On reflecting on this third theme of Iman, I am clearly reminded how all of our spiritual ideals and practices intersect and intertwine into a beautiful wreath of being – it is impossible to understand the Qur’anic expressions of Iman without looking towards those epitomes that Allah stresses along with it – foremost amongst them, Righteous Action (Amal Salih), Reliance on Divine Will (Tawakkal) and Higher Consciousness (Taqwa), which I hope to write about in the coming days insha’Allah.
Allah addresses those who have adopted Iman in the Qur’an with the epithet “Ya Ayyuhal Ladhina Amanu”, an intimate discourse – which upon further deliberation – directs such believers to the lofty ideals and lifestyles which should constitute a life of faith.
First is the matter of belief – what should those of Iman inscribe as truth onto their consciousness?
“Oh you who have Iman, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever deny’s Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.”
These beliefs connect us to a legacy of a momentous past when Allah reached out to humanity through His angels, messengers and books and these beliefs also offer us hope of an eternal future. Linguistically, Iman has roots in trust, and so we must be sincere and secure in these beliefs.
Then are the various ritual and moral subjects addressed to those who have chosen to live a life of Iman – amongst them purity and prayer (5:6), fasting (2:183), generosity in charity (2:254) and the regulations of pilgrimage (5:2). For those of Iman, there are imperatives to fulfil oaths (5:1), shun intoxicants, gambling and fortune telling (5:90); instructions in adab (courtesy) (24:27) avoiding rumours and back-biting (49:12).
Some of our most deep-rooted and uplifting spiritual observances are addressed to us as bearers of Iman –
“Oh you who have Iman, remember Allah with much remembrance” (33:41)
“Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet: Oh you who have Iman, Send blessings on him, and send worthy salutations of peace on him” (33:56)
“Oh you who have Iman, have Taqwa of Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and have taqwa of Allah. Indeed, Allah is well acquainted with what you do.” (59:18)
“Oh you who have Iman, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. (66:8)
“Oh you who have Iman, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. (2:153)
Our ummah is built on the fellowship of Iman (49:10), and it is through being men and women of Iman that we become able to accept our roles of wilayah – as allies, trustees, guides and partners – of each other.
“The believing men and believing women are awliya (guardians, protectors, helpers) of one another. They enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, they establish salat and give zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (9:71).
Iman is also one of the devices by which Allah declares, that He becomes the Wali (intimate friend) of human beings (3:68) and by which we gain entry into His eternal Mercy, insha’Allah
“Then as for those who have Iman in Allah and hold fast to Him, He will cause them to enter into His mercy and grace and guide them to Himself on a straight path.” (4:175)