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Imaam al-Shaafi’i Rahimahullaah said: ‘There is nobody except that he has someone who loves him and someone who hates him. So if that’s the case, let a person be with the people who are obedient to Allaah `Azza Wa Jall.’

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 Does Eemaan Increase and Decrease?

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PostSubject: Does Eemaan Increase and Decrease?   Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:33 pm

Does Eemaan Increase and Decrease?

By: DI Publications

There are two views concerning it, but both views are basically saying the same thing just using different words.

Imaam Abu Haneefah Rahimahullaah says: Laa Yazeedu wa Laa Yanqusu – It does not increase nor does it decrease.

Imaam Bukhaari Rahimahullaah and the majority of the other A’immah Rahimahumullaah says: Yazeedu wa Yanqusu – It increases and decreases.

We both agree that there is a specific amount of Eemaan that every person must have in order to be a Muslim.

It is not possible for a person to say “I half believe in Allaah”, you either believe in Allaah or you don’t, there’s no half ways about it.

The view of Imaam Abu Haneefah Rahimahullaah is that Eemaan is something you either have or you don’t have (as mentioned above), therefore Eemaan doesn’t increase or decrease, but it is the quality of your Eemaan which increases and decreases.

The view of the other A’immah Rahimahumullaah is that Eemaan does increase, that specific required amount is called Eemaan, and what increases upon that is also called Eemaan.

Take for example a candle and a bushfire, both have that specific required amount which qualifies it to be called ‘fire’, but their qualities - or if you prefer to say their magnitude – are different, the heat, size, smoke, etc given off by the bushfire is much more than the candle.

Yet if you said “The fire increased”, it would be saying the same as the above example, because a persons mind will already understand that the fire will have stronger heat, more smoke etc.

The same applies to the two views, both views basically say the same thing, but just in different words.

And Allaah knows best.

“There is no worse calamity for knowledge and its people than when outsiders intrude. They are ignorant, but presume to know. They cause trouble yet think that they are helping.” - Imam Ibn Hazm Rahimahullah

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PostSubject: Re: Does Eemaan Increase and Decrease?   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:45 am

A List of scholars who believe faith is statement and action, and it increases and decreases

Ubayd b Umayr al-Laysi (before hijri 74)
Ata b Abi Rabah (115)
Mujahid (103)
Ibn Abi Mulayka (117)
Amr b Dinar (125)
Ibn Nujayh (131)
Ubaydullah b Umar (147)
Abdullah b Amr b Uthman (?)
Abdulmalik b Jurayj (150)
Nafi b Jubayr (99)
Dawud b Abdurrahman al-Attar (?)_
Abdullah b Raja (?)
Abu Bakr al-Humaydi (219)
Abdullah b Yazed al-Mukri (148)

Muhammad b Dhihab az-Zuhri (124)
Rabia b Abi Abdurrahman Abu Hazim al-Araj (?)
Sa’ed b Ibrahim b Abdurrahman (126)
Yahya b Sa’ed al-Ansari (143)
Hisham b Urwa b az-Zubayr (145)
Abdullah b Umar al-Umari (171)
Malik b Anas (179)
Muhammad b Abi Zi’b (159)
Sulayman b Bilal (172)
Abdulaziz b Abdullah al-Majushin (166)
Abdulaziz b Abi Hazim (180)
Ismail b Abi Uways (?)
Abdulmalik b Abdulaziz al-Majishun (?)
Mutarrif b Abdullah al-Yasari (143)

Tawus al-Yamani (106)
Wahb b Munabbih (110)
Mamar b Rashid (153)
Abdurrazzaq b Hammam (211)

Eqypt and Sham
Awzai (157)
Sa’ed b Abdilaziz (164)
Al-Waled b Muslim (195)
Yunus b Zayd al-Ili (159)
Yazed b Abi Habib (127)
Yazed b Shurayh (?)
Sa’ed b Abi Ayyub (149)
Al-Lays b Sa’d (175)
Abullah b Abi Jafar (170)
Muawiya b Salih (158)
Haywa b Shurayh (158)
Abdullah b Wahb (197)
Abdullah b Salih (184)
Sa’ed b Abi Maryam (?)
Nadr b Abduljabbar (?)
Yahya b Abdullah b Bukayr (?)
Ahmad b Salih (?)
Asbagh b al-Faraj (?)
Abdulala b Mishar (?)
Hisham b Ammar (?)
Sulayman b Abdurrahman (?)
Abdurrahman b Ibrahim (?)

