Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Conditions of Declaration of Faith #2.

By Jamaluddin Zarabozo.

The Fifth Condition Is Truthfulness, As Opposed To Hypocrisy And Dishonesty.

This means when we say the shahadah, we are saying it honestly. We actually mean it. We are not lying when it comes to our testimony of faith.

The Prophet SAW said, "No one bears testimony to there being no one worth of worship save Allah, sincerely from his heart, except that Allah makes the Hell-fire forbidden for him." [Bukhari & Muslim]

We are all familiar with those who say the testimony of faith yet they are not saying it honestly. They do not believe in it but they are simply saying it in order to protect them or to get some gain from doing so. These are the hypocrites. Allah has described them in the opening of the Quran with the following words:

"And of mankind are some who say, 'We believe in Allah and the Last Day,' when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves, but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease and Allah increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie" [Al-Baqarah, 2: 8-10].

Obviously, the shahadah of those who become Muslims simply to benefit from being Muslim and not because they believe in Islam will be rejected by Allah in the Hereafter. They will face a painful punishment due to their lying.

The Sixth Condition Is Sincerity [Ikhlas].

That is, when we make the shahadah, we must do so solely for the sake of Allah. We must not do it for any other reason. And we must not do it for anyone else's sake. In this manner, the meaning of sincerity is opposite of Shirk or ascribing partners with Allah. We become and remain Muslims solely for Allah's sake.

Allah says in the Quran:

"Worship Allah, making religion pure for him" [Surah Az-Zumar, 39: 2].

Allah also says:

"And they are ordained nothing else than to serve Allah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion" [Surah al-Bayyinah, 98: 5].

And the Prophet SAW added, "Allah has forbidden for the Hell-fire anyone who says, 'There is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and say so desiring the face [and pleasure] of Allah." [Muslim].

This is something that we should think about. But especially those of us who grew up in Muslim families and were born Muslim. We should make it very clear to ourselves that we are Muslims only for the sake of Allah. We are not Muslims for the sake of our parents, friends, family or community. It must be clear in our minds that we are Muslims for the sake of Allah first, last and only.

One of the signs that we are Muslims for the sake of Allah is that we do whatever Allah asks of us, regardless of what anybody else desires or wants from us. That is, in the same way that we are Muslims solely for the sake of Allah, all of our actions are done for the sake of Allah. However, sometimes one begins to wonder whether this condition is met by some people. Some people from the Muslim world practice Islam to the extent that it is pleasing to their families. If there is anything in Islam that their families do not like- although their families are Muslim and therefore they actually should like all of Islam- then they do not practice that aspect of Islam.

One common example of that nature is mixing between men and women. Sometimes a brother, here in the U.S., will not mix with women and his wife will remain separate from the men. Yet, when they return to their homes, because this is not pleasing to their families who want to mix between men and women, they easily, simply and happily compromise their religion for the sake of their parents. These people must sincerely ask themselves why they are Muslims. Are they Muslims for the sake of their parents and therefore whatever their parents like they will do and whatever their parents do not like they won't do? Or are they Muslims for the sake of Allah and therefore whatever Allah dislike they will not do and whatever Allah is pleased with they do?

The Seventh Condition Is Love.

That is, the believer loves this shahadah, he loves in accordance with the shahadah, he loves the implications and requirements of the shahadah and he loves those who act and strive for the sake of this shahadah. This is a necessary condition of the shahadah. If a person makes the shahadah but does not love the shahadah and what it stands for, then, in fact, his faith is not complete. It is not the faith of a true believer. And if he loves something more than this shahadah or if he loves something more than Allah, then he has negated his shahadah. The true believer, the one meeting the conditions of the shahadah puts no one whatsoever as an equal to Allah in his love.

