Book of Iman: Hadith 8

Chapter 1: The saying of the prophet (peace be upon him) “Islam is built upon five”




It is speech and actions. It increases and decreases. Allah (SWT) says, {So that they can increase in Iman on top of their (current) Iman} [Al-Fath:4], {And we increased them in guidance} [Al-Kahf:13],  {And Allah increases the guided ones in guidance} [Maryam: 76], {And the guided ones, He increased them in guidance and made them attain piety} [Muhammad:17],  { And the believers will increase in Iman} [Al-Muddathir:31],  And His saying {Which of you has this made them increase in Iman. As for the believers, it increased them in their Iman} [At-Tawbah:124], And His saying {So fear them, So this increased them in Iman} [‘Al-Imran:173], And His saying {And it did not increase them except in Iman and submission} [Al-Ahazab:22]. Love for the sake of Allah, and hate for the sake of Allah is from Iman. Umar bin Abdil-Aziz wrote to Adi bin Adi: “Iman has obligations, legislations, rulings, and traditions, so whoever has completed them has complete Iman, and whoever does not complete them does not have complete Iman, and if I live, I will explain them to you so that you can act by them, and if I die, I am not eager for your company (i.e. to stay in this dunya)”. And Ibrahim said, {So that my heart can be tranquil} [Al-Baqarah: 260], And Mu’adh said, “Come let’s believe (have Iman) for an hour”. And Ibn Mas’ood said, “Certainty is all of Iman”. And Ibn Umar said, “A slave does not comprehend the reality of piety until he leaves what wavers in the chest (heart)”. And Mujahid said about the ayah {He legislated for you from the religion} [Al-Shura: 13] “We have given you O Muhammad and him one religion”. And Ibn Abbas said about the ayah, {Legislation and a way}  [Al-Ma’idah: 48] “Pathway and tradition”.




On the Authority of Umar (May Allah be pleased with him), that the prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Islam is built upon five: the testimony that none is worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, giving zakah (charity), performing hajj, and fasting Ramadhan”




Brief Commentary


  • Imam Bukhari started this chapter with an introduction to Iman and a discussion on what Iman really is, and he brought many evidences to support what he is saying, as is the tradition of the scholars of Islam to back up their claims with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah
  • Many of the evidences may not be understood until you open the Qur’an and read a few verses before the one Imam Bukhari mentioned to understand the topic of the verse
  • This introduction gives us an idea on what ahadith to expect to come across in this chapter
  • Imam Bukhari mentioned that Iman is speech and actions and did not mention that it is also intentions (actions of the heart) because the ummah is unanimous that actions of the heart are part of Iman, but the controversy lies in the speech and actions part, so he only mentioned these two here
  • Another proof that Iman increases and decreases is the feeling we feel inside us as sometimes we have more certainty and sincerity than other times and that is due to our Iman levels fluctuating
  • The ayahs in the Qur’an only mention Iman increasing, but we know it also decreases because anything that is open to increase, is also open to decrease
  • Loving and hating for Allah being part of Iman are from a hadith found in Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud
  • The statement of Mu’adh (ibn jabal) shows that Iman does increase and decrease as it cannot be said that he did not have Iman before he said that statement
  • The statement of Ibn Umar hints that some people have reached the peak of Iman, while others haven’t
  • The commentary on the hadith has been written in some detail in the 40 nawawi page under Hadith 3.




Benefits and Action points to take from this introduction:


  • Iman comprises of :
    • Belief in the heart
    • Statement of the tongue
    • Actions of the limbs
  • Iman increases and decreases
  • We should always use evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah to back up any claim we make about Islam
  • We should never neglect the obligation of loving and hating for the sake of Allah
  • We can only attain complete Iman by studying more about Allah and Islam
  • We need to have more gatherings that boost our Iman, just like the sahabah did
  • Leaving what wavers in the heart (i.e. we are unsure if it is right or wrong) even if it is permissible will help us in attaining complete Iman




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