I read again this basic book about the Introduction toward the Path. It was our childhood textbook but my parents still keep it with them. I'm so touched to see it again and I silently put it into my bag. So, it's now in my hand and I flip it over and over. But I would also like to first talk about Shi'a Muslims. If it's not suitable I would be thinking to private this site so it would be a closed one. Just sharing what I discussed with brothers.
About Shi'a Muslims
This kitab that I read is from Orthodox Sunnah side. But as to say, I am aware that our Shi'a brothers and sisters also have their own kitabs regarding Pillars of the Faith and Path. I had analyzed their treatises because I also have their treatises. But I would further read and analyze their kitabs only when I finished my Quranic and Hadith studies and it is for the sake of unification. I am sick of accusations over each other. I watched our TV channel about Shi'a in our country and I found that we should not accuse our Shi'a brothers since Shi'a Ali has many branches. What I fear is that we might also falsely accuse the Ahlul Bayt.
I make friends with people regardless faith and also denominations and it includes my fellow Shi'a brothers. I found that those who were in contact with me were nice people and I don't care whatever Taqiyya that people wanted to label them with. I prayed beside an Iranian Shi'a Muslim in the Masjidil Haram I didn't make any note about that but I am sure the Lord is noting it. The brother knows that I am a Sunnah Muslim and I was also aware that he is a Shi'a Muslim. We talked about many things including about cars and the Sunnah Muslim of Kurds ethnicity in his country.
Before we go further to our introduction about Orthodox Sunnah sciences, I would first put into the light about the view of our Shi'a brothers regarding the Path. Yesterday, I had contacted a Shi'a Muslim brother in Iran and asked him regarding their jurisprudence since I feel quite offended by the special program about Shi'a Ali and Ahlul Bayt. I discussed many things with him for about 3 hours and it includes about soul but I refused to talk further about soul because we have no knowledge about it but only the God knows. I don't totally buy anything that had been shown in the media because we know that it could also be an agent to spread propaganda and accusations to other sides. Generally, our Shi'a brothers have 5 Pillars of Faith in which they call it as Usuluddin. Then, they have the branches of the Path known as the Furu'uddin which are the 10 Pillars of the Path. Their jurisprudence is according to the jurist, Imam Ja'afar as-Saadiq. His real name is Ja'afar bin Muhammad bin Hussain bin Ali bin Abi Talib. His school of jurisprudence is widely known as the Ja'afari school.
In certain part, I found that I also share the same thing of Furu'uddin with Shi'a brothers' school of jurisprudence for example, in the dietary. I found that not all of the people in Sunnah side are attached to this kind of dietary as I looked around. I don't take fishes without scale, or that I can't see its scale. So I avoid every fish even with scales as I don't want any problem with ritual purity. In fact, I feel scared looking at blood dripping from fish's mouth at the market. I only take them when I am forced to take it like respecting people who prepared the food or the host or sometimes people will call me a rude guest, hehehe. I and my little sister don't take squid too. But I don't know if it is halal too as some of that kind of thing is known as Cuttle-fish in English. I think it's safe with chicken, beef, mutton, fruits or veggies if meats are non-Halal. Maybe next time we would compare our pillars of Path with Shi'a brothers'. For the time-being details about Shi'a side would only be kept in my notebook.
Salawat, peace and blessings for prophet Muhammad s.a.w, his family members, and companions and for those who follows his path to the eternity. Be known that, the greatest grace of the God given to human-being and universe is Islam and Faith. Because of these two graces and blessings of the God, He created the reasons for human-being to enter His paradise for eternity and the salvation from the torments of hell due to obedience and worship to Him. Thus, according to the meanings; Without Islam and the Faith, nobody would have the right to enter the paradise.
It is obligatory for Muslims who knows to differentiate what is right and what is wrong, sane, reaching their puberty and adulthood to study the Pillars of the Religion and the Pillars of Faith. They must learn the Jurisprudence and the origin of the Path. Muslims must understand the Pillars of Islam and Faith as to be grateful to the God and to perform worship by obeying the rules and conditions through the knowledge. For these, please check this post about Second Hadith of Forty Hadiths and Third Hadith of Forty Hadiths.
The Science of Pillars of Islam
Before knowing what is Islam, a person needs to know the meaning and the interpretation of the Testimony of Faith. This is known as the Usuluddin or the Origin of the Path. It is also known as the introduction to Tawheed. It is the science which brings us to get to know our Lord and His Holy characteristics.
Through this science, a person will know the obligatory characteristics, the impossible characteristics and permissible characteristics of the Lord. With this knowledge a person will also know about noble prophets and messengers of the God. Through this knowledge, a person will know about those prophets and messengers' obligatory characteristics, permissible characteristics, and also impossible characteristics.
So, this is how a person understood the meaning of the Testimony of Faith which means: "I bear witness that there is no gods but only the God and Muhammad s.a.w is His servant and messenger." Everything must begin from the basis and must return to the basis, over and over.
Miscellaneous Sciences of the Path
According to the book, other miscellaneous sciences in the Path for example the Jurisprudence is crucial too. In Arabic we call this as Fiqh. What I understood from this is that; It is the external component of the Path and the Path is known as the Shari'a Islamiah or the Divine Way of the God. This is what I mean that medias like the article writers in Western newspapers or researches need to understand before rambling about Shari'a here and Shari'a there.
It is best to shut up if we know nothing about what we are trying to talk about if we have no 'knowledge' as it would be more peaceful. There are sciences within this particular term that we are talking about. When we talk about Political Science, there are scholars in it. So, in the Sciences of Shari'a there are also scholars in it so we don't act like we are scholars if we have no capacity of a scholar to talk about it or criticize it. Orientalism is out of the issue because it's the study by a bunch of people who looks at a certain matter as an outsider and not as an insider. Previously, as an example, I was a Buddhist but when I returned to Islam; I never attack any tenet of Buddhism at all because I realize that I am now an outsider unless if I become a practicing Thera (high rank monk or a venerable one) to criticize the tenets. That would then be a different thing. I could still remember some practices and pujas that I had performed while being a Buddhist but I just about talk them with the public only for general knowledge.
In order for the Path to be accomplished, we need all of the components together. It is obligatory on every Muslim to know and to practice with it. It is a sin for a person who is ignorant about the jurisprudence and never take any effort to learn it.
Why is this Science of Fiqh important? The importance are:
1. A person can differentiate obligatory and optional practices.
2. A person can differentiate what is halal and what is haram. Halal primarily means legal and haram means illegal in which everybody must respect the matter.
3. A person can differentiate what is detested and what is licit.
So, a faithful believer should not perform acts of worship without knowing its sciences as what has been mentioned in the Zubad: "The acts of worships of those who perform them without knowing anything about its sciences will be rejected and not accepted by the Lord."
Insha Allah if we have time, we would check more details about basic things may Allah guide us and strengthen our faith to Him through His messenger and servant, Muhammad s.a.w.
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace, and love, amin!