Maymun b Mihran (118)
Yahya b ABdulkarem (?)
Makil b Ubaydullah (116)
Ubaydullah b Amr ar-Rakki (?)
Abdulmalik b Malik (?)
Al-Muadh b Imran (?)
Muhammad b Salama al-Harrani (191)
Abu Ishaq al-Fazari (186)
Muhallad b al-Husayn (?)
Ali b Bakkar (?)
Yusuf b Asbat (195)
Ata b Muslim (190)
Muhamamd b Kathir (216)
Al-Haytham b Jamel (?)

Alkama (61)
Al-Aswad b Yazed (75)
Abu Wail (83)
Sa’ed b Jubayr (95)
Ar-Rabi b Hayhtam (?)
Amir ash-Shabi (105)
Ibrahim an-Nahai (92)
Al-Hakam b Utayba (115)
Talha b Musarrif (112)
Manthur b al-Mutamir (131)
Salama b Kuhayl (121)
Mughira ad-Dabbi (133)
Ata b as-Saib (?)
Ismail b Abi Haled (146)
Abu Hayyan (?)
Yahya b Sa’ed (198)
Sulayman b Mihran (148)
Al-Amash (148)
Yazed b Abi Ziyad (136)
Sufyan b Sa’ed as-Sawri (161)
Sufyan b Uyayna (198)
Fudayl b Iyad (187)
Abu’l-Mikdam Thabit b al-Ajlan (?)
Ibn Shubruma (144)
Ibn Abi Layla (148)
Zuhayr b Muawiya (174)
Sharik b Abdullah (177)
Hasan b Salih (167)
Hafs b Qiyas (194)
Abu Bakr b Ayyash (193)
Abu’l-Ahwas (177)
Waki b Jarrah (197)
Abdullah b Numayr (99)
Abu Osama (201)
Abdullah b Idris (192)
Zayd b al-Habbab (203)
Husayn b Ali al-Jufi (203)
Muhammad b Ubayd (204)
Ya’la b Ubayd (209)
Amr b Ubayd (143)
Ubaydullah b Musa (213)
Abu Nuaym Fadl b Dukayn (218)
Ahamd b Abdullah b Yunus (277)

Al-Hasan b Abi’l-Hasan (110)
Muhammad b Shirin (110)
Qatada b Di’ama (117)
Bakr b Abdullah al-Muzani (106)
Ayyub as-Sahtiyani (131)
Yunus b Ubayd (138)
Abdullah b Awn (151)
Sulayman at-Taymi (143)
Hisham b Hassan ad-Dustuvai (154)
Shuba al-Hajjaj (160)
Hammad b Salama b Zayd (165)
Abu’l-Ashab (162)
Yazed b Ibrahim (161)
Abu Awana (167)
Wuhayb b Haled (165)
Abdulwarith b Sa’ed (178)
Mutamir b Sulayman at-Taymi (187)
Yahya b Sa’ed al-Qattan (198)
Abdurrahman b Mahdi (198)
Bishr b al-Mufaddal (afrter hijri 180)
Yazed b Zuray (182)
Muammal b Ismail (206)
Haled b al-Harith (186)
Muadh b Muadh (195)
Abu Abdurrahman al-Mukri (?)
Muhammad b Abdullah al-Ansari (215)
Dahhak b Muhallad (105)
Sulayman b Harb (224)
Abu’l-Waled at-Tanafisi (?)
Abu’n-Numan Muhammad b Fadl (223)
Abdullah b Maslama (?)

