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 The Pillars and Branches of Faith

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PostSubject: The Pillars and Branches of Faith   The Pillars and Branches of Faith EmptyFri Feb 19, 2010 4:10 pm

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The Pillars and Branches of Faith



The Pillars of Faith

In Arabic, the word used for pillars is Arkan, the singular of which is Rukn: the Rukn of something is its strong side. There are six pillars of faith:

1) Faith in Allah

2) Faith in the Angels

3) Faith in the Book

4) Faith in the Messengers

5) Faith in the Last Day

6) Faith in the Divine Preordainment, both the good and bad of it.

The proof for these six being the pillars of faith is found in the answer Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) gave when Jibril, (Alayhi Salam) asked him about faith. He (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) answered:

To believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in Divine Preordainment, the good and bad of it. (Recorded by Muslim)

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The Branches of Faith

The Arabic word for branches is Shu'ab, the singular of which is Shu'bah, which means a characteristic or a component. The branches of faith, then, are its many components; in one Hadith, we learn that those components are more than seventy in number.

Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) related that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

Faith consist of more then seventy (or more then sixty) branches, the best of which is the saying, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah," and the lowest of which is to remove something harmful from the road. (Recorded by Muslim)


The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) clarified that the best of these components or branches is Tawhid, which is obligatory upon every person, and upon which hinges the validity of other components. The lowest of them is to remove something that might harm a Muslim. Between these two branches, there are a number of other branches - such as love for the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) loving for a brother what one loves for himself, and Jihad. The branches are not clearly mentioned altogether in the Sunnah; however, some scholars, such as Al-Baihaqi in Al-Jami' Li-Shu'abil-Iman, have tried to infer what they are and enumerate them.

Some of the many branches are like supports, without which faith disappears in a person. For example, one's faith is invalid if he disbelieves in the Last Day, for Allah Almighty says:

The disbelievers pretend that they will never be resurrected (for the Account). Say: "Yes! By my Lord, you will certainly be resurrected, then you will be informed of what you did, and that is easy for Allah. (Surah At-Taghabun 64:7)

Some of those branches are less significant than supports, and thus one's faith does not leave due to their absence; nonetheless, one's level of faith decreases and one might even be described as a doer of wicked deeds. One example of this category is for one to treat his neighbor badly. Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) related that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak well or otherwise remain quiet. Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him honor his neighbor. And whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him honor his guest. (Recorded by Al-Bukhari)

A single person may have some of the components of faith while at the same time he has some of the components of Nifaq (hypocrisy): for the latter category, he deserves punishment, but he will not dwell in the Hellfire for eternity because of the faith he has in his heart. And Allah Almighty knows best.

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