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15-07-2024
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Islamic Creed- Miscellaneous topics- Lesson (01): Principles of Islam
   
 
 
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  
 

General principles of Islamic religion:

1- knowledge as the main principle of Islam:

 Dear respected brother, it is not difficult to talk about the details of the Islamic religion, as it is considered a huge gate of knowledge, but from time to time, it is good and useful to talk about the religion as a whole; because we can discuss the minute details of the verses of the Noble Quran, Al-Sunnah, and the prophetic biography, but in order not to focus on these details only, forgetting about the main goals of our religion, I think it is necessary to talk about the religion as a whole.
 If you enter an Islamic library, you will find hundreds of thousands of books; about the ideology and its principles, the sciences of the Noble Quran, the terminology of Hadith, the prophetic biography, Muslim beacons, the Fiqh and school of thoughts (Madh'habs), ….etc. Therefore, no matter how long you live in this life, you can't get acquainted with all what has been written about even one section of the Islamic sciences.
 Therefore, the crux of our lesson today is to talk about the religion as a whole. The Islamic religion is based on basic principles, the first one is: seeking knowledge; there is no religion without erudition and seeking knowledge. It is said that Allah does not want an ignorant man to become His Wali (a noble pious one), but if He wants so, He would teach him (by helping him to learn and seek knowledge). If someone becomes a religious person without seeking knowledge, he would perform many acts of worship, but he might violate divine orders unknowingly (because of his ignorance), which would make him farther from Allah the Almighty, then his acts of worship would become worthless.
 You will not connect to Allah the Almighty properly, unless you adhere to His limits, and you will not be able to do so, unless you know His limits well, and you will not know His limits, unless you truly know Him.

Eestablishing relationship between Allah and people:

 In Islam, there are knowledge, scientific, and ideological aspects. Many people think that religion is only about prayers, fasting, performing Haj, and paying zakat, well, these people might reach paradise, if they lived hundreds years ago; but not in this era. Because nowadays, at the time of growing desires and temptations, at the time of ambiguities and nonsense, at the time when delusions, straying creeds, falseness have been spread, at the time of promoted deviations and keeping away from the principles of religion under freedom claims, modernity, and development, which create many ambiguities and gloomy temptations within our societies.
 I strongly assure you that people nowadays, at the time of intellectual and behavioral deviations and delusions, can't survive without having a strong belief, besides acquiring certainty knowledge based on authentic evidences.
 Dear brother, in this life, if you feel that there is no use in seeking knowledge wherever you go and whatever you do, you will have gab and lack in your religious knowledge that would reflect on your behavior causing a deviation, this behavioral deviation would later create a veil between you and Allah the Almighty, and when this happens, be sure that you will lose all the fruits of the religion.
 The basis of our religion is to establish a strong and good relationship between you and Allah the Almighty, and when you lose this relationship over deviations which happen as a result of ignorance (of religious knowledge), you will reap no fruit from this religion, whereas, if you connect with Allah, you will feel safe and secure within yourself. Allah the Almighty says:

19. "Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient"

[Al-Ma'arij Surah]

 The human being was created anxious and impatient, except the observers of prayer. Allah the Almighty says:

“Verily, man was created very impatient, irritable when evil touches him, and niggardly when good touches him, except those who are devoted to prayers"

[Al-Ma'arij Surah, verses 19-22]

Bases of knowledge: thorough study, contemplation and observation:

 By connecting with Allah the Almighty, you can stay away from the innate weak points of mankind. Therefore, one will have flaws in his behaviors unless he revolves in his mind or even think of attending religious lessons to get to know Allah the Almighty and His Noble Book, besides lessons that explain Allah's Divine Attributes to expand his awareness of Allah the Almighty, Tafseer lessons (explanation of the meaning of the Holy Quran) to expand his knowledge of the Book of Allah the Almighty, the Prophetic Biography lessons to get acquainted with the practical applications of the theoretical principles, and Fiqh lessons to learn about the legal provisions which he might face in his life. That's why you should dedicate a precious time for seeking knowledge and attending lessons to expand your Islamic culture and intellectual thinking, and to strengthen your true ideology.
 You can seek knowledge by thorough study, contemplation, and observation. Allah the Almighty says:

101." Say: "Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth," but neither Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not."

[Yunus Surah]

 Seeking knowledge can be done by contemplating on the small details of the creation of heavens and the earth; by contemplating on the amazing human body, on the food that you eat, on the nature that surrounds you; and all of which are true evidences of the Greatness of Allah the Almighty. I hope that everyone contemplates everyday on Allah's Ayat (proofs, evidences) which indicate and prove His Greatness, besides contemplating on the minute details of Allah's creatures.

