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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 02: Iman and Islam (Summary of the Chapter)


Chapter 02:
Iman and Islam (Summary of the Chapter):


The basis of all higher religions is a faith in Divine revelation, because God is known to man, and personal contact with Him is established, only through revelation. Man can make all discoveries in the sphere of the finite but he cannot discover the Infinite God; it is God Who reveals Himself to man, and it is therefore only through Divine revelation that man can know God. Bukhari who was gifted with special insight into matters religious, begins his Jami` with the book of Revelation and follows it with the book of Faith. But the conception of faith in Islam is widened in two ways. In the first place, faith here stands not for faith in revelation to one person or one generation but a faith in revelation to all people in all ages (v. 1). It is a faith in the books of Allah, and in the messengers of Allah, in all the books and messengers that preceded the Holy Prophet (v. 2). And secondly, faith here combines both belief and actions; in v. 3, believers are asked to believe, which means that they should bring their faith to its full development by good deeds and sacrifices; v. 4 shows that the first step is that of mere acceptance of Islam and the second is that when faith has taken root in--entered--the heart. When this stage is reached, a man becomes capable of the highest deeds of sacrifice (v. 5). Islam or submission to Divine laws is the rule of nature (v. 6) and man attains perfection only when he submits himself to the revealed laws of God (v. 7). Islam, however, does not aim only at individual perfection; it also establishes a vast brotherhood of humanity, membership of which cannot be denied even to the man who simply offers the Islamic salutation (vv. 8, 9).

Hadith related in this chapter begin with the basic fact that religion does not consist in hard religious exercises but in living a good life in which due regard is paid to the rights of others (hh. 1--3). Good actions, it is further stated, spring from a good heart and hence the need of faith which rules the heart (h. 4). Iman (faith) and Islam (submission to Divine law) are often used interchangeably, but Iman strictly indicates the acceptance of a principle which is the basis of action--the theoretical side--, and Islam the action itself--the practical side of man's life (hh. 5, 6). But theory and practice here go hand in hand, and the actions which spring from faith are also called faith. One's faith is therefore greater or less as one's actions are more or less beneficial to humanity. faith is spoken of as love : the man who has faith in Allah does not spare the doing is good to the nearest passer-by, so broad is his love for humanity (h. 7); he loves the whole of humanity and most of all the Holy Prophet, because he is the greatest benefactor of humanity (h. 8); his love for his brother is not mere word of mouth, but he is guided by that love in his everyday relations with him (h. 9); he loves Allah most of all and loves humanity fro the sake of Allah and thus his love for humanity is based on the purest of motives (h. 10).

The next three hadith show what Islam is. It does not simply mean a certain declaration; the declaration of divine Unity and prophethood of Muhammad brings a man into the fold of Islam, but to be a Muslim he must live the life of a Muslim, the life of a man who lives in perfect peace with others. The first condition of that life is that he shall not cause injury to any man, either with his tongue or with his hand (h. 11). Such injury is said to be an act of transgression, even disbelief (hh. 12, 13). It is not permissible, however, to go to the other extreme and call a Muslim a disbeliever or turn him out of the pale of Islam because he has committed an act of disbelief. So long as a man declares his faith in the Unity of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad, he is a Muslim (hh. 16, 17). Nay, a man who offers prayers like Muslims with his face to the Qiblah has the covenant of Allah and His Messenger that he shall be dealt with as a member of the Muslim brotherhood (h. 15). And the Holy Qur'an goes even further and accepts the Islamic salutation as sufficient proof that such a man is a Muslim, whatever his differences with others (v. 9). H. 18 gives another description of what Islam in practice is. 

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 02: Iman and Islam (Summary of the Chapter)

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