Saturday, 10 September 2011

Interpretation of Faith

Assalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah!

This is the interpretation of faith or iman in the view of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama'ah of Syafi'ie tradition that I listened through Radio Malaysia Kedah at 14:00 today just after Dzuhr prayer service. Although the ustad is a bit proud with his Syafi'ie tradition line of Yemen but it is still a beneficial knowledge for everyone. I am familiar with it anyway. It is our ancestral tradition. As long as we do not condemn each other without sound knowledge and understanding, I will be in agreement with it and I guess it is not a sin.

There are four interpretations of faith which are:

i. faith according to the prophetic tradition which is mentioned in the hadith
ii. faith through keeping practices
iii. faith through morality
iv. the sweetness of faith

First Interpretation

The first one is the faith of the people who keep the prophetic traditions in which we call them as sunni or sunnah. It is the faith which is mentioned in the six pillars of faith.

Second Interpretation

The second which is the faith related to the practices. The practices are prescribed in the scripture and the hadiths regarding the five basic pillars of the law of life. About the characteristics of faith, it is mentioned in the glorious Quran verse 14th of surah al-Hujurat where the Bedouins said: "We have the faith!" and the God cast His words in noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w tongue: "Say (to them), you are not faithfuls but say to them (that they should say), "we already submit ourselves to the path," since the faith is not yet in in your heart. And if you obey the God and His messenger, He will never decrease even a little merit for your deeds. Indeed, the God is All-Forgiver, the Most Merciful

I hope that nutty bigots who never tired of stupid enmity and calling themselves as previous Muslims like people care, displaying the distorted verse from surah at-Tawbah about the order to kill everything could also spread this verse to everyone, hahaha... Through this verse, it is expounded that although we had already submitted ourselves to the path, we are not yet faithful since the faith could be somewhere out of the heart. So, this revelation descends into the heart of the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w through the statement of the Bedouins who called themselves as the faithfuls, and the God revealed to the prophet s.a.w to correct their statement.

So, in the second interpretation or opinion about the faith by the people who follow prophetic tradition, it is important for every Muslim to keep their practices in consistency. When we go through the first part which is the faith with heart, proclaim it with tongue, we then will keep practices in our life with our body parts. Said the prophet Muhammad s.a.w recorded in the hadith: "When we see a person who always going to the mosque, be his witness that he is a faithful person. The place to prostrate (masjid) is prospered with the faithful people."

In the surah as-Sajjadah verse 15th, the God said: "Indeed, those who have faith in our verses (proofs) when reminded by the verses will fall down into prostration and exalt (the God) with praises of their Lord and they are not arrogant." 

The verse implies that those who are faithful will be:

1. Falling down into prostration when listening to His verses. It implies the act of awe and worship to Him with body parts

2. Exalting in praises to the God. This implies the exalting is with tongue since our tongue articulating exaltation and praises to Him.

3. A person who is not arrogant. He or she accepts whatever truth coming to his or her, humbling themselves and never looking down to others though a person who told him or her the truth is not of a great position in society, without any possession and others.

The Devil is the first creature of the God who is arrogant. He refused to obey the God to prostrate and humbling himself down in respect to fellow creature who is Adam. Thus, he becomes a subject who lose hope to His Mercy and Guidance and his envious self swear to Him to destroy man's soul into condemnation. Human-being could also be like this, thus we must be so careful. We had seen this around and even in human history.

Third Interpretation

Many law of life scholars also holding this interpretation of faith where a person needs to have his faith according to the six pillars of the faith according to prophetic tradition, keeping the act of worship in daily life as a daily practice, and honoring high morality. Why those in Afghanistan behead others' head? Why those in Somalia and Africa killing each other? Why the people in the Mid East keep chopping each others' head? Everyone should ask themselves why... The answer is within ourselves.

Last night I had a conversation with Mid East congregation after I ask them the book on Three Fundamental Principles by the Reformer Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. I already have copies of that book either in Arabic or in Malay. I just want the explanation book but perhaps they think that I am a beginner since I am a "Malay" and do not speak in Arabic. I don't like people asking me my ethnicity, anyone could just talk in any language they prefer and I would respond if I understand them. It is just offensive for me as I prefer to be known as a Muslim and Malaysian so that I feel close to my compatriots and brethren in faith.

