May Allahu ta'ala honor us all with the prosperity of following Muhammad Mustafa (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam), who is the spiritual Master of this and the next world and who is the highest of all the people in every respect. Because Allahu ta'ala likes those who obey and follow him, a tiny act of following him is more exalted than all the worldly advantages and all the blessings of the next world. Real superiority consists of adapting oneself to his sunnat, and the honor and virtue of humanity entails following his Shariat. [The word sunnat has three different meanings. In this context, it means the Shariat.]
[Adapting oneself to him, or following him, is following the way on which he has guided us. His way is the way shown by the Qur'an al-karim. This way is called Din-i Islam. In order to adapt ourselves to him, we should first have iman (belief); then learn Islam well; then carry out the fard (farz) and abstain from the haram; and then fulfill the sunnat and abstain from the makruh. After all these, we should also try to follow him in what is mubah.] It is essential for everyone to have iman; iman is necessary for everybody. Those who have iman should carry out the fards and abstain from the harams. Every Mumin (Believer) is obliged to carry out the fards and abstain from the harams, that is, to be a Muslim. Every Mumin loves our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) more than his own life and property. A symptom of this love is to carry out the sunnat and abstain from the makruh. After following all of these, the more a Muslim adapts himself to him in what is mubah, the more perfect and the more mature will he become. He will become all the closer and more beloved to Allahu ta'ala.
It is called Iman to like and to admit sincerely, that is, to believe, all of what Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said. Those who believe so are called Mumin. It is called Kufr not to believe even one piece of what he said, and to doubt if it is good and correct. People who disbelieve so are called Kafir. Things which Allahu ta'ala clearly commands in the Qur'an al-karim are called Fard. Things which He clearly forbids and prohibits by saying "don't" are called Haram. Things which Allahu ta'ala doesn't clearly command but which are acts our Prophet praised or which he habitually did or which he did not prohibit, though seeing them done, are called Sunnat. It is kufr (disbelief) to dislike the sunnat. It is not a sin not to do them, as long as you like them. Those things which are not liked by him, and which also eradicate the blessings of worships are called Makruh. The things which are neither commanded nor prohibited are called Mubah. All these commands and prohibitions are called Shariat or Afal-i mukallafin or Ahkam-i Islamiyya.
Afal-i mukallafin consists of eight aspects: Fard, wajib, sunnat, mustahab, mubah, haram, makruh, mufsid. Things that are not prohibited, or though prohibited, their prohibition has been abolished through one of the reasons which the Shariat accepts as an excuse, a hindrance or a necessity, are called Halal. All mubahs are halal. For example, it is halal to lie in order to reconcile two Muslims. Everything that is halal may not be mubah. For example, it is not mubah, but it is makruh to go shopping while the adhan is being called. Nevertheless, it is halal. A Muslim crier calls Muslims to pray when it is prayer time; this public announcement is called the adhan. It is fard to learn and know the tenets of iman, and the various fards and harams. Thirty-three fards are well-known. Four of them are basic; to perform namaz, to fast, to give zakat, and to perform hajj (pilgrimage). These four fards together with iman are the basis of Islam. He who has iman and who worships, that is, he who carries out these four fards is called a Muslim or Musliman. He who carries out all four of them and abstains from the haram is a complete Muslim. If one of these is defective or nonexistent, his state of being a Muslim will also be defective. He who does not carry out any of them may be a Mumin (believer), but he is not a true Muslim. Though such an iman protects one in this world only, it is difficult to transmigrate to the Hereafter in possession of this kind of iman. Iman is like a candle. Ahkam-i Islamiyya is like the lantern, the glass globe around the burning candle. The candle and the lantern which contains it represent Islam and Din-i Islam. The candle without the lantern will go out quickly. Islam cannot exist without iman. Therefore, where there is no Islam, there is no iman, either.
Din (religion) means the way prescribed by Allahu ta'ala in order to guide people to endless bliss. The unwholesome ways which people make up under the name of religion are not called religion; they are called irreligiousness and disbelief. Since the time of Hadrat Adam, Allahu ta'ala has sent mankind a religion by means of a prophet every thousand years. These prophets (salawatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain) are called Rasul. On the other hand, in every century, by making the purest person the prophet, He has strengthened the religion through him. These prophets who followed the Rasuls are called Nabi. All the prophets have communicated the same iman; they have asked their ummat to believe in the same things. Yet, since their Shariats, that is, the things that are to be done and avoided through the heart and body, were different, their being Muslims was different.
