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Angel in the Form of a Man

Iman is testimony accompanied by the feeling of peace. Technically, it means the heart’s testimony to the effect that whatever has come from the Lord is true (Qari).Qari adds on: In further explanation it can be said that Iman is simply testification to what the Prophet has brought – ‘in detail’ involving such matters as have come in detail, and ‘in general’ in affairs those that have come in general terms – even if it (Iman) is not accompanied by ‘evidences’ (daleel), which implies that it amounts to no more than blind following (Taqleed). This has been the position of the great majority of the Ash`ari School, as well as of the specialists. In short, whosoever attests to the pillars of Islam, to Tawheed, to Messengership of the Prophet, and other such major issues, is a believer. This is the opinion of the four Imams because the Prophet never demanded anything more.It is also agreed that Iman is the act of the heart as well as the tongue, requiring a man to attest with the tongue when asked to – although, admittedly, this attestation is not necessarily an ingredient of Iman, so that if a man testifies in his heart, and dies, he is a believer – for the affair is between him and his Lord.But a difficulty arises, adds Qari, when unbelieving soldiers are taken prisoners, they speak out the testimony La ilaha save their necks from the sword. What should be done? The answer is they cannot be killed if they have pronounced the two testimonies. However, they may be watched. If it is found that they were not at all serious about it, they may be killed.The following may also be noted:

Firstly, the testimony “La ilahailla Allah” is also called “Tawhid al Uluhiyyah” as well as “Tawhid al `Ubudiyyah” because it entails belief in Oneness of Allah, and implies that He alone is worthy of worship.

Secondly, Iman is a deed of the tongue also. (So that if a hypocrite testifies, then, he is a believer so far as we are concerned; but not a believer in the sight of Allah).

Thirdly, Iman is belief in the heart, and testimony with the tongue. (That is, to know the truth with the heart, and testify with the tongue. This is the opinion of Imam Abu Haneefa and most of the juris consults).

Fourth, iman is an act of the heart, the tongue, and the limbs. (This is the opinion of Ahl al-Hadith, Imam Malik, Imam Shafe`ee, Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, and Awza`ee.

It is also reported of Imam Shafe`ee that he said that Iman is (three things: Au.): to believe in the heart, testify (both) with the tongue as well as with corresponding deeds. Therefore, he who does not meet with the first condition (but comes up with the second and the third, i.e. testimony with the tongue and the deed) is a hypocrite. He who does not come up with the second is an unbeliever. And he who does not come up with the third (that is, with belief in the heart and testimony with the tongue, but not with concomitant deeds: Au.) is a fasiq, who will enter the Fire (unless forgiven: Au.) but will not abide there forever.

As for whether Iman increases or not, some have said that if what we mean by Iman is the testimony of the heart, then surely it does not accept increase or decrease. However, some have said that it does not accept decrease, because if there is no testimony then there can be no Iman at all. But it does admit increase by means of evidences added through reasoning and contemplation. However, Sufyan b. `Uyayna has said that it can go on decreasing until nothing of it remains, since, according to Kirmani, what admits increase has to admit decrease.

Hence, and to sum up, ibn Battal has said that there is no difference of opinion among the majority of scholars that Iman is testimony with the tongue and deeds with the limbs, and that it does increase and decrease – increasing with good deeds and decreasing with evil deeds. This is the opinion of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, `Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, Muadh, Abu Darda, Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar, `Ammar, Abu Hurayrah, Hudhayfa, Salman, `Abdullah b. Rawaha, Abu Umamah, Jundub b. `Abdullah, `Umayr b. Habib, and `Ayesha. And, from among the followers, Ka`b al-Ahbar, `Urwah, `Ata’, Ta’us, Mujahid, Sa`eed b. Jubayr and scores of others.

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