Hushaym b Bashir (183)
Haled b Abdillah (1770
Ali b Asim (?)
Yazed b Harun (206)
Salih b Umar (187)
Asim b Ali (221)
Umar b Awn b Uways (?)

Khorasan (Mashriq)
Dahhak b Mudhahim (105)
Abu Hamza as-Sukkari (168)
Nasr b Imran (128)
Abdullah b al-Mubarak (181)
Nadr b Shumayl (203)
Jarer b Abdullah al-Bajali (51)
Humayd ad-Dabbi (219)
Makki b Ibrahim (?)
Ishaq b Rahawayh (238)
Sadaqa b al-Fadl (223)

Abu’l-Yaman al-Hakem b Nafii (222)
Haywa b Shurayh (158)

Ibn Abi Iyas (?)
http://darultavhid.com/en/forum/index.php?topic=1550.0A List of scholars who believe faith is statement and action, and it increases and decreases
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PostSubject: Aspects of Increasing Iman   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:48 am

Aspects of Increasing Iman

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah
Kitab al-Iman

Increasing the Iman which Allah commands us to have, and which is a trait of His believing worshipers, can be achieved through different means. The first aspect in increasing Iman is through practicing ijmaal, total, observance and tafseel, detailed, observance of Allah's commands, for it is the obligation of all mankind to believe in Allah and His Messenger, and of every community to commit itself to all that the Messenger (sallallahu `alayhe wa sallam) has ordered. It is well known that what was obligatory at first differs from what was required after the revelation of the whole Qur'an. Hence, unlike one who does not know about Islam, he who knows the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and their meanings is obliged to have a detailed Iman. That is, if a man, inwardly as well as outwardly, believed in Allah and the Messenger (pbuh) and died before he knew the laws of religion, he would die as a believer. His obligation and what he did are different from the Iman of the one who knew the Islaimic laws and who believed in them and worked to fulfill them. The Iman of such a person is more complete, in accordance with the obligatory and the actual deeds. Indeed, of what he performed in accordance with the obligation is of a more complete Iman and what he did is also considered more complete.

Allah says: "… This day I have perfected your religion for you …" (5:3). In this verse, the word "religion" refers to the legislation of commanded and forbidden actions, but does not mean that everybody is obliged to do what the whole community is ordered to do. It is recorded both in Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Bukhari that the Prophet (pbuh) described women as diminished in intellect and religion. This diminution in intellect made the witness of two women equal in that of one man; the diminution in her religion is due to the fact that she does not pray and fast when she is menstruating. Indeed, this diminution is not a diminution of what she is commanded to do and so she will not be punished because of it. However, if someone is commanded to pray and fast and does so, his religion is complete compared to the one of diminished religion.

The second aspect [of increasing one's Iman] is the total and detailed acts of people. To illustrate this, let us compare the Iman of the following three men. The first absolutely believed in what the Messenger (pbuh) came with and asked for, but was neither concerned about what the Messenger (pbuh) commanded and prohibited nor sought the required knowledge of religion so as to act accordingly. The second sought and obtained this knowledge and acted on it. The third man acquired knowledge, became well acquainted with it, and believed in it but did not act accordingly. These three men shared the same obligation, but the one who looked for detailed knowledge and acted on it had a more complete Iman than the one who knew and believed but did not practice his knowledge. Likewise, he who believed in the message, confessed his sins, and feared punishment was a better believer than the one who did not seek to understand what he was asked to do, and did not fear punishment; on the contrary, he later was negligent and careless, although [overtly as well as covertly] he believed in Muhammad (pbuh) as the Messenger of Allah.

Accordingly, the more the heart knows, believes in, and practices [what Allah and His Messenger have ordered], the more a person's Iman increases even if that person has a general adherence and general verbal confession.

Similarly, if someone knows Allah's Names as well as their meanings and believes in them, his Iman is more perfect than that of someone who does not know but believes in them generally, or someone who knows only some of them. Hence, the more one knows Allah's Names, Attributes, and Verses, the more perfect his Iman.

