heart while a non-believers heart is devoid of this divine bounty. In another tradition the Holy Prophet (PBUH) addressed Hazrat Ali (PBUH) thus: "O Hazrat Ali (PBUH)! If you were not there, the believers would not be recognized after me." Thus, the gauge of distinction between a Muslim and a Believer is Hazrat Ali (PBUH)'s Mastership. Some authentic traditions quote Hazrat Ali (PBUH) saying: "The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said to me, O Ali! None will love you except a believer and none shall hate you except a hypocrite." This tradition is found in reliable Sunni books like Sunan-e-Tirmidhi vol. 2, pg. 301; Sunan-e-Nisai, vol. 2, pg. 271; Sunan-e-Ibn Majah, pg. 12; Sahih Muslim in'Kitaabul Imaan.

On the basis of such traditions, many notable companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) like Abu Saeed Khidri, Abuzar Ghaffari, Ibn Abbas, Jaabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, Abdullah ibn Abbas etc. have said: "During the time of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), we recognised the hypocrites by their malice agains Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH)." (Sunnane Tirmidhi, vol. 2, pg. 299; Mus-tadrak-us-Saheehain vol. 3, pg. 129; Taarekhe Baghdad; vol. 3, pg. 153; Al-Isteaab by Abu Amr, vol. 2, pg. 464; 'Durrul Mansoor' under the Quranic chapter of 'Muhammad'). The pious wife of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), Ummul Momineen Umme-Salma, narrates a tradition that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) came to my house. That very moment, Hazrat Ali (PBUH) also arrived. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) advised about Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) thus: "Listen carefully and be a witness that if a servant of God constantly worships Him between the 'Hajare Aswad' and 'Maqaame Ibrahim' (PBUH) for more than two thousand years and meets God (dies) in such a way that his heart is devoid of Ali's love, the Almighty will throw him in the hellfire on his face." (Manaqeb-e-Khaarazmi, pg. 52). Many reliable Sunni authors have recorded this tradition in their books, narrating from, renowned companions like Umme Salmah, Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Amaainatul Baheli, etc. The narration by Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari is even more detailed and explanatory. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said to Hazrat Ali (PBUH) "O Ali, if somebody worships Allah all the time and is the best of worshippers, but nurses a doubt about you and your progeny, he will be in hell." (Yanaabee-ul-Mawaddah, pg. 253 : Manaqeb - Al - Mur-tuzaweeyah. pg. 114) The first tradition contains the word 'malice, while the second has 'doubt. So we see that even having a doubt about the 'mastership' of Hazrat Ali (PBUH) will be the cause of entry in to hellfire. In the light of these traditions, the belief in and the acceptance of the successors of

Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) is very necessary. If somebody does not believe in their mastership and nurtures a grudge against them, none of his good deeds or actions will be accepted and he will be thrown in hell. Abdullah Ibn Umar, the son of the Second Caliph, narrates a tradition from the Holy Prophet (PBUH): "Allah, the Almighty, will not accept anybody's good deeds without the love of Hazrat Ali (PBUH)." (Dar Bahr-al-Manaqeb, pg. 125). A similar tradition is narrated by Abuzar (r.a.) Hazrat Ali (PBUH) has also quoted the Holy Prophet (PBUH) thus: "Nobody's belief will be accepted by Allah without the love of Hazrat Ali (PBUH) and hatred towards his enemies." (ManaqebeKhaarazmi vol. 2, Keefayatul-Taalib, pg. 123) Now, it is clear that the love of Hazrat Ali (PBUH) and acceptance of his Mastership is the foundation of belief and therefore in the grave, the enquiring angles, Nakeero-Munkar, will also ask about it along with other beliefs. Ibaaad Ibn Ibaad says that he went to Yunus Ibn Khabbaab and asked about the chastisement of the grave. He answered: "There is one secret in this question which the 'Nasebis (enemies of Ahlebait) conceal." I asked: "What is that secret?" he replied: "In the grave, one will be asked 'Who is your Imam and Master?' If he replies 'Ali', he will be safe." (Tahzeeb-Al-Tahzeeb of Ibn Hajar Asqalaani, vol. II, pg. 439) Not only the grave but in the hereafter, one will be asked about the Mastership of Hazrat Ali (PBUH) in different places. The grave is only the first stage. Accounting of actions will be done in the light of this belief. People will be divided in group and the decisions for the reward and punishment will be taken. Ibn Abbas narrates from the Holy Prophet (PBUH): "Whoever nurses a doubt concerning the Imamat and Mastership of Hazrat Ali (PBUH), he will be raised from the grave with a chain of fire around his neck" (Manaqeb Ibn Maghazeli, pg. 18; Manaqeb Khaarazmi pg. 2290).

