Book of Iman. Hadith 9

Chapter 3: Matters of Iman


The saying of Allah (SWT) {It is not al-Birr( piety) that you turn your faces towards East or West, but al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the last day, the angels, the book, the prophets, and gives his wealth in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, to the poor, to the wayfarer, to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs Salah, gives zakah, and who fulfil their covenant when they make it, and who are patient In extreme poverty, and ailment, and at the time of fighting. Such are the people of the truth and they are the muttaqoon (pious)} [Al-Baqarah:177]


{Successful are the believers} [Al-Mu’minoon:1]


On the Authority of Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him), that the prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Iman is sixty-something branches, and shyness is a branch of Iman”


Brief Commentary


  • The relevance of the ayah mentioned to the hadith and the chapter is that the prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked about Iman, so he recited the ayah above. The ayah made piety exclusive to the ones with the mentioned qualities, so if they do this, then they are complete believers. Piety is incorporated within Iman so if the above are part of piety, and they contain actions of the limbs then they are automatically a part of Iman.
  • A reason why the second ayah was mentioned could be due to Imam Bukhari wanting it to be an explanation of the ayah before it i.e. the pious are the same as the believers (the ones with Iman)
  • Another reason could be that Imam Bukhari is hinting that the branches of Iman can be found from these two verses and any other verses that are similar to them
  • The hadith mentioned sixty-something. Scholars have spoken about the numerical value of something and had many different views, but what seems to be the strongest is that it is a value between 3 and 9
  • There is another hadith that mentioned seventy-something branches, but it seems that Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani and Imam Bukhari are both of the opinion that sixty-something is more accurate
  • The Islamic definition of shyness is that it is an attribute that comes about to avoid that which is evil, and prevent any shortcomings towards the one who has a right, which is why in another hadith, it is stated that shyness is all that is good.
  • If it is said that shyness is a natural instinct so how can it be a branch of Iman, it can be replied that using this natural instinct in that which is in accordance to the shari’ah requires knowledge and intention so it is a branch of Iman due to that. Therefore not any feeling of shyness is good, but the feeling of shyness which is in accordance to the Islamic definition of shyness is what is good. Being too shy to enjoin the good and forbid the evil is not considered to be shyness according to the Islamic definition of shyness
  • Many scholars tried to list all the branches of Iman. There is no correct or definitive list as it is all based on the judgement of the scholars. Ibn Hajr said that a summary of what the scholars have listed is that the branches stem from actions of the heart, tongue, and limbs. Below is a list of the branches according to the judgement of Ibn Hajr.
  • The ones that stem from actions of the heart:
    • Belief in Allah which includes:
      • Believing in His essence
      • Believing in His attributes
      • Believing in His oneness that there is none like Him
    • Belief in the Angels
    • Belief in the books of revelation
    • Belief in the Messengers (peace be upon them)
    • Belief in divine will
    • Belief in the last day which includes:
      • Being asked in the grave
      • Resurrection
      • The reckoning
      • The scales
      • The siraat
      • Heaven and Hellfire
    • Loving Allah
    • Loving and hating for the sake of Allah
    • Loving the prophet (peace be upon him)
    • Glorifying the prophet (peace be upon him) which includes:
      • Sending salutations upon him
      • Following his sunnah
    • Sincerity which includes:
      • Leaving out showing off
      • Leaving out hypocrisy
    • Repentance to Allah
    • Fear of Allah
    • Hope in Allah
    • Showing gratitude towards Allah
    • Loyalty to Allah
    • Patience
    • Content with what Allah wills and having tawakkul
    • Mercy
    • Humility which includes:
      • Respecting the elders
      • Being merciful with the youngsters
    • Avoiding arrogance and vainglory
    • Avoiding jealousy
    • Avoiding enmity/malice
    • Avoiding anger
  • The ones that stem from actions of the tongue are:
    • Pronouncing tawheed (the two shahadas)
    • Reciting the Qur’an
    • Studying knowledge
    • Teaching it
    • Making Du’aa
    • Remembrance of Allah, which includes seeking forgiveness
    • Avoiding false speech
  • The ones that stem from actions of the limbs are:
    • Purification which includes:
      • Avoiding filth
      • Covering the awrah
    • Obligatory and non-obligatory Salah
    • Zakah
    • Freeing the slaves
    • Generosity which includes:
      • Feeding people
      • Being good to your guests
    • Obligatory and non-obligatory fasting
    • Hajj
    • Umrah
    • Performing tawaf (circumambulation)
    • I’tikaf
    • Seeking laylatul qadr
    • Fleeing with your religion which includes leaving the land of kufr
    •  Fulfilling your vows
    • Seeking the truth when someone swears by Allah
    • Paying the expiations
    • Seeking ifaaf (self-control/honour) with marriage
    • Fulfilling the rights of your wives and children
    • Being good to your parents
    • Raising your children
    • Upholding ties of kinship
    • Obeying your master or being good to your slave
    • Ruling with justice (if you are a leader)
    • Following the jamaa’ah (the Muslim community (when they are upon truth))
    • Obeying the ruler
    • Bringing good to the people which includes fighting the khawarij and the oppressors
    • Helping in acts of piety which includes enjoining the good and forbidding the evil
    • Carrying out the Islamic rulings
    • Jihad which includes physical fighting
    • Paying the amanah which includes paying the fifth from the spoils of war
    • Loans and paying it back
    • Being good to your neighbour
    • Good treatment which includes taking wealth from that which is halal
    • Spending wealth rightfully, which includes avoiding extravagance and wasting money
    • Replying to the salam
    • Saying “yarhamkum Allah” to the one who sneezes and says “Alhamdulillah”
    • Keeping harm away from the people
    • Avoiding wasting time in that which brings no good
    • Removing the harm from the pathway



Benefits and Action points to take from this introduction:


  • Try and implement the branches of Iman as listed by Ibn Hajar, but don’t try to do it all at once. Take it one at a time, once you think you are someone who fulfils one branch, then move on to the next. Insha’Allah if you are someone who is sincere and hardworking, you will see that in a few years time, you are someone who fulfils all the branches of Iman. Remember, take it slowly. It may be a good idea to print this off and have it as a checklist.


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