The third aspect is that knowledge and assent are differentiated among people. That is, some people have stronger, more enduring Iman and assent than others whose Iman is subject to doubt. Indeed, this is something experienced by each one of us. For example, people differ in the way they see the new moon, hear the same sound, smell the same smell, and taste the same food. So it is with the heart's knowledge and assent. People differ widely in their belief in the meanings of Allah's Names and His Words.

The fourth aspect is that the assent which requires the work of the heart is more complete than that which does not. So, knowledge which is accompanied by works is better than that which is not. Suppose that two men knew that Allah, the Messenger (pbuh), Paradise, and Hell are true. The knowledge of the first man obliged him to love and fear Allah, wish for Paradise, and avoid Hell. However, the knowledge of the second man did not lead him to do so. Thus, we can say that the knowledge of the first is more complete than that of the second. For the strength of the result signals the strength of the cause, and all these matters stem from knowledge. So knowledge of the "beloved" requires one to seek him; and knowledge of the "frightened" requires one to flee from him. However, absence of the required results signals the weakness of the cause or prerequisite. That is why the Prophet (pbuh) said: "One who is informed [indirectly] of something is not like the one who sees it for himself." To illustrate this, when Allah told Moses that his community worshiped the calf, he did not throw the al-Alwah, Tablets; but when he himself saw them practicing that, he did. This is not because Moses doubted Allah's words but because the man who is told something, although he does not report the news of the teller, does not perceive the situation in the same way he does if he sees it for himself. Since his mind is occupied with something else, other than what the informer said, he still believes him. Certainly seeing something will give one a clearer understanding of the situation and this assent is better than the other.

The fifth aspect is that works of the heart, such as love for Allah and His Messenger and fear and expectations from Allah, are part of Iman, as proven by the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the pious ancestors. And people differ widely in their performance of these works.

The sixth aspect is that overt works, as well as covert works, are part of Iman; and people also vary widely with respect to these works.

The seventh aspect is the importance of holding Allah in remembrance and not being inattentive, since the latter opposes perfection of knowledge and acceptance. 'Umar Ibn Habib, one of the Companions, said: "If we thank and praise Allah, our Iman increases. However, if we neglect and forget Him, our Iman decreases." And Mu'adh Ibn Jabal used to say to his companions: "Let us sit still for an hour so as to strengthen our belief." Allah says: "… Nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires…" (18:28.); and "And remind for indeed, reminding profits the believers" (51:55); and "The admonition will be received by those who fear [Allah]: But it will be avoided by those most unfortunate ones" (87:10-11). Hence, it is evident that the more a man remembers what he already knows, and practices his knowledge, he will come to understand something he has never known, such as Allah's Names and Verses. This is supported by the following tradition: "Whoever practices what he knows, Allah will provide him with understanding of what he did not know." This is a matter that every believer will realize by himself.

It was recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "The one who holds Allah in remembrance as compared to one who does not, is like a living man as compared to one who has died." Allah says: "And when they hear His Verses rehearsed, find their belief strengthened." (8:2). That is, hearing of Allah's Verses increases their knowledge with what they did not know, it encourages their practice of the new knowledge, and it reminds them of things they have forgotten. Allah says: "Soon will We show them Our Signs in the [furthest] regions [of the earth], and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur'dn] is the Truth…" (41:53). That is, the Qur'an is the truth. Allah also says: "…Is it not enough that your Lord does witness all things?" (41:53). So in the Qur'an Allah is witness to what He reported. Consequently, believers believed in this and then He showed them His Signs in the furthest regions of the earth and in themselves, all of which confirms what the Qur'an says. Therefore, these Signs indicate that the Qur'an is the Truth.

Allah says: "Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? And the earth, We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth [in pairs] to be observed and commemorated by every devotee turning [to Allah]" (50:6-8.). So the created signs should be observed and commemorated in order to prevent one from blindness and inattention. To illustrate, a man recites a Surah (e.g., al-Fatihah) many times; and each time he recites it, he gains new knowledge, which in turn increases his acceptance and Iman as if the Surah was revealed at that moment. Thus, he believes in these meanings and his knowledge and work increases. This is to be realized by everyone who reads the Qur'an attentively, in contrast with the one who reads it absentmindedly. Thus, whenever one does what he is commanded to do, he becomes aware of these commands and, as a result, he affirms his belief. Consequently, at that moment his affirmation in his heart establishes what he was unaware of even when he is truthful.

