Eemaan has 70 and odd branches, its highest of them is the saying of “Laa ilaaha illAllaah” – Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

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Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah : Lesson 32 – Part B
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

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Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said:

The Second Level is Eemaan  

المرتبة الثانية : الإيمان : وهو بضع وسبعون شعبة ، فأعلاها قول : لا إله إلا الله ، وأدناها إماطة الأذى عن الطريق ، والحياء شعبة من الإيمان 

The second level is al-Eemaan (true faith) and it has seventy and odd branches, its highest of them is the saying of “Laa ilaaha illAllaah” and the lowest of them is removal of that which is harmful from the path; and al-hayaa (a sense of shame) is a branch of eemaan.[42]


[42] : Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan’s Explanation :

Eemaan is more inclusive than Islaam, so every believer is a Muslim, but not every Muslim is a believer. So eemaan is more inclusive with respect to itself, and it is more specific with regard to its people.

Eemaan in the language is at-tasdeeq (to believe, to attest with the heart).

He the Most High, said upon the tongue of the brothers of Yoosuf:

 وَمَا أَنتَ بِمُؤْمِنٍ لَّنَا

Meaning: you won’t believe us. (12:17)

As for [the meaning of] eemaan in the legislation, then it is as explained by the people of the Sunnah and Jamaa`ah:

Speech of the tongue, belief of the heart, and action of the limbs.
It increases with obedience, and it decreases through sin.

It is with this explanation, a reality relating to the legislation, because realities are three: a reality which relates to the language, a reality with regards to the legislation, and a reality relating to people’s custom.

So the explanation of eemaan with this explanation is a reality relating to the legislation. So, eemaan moves from the meaning in language to the meaning in Islaamic legislation.

So, eemaan is: speech upon the tongue – there has to be speech and acknowledgment with the tongue. And it is belief in the heart, when a person speaks upon his tongue, he must be believing it in his heart, otherwise he will be just like the hypocrites, those who: 

 يَقُولُونَ بِأَلْسِنَتِهِم مَّا لَيْسَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ

They say with their tongues that which is not in their hearts. [48:11]

And speech upon the tongue, and belief in the heart will not suffice, rather there must be action on the limbs also, and carrying out the obligatory duties is essential, and avoiding the prohibitions. So the person does the acts of obedience and he avoids the forbidden acts, all of this is from eemaan. With this definition, it comprises the whole of the religion. However, these acts of obedience and these many legislated duties, some of them are a part of the reality of eemaan, and some of them are things which are a completion of eemaan.

Eemaan has pillars and branches, and the Prophet sallallaahu`alaihi wa sallam explained them in two hadeeth. He explained the arkaan (pillars) of eemaan in the hadeeth of Jibreel, and he explained the branches of eemaan in the hadeeth of «Eemaan is seventy and odd branches». This will follow in shaa’ Allaah.

Eemaan and Islaam, if they are mentioned together, then each of them has its own meaning. When only one of them is mentioned, then it enters along with the other. If they are mentioned together, then Islaam is explained to be the outward actions, and they are the five pillars of Islaam, and eemaan is explained to be the inward actions which are the six pillars, and their places are in the heart. All of these must be found together in a Muslim. The Muslim must be one who has eemaan and who establishes the pillars of Islaam and the pillars of eemaan – he must gather all of them.

He sallallaahu`alaihi wa sallam said:

»الإيمان بضع وسبعون شعبة ، أو بضع وستون شعبة«

«Eemaan is of seventy and odd branches, or sixty and odd branches.» There are two narrations.

[Reported by al-Bukhaaree (9) with the wording «sixty and odd» and Muslim (35) with both wordings from a hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah radi Allaahu `anhu.]

His saying «odd»: it is a number between three and nine. So if it is said: «ten and odd,» then it means a number between thirteen until nineteen, and if it is said «odd» on its own, then it means something between three and nine.

His saying «branches»: a branch is a part of the thing, meaning that the pillars have seventy and odd parts or sections.

His saying «the highest one of them»: meaning: the highest of the branches is the saying Laa ilaaha illaAllaah.  It is the head of Islaam and it is the head of eemaan, it is the first pillar, and it is the entry point of the religion.

His saying «the lowest one of them»: meaning: the last of them and the least one of them.

His saying «removing that which is harmful from the path»: meaning: removing that which is harmful from the path which is walked upon. And «that which is harmful» is everything which causes harm to the people, whether it be thorns, rocks, filthy things or refuse, everything which causes harm to people upon their path. And placing that which is harmful upon their path is forbidden, because the path is for those who wish to precede upon it, and harm impedes those who want to proceed, or puts them in danger, such as stopping his car upon the road, this is from causing harm – and letting water flow out from the house unto the path, this is from harm – and putting rubbish upon the pathway, this is from causing harm, whether it be upon the road, the town, or in the countryside – placing a rock, pieces of timber, iron upon the pathways of the people, digging holes in the roads of the people – all of this is from causing harm. So if a Muslim comes and removes this harm, and clears the path of it, then this is a proof for his eemaan. So, placing that which is harmful upon the path is from the branches of kufr, and removing harm from the path is from the branches of eemaan.

His saying «al-hayaa (true sense of shame is a branch of eemaan)»: al-hayaa is a characteristic which Allaah places in a person which leads him to carry out whatever will beautify and adorn him; and which prevents him from things which will contaminate and disfigure him. And al-hayaa which leads a person to perform that which is good, and to withhold from that which is evil is praiseworthy. As for shame or shyness which prevents a person from doing something good, from seeking knowledge, and from asking about things which are a problem to his understanding, then this is blameworthy shyness. This is because it is blameworthy embarrassment.

And the pillars of eemaan are many as you have come to know there are seventy and odd. Al-Imaam al-Bayhaqee wrote a large work in which he mentioned the branches of eemaan, it has an abridgment which has been printed.

From the proofs of the scholars that eemaan is speech upon the tongue, belief in the heart and action on the limbs is his saying sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam:

» أعلاها لا إله إلا الله «

« The highest of them is none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah. » This is a proof for sayings. And his saying sallallaahu`alaihi wa sallam:

» أدناها إماطة الأذى عن الطريق «

« And removal of that which is harmful from the path » is an action. It proves that actions are from eemaan. And his saying sallallaahu`alaihi wa sallam:

» الحياء شعبة من الإيمان «

« al-hayaa is a branch from eemaan .» This is something in the heart, al-hayaa is in the heart. This is a proof that eemaan is sayings upon the tongue, belief in the heart, and actions upon the limbs.

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Related Links:

https://abdurrahman.org/belief/imaan-faith-pillars