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Four Signs of a Perfect Iman (Faith)

The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said; “A person’s Iman (faith) is perfect; if he gives something to someone he gives it only for Allah’s sake, if he refuses to give something to someone he refuses only for Allah’s sake, if he loves someone he loves them only for Allah’s sake, and if he harbours anger and resentment towards someone he does so only for Allah’s sake.”


Giving for Allah’s Sake

The first sign of perfect Iman the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has described in this Hadith is that if a person gives something, he does so solely for Allah’s sake. A person spends on his own self, his family, and most people spend to some extent, large or small, on charity as well. What this Hadith is telling us is that we should make a “Niyyah” (intention) of pleasing Allah Ta’alah when spending money on any of these heads. It is obvious in the matter of Sadaqah (non-obligatory charity) that when we give it, we should give it with the intention that I am doing so for pleasing Allah Ta’alah, and may Allah Ta’alah grant me Thawab (eternal reward) for it. We should not do so with the intention of currying favour with someone, or earning fame, or making people feel obligated to us. If we do, then this Sadaqah won’t be for the sake of pleasing Allah Ta’alah.


Changing our Intention (Niyyah)

Even other than Sadaqah and Khairat (non-obligatory charity) there are many ways in which we can turn our worldly spending into acts that please Allah Ta’alah just by changing our intention (Niyyah). For example, all of us do shopping for our daily groceries or clothes etc. Usually we do it with a blank mind just thinking that we are conducting a worldly or material transaction. However, if at the time of that shopping we think for a few moments and do it with an intention that Allah Ta’alah has allocated me a duty of looking after my family well, and I am buying this food or clothes to fulfil that command of Allah Ta’alah, or that I will deal with this shopkeeper in keeping with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and in keeping with the dictates of Shariah, and not violating those dictates, then the same transaction will become an Ibadah and not remain a purely material transaction. This transaction will become ‘giving for Allah’s sake’.


Change Your Perspective

Hazrat Abdul Hai RE used to say that the difference between Deen (religion) and Dunya (worldly affairs) is that of perspective. The same activities we do thinking they have nothing to do with Deen, like sleeping, eating, drinking, become Deen with a change of perspective. For example, eating does not appear to be a religious activity. However, when starting to eat if you remind yourself of what the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said; ان لنفسک علیک حقا “Your Nafs (self) has rights upon you,” and then eat with an intention of fulfilling those rights, and remind yourself that when food was presented before Rasool Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم he used to thank Allah and then eat it, therefore, I am eating to follow that Sunnah, then this eating will become an Ibadah (act of worship). There is hardly any activity during which we cannot turn into Deen by this change of perspective.


Any Good Deed is a Sadaqah (Non-Obligatory Charity)

People think that Sadaqah is limited to giving some money to a needy person or giving food to a poor person. But in a Hadith the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said that every good deed done with a good intention is Sadaqah. He also said that whatever food a husband puts in his wife’s mouth is also Sadaqah. The reason for that is Allah Ta’alah has made it a duty for men to provide for their families and if they do it with the intention of fulfilling those rights, then it will be Sadaqah. These are all included in giving for Allah Ta’alah.


Not Giving for Allah’s Sake

The second sign of a perfect Iman (faith) the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has described is that if he refuses to give something to someone, he refuses only for Allah’s sake. For example, if a person refrains from wasting money on frivolous expenditures with the intention that Allah Ta’alah and His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم have commanded us not to save money, then this comes under not giving for Allah’s sake. If someone is asking you for money and you know he is going to spend it on items and activities which are Hara’am (unlawful), then if you do not give the money to him because he will use it for Hara’am purposes, then this not giving for Allah’s sake.


Not Giving Under Social Pressure

Many customs have arisen in our society that people are expected to give certain gifts or money on certain occasions, for example, on weddings. And it has become so compulsory that even if people do not want to, or do not have the means to, give those gifts, they feel under huge pressure to do so because they fear that the society will ridicule them or belittle them if they don’t. There is no basis in Quran or Sunnah of giving gifts on those occasions but they have become such a societal norm that people feel compelled to give them even if they have to take loan or cut their other essential expanses.
In this situation if a person does have money, but still does not give such presents with the intention that we need to break such traditions for the sake of people who can’t afford to give such lavish gifts, and wants to please Allah Ta’alah rather than pleasing society, then this not giving would be for the sake of Allah, and would be a sign of a perfect Iman (faith).