 Will you be impressed if you know that you have 20 million olfactory neurons inside your nose? Each neuron has 7 cilia; the surface of these cilia is covered with a mucous layer, when the air inters your nostrils, it passes through the nasal cavity, then the air passes through a thick layer of mucous to the olfactory bulb where the smells are recognized because each smell molecule fits into a nerve cell like a lock and key. Then the cells send signals along your olfactory nerve to the brain. At the brain, they are interpreted as odor (a sensation resulting from adequate stimulation of the olfactory organ). If the amount of a substance is 1/500.000 of a milligram per cubic centimeter, it would be enough to be recognized as a scent. Don't you feel the Great and Infinite Divine Power of Allah the Almighty? Can you feel His Miraculous Divine Creativity?

Allah enjoined Friday prayer to stress on knowledge aspect:

 The knowledge aspect is one of the principles of this religion; that's why Allah the Almighty has imposed Friday prayer as a kind of assertion on this important aspect. What is the nature of this prayer? It is an educational worship that includes a sermon; where the orator reauthors some verses of the Noble Quran, then he explains their meanings, then the orator tells some Hadiths with their explanations, then he speaks about the attitudes and deeds of the Companions along with the reasons and explanations. Hence, because of the importance of the knowledge aspect in Islamic religion, the Friday prayer has been imposed on Muslims. Therefore, the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“He who leaves three Friday prayers out of negligence, Allah will put a seal over his heart.”

[Malik's Muwatta, Narrated from Malek Bin Salim]

 Allah the Almighty says in His Noble Book:

14. "Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn."

[Al-Mutaffifin Surah]

 Dear brother, it is one of the pillars of the religion to allocate some time to seek religious knowledge. Some people may say that their time is full and they are busy with works, appointments, plans, meetings, making deals, etc... The answer is: what's the value of this life, if you've won everything but lost yourself? Tell me what's the value of all your money, when the Angel of Death comes to you? You'll lose everything in one second.
 Therefore, contemplating on the universe is a field, observation the incidents of life is another field, and reciting and meditating on the Noble Quran, besides reading and understanding Al-Sunnah are the third field.
 Therefore, man should acquaint himself with all these knowledge fields, because they indicate the Justice of Allah, His Wisdom, His Merci, they indicates Allah as the Sustainer of the entire universe.

Knowledge is the distinguishing value among people:

 Dear brother, I swear by Allah, who there is no god but Him, that if you have reached the highest degree of knowledge in the earth, without performing religious good deeds that support this knowledge, then your knowledge will be worthless. Actually, seeking knowledge is only a mean, but people consider it as a purpose. Unless one believes that no matter how much he learns, that will be only a mean that helps him in his life practical applications, then this knowledge would end in bad consequences to him. Therefore, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said:
 Al Hasan Al Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said “Knowledge is of two types; The knowledge of the heart, and the knowledge of the tongue. The knowledge which is in the heart, is the knowledge which pays off, while the knowledge which is on the tongues is an evidence for Allah upon his servants."
[Narrated by Al-Darami]
 Allah the Almighty asserts the importance of seeking knowledge in His Noble Book by saying:

"And say: "My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.""

[Ta-Ha Surah, Verse 114]

 Allah the Almighty has adopted knowledge as a distinguishing value among His creatures, Allah the Almighty says:

"Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?"

[Az-Zumar Surah, Verse 9]

"We raise to degrees whom We please, but over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allah)."

[Yusuf Surah, Verse 76]

 If you want to win this world, you should seek knowledge, if you want to win in the Hereafter, you should seek knowledge, and if you want to win them both, you should seek knowledge.
If you dedicate all yourself to knowledge, you will get part of it, whereas, if you dedicate part of you to knowledge, it will give you nothing.
 You shouldn't say I am busy; I don't have time for seeking religious knowledge. What are you busy with? Why do you exist in this world? Someday, you will consider your negligence in seeking knowledge a wrongdoing against yourself.

There must be a time to get to know Allah:

 For example, suppose that there is a student who wants to travel abroad in order to get the Ph.D. degree, but because his family is poor and can't afford the expenses, he ought to work and study at the same time. He needs in that country 1000 € monthly for example, and he finds a two-hour job that offers him a salary of 1000 € per month which would be sufficient for his essential expenses. This job is not his main concern, because he concentrates on his study only, as when he gets the PH.D degree, he will return to his country where he would occupy a very high position. Therefore, he puts high expectations on this degree.
 But when he finds a four-hour job with a salary of 2000€, he says, "It's ok, I'll try to make reconciliation between the work and study. Then he finds a six-hour job with a salary of 3000€, then an eight-hour job with a salary of 4000€, then a nine-hour job with a salary of 5000€, then he finally finds a job that offers him 100.000 € but he must work 24hours in return, so he leaves his study and dedicates himself totally to this job. Is this job considered a fantastic offer? Of course not, because, in fact, he lives temporarily in this courtly, he can't guarantee his residency in it, as he could be deported from it with the stroke of a pen, then he would return to his country fruitless and disappointed.
 Please pay attention to this important rule: the work that takes your entire time is a loss regardless its income though it might be huge, because by doing so, you are deviated from the main aim for which you have been created.

