Hadith 9

The matters of Eemaan (faith)

لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ، وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلاَئِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَئِكَ هُمْ الْمُتَّقُونَ وَقَوْلِهِ: قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

{Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.} (2:177) and His saying, {certainly will the believers have succeeded} (23:1)

Ibn Hajar’s explanation

The correlation between the verses and the upcoming narration is that good deeds (أعمال) are a part of attesting to the truthfulness (of Islam) and essential to the obedience (of Allah), this is why good deeds fall under the category of eemaan (faith).

Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al-Ju’fee narrated that Abu ‘Amr Al-‘Aqadee said that Sulayman ibn Bilaal narrated from Abdullah ibn Deenar from Abu Saalih from Abu Huraira that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Faith (belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And haya` (self respect, modesty, shyness, etc.) is a part of faith.”

This is the first of 446 narrations that Imam Bukhari recorded for Abu Huraira. There is substantial difference of opinion regarding his real name, as Ibn Abd Al- Barr said: “There’s none whose name, during jahilliyah (the time of ignorance, before Islam) and after Islam, is more differed upon than his (Abu Huraira), and the difference includes 20 different opinions.” I (Ibn Hajar) collected all of these opinions in Tahtheeb Al-Tahtheeb and the difference of opinion was not that large in scope, however the shaykh’s (Ibn Abd Al-Barr) words are considered to include his name and the name of his father.

His صلى الله عليه و سلم saying, “Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches”

Abu ‘Awanah recorded a narration from Sulayman Ibn Bilaal who said, “Sixty some or seventy some parts.”  Imam Muslim and the three collectors of the sunan (Tirmithi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah) recorded a narration that says “seventy some parts”. Al-Baihaqe favored Al-Bukhari’s narration because Sulayman had no doubt (in what he narrated).

His صلى الله عليه و سلم saying, “branches”

This means different parts.

His صلى الله عليه و سلم saying, “Haya` (حياء) (self respect, modesty, shyness, etc.)”

Haya’ can be used linguistically to mean refraining from something for a specific reason. Technically, it refers to a disposition or character that is built upon avoiding whatever is disgraceful or shameful, while it (Haya’) prevents a person from falling short in fulfilling the rights of others. It was stated in another narration, “Haya’ is entirely good.”

-If it is asked, how can haya’ be a part of eemaan when it is something natural (instinctive)?

The answer is that good character can either be natural or it can be learned. However, in order to achieve its reward (in Islam) it must be attained based upon knowledge and intention. It is part of eemaan for this reason and due to what it entails from actions of obedience and avoidance of wrongdoing.  It is important to note that haya’ never prevents a person from saying the truth or acting upon good as this would oppose the Shariah.

Haya’ was singled out for mention in this narration (while the other branches were not mentioned) because it guides to the other branches. A person who has haya’ fears humiliation in the dunya (wordly life) and in the akhira (hereafter) so he obeys (the orders of Allah) and restrains (from the prohibitions).   Further explanation of this subject will follow in the chapter titled; “Haya’ is part of eman”. Al-Qadee ‘Ayyad said, “Some of the scholars used interpretive judgment (ijtihad) to list the branches (of eman), yet it’s difficult to presume that this was intended (from the narration).” There has been no agreement upon a single method or manner of listing the branches, the closest in accuracy was the method of Ibn Hibban, however I have not come across its explanation from his own words or statements. What can be summarized from their efforts is that the branches of eemaan are based on the actions of the heart, the actions of the tongue, and the actions of the limbs.

The actions of the heart consist of the beliefs and the intentions and are twenty-four branches including belief in the following;

  • Allah – including belief in his being (ذات), his characteristics (صفات), that there is no other like him, and singling him out for worship. This also includes believing that everything other than Allah is created.

  • His angels, books, messengers, qadar (predestination), its good and its evil, and the last day (day of judgment)

  • The questioning of the grave, the resurrection,  the standing for trial on the day of judgment, the recompense (for the deeds), the scale (which will weigh the deeds), the passing over the siraat (bridge over the hellfire), Jannah (paradise), and jahannam (the fire)

  • Loving  Allah, loving and hating for the sake of Allah, loving the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم and holding him in the highest of esteem which includes sending the praises (of Allah) upon him and following his Sunnah

  • Ikhlaas (sincerity) which includes avoiding riyaa’ (showing off) and avoiding nifaaq (hypocrisy)

  • Tawbah (repentance to Allah), rajaa’ and khawf (hope and fear of Allah), shukr (thankfulness to Allah)

  • Wafaa’ (loyalty and allegiance), Sabr (patience), being pleased with what has preordained, and reliance (upon Allah)

  • Being merciful (to others), being humble, respecting the elders, and having compassion for the youth

  • Avoiding arrogance, egotism, envy, spitefulness, and compulsion

The actions of the tongue having seven branches:

  • Uttering the words of tawheed

  • Reciting the Quran

  • Learning knowledge and teaching it

  • Du’a (calling upon Allah)

  • Thikr (remembrance of Allah)

  • Istighfaar (Asking forgiveness from Allah)

  • Avoiding laghu (vain and wasteful speech)

The actions of the limbs have thirty-eight branches; fifteen of these branches are specific to the individual, as follows;

  • Purification and avoiding impurities

  • Covering the ‘awrah (private parts)

  • The obligatory and voluntary salaat (prayers)

  • The obligatory and voluntary zakaat (alms giving)

  • Freeing slaves

  • Generosity which includes feeding people and honoring the guest

  • The obligatory and voluntary siyaam (fasting)

  • Hajj and umrah

  • Tawaaf (circumambulating the ka’baa)

  • I’tikaaf (secluding oneself in the masjid for the sake of worship)

  • Seeking the virtue of laylat ul-qadr (the night of power)

  • Fleeing from (places of) tribulations for the sake of protecting ones religion, included in this is making hijrah from the land of polytheism

  • Fulfilling all oaths made to Allah

  • Always inspecting one’s own eemaan (and attempting to increase it)

  • Fulfilling the kaffaraat (expiations)

The actions that are related (connected) to one another:

  • Protecting one’s chastity through marriage

  • Fulfilling the rights of the family

  • Kindness and good treatment of one’s parents

  • Raising the children

  • Keeping the ties of kinship

  • Obeying those in positions of leadership and showing mercy (kindness) to slaves

The actions related to people in general:

  • Establishing authority with justice

  • Following the jamaa’a (group of believers)

  • Obeying the rulers

  • Resolving matters between people and this includes opposing the khawarij and the oppressors

  • Working together towards piety which includes ordering the good and forbidding the evil, and establishing the hudood (penal codes)

  • Jihad which includes murabatah (standing firm to protect the home front)

  • Fulfilling the amaanah (trust)

  • Fulfilling the khumus (one-fifth contribution)

  • Paying back loans

  • Honoring the neighbor

  • Truthful conduct (in transactions) including gathering wealth from that which is halaal (permissible)

  • Spending wealth in an upright way including the avoidance of wastefulness and excessiveness

  • Returning the salaam and tashmeet (asking Allah’s mercy for the one who sneezes)

  • Avoiding harming people and laghu (vein and useless talk)

  • Removing harmful things from the paths (that people travel on)

Sixty-nine branches have been mentioned and it can be considered seventy-nine if the ones that were combined are separated.

Imam Muslim’s narration of this hadith includes the addition, “the highest and best of which is to declare that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and the lowest of which is to remove something harmful from a path.”  This indicates that the branches of faith are of varying levels.

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