Loving for Allah’s Sake

The third sign of perfect Iman (faith) the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم described was that if a person loves someone, they love them purely for the sake of pleasing Allah Ta’alah. One such love which is obviously for Allah’s sake is when someone loves people who are close to Allah. If a person loves them not with the intention of using their relationship with them to make money, but with the pure intention of learning how to get closer to Allah Ta’alah, then this love would be for Allah’s sake.


Turn Worldly Relationships into Ibadah

People generally think that loving one’s parents, one’s spouse, one’s siblings one’s children, or one’s friends, are worldly affairs. They have nothing to do with Deen (religion). However, by changing one’s perspective slightly a person can turn all these relationships into Ibadah (acts of worship). The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has said that if a person lovingly looks at his parents once, then Allah Ta’alah will grant him the thawab (eternal reward) of one Hajj and one Umrah. Superficially it appears that we love our parents because it is a natural instinct, but if a person does it with the niyat (intention) that Allah Ta’alah and His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم have commanded us to love our parents, then the same act becomes an Ibadah.


Loving One’s Spouse for Allah’s Sake

Another example is that of loving one’s spouse. A person may love their spouse because of a natural inclination. However, if they make a niyat (intention) that they are loving their spouse because Allah Ta’alah and Allah’s Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم have ordered us to be good to our spouses then this will also fall under loving for Allah’s sake.


Practicing Changing One’s Intention

It takes a lot of practice to change one’s intention ( ت􀋦 ( نّ from doing things to please oneself, to doing activities to please Allah Ta’alah. When a person goes to a Sufi for Tazkiyah (internal purification), they make the person practice this change of intention so that while their relationships stay, their perspective changes so that they love those same people now for the sake of pleasing Allah Ta’alah. Hazrat Dr Abdul Hai RE used to say that it took him years of practice to change his niyet (intention). For example, when he entered the house and felt very hungry, he would stop himself from starting to eat. He would first think that he would not eat just because he was feeling hungry. He would then reflect that “Allah Ta’alah has bestowed some rights of our Nafs (self) upon us, and that it was the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet that when food was presented before him, he thanked Allah Ta’alah and then ate it. I also want to follow that Sunnah”, and then he would start eating the food. This is how he changed his perspective.


Loving One’s Children for the Sake of Allah

Similarly, when I (Hazrat Dr Abdul Hai RE) enter my house and see the child playing, I feel like picking the child up, hugging him and playing with him. But I stop myself and remind myself that I won’t love the child because I feel like it. Then I think about it that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to love children. Once the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was delivering Friday sermon in Masjid Nabvi when he saw Hazrat Hasan and Hazrat Hussain RAA, who were very young then, get into the Masjid. The Holy Prophet immediately stepped down from the pulpit and picked them up.So, loving children and playing with them, are among the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. I will now love my child and play with my child following this Sunnah.


Easy Way of Turning Dunya into Deen

There couldn’t be an easier way of turning Dunya (worldly affairs) into Deen (religion), that the person keeps doing the same things that he has been doing but just changes his perspective and Niyat (intention). But this change of intention requires ongoing practice and reminding oneself at every step why they are doing any particular activity. With practice, Insha’Allah a time will come when all of a person’s relationships will be for Allah’s sake.


How to Know if Relationships are for Allah

The question is how can we tell if our other relationships have now become secondary to our relationship with Allah Ta’alah? If there comes a time when we have to let go of our worldly relationships because that is the demand of our relationship with Allah, and we are able to do say, then it means that our other relationships have become truly secondary to our relationship with Allah Ta’alah.


Being Angry for Allah’s Sake (وابغض لله)

The fourth sign of a perfect Iman (faith) as described by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is that if a person becomes angry, they only become angry for Allah’s sake. It means that if that person becomes angry with someone it is not because they don’t like them personally, but because they are doing something which displeases Allah Ta’alah. The anger is not personal, rather it is anger for Allah’s sake.


Do Not Hate the Sinner

Wise elders have said that we should hate the sin, but not the sinner. If a person is involved in committing sins, it is his actions which are despicable, not his person. We should be angry with the actions, not with the person committing those acts. If anything, we should take pity at him, just like we sympathize with people who are sick. He is afflicted with the sickness of sin, and no one hates or becomes angry with a sick person for being sick. If we start hating a sick person then who will look after him? And how do we know that we hate the sin, and not the sinner? We will know it if we can let go of all our anger and hate and start loving that person, if he gives up that sin.