 Dear brother, nowadays life is hard and complicated, and life needs are too many, while income is limited, and I know that many people have to work continuously, but I can't overlook someone whose job takes his entire time and is described by people as a successful person, I swear by Allah he is not; because he must allocate some time in this life to get acquaintance with Allah the Almighty.
 A clarifying example: suppose that there is a doctor, who has been studied and worked abroad for 30 years, then he got back to his country and opened a clinic putting a sign that the working hours are between 5 and 7, so if a patient comes after 5 O'clock, and the doctor excused himself from examining him on the ground of being done for the day, in that case we will ask: why is he in the clinic in the first place? Why has he studied all these years?
 Likewise, if you don't have time for seeking religious knowledge, if you don't have time to get introduced with Allah the Almighty, then what are you busy with?
 Allah the Almighty says:

"Or what (else) was it that you used to do?"

[An-Naml Surah, Verse 84]

 What can be beyond truth except error?! In brief, seeking religious knowledge is needed in this life; because unless you do this, you would face many errors and mistakes in your life (out of ignorance). I heard In a meeting that I attended in the past that about 30 Syrian pilgrims in some year didn't perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah, which is an essential part of the Hajj, and when some people asked them why, they said, "We didn't know that this Tawaf is an obligatory part, and nobody have told us about it". Therefore, what ruins their hajj is their ignorance.
 Because of your ignorance, you may practice Riba (usury) out of good intentions. And as the principle "ignorance of the law excuses no man", the religion as well doesn't excuse the ignorant person (of religious knowledge).

 I deeply wish that you really understand the importance of seeking religious knowledge, and attending lessons shouldn't depend on your free time or your mood; it is not acceptable to attend religious lessons in winter just because there is no interesting activity, and you have much free time, while in summer you are busy with picnics, and going to the resorts and there is no time for attending lessons; you shouldn't concentrate on your life pleasure and activities and leave the religious lessons to your mood and spare time.

2- Uprightness and performing good deeds.

 The first aspect as we've said before is seeking religious knowledge by thorough study, contemplation, and observation.
 Now let's move to the second aspect which deals with deeds and actions. Although "deed" is just a word but it embraces so many indications, it could be negative or positive; acts of abstention or acts of performance.

 Dear brother, uprightness means lowering the gaze, abstaining from backbiting and talebearing, and seeking halal earning, etc…. But performing good deeds requires making efforts. For example, imagine that the road that leads to Allah the Almighty is concrete, and you drive a car, imagine that there are obstacles made from reinforced concrete; each obstacle is about two meters high and two meters wide, could you drive on this road? Of course not.

 Likewise, every sin is considered as an obstacle on your road to Allah the Almighty, but your uprightness will remove your obstacles. Your uprightness, your firmness in the Path of Allah will just pave the way to Allah the Almighty and remove all obstacles and barriers from it. But be aware that uprightness alone is not enough, because it just paves the way. Therefore, we need to move on this road in order to reach our destiny; this movement is represented by performing good deeds. Allah the Almighty says:

"And the righteous deeds exalt it (the goodly words i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allah unless and until they are followed by good deeds)"

[Fatir Surah, Verse 10]

Good deed is not accepted without uprightness:

 Allah the Almighty says in His Noble Book:

30. "Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (Alone)," and then they Istaqamu"

[Fussilat Surah, Verse 30]

33. And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims."

[Fussilat Surah, Verse 33]

 Man should be righteous along with doing good deeds. This idea can be expressed by one word in the Noble Quran:

"….and do righteous deeds"

[Ash-Shurah Surah, Verse 22]

 The righteous deed needs a ground of uprightness in order to be well-established. An approximate example, suppose that you have pen and a piece of paper, the latter has been stained with oil. Therefore, when you try to write on this paper, the writing will vanish, because the ink appears on a clean paper only. Likewise, Allah the Almighty only accepts deeds which are based on a ground of uprightness. Don't ever think that righteous deeds would help you connect to Allah the Almighty if it is not based on the uprightness in the Path of Allah the Almighty.

Uprightness is definite, while good deeds are relative:

 Uprightness is a basis. For example, suppose that you have a container "this is the