The eighth aspect is that man may deny or disbelieve things, for he does not know that the Messenger (pbuh) has spoken and ordered them. And if one knew that, he would neither deny nor disbelieve. For his heart strongly affirms that he [the Prophet] told and commanded only the truth. It may happen that when one hears a verse or a hadith or thinks about it or someone interprets its meaning for him or it becomes clear to him what is forbidden, then he will enter a state of new affirmation and new belief. This increases his Iman since before this stage he is not considered as an unbeliever but simply as ignorant. This happens in the case of many believers who ignorantly think that an affirmation or a deed is not required for Iman but when they know the truth, they believe. Many people, including those who are conscious about religious matters, may have, in their hearts, many detailed matters that may contradict what the Messenger brought forward. Yet, they do not know that they are contradictory matters and, when they become aware of this, they reverse their opinions. Thus, anyone who introduces an innovation or a saying [to the religion of Islam] or performs a wrong act, and he is a believer in the Messenger or is aware of what the Messenger said and believes in them and does not reverse his beliefs, he is considered ignorant but not an unbeliever. It follows then that every innovator with good intentions of following what the Messenger brought forward is of this category. Thus, he who has knowledge of what the Messenger brought forward and acts accordingly, is better than he who commits an error concerning this, and anyone who becomes aware of the truth after realizing his own error and acts on it, he will be in a more preferable position than before.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Eemaan Increase and Decrease?   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:56 am

Increase and Decrease of Iman

Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah
Kitab ul-Iman

If it is said: If absolute Iman includes all that Allah and His Messenger commanded, then, if some of the Iman diminishes, the sinners must be charged with unbelief as the Kharjites claimed, or abide forever in Hell and be deprived of Iman, as the Mu’tazilites claimed. The claims of the Kharijites and the Mu’tazilites were more erroneous than the claims of the Murji’ites. For there is a group among the Murji'ites who were considered good and praiseworthy people. However, the Kharijites and the Mu’tazilites were condemned by the consensus of the Orthodox Muslim community.

It is said: It should be known that the views of Mu’tazilites and Kharijites, with which none of the Orthodox Muslims agreed, implied that the people who committed major sins would abide forever in Hell. This claim was one of the important innovations because the Companions and Successors of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), their followers, and all religious Muslims agreed that whoever has an atom's weight of Iman in his heart will not abide forever in Hell. They also agreed that our Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would be among those who would intercede to seek Allah's permission for His intercession for the major sinners from his community. Indeed, both Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari relate that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Every prophet is allowed one answered prayer. As for me, I delayed my request in order to intercede for my community on Judgment Day."

This hadith will be mentioned in its proper place. However, some people have falsely related some sayings on the authority of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). For example, it was falsely related on the authority of Ibn Abbas that there is no repentance for anyone who intentionally kills, and this is a further false claim about the Companions. For none of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ever related that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) either said that he does not intercede for major sinners or that he said that they [major sinners] will abide eternally in Hellfire. However, it was recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas, in one of his two narrations said: "There is no repentance for anyone who intentionally kills [a Muslim]." A similar error was related on the authority of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. However, the debate over repentance is different from the debate over eternal punishment in Hell. For killing involves a human right; that is why it was debated.