The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم About Not Hating People

Look at the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in this regard. Hazrat Wehshi RAA was the person who martyred Hazrat Humzah RAA, the Holy Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم beloved uncle, Hindah RAA was the person who tried to chew Hazrat Humzah’s liver. Yet when they both embraced Islam, they became the Holy Prophet’s brother and sister in Islam. Today with both of their names we say “May Allah Ta’alah be pleased with them”. The reason was that the anger wasn’t directed at their person, the anger was directed at their actions. Once they repented sincerely, then the anger subsided completely.


Anger for Allah Does Not Breed Enmity

The anger which is for Allah’s sake only does not breed enmity. The reason is that the person he is being angry with, knows that this angry person has nothing against my person, he is not my enemy, whatever he is saying he is saying for the sake of Allah Ta’alah. That is why the receiver of that anger doesn’t get angry or upset.


Love for Allah, Hate for Allah

It means that if a person loves someone, they love them for the sake of Allah, and if they are angry with someone, they are angry with them only for the sake of Allah. May Allah Ta’alah grant us this blessing that all our relationships are solely for the sake of Allah. However, this anger should be under control so that it is expressed only within the confines set by Allah Ta’alah, and should not go beyond it.


The Story of Hazrat Ali Raa

Once a non-Muslim said something disrespectful about the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in front of Hazrat Ali RAA. Hazrat Ali RAA could not tolerate such disrespect towards the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم so he threw that person to the ground and got on top of him. When the non-Muslim could not do the anything else, he spat on Hazrat Ali’s face. Hazrat Ali RAA immediately let go of him and stood aside. Someone asked, “Hazrat! He was now being even more insolent. Why did you let go of him?” Hazrat Ali RAA replied, “I had initially become angry with him and was going to hit him because he was being disrespectful towards the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. But when he spat at my face, I became angry for myself. If I hit him then, it would have been taking revenge for my person, and not to defend the honour of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. That is why I let go of him.” It is like Hazrat Ali RAA showed us how to implement the Hadith “Love for Allah, be angry for Allah” in our lives. It is like the anger is tamed according to the limits of Shariah, it only goes as far as Shariah allows, and then it ends. It is about people like him that it has been said, “ كان وقافا عند حدود لله ” “these are the people who stayed within the limits set by Allah”.


The Story of Hazrat Umar Raa

When Hazrat Umar RAA entered Masjid Nabvi once, he saw that the drain of Hazrat Abbas’s (RAA) roof, who was the Holy Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم uncle, was placed in such a way that when it rained the water from that drain fell in Masjid Nabvi. Hazrat Umar RAA thought that Masjid is Allah’s home and water from a person’s personal home draining into it is against its exalted status. He ordered for that drain to be demolished and it was. When Hazrat Abbas RAA heard about it he came to Hazrat Umar RAA and asked him why he got that drain demolished. Hazrat Umar RAA replied that he did it because that drain’s water fell in masjid Nabvi and it was against its respect. Hazrat Abbas RAA asked, “Do you know with whose permission this drain was put here? I had taken permission from the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to put it here. Who are you to demolish it?” Hazrat Umar RAA asked, “Did the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم give you permission to put it here?” Hazrat Abbas replied, “Yes he did.” Hazrat Umar RAA said to Hazrat Abbas RAA, “For Allah’s sake please come with me.” He took Hazrat Abbas RAA to the site of the drain, bent down, and said to Hazrat Abbas RAA, “Now get on my back and put that drain back.” Hazrat Abbas said, “I will get it done by someone else.” Hazrat Umar RAA said, “How could Umar dare to demolish a drain that had been put in place by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم? I have committed a grave mistake. The minimum punishment for it should be that you get on my back to put this drain back.” So Hazrat Abbas RAA got on his back and put the drain back in its place. This is a practical example of following the Hadith, “Love for Allah’s sake, be angry for Allah’s sake”. When he became angry initially, it had been for Allah’s sake, and when he reversed his course of action, it was for Allah’s sake too.