Allah says in the Quran:

"Yet of mankind are some who take unto themselves (objects of worship which they set as) rivals to Allah, loving them with a love like (that which is due to) Allah only. However, those who believe are stauncher in their love of Allah" [Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 165]

And Allah says:

"Say: If your fathers, or your sons, or your brethren, or your wives, or your tribe, or the wealth you have acquired, or merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, or dwellings you desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah guides not wrongdoing folk" [Surah al-Tauba, 9: 24].

The Prophet SAW said: "Whoever has three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith. [The first of these] is that he loves Allah and His Messenger more than he loves anyone else..." [Bukhari and Muslim]

This is one of the most important aspects of Islam yet, for some reason, it is missing from the lives of many Muslims. They act in Islam as if Islam were a chore instead of doing things out of the love of Allah. When Allah orders us to do something, like bear witness to the faith, we should realize that that thing is pleasing to Allah and, therefore, out of our love for Allah, we should be very pleased to do the acts that are pleasing to Allah. But, as I said, this feeling is missing from many, many Muslims today.

The Eighth Condition that Muslim Deny Every Other Object Of Worship.

The person who makes the shahadah must deny every other object of worship. Although that is clear in the words of the testimony of faith, it does not seem clear to everyone who makes that testimony. Therefore, I am mentioning it explicitly here.

Allah clearly reminds us of this important aspect of the shahadah, the shahadah is not merely an affirmation but it is both and affirmation and a negation.

Allah states: "And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break" [Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 256].

Perhaps the Prophet SAW made this point even clearer when he said, "Whoever says there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and denies whatever is worshipped besides Allah, then his wealth and blood are protected and his accounting will be with Allah." [Muslim]

Although this condition should be obvious to everyone who says the words of shahadah, you can still find Muslims who say the shahadah and then make acts of worship for beings or things other than Allah. You will find them going to the graveyards and worshipping those in the graves. They will perform acts of worship, not for the sake of Allah, but for the sake of the dead "saints" in the grave. What kind of shahadah have these people made? Do you really think that their shahadah will mean anything on the Day of Judgment as long as they believe that acts of worship may be done for other than Allah?

The Ninth Condition That the Muslim Adheres To the Shahadah Until He Dies.

This is must if the shahadah is to mean anything for you in the Hereafter. You can not rest on your laurels of what you may have done in the past. No, indeed, the shahadah must be your banner until your death. The Prophet SAW said, “A man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of Paradise and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire. And a man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of Paradise." [Muslim]

In another hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "By the One whom there is no other God, one of you does the actions of Paradise until there is just a handspan between him and Paradise and then the book [preordainment] overtakes him and he does the actions of the people of Hell and he enters into it" [Bukhari & Muslim]

And Allah says:

"O believers, observe your duty to Allah with right observance, and die not saving as Muslims [surrendering yourselves to Allah]" [Surah ali-Imran, 3: 102].

These are the conditions of the shahadah that each and every one of us should look to in ourselves and ask ourselves, "Is my shahadah meeting those requirements? Am I saying it sincerely, honestly and out of love for Allah? Am I saying it based on what it really means? Am I denying all other false objects of worship?"

We should ask ourselves these questions now before we meet Allah. Allah willing that we have all the right answers for them. Or, if we find we have some deficiency, we shall work to remove that deficiency. Such that, by Allah's mercy, in the Hereafter, our shahadah will be the key to Paradise for us and the gates of Paradise will swing wide open for us and we will be able to live forever in the bounties of Paradise, with Allah being pleased with us.

Again, it is not simply a matter of knowing these conditions. Indeed, one can meet many Muslims who have these conditions memorized, yet when one looks to their deeds and behavior, one can see that these conditions have no effect on them. This means, in fact, no matter how well he knows and can rattle off these conditions, he, in fact, is not fulfilling them.

In the Hereafter, his knowledge of these conditions will be of no avail to him. Indeed, his knowledge will be a proof against him as he clearly knows what the conditions are that he must satisfy yet he has shown that he is not willing to satisfy them in his life.

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