He who has iman and adapts himself to she Shariat is a Muslim. Those who want to adapt the Shariat to their desires and pleasures are disbelievers. They don't understand that Allahu ta'ala has sent down the Shariat in order to break the desires and pleasures of the nafs and to prevent their excessive indulgence.
Every subsequent Shariat has abolished or changed the Shariat previous to itself. The last and final Shariat that has changed all the Shariats prior to it, which has assimilated all the previous Shariats within itself, and which will never change until the end of the world is Hadrat Muhammad's Shariat. Today, the religion which Allahu ta'ala likes and loves is the Islamic religion, which is based on this Shariat. To those who perform the fard and abstain from the haram, which this Shariat communicates. Allahu ta'ala will bestow blessings and favors in the next world. That is, they will receive thawab (rewards). For those who do not carry out the fards and do not abstain from the harams, there are punishments and suffering in the next world. That is, such people become sinful. The fard performed by those who have no iman will not be accepted. That is, they will not be given rewards. The sunnat performed by the Muslims who don't carry out the fard, that is, who owe a debt to Allahu ta'ala, will not be accepted, and they will not be given rewards. They are not looked upon as having adapted themselves to our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). If a person does all the fards and omits one fard without an excuse, none of his nafila (supererogatory) worships and sunnats of this kind will be given rewards, until he pays this debts of his. Hadith ash-Sharifs declare this clearly as quoted in the book Miftah-un-Najat: "O 'Ali! When the people are busy with the fadail (supererogatory) try to complete the fards." Also, it states at the end of the third fasl (part) of the book Durrat-ul-Fakhira by Imam-i Ghazali: "Allahu ta'ala will not accept the nafila salat of the person who has a debt of qada salat." The book Miftah-un-Najat has already been published by Hakikat Kitabevi in Istanbul. When the mubahs are done with good intentions and with beautiful thoughts, one will receive rewards. When they are done for evil purposes, or if doing them prevents one from performing a fard or causes the delaying of a fard, they will be sins. While the fard and sunnat are being done, if evil thoughts are involved, the debt will be paid and punishment will be averted, but no reward will be obtained. It may be a sin instead. The fard and sunnat of those who commit harams will be acceptable. That is, they have paid their debt, yet they won't receive rewards. The book al-Hadiqa in explaining the hadith: "The worships of people of bidat will not be accepted," says, "The worships of those Muslims who do not abstain from sinning are not accepted, even if they are sahih." A haram cannot be mubah (permitted), even if done with goodwill. In other words, a haram will never be rewarded, and he who commits a haram without an excuse is certainly sinful. He who abstains from the haram and gives it up with goodwill, fearing Allah, will receive rewards. If the doesn't commit a haram for other reasons, he won't receive rewards. He will only escape its sin. It is out of place for those who commit harams to say, "You should look at my heart, it is pure. Allahu ta'ala looks at the heart only." It is nonsensical. This is only said to deceive Muslims. It is written in the thirty-ninth letter [of Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani] that the symptom of a heart's purity is in adhering to the Shariat, that is, obeying its commands and prohibitions. The book Hadiqa and Shirat ul-Islam, on its 246 th page, while explaining taqwa says, "Committing the harams with good intentions does not deliver them from being harams. A good intention does not affect either the harams or the makruhs. It does not change them into taat."
It is written on the seventy-third page of the book Mirat-ul-maqasid concerning an intention for an abdast (ritual ablution, wudu) in Ibni Abidin (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) and on the fifty-fourth page in the translation of Milal-Nihal that there are three kinds of actions: The first is, masiyyat, that is, sinful actions. These are the actions which Allahu ta'ala dislikes. It is masiyyat not to do what Allahu ta'ala has ordered to be done, or to do what He has prohibited. The second one is taat, those actions which Allahu ta'ala likes. These are also called Hasana. He has promised that He will give Ajr, that is, Thawab (blessings) to a Muslim who performs taat. The third group of actions are called Mubah, which have not been declared to be sinful or taat. They are taat or sinful depending on the intention of the person who does them.
Sins are not exempted from being sins if they are committed with or without a good intention. The hadith "Actions are good or bad depending on the intention," declares that the taat and mubah actions will be given rewards in accordance with the intention. If a person, in order to please someone, offends another person, or if he gives alms with someone else's property, or if he builds mosques or schools with haram money, he won't be given rewards. It will be ignorant to expect rewards for these efforts. Cruelty and sins are still sins even if they are committed with a goodwill. It is blessed not to do such actions. If one does them knowing that they are sins, it will become a grave sin. If one does them without knowing, it will be a sin also not to know or not to learn the things that are known by most Muslims. Even in Dar-ul-harb it is not an excuse, but a sin, not to know the Islamic rules which are common. When the taats are done without an intention or intended for Allah's sake, blessings are given.