Modulating One’s Anger

Because of this ‘anger for Allah’, sometimes a person has to show anger particularly towards one’s students and pupils whose behaviour one is responsible for. For example, a father has to express anger at his children sometimes, a teacher has to express displeasure sometimes with his students’ behaviour. But this anger should only be to an extent which is needed for change of behaviour. It should not go beyond that limit. The way of controlling one’s anger and keeping it within limits is not to express it when one is overcome by emotions. Rather, he should wait for the strong emotions to subside. Once the anger has subsided, only then he should scold the student or pupil or one’s child, as then it would be much easier for him to control his anger and stay within limits, as it is much more difficult for a person to control their anger when they are overcome by their emotions. But this needs practice over a long time, and reminding oneself of the adverse consequences of uncontrolled anger.


Excessive Anger towards Underage Children

If a person expresses excessive anger at underage children, then the long-term consequences of doing so can be quite severe.If a person becomes angry with someone older than himself or same age as him, then if that person doesn’t like it he can express his anger in return or at least tell him that he didn’t like it. But if a person is under someone’s influence or control, like children, students, or subordinates, then they are often unable to express their anger and resentment in return. This way one wouldn’t find out if they crossed limits in being angry, and if they don’t know that, then they won’t be apologize for it too. Hazrat Thanvi RE used to say that teachers who teach underage children should take extreme care in expressing their anger towards these children. The reason is that under Shariah if a person violates the rights of an underage child, then even if they apologize to that child, the forgiveness of the child is not valid, unless the violator apologizes when they have become adults and they forgive then. This shows how grave a risk it is to violate a child’s rights.


Controlling One’s Anger

In summary, we must try to bring our anger under control as uncontrolled anger leads to many social problems and sins, and is a cause of many spiritual ills. When a person sparks on the journey of internal purification (Tazkiyah), in the beginning they should make efforts not to express their anger at all. After a period of time, once they feel that their anger has come under some degree of control, then they should start using their judgment about situations where it is appropriate for them to express their anger and where it isn’t. Even in situations where they feel it is appropriate to express their anger, they should do so only within the limits imposed by Shariah and should not go beyond those limits.


Misunderstanding “Anger for Allah”

Some people misunderstand the concept of “Anger for Allah”, and use it inappropriately. They start expressing anger at other people believing that they are doing it for Allah’s sake, but in reality, their anger is stemming from Takabbur (thinking one is superior and others are inferior) and their disdain for people.
For example, when some people start following Deen even a little bit, they start looking down at everyone else, and start thinking that I am the only one who is pious, and all these other people, my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my friends, are all sinners and are destined for Jahannam (Hell). Then they start trying to correct other people’s behaviour using harsh words, being angry with them, and violating their rights by putting them down and insulting them. The Satan tells them that all they are doing comes under anger for Allah, while in reality they are doing it because they think good of themselves and look down upon other people. So, when people first start following Allah’s path, the Satan misleads them in this way that he deceives them that their anger is for Allah. This then leads to them humiliating and insulting other people, getting unduly angry with other people over trivial matters, and excessively criticizing other people, which then leads to excessive fights with other people and spreads discord.


The Correct Way of Doing Tableegh (Preaching)

Those who want to preach to others should always remember the following saying of Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani RE. He used to say that if the truth is said with the true intention and in the right manner, it never goes waste and never leads to discord and fighting. So, he put three conditions in, first is that what is being said must be the truth, the second is that the preacher’s intention must be pure, and the third is that it is said in the proper manner.
For example, if someone sees someone else committing a sin, he must point it out to him with sincerity and with the intention that this person abstains from this sin and make his Aakhirah (Hereafter) better. The intention must not be to ridicule the other person or to boast one’s own piety. Similarly, the correct way of doing Tableegh (preaching) is to do it with softness and politeness and taking care that one does not hurt the other person’s feelings. If Tableegh is done in this way, it never leads to discord and disharmony.


We have Not been Made Supervisors of Other People

We have to remember that Allah Ta’alah has not put us in charge of other people. Our job is only to convey Allah Ta’alah’s true message to other people with pure intentions and in the correct manner, and to keep doing it throughout our lives. We should never get tired of this duty, but we should also not do anything that creates discord and disharmony. May Allah Ta’alah make us put these teachings into practice. Ameen

وَ اٰخِرُ دَعْوٰىهُمْ اَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِیْنَ۠

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