The Expression of Faith And Its Pillars

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Expressing the profession of faith is the first step in entering the Islamic religion. It is a sentence bearing witness to the oneness and unity of Allah and to the acceptance of Prophet Muhammad (J) as Allah’s last messenger. It is the root of religion. It possesses all secrets for the salvation of humanity.

Has many names that demonstrate its significance to Muslims:

Kalimah al-tayyibah; the most beautiful words,

Kalimah al-taqwa; the enunciation of Allah’s awareness,

Kavl al-thâbit; the right words,

Maqâlid al-thamavât wa al-ard; the key to the heavens and the earth,

Kalimah al-ihlâs, the expression of sincerity,

And Samanu’l-Jannah; the price of paradise.

The profession of faith is the essence of Islam and is the essence of all the religion’s other teachings. All details of Islam are dependent on this essence. Hence, it is the best kind of worship to utter these holy words. It is superior to all other kinds of worship. Even the best mode of worship, salât is incumbent at certain times of the day whereas the declaration of faith is incumbent at all times upon believers. Faith should always be protected from all sorts of harmful thought such as heedlessness. Fasting, salat and other kinds of worship can be postponed if there is an obstacle, however, faith can never be postponed regardless of the circumstance.

The profession of faith is:

“Ashadu anlâ ilâha illallah wa ashhadu anna muhammadan abduhu warasuluhu”

This means that:

In order to enter Islam, one should utter these words with his tongue and accept it in his heart. The profession of faith contains all Qur’anic wisdom and all realities. In other words, the entirety of the Qur’an is the articulation of these words. The essence of the Qur’an consists of belief in one Allah, tawhîd. The following verse clearly expresses this reality:

“This is a clear message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is only One Allah, and that men of understanding may take heed.” (Ibrahim, 14:52)

All praiseworthy acts of the servant of Allah are the consequence and fruit of these beautiful words. The more these words are established in the heart, the more a servant takes pleasure in worship. On the other hand, all acts that attract Allah’s wrath are the products of disbelief in these holy words. Allah the Almighty states in the Qur’an:

“Seest thou not how Allah sets forth a parable? – A goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens – of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition.  It brings  forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition. And the parable of an evil Word is that of an evil tree: It is torn up by the root from the surface of the earth: it has no stability.” (Ibrahim, 14:24-26)

The phrase in the verse, “It brings forth its fruit at all times”, is explained by the Prophet (J) as the continuous remembrance and mentioning of the names of Allah (Fazâil al-A’mâl).

WHAT IS ISLAM?

Explaining this verse Ibn Abbas (may Allah be happy with him) states: “This verse points to the word of profession, its roots are in the heart of the believer and its branches are in the heavens. The good deeds of the believer reach to the heavens. The filthy words are the ones that contain disbelief, and those that associate partners with Allah. No good action is accepted in the absence of faith.”

Therefore Allah has informed us in the Qur’an:

“He indeed shall be successful who purifies himself,” (‘Alâ, 87:14)

The Prophet (J) explains the concept of purification in this verse as uttering the words of profession (لاَ اِلَهَ اِلاَّ للهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَ سوُ لُ اللهِ)with sincerity, and abandoning the worship of idols both internally and externally. (Fazail A’mâl, 466)

The friends of Allah whose duty is to purify souls from all sorts of vice, act in accordance with the guidance of the above hadith. The idols are not always apparent, sometimes human souls nurture hidden idols such as his animal desires. In the following verse, Allah the most High condemns such attitudes:

“Hast thou seen him who maketh his desire his god,” (Jathiyah, 45:23)

One of the duties of the Prophet (J), as revealed in the Qur’an, is to purify the hearts of human beings from spiritual diseases and to unveil for them the deep dimensions of belief in the unity of Allah. Faith is like a mirror, and if a person is heedless of Allah this mirror is blurred. A blurred mirror prevents us from receiving and reflecting divine lights. Divine lights only manifest in a believer’s heart if the heart is made tender through the mentioning and remembrance of the names of Allah (zikrullah). Zikr is the opposite of forgetfulness. The tarnished nature of the heart is removed through turning to Allah with all sincerity and devotion.

The prophets and the friends of Allah invite people to accept the profession of faith which will open the door of heaven and earth for man. The prophets have shared these sweet words with humanity in the best manner through love and mercy. Many blessed people have responded to this call and have tasted the real faith which is sweeter even than kawthar (Fountain in Jannah). They have pioneered carrying the torch of faith. In this vein, let us examine the following verses of Aziz Mahmut Hudai:

Obey the commandments of Allah

Come to the unity, to the unity

Refresh your faith

Come to the unity, to the unity

 

Do not look too far into the distance

Do not throw your heart into the fire

Do not incline to everything you see

Come to the unity, to the unity

 

Close your eyes to everything other than Allah

Expect from Allah whatever you want

Throw your concerns from your heart

Come to the unity, to the unity

 

What do you think

You who are deceived by the transient

One day you will awaken

Come to the unity, to the unity

 

Leave blind imitation

Profess the unity of Allah with sincerity

Find all your dreams

Come to the unity, to the unity

 

So do not worship the forms

Look at the meanings

Try to be close to the Real

Come to the unity, to the unity

 

Do not believe your carnal soul

Do not think that you know

Do not throw yourself into the fire of shirk

Come to the unity, to the unity

Leave transient loves

Do you ever mention the dead

The traveler continues his travel do not be late

Come to the unity, to the unity

The profession of faith possesses limitless wisdom. Therefore, the earth, the heavens and everything in them confirm the message of these holy words. Even Allah the most High bears witness to His Unity:

Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.” (Âl-i Imrân, 3:19)

The profession of faith possesses four meanings in short:

  1. Declaring the existence of Allah,
  2. Declaring the attributes of Allah,
  3. Declaring the acts of Allah,
  4. Declaring the trustworthiness of the messenger of Allah.

The profession of faith is the seal of the Islamic faith and is called Âmantu. The six pillars of faith are a summary of the entire Islamic belief system.

The translation of the Âmentu is as follows:

I believe in Allah the Most High, in His angels, in His books, in His Prophets, in the Day of Judgement, in divine predestination and in the fact that both good and evil occur through the will of Allah, the Supreme Being and that there will be life after death. I testify that Muhammad (J) is His servant and messenger.

When one accepts the five pillars of Islam he/she becomes a Muslim and when he/she accepts the six pillars of faith he/she becomes a believer. However, only uttering these words by tongue without accepting it in the heart is not enough to be a believer.

In addition to believing in the existence of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad(J), one also needs to cultivate understanding and practice straightness in life. In other words, our faith should be strong and perfect so that it can carry us to salvation. When we speak about a strong faith it also includes accepting all the attributes of Allah.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, ISLAM SPIRIT AND FORM, Erkam Publications

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