This tradition does not discuss about the enemies of Hazrat Ali (PBUH). It only mentions the fate of those who have doubt about his Imamat. Miqdad, the famous companion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) narrates from him (PBUH): "The recognition of Muhammad's progeny is the permit for passing the path of 'Seraat'. The acceptance of the mastership of Muhammad's progeny is security from divine chastisement." (Al-Sawaeq, pg. 23, Al-Ithaaf, pg. 4; Al Rauz Al Azhar pg. 357). A similar tradition is recorded in Tareekhe Baghdad, vol. 10 pg. 356 and Riyaazun Nazrrah,' vol. 2, pg. 177 narrating from the first Capliph Abu Bakr. Under the Quranic verses, "Stop them, they shall be asked" (Surah Saffat, 37: 24) and "Then, certainly you shall be asked that day about the bounty". (Surah Takasur, 102 : 8). Abu Saeed Khidri and Ibn Abbas interpret it thus : "Stop them. They shall be asked about the Mastership of Hazrat Ali (PBUH)". Yet, in another place Ibn Abbas says it is like this, "... they shall be asked about their confession of Ali's mastership."(Al-Sawaaeq, pg. 147; Tazkeratul Khawaas, pg. 21; Arjahul Mataalib, pg. 63). Muttaqi Hindi records a tradition in his "Kanzul Ummal', vol. 7, pg. 212, narrating from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) via Ibn Abbas, "None can move a step forward on the day of judgement until and unless he is asked about four things: 1. About his time. Where did he spend it? 2. About his body. How did he use it? 3. About his wealth? From where did he obtain it and how did he spend it? 4. About the love of us 'Ahle Bait'. In other words, the belief in Hazrat Ali (PBUH)'s mastership and its confession is necessary for entering paradise and enjoying the luxuries of the next world because that is the founda-tion of belief. It is also the distinction between 'Belief and

'Hypocrisy! Huzaif Ibn Yamaan, Ibn Abbas and Ziad Ibn Mutraf narrate a tradition from the Holy Prophet (PBUH): "Whoever wishes to live and die like me and enter paradise, he should claim Ali and his progeny as his master and Leader." (Al Isaabah of Ibn Hajar, vol. 3, part I, pg- 20). Huzaifa Ibn Yamaan's tradition from Holy Prophet (PBUH) is still more explanatory, "... He should claim Ali as my successor after me without doubt". (Hulyatul Awliya of Abu Noaim, Vol. 1, pg. 86). After all these sayings, verses, and clear explanatory traditions, one should not take the matter of Hazrat Ali (PBUH)'s mastership lightly or think it to be easy. We must entrench this faith deep into our hearts and make it stronger by each day, and train our children on the basis of this love and mastership. The bounty of Mastership which has been bestowed upon us by the Almighty, should be conveyed to others, thereby securing ourselves as well as the others from hell-fire. We pray to the Almighty to keep us attached to the progeny of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) till our last breath. We conclude our discussion by the words of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): "Train your children on three principles: Love of your Prophet (PBUH), Love of your Prophet (PBUH)'s progeny and Recitation of the Quran"(Kanzul Ummal, vol. 8, pg. 278.)

Words of Wisdom: Faith in Religion

When Imam Ali(PBUH) was asked about Faith in Religion, he replied that the structure of faith is supported by four pillars endurance, conviction, justice and jihad. Endurance is composed of four attributes: eagerness, fear, piety and anticipation (of death). So whoever is eager for Paradise will ignore temptations; whoever fears the fire of Hell will abstain from sins; whoever practices piety will

easily bear the difficulties of life and whoever anticipates death will hasten towards good deeds. Conviction has also four aspects to guard oneself against infatuations of sin; to search for explanation of truth through knowledge; to gain lessons from instructive things and to follow the precedent of the past people, Because whoever wants to guard himself against vices and sins will have to search for the true causes of infatuation and the true ways of combating them out and to find those true ways one has to search them with the help of knowledge, whoever gets fully acquainted with various branches of knowledge will take lessons from life and whoever tries to take lessons from life is actually engaged in the study of the causes of rise and fall of previous civilizations. Justice also has four aspects depth of understanding, profoundeness of knowledge, fairness of judgment and dearness of mind; because whoever tries his best to under- stand a problem will have to study it, whoever has the practice of studying the subject he is to deal with, will develop a clear mind and will always come to correct decisions, whoever tries to achieve all this will have to develop ample patience and forbearance and whoever has done this has done justice to the cause of religion and has led a life of good repute and fame. Jihad is divided into four branches: to persuade people to be obedient to Allah; to prohibit them from sin and vice; to struggle (in the cause of Allah) sincerely and firmly on all occasions and to detest the vicious. Whoever persuades people to obey the orders of Allah provides strength to the believers; whoever dissuades them from vices and sins humiliates the unbelievers; whoever struggles on all occasions discharges all his obligations and whoever detests the vicious only for the sake of Allah, then Allah will take revenge on his enemies and will be pleased with Him on the Day of Judgement.

Words of Wisdom # 31, the Words of Wisdom # 227 and Sermon # 189.

Conclusions and recommendations:

Iman is a quality that one develops and perfects to higher levels, such as taqwa, through the performance of good deeds, abstaining from the forbidden and doubtful things, belief in the Unseen (Allah swt), and submission/obedience to Allah swt and His chosen prophets and guides (sa).

There are many characteristics of a believer and many levels of belief. The more superior levels are those in which a believer performs the good acts not out of desire for reward but out of love for Allah swt and the Prophet (saw). Surah Baqarah's opening ayahs eloquently summarize some of the primary characteristics of a believer: "(1) This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). (2) Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; (3) And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. (4) These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful." Here we see that those who ward off evil believe in God, observe the rights of worship such as salat, give in charity, believe in the Holy Scriptures, are certain of the Hereafter, and turn to Allah swt for guidance. Many of the characteristics of believers mentioned elsewhere can be distilled to these few.

Akhlaq or morals and manners increase at the same speed as inner Iman increases. If there is no change, however slight, then we are not making spiritual progress. If this is the case, we must repent and plead with Allah to forgive us and increase our inner Iman so that our outer akhlaq will improve also.

Iman is the core of religion without which all deeds are rendered useless. Strong Iman accompanied by the love of Ahlul Bayt can bring a believer very close to Allah.