However, the saying, "If part of it [Iman] is lost, then the whole of it is lost," is rejected, and it represents the essence from which many innovations concerning Iman emerged. Moreover, Mu’tazilites and Kharijites argued that if part of Iman is lost, the whole of it is lost as well; and thus, the major sinner will abide forever in Hell. In contrast, the Murji’ites argued that neither committing a major sin nor abandoning an obligatory deed results in losing Iman. The sayings of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions indicate that part of it is lost while the other part remains, as illustrated in the Prophet's (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying: "He [Allah] will remove from Hell whoever has an atom's weight of belief." That is why the Orthodox Muslims said: "Iman exists in varying degrees among different people. It also may increase and diminish." However, some of their followers said: "Iman increases but does not decrease," as related on the authority of Malik in one of two accounts. Some [namely, Abd Allah Ibn al-Mubarak] said: "Iman exists in varying degrees." But all the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned both the increase and the decrease of Iman. For example, people related on the authority of Hammad Ibn Salamah, on the authority of Abu Jafar, on the authority of his grandfather Umayr Ibn Habib al-Khatmi, one of the Companions of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), that he [the Prophet] said: "Iman increases and diminishes." He was then asked: "How does it increase and diminish?" He replied: "If we hold Allah in remembrance, praise Him, and glorify Him, our Iman increases. But, if we hold Allah little in remembrance, our Iman diminishes. Similarly, Ismail Ibn Ayyaash relates on the authority of Jarir Ibn Uthman, on the authority of al-Harith Ibn Muhammad, on the authority of Abu al-Darda, who said: "Iman increases and diminishes."

According to Ah mad Ibn Hanbal, who said that Yazid related, on the authority of Jafar Ibn Uthrnan: "Some or of all our scholars heard Abu al-Darda' saying:

'Indeed, it is a part of a man's growth in knowledge to improve his Iman, make up for any decrease, know whether his Iman increases or diminishes, and know when and where Satan's temptations may come."' Also, Ismail Ibn Ayyaash narrated, on the authority of Safwan Ibn Amr, on the authority of Abd Allah Ibn Rabi’ah al-Hadrami, on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah, who said: "Iman increases and diminishes." Ahmad Ibn Hanbal related, on the authority of Yazid Ibn Harn, on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Talhah, on the authority of Zubayd, on the authority of Dharr said: Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to say to his companions:

'Let us increase our Iman [they hold Allah in remembrance]."' In the book of Gharib ul-Hadith, Abu Ubayd related the hadith of Ali which says: "Iman resembles a white spot on the heart; whenever Iman increases, the white spot increases as well." It was related on the authority of Uthman Ibn Abd Allah and Amr Ibn Hind al-Jumali that al-Asmai said: "A lamzah, spot, is like a speck or something similar."

Allmad Ibn Hanbal narrated, on the authority of Waki on the authority of Sharik, on the authority of Hilal and on the authority of Abd Allah Ibn Akim, who said:

"I heard Ibn Masud saying in his prayer: 'Oh, Allah, increase our Iman, our conviction, and our knowledge [about religion]."' Similarly, Sufyan al-Thawri narrated, on the authority of Jami Ibn Shaddad and al-Aswad Ibn Hilal, who said:

Mu’adh Ibn Jabal used to tell a man: 'Let us sit down to hold Allah in remembrance [in order to increase our Iman]."' Also, Abu al-Yaman narrated, on the authority of Safwan and Shurayh Ibn Ubayd who said that Abd Allah Ibn Rawahah used to take the hand of one of his companions and say: "Let us get up in order to increase our Iman for an hour in a posture that holds Allah in remembrance." This increase in Iman was affirmed by the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) after his death and after the revelation of the whole Quran.

It was affirmed that Ammar Ibn Yasir said: "Three characteristics lead anyone who possesses them to have true Iman: to be just to oneself, to spend in spite of poverty, and to offer greetings to everybody [to those you know and to those you do not know]." Al-Bukhari recorded this in his Sahih. Also, Jundub Ibn Abd Allah, Ibn Umar, and others said: "We learned Iman, then we learned the Quran, and in turn increased our Iman. Indeed, there are many other sayings narrated on the authority of the Companions and their Successors that support the fact that Iman either increases or diminishes.