When one does a taat, it will be accepted whether one knows or not that one is doing it for Allah's sake. If a person does a taat knowing that he does it for Allah's sake, it is called Qurbat. While doing an action which is qurbat, one does not have to intend so that rewards will be given. The taat in which it is necessary to intend for Allah's sake so that rewards are given is called Ibadat (worshipping). The abdast (ritual ablution) that is performed without an intention is not an act of worshipping, but it is qurbat. However, one has cleaned oneself and can perform namaz. It is understood that every worship is qurbat and taat. Reading the Qur'an al-karim, donating property to a religious foundation, emancipating a slave, giving alms, making a wudu' (in the Hanafi Madhhab) and the like, since an intention is not necessary in order to receive blessings, they are taat and qurbat. Yet they are not acts of worship. While doing an action which is taat or qurbat, if one intends for Allah's sake, one has done an act of worship. However, these are not commanded as worships. It is not qurbat, but it is taat to learn such branches of knowledge as physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy, which help men to know Allah. Unbelievers comprehend Allah's existence, not while learning them, but after learning them. It is a sin to perform any taat with a bad intention. Beautiful thoughts increase the reward of a taat. For example, it is a taat to be in a mosque. It will be more rewarding if one intends to visit the House of Allah, thinking that the mosque is the House of Allah. Also, if one intends to wait for the next prayer or stays inside the mosque to prevent the eyes and ears from committing sins or goes into seclusion to think about the next world or to mention Allah's name in a mosque or perform amr-i maruf and nahy-i munkar to teach the people about Allah's commands and prohibitions or to listen to the preaching of others or to strive to feel embarrassment before Allah, one will receive different rewards for each act, depending on one's intention. Every taat has various intentions and rewards. Ibni Abidin (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) explains these while explaining how to send a proxy to Mecca for pilgrimage.
Every mubah is a taat when done with goodwill. It is a sin when done with ill will. If a person uses perfumes, dresses well and smartly in order to enjoy worldly benefits, to make a show, to boast, to cherish himself or to hunt girls and women, he will be sinful. He won't be tormented for his intention to enjoy worldly advantages, yet it will cause the blessings of the next world to decrease. He will be tormented for his other intentions. If this person dresses smartly and uses perfumes because it is a sunnat, if he intends to pay reverence to a mosque and not to hurt the Muslims who sit by him in the mosque, to be clean, to be healthy, to protect Islam's dignity and honor, he receives different rewards for teach of these intentions of his. Some scholars say that one shouldn't forget to make an intention for every mubah action, even before eating, drinking, sleeping and going to the water-closet. One should be careful about one's intention when beginning a mubah action. If one's intention is good, one should do that act. If the intention is not only for Allahu ta'ala, one shouldn't do it. It is declared in a hadith ash-Sharif, "Allahu ta'ala does not look at your beautiful faces or possessions; He looks at your hearts and deeds." That is, Allahu ta'ala doesn't give anybody rewards or gifts in consideration of his new, clean clothes, good deeds, possessions and rank. He gives him rewards or torments because of his thoughts, or the intention behind his actions.
Then, the thing which is of the highest necessity, which is the most important fard for every Muslim, is learning iman, the fards and the harams. There is no Islam unless these are learned. Iman cannot be maintained, the debts to Allah and to human beings cannot be paid, intentions and morals cannot be corrected and purified unless the basic principles of Islam are learnt. Unless correctly intended, no fard will be accepted. It was declared in a hadith in Durr-ul-Mukhtar: "Learning or teaching knowledge for one hour is more blessed than worshipping until morning." The author of the book Hadarat-ul-quds states on the ninety-ninth page, "I studied the books Bukhari, Mishkat, Hidaya and Sharh-i-mawaqif under Imam-i-Rabbani's supervision. He would encourage young people to acquire knowledge. 'Knowledge first, and tasawwuf next,' he would say. Noticing my shirking from knowledge and taking pleasure from tariqat, he pitied me and advised me, 'Read books! Acquire knowledge! An ignorant sufi will be a plaything in the hands of the devil, [that is, he will fall into disesteem'."