What I can't agree is that they contradict in words. They wanted non-Muslim for example Jews or Christians to embrace the seal of prophethood but they keep repeating offensive words to these people in generalization. I made friend with few priests and shammas (deacons) from Middle East Orthodox Churches and also those from Orthodox Churches in India. Many of them do not offend me so I feel free to contact them and getting information needed and they answer my questions without offending me and my religion. If I have people of the book friends who embrace Islam insulting their family members who do not embrace Islam, I myself would slap his or her face as they are takabbur of themselves. It is a mazmumah (disgusting) characteristics for creatures. We must first understand that Guidance is not in our hand!!! Allah 'Azza wa Jalla is the One with authority in this matter. If we receive Guidance, we must be thankful and grateful to Allah 'Azza wa Jalla and not to look down on others. Our responsibility is only to tell others the good news and not to chop off others' head if they do not accept. Unless if they threaten us with their swords or M-16, then it would be foolishness to let our head being beheaded or kena tembak bocor.

My personal opinion, if we want to spread His Mercy to others, just leave offensive words behind and talk only about Him, sharing whatever we have in our limited knowledge and practices. Let others insult or say anything they want. The angels are behind those people who insult others turning the words back to them. Know first what are their philosophies and creed. It is not as easy as reading books written by few people like Ahmad Deedat, may Allah be Merciful to his soul and others like Zakir Naik. We need to go to the base just like these people did and mingle with the people we wanted to talk with. Human are of different level of knowledge and background just like us as Muslims. We condemn people in distance but we never bother to be among them, talk with them, and never bother to ask what are they doing... So, what do we expect? We expect people to listen to us? People treat us just like we treat them. My second sister now began to read these kind of books too and sometimes she might quarrel with me since she could not understand when I do not agree with the offensive parts for the people of the books or any other non-Muslims. When we do not agree with something, try to find other alternatives which could make everyone understand what we are up to. For now, I don't talk with people if I know their level of understanding though they might 'appear' to be pious. It will just complicate matters because people have different understanding and worldview. Even in the same house.    

Said the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w in a hadith: "The highest faith is the proclamation with tongue and the confidence in heart that there is no gods but only the God. The lowest one is when a person casts away obstacles in the road, helping to repair the road as to avoid others from falling into accidents, being merciful to animals and fellow human, and others." These are the signs of faith in a person. There are about 63 to 73 branches of faith, one of it is feeling shy.

Fourth Interpretation

The person who feels the sweetness of faith is a person who knows his or her God which is called as ma'arifatullah. This faith can be seen in a supplication which we recite three times in morning and evening which is: "I am pleased that Allah (the God) is my Lord, and I am pleased with Islam as the law which leads my life to Him, and I am pleased with Muhammad s.a.w as my prophet and the messenger of the God to me."

This interpretation is equated to a hobby, for example someone who loves to watch movies, he or she can stand sitting on the sofa for 10 hours watching movies without feeling bored. Or someone who loves to fish, he or she could sit on the bridge or spending few hours at the bank of the river trying to get some fish for his or her satisfaction. In our history, there are many scholars and sages who are devoted to the God, they pray hundreds units of prayers just because they love the God and it is their hobby in their free time. Some of them chanting holy verses everywhere without stop like a scholar in Yemen where his mouth could not stop chanting holy verses until he has to put a stone into his mouth to prevent it from reciting holy verses in toilet. 

We are suggested by scholars and people who follow prophetic traditions to recite the supplication to the God الَّلهُمَّ ارْزُقْنا حُبَّكَ وحُبُّ رُسُلِكَ وحب مَنْ اَحَبَّكَ وحب ما اَقْرَبِ إليكَ which means dear our Lord, sustain us with the love to You, and love to Your messenger, and love to those who love You and love on what brings us closer to You. We are suggested to supplicate may the God grants us with love toward all of those mentioned in the supplication. 

In this interpretation, through faith, a person will get to know the God. He or she will only agrees with the God and not others. The prophet Muhammad s.a.w traditions and sayings will be his or her model to perform daily life. And the interpretation is also a kind of level of faith that someone is going through step by step. In order to reach the stages above, a person needs stairs and the stairs are ulamas with efforts, scholars and sages. 

Summary of the Lesson

The first interpretation of faith is related to the six pillars of faith, a person must know it together with the learning of the obligatory characteristics and impossible characteristics of the God, sciences of the Quran, creed according to prophetic traditions, companions of the prophet Muhammad s.a.w, the Asha'ari and Maturidi. As for Asha'ari, the ustad said that he had a dream meeting with the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w and in his dream, he was advised to keep the creed. Imam Syafi'ie also memorized the Quran since he was seven years old. According to the narration of Imam Hanbal, Imam Syafi'ie had narrated about his dream where he met the prophet Muhammad s.a.w in his dream. The prophet s.a.w asked him where he came from (his house)? He said that he came from the house of Quraisy. Thus the prophet s.a.w asked him to come closer to him and he put his saliva into the mouth of the child. This is in his dream and vision. After that, he never wrong in reciting holy verses and narrating hadiths.