[Malik Ibn Dinar said that belief in one's heart appears as weak and as frail as a small herb plant. If one cares for it, watering it with useful knowledge and good works, removing the thick underbrush that grows up around it and anything else that might weaken or thwart its growth, then soon it will thrive and increase. First it will grow roots, then branches, then fruits, until at last it rivals the mountains in size, casting shade that extends out to infinity. If, however, one shows no concern for it and neglects it, goats will come and pull it out by the roots, some little boy will carry it off, or the thicket will grow up around it, weakening or perhaps destroying it or depriving it of its moisture. And as this plant is, so also is belief.

Khaythamah Ibn Abd al-Rahman said that belief grows fat in times of fertility, and wastes away in times of drought. Its times of fertility are provided by good works, while its times of drought are brought on by sins and acts of disobedience.

One of the pious ancestors was asked: "Is it possible for belief to increase and decrease?" "Yes," he replied, "it can grow until it towers like a mountain, or shrink until it is no larger than a particle of dust."

Hudhayfah said in one of his sound traditions: "One might say of a certain man: 'How long-suffering he is!' 'How witty he is!' or, 'How wise and judicious he is!' even though he does not have belief in his heart the size of a grain of mustard seed." In his other sound traditions we read that "the charms and attractions [of the world] are presented to people's hearts as a mat is spread out [over the floor], one reed at a time. Any heart that partakes of them is stained with a black spot, while any heart that spurns them will take on a white spot until there comes to be two types of heart: one as white as a stone, which may never be harmed by temptation as long as the heavens and earth remain, and the other as black as an overcast sky, like an overturned earthen vessel that neither recognizes a good deed nor shuns an evil one except that which follows its own desire." As for the tradition concerning the seventy thousand who enter Paradise without being called to account for [the sufficiency of] their deeds, it provides the most convincing evidence that belief may indeed increase or diminish, since the seventy thousand are described as having powerful, growing belief [that may be seen] through those qualities and attributes that make their belief manifest, and through their dependence on Allah in all of their affairs.

Abu Naim related, based on the account of al-Lay Ibn Sad, on the authority of Zayd Ibn Allah al-Yazni, on the authority of Abu Rafi, who said that a man related to him asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about belief. In response he said: "Do you want me to tell you what pure, unadulterated belief is?" "Yes," the man replied. "To have such belief means that if you offend or wrong anyone, be it your male or female slave or anyone else, you feel grief and regret; or if you give charity and do good, you feel joy and satisfaction." A similar tradition is related by others on the authority of Yazid, on the authority of those who heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), when someone asked him about whether belief in one's heart may increase or diminish, in reply to which the Prophet gave the response mentioned above. In addition, al-Bazzar said that it was related to us by Muhammad Ibn al Hassan al-Basri, on the authority of Hani' Ibn al-Mutawakkil, on the authority of Abd Allah Ibn Sulayman, on the authority of lshaq, on the authority of Anas from the Prophet, who said: "There are three things that, if found within a person, cause him to merit reward and bring his belief to perfection: a temperament that enables him to live [peaceably] among people, piety that shields him from danger of disobedience to Allah, and a patient, forbearing spirit by which to ward off the ignorance of the ignorant. And there are four things that cause misery to those in whom they are found: a rigid outlook, hardness of the heart, excessive ambition, and greed for the things of this world." The first group of attributes indicates the increase and strength of one's belief, while those in the second group are evidence of its weakness and diminution.

Abu Yala al-Mawsili said that it was related to him by Abd Allah al-Qawariti and Yahya Ibn Said, on the authority of Yazid Ibn and Yahya Ibn Said, who said that it was related to them by Awf that he heard from (qah Ibn Abd Allah al-Mazni that Yazid said in his hadith at the mosque in Basrah: "I was told by a man [whose name Awf had forgotten] that he was in Madinah in a mosque with Umar Ibn al-Khattab and Umar said to one of those who were seated with him: 'What have you heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say about Islam?' The man replied: 'I heard him say that Islam began as a single tree trunk; then it was doubled, and then quadrupled. After this it grew to six times and finally flourished.' Then Umar said to the man: 'And what can happen after flourishing but that it should diminish?"' This is how it was related by Abu Yala in Musnad Umar; although in the Musnad of this obscure Companion of the Prophet its mention is more appropriate.

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