It is called Ibadat (worship) to do the fard and sunnat and to abstain from the haram and makruh, that is, to carry out the rules of Islam in order to attain Allahu ta'ala's love and receive thawab (rewards). There is no worship without an intention. In other words, it is necessary first to have iman and then to learn and carry out the rules of Islam in order to follow Rasulullah (Hadrat Muhammad).
To have iman means to begin following him (Rasulullah) and to enter into the door of happiness. Allahu ta'ala sent him to invite all the people of the world to happiness and declared in the twenty-eighth ayat of Surat-us-Saba': "O my beloved Prophet! (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) I send you to humanity so that you should give the good news of the endless bliss to all the people in the world and to guide them toward this way to happiness."
For example, a little midday sleeping of a person who adapts himself to him is much more valuable than spending many nights worshipping without following him. It was his honorable habit to perform Qaylula, that is to sleep for a while before noon. Also, not fasting on the feast day, but eating and drinking because his Shariat commands it, is more valuable than years of fasting that doesn't exist in his Shariat. A small amount given to the poor according to his Shariat, which is called zakat, is better than giving a pile of gold coins as big as a mountain with one's own wish. After performing a morning prayer in congregation, Hadrat 'Umar, the Amir-ul-Muminin, looked at the congregation and, not seeing one of its members, he asked where he was. His companions said, "He prays until morning at nights. Maybe he fell asleep." The Amir-ul-Muminin said, "I wish he had slept all the night and performed the morning prayer in congregation; it would have been better." Those who have deviated from the Shariat blunt their nafs by subjecting themselves to inconveniences and by striving hard. Yet, this is worthless and low because they don't do it compatibly with the Shariat. The benefit for these efforts of theirs, if there is any, consists of a few worldly advantages. Then, in fact, this world is worthless; therefore, of what could be the value of a part of it? These people are like dustmen; dustmen work harder and become more tired than anybody else, but their wages are lower than anybody else's. As for those who adapt themselves to the Shariat, they are like jewellers, who deal with fine jewels and precious diamonds. They do a little work, but their earnings are great. Sometimes an hour's work provides them a hundred thousand years' earning. The reason for this is that an action compatible with the Shariat is accepted and liked by Allahu ta'ala; He loves it.
[He declares in many places in Qur'an al-karim that this is so. For example, He declares in the thirty-first ayat of Surat-u Al-i 'Imran: "O my beloved Prophet 'sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam'! Tell them, 'If you love Allahu ta'ala and if you want Allahu ta'ala to love you also, adapt yourselves to me! Allahu ta'ala loves those who adapt themselves to me'."]
Allahu ta'ala does not like any of the things that are incompatible with the Shariat. Is it possible that rewards will be given for the things that are disliked? Maybe they will bring about punishment.
To obey Allahu ta'ala, it is necessary to obey His Messenger
2 - Allahu ta'ala declares in the Qur'an al-karim, in the eightieth ayat of the Surat-un-Nisa that obedience to Hadrat Muhammad is obedience to Him. Then, unless His Messenger is obeyed, He will not be obeyed. In order to make it known that this is absolutely certain and clear, He declared in an ayat al-karima: "Of course, it is certainly so." Thus, giving no opportunity for some people who cannot think properly to see these two orders as being different from each other. Again, stating dissatisfaction with those who see these two orders as being different, in the 150 th and 151 st ayats of sura Nisa in Qur'an al-karim Allahu ta'ala declares: "The disbelievers want to differentiate Allah's commands from His prophets' commands. They say they believe in certain parts, but not in others. They want to establish a new path between belief and disbelief. All of them are kafir. For all of them we have prepared the torments of Hell with very bitter torments."
What should be done to be a Muslim. The word "shahadat"
3 - Attaining endless bliss requires being a Muslim. To be a Muslim, no formality is necessary, such as going to a mufti or imam. It is stated in the twelfth chapter of Maqamat- i-mazhariyya, "It will be enough to say: 'I believe Allahu ta'ala and His Messenger and all the messages he (the Prophet) brought from Allahu ta'ala. I love the friends of Allahu ta'ala and His Messenger, and hate their enemies.' It is scholars' duty to prove every religious teaching with documents and to indicate the ayat al-karimas and hadith ash-Sharifs that are its fulcrums. Not every Muslim is encumbered with it." As it is stated in Ibni Abidin's book at the end of the chapter "The disbeliever's marriage": ["It is not a condition for an old man who becomes a Muslim to be circumcised at once. Some 'alims said that it is even permissible not to circumcise him since circumcision does not legitimize the exposing of one's private parts." It is written in the book al-Hadiqa and Bariqa that "Old or unhealthy men who become Muslim will not be circumcised if they can't stand its pain." Doctor Najmuddin Arif bey (1343 [1925 A.D.]) says in his book Amali Jarrahi published in Istanbul, "The Jews circumcise their boys when they are seven days old, but Muslim boys are circumcised at any age. Many Christians in Europe and in the United States have themselves and their boys circumcised thinking that it is good for their health. This is written also in the book Fann-i hitan by doctor Riza Nur bey, who was a deputy of Sinop."