In surah Yunus, it is mentioned that those who are close to the God never feel scared or sad as for them is fear to the God and faith in Him. The God promise them with good news in their worldly life where noble people will love them. The God will call His archangel, Gabriel a.s and telling him that this person is the person which I love. Go and tell everyone that I love this person. The archangel Gabriel will go to heavens and telling everyone to love the particular person. It will also reach the heart of other faithful servants in the earth. How could we detect this kind of person? The ustad said... Look at how the person brings himself or herself in the society. With whom they mingle with? If they mingle with people who do vices, they would pray for them may the God be Merciful for those people. 

The God knows whatever happens. Every deeds and everything we talked in our heart will pass Him first. The noble messenger, prophet Muhammad s.a.w also being notified by the God on what happens in his nation. If his nation is in good condition striving in charity, he will praise the God. If he sees that his nation is in bad condition, he will pray to the God for salvation and forgiveness.  

People who are loved by the God

1. Are promised with good news

2. Having good dreams and visions, such people are the Imam Syafi'ie, the Imam al-Ghazali, and other ulamas and they have also stated in their books about their dream and vision for record. The ustad said, ulama from Syafi'ie school always look at Quranic verses with their heart. I agree, and other ulamas are also the same. They deserve equal respect. Not like us who only look at everything with our physical eyes.

3. People who holds tasawwuf in which the beginning of tasawwuf began sciences of religion and the law of life. Then it will continuously be supported with the practice of the sciences and knowledge. And from that, they will receive the Love of the God where the God will teach them knowledge which they themselves never know. This could not be sought in school or university. Because it is in His authority as what has been mentioned in surah al-Qalam, He teaches human on what he does not know. It begins with collections of basic knowledge and sciences and basic practices. The knowledge where the God teaches people He loves is called as the knowledge which is granted upon or 'ilmul-wahbi

Everything that the God grant to us in this world is something which is borrowed. It is not permanent. It includes knowledge and sciences. It also includes sons and daughters. Everything belongs to Him. As for children, as they are not ours but the God, we must teach them sciences of religion, the law of life with love and never neglect them. Teach our children with revelation, prayers, fasting, and everything in the basic pillars of religion. Teach them how to pray when they are seven years old, make it interesting and fun for them to pray obligatory salat service. Don't let them do it alone. Teach them fasting in Ramadan, teach them step by step. Don't ask them to fast like adults until they reach 10 years old. Teach them with creed as what has been prescribed in Quran and Sunnah. Children are not something to take as easy. They are responsibility. And they are not ours as everything is not permanent. Even if we have friends, our friends is only borrowed by the God to us. They are not ours. They will go different directions from us when certain period in our life come. Ibn Hatim had said: "Since friends, lovers, and everything will eventually leave us, I make faith and practice as my lover and my friend." Such a nice words of wisdom, I love this philosophy. 

Said the prophet s.a.w in a hadith: "Indeed Constantinople will be opened to His light again by a good chief amongst human-being, and his soldiers are amongst good soldiers amongst soldiers." It appears to be from the prophecy of the prophet Muhammad s.a.w that sultan Muhammad al-Fateh was the one who opened the city. He is actually a person who performs tasawwuf and always praying salat nawafil apart of other obligatory salaat services. May Allah be Merciful to his soul, amin. 

The faith may increase or decrease. It depends on environment. If we are in good environment, good deeds will arise more while evil will sunken a bit. Even if a person who knows religious sciences would still fall into evil as their environment would influence them to reject whatever being taught to them. Sometimes it might be due to non-halal sustenance (such as from bribery, cheating, and etc). When the food that we get not in proper manner and morally bad, our prayers and supplication will be rejected by the God. It is not only about avoiding pork, hog, monitor lizard, snake, dog, birds like eagle, bear and other animals prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah which should be avoided as food. Or only about alcohol consumption. It is more than that.

This is some essence of the half an hour lecture delivered by ustad Aminuddin Abdul Rahim at the Zakat Tower aired in the Radio Malaysia Kedah. The producer of the program is madame Hasmah Bahari. I wish it is not only beneficial for my self but also to those who passing by this humble site of a faqir, insyaallah.
Sealed with salawat, prayers for peace, mercy and love for brethren, amin!   

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