The Ahl-i-sunnat savants
4 - The first thing necessary for all people is to have iman and the creed of the Ahl as- sunnat scholars as communicated in their books. It is these scholars who have explained the way of our Prophet Hadrat Muhammad 'alaihis-salam', who have comprehended murad-i ilahi (the divine purpose) of the Qur'an al-karim, and who have extracted the Prophet's purpose from the hadith ash-Sharifs. It is the way shown by them that will save us on the Day of Resurrection. It is the Ahl as-sunnat scholars who have transferred the way of Allah's Prophet and his companions (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) into books and who have protected them against being changed or defiled.
The Chief of the Ahl as-Sunnat is Imam-i Azam Abu Hanifa
5 - Those scholars in the four madhhabs who reached the grade of ijtihad and the great scholars educated by them are called the Ahl as-sunnat scholars. The leader and the founder of the Ahl as-sunnat is (Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa Numan bin Thabit (radi-Allahu ta'ala anh).)
6 - Sahl bin Abdullah Tusturi 'rahmatullahi alaih', one of the great Awliya who has reached the grade of haqiqat (the highest grade in sufism), says, "If there had been a person like Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih) among the ummats of Hadrat Musa and 'Isa, they wouldn't have turned into Jews or Christians." [Awliya are people whom Allah loves.]
Books of Islamic savants
7 - Millions of books written by this great leader and by hundreds of his disciple and by thousands of the great people educated by them, correctly spread and make known our Prophet's way all over the world. Today, there is not a city, a village or a person left in the free world that has not heard about the Islam communicated by our Prophet. Upon hearing about Islam, if someone sincerely wants to learn it correctly, Allahu ta'ala promises that He will grant him true knowledge. Today, there are catalogues giving the names of the books on Islam that fill the world's libraries. For example, there are about fifteen thousand names of books and some ten thousand names of authors in the book Kashf-uz-Zunun by Katib Chalabi. This book, in two volumes, is in Arabic. Ismail Pasha from Baghdad wrote two supplementary volumes to this book. Nearly ten thousand names of books and authors exist in these supplementaries. Kashf-uz-Zunun was first printed in 1250 [1835 A.D.] in Leipzig; the upper portion of its pages are written in Arabic, while the lower portions are in Latin. The book was also translated into French in 1112 [1700 A.D.] At exactly the same time it was printed in Egypt, too. Lastly, together with its two supplementaries, it was printed in Arabic in Istanbul between 1360-1366 (1941-1947). The books are in the order of the Arabic alphabet. Four of them were sold at the libraries of the Ministry of Education in Turkey. The two-volume Arabic book Asma-ul-muallifin by Ismail Pasha was printed in Istanbul in 1370 and 1374 (1951 and 1955). In these two volumes, the authors of the books in Kashf-uz-Zunun and its supplementaries are written in the order of the Arabic alphabet and under each name are the books written by the owner of the name. Today, another very useful and valuable book listing only the Arabic Islamic books existing all over the world and their authors and in which library they can be found and at which call number they exist in each country is Carl Brockelmann's German book Geschichte der Arabischen Literatur, which was printed in Leiden in 1362 (1943). The book Miftah-us-saadah by Tashkopruzada Ahmad Effendi (rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaih), the author of the book Shaqayiq-i Numaniyya, which gives the biographies of the scholars educated in the Ottoman Empire, defines and explains nearly five hundred branches of knowledge and gives information about the books written in every branch of knowledge and their writers. His son, Kamaladdin Muhammad, translated this book from Arabic to Turkish. It lists the Islamic savants and their works, and he gave it the name Mawduat-ul-'ulum. This book was printed at the printing office of the newspaper Iqdam in 1313. It is available in bookstores. After seeing Islam's twenty main branches of knowledge and its eighty - one sub - branches and the scholars of these branches and the books which each of them wrote tirelessly and perseverently, an understanding and reasonable person cannot help admiring the great number of Islamic scholars and their skill at diving into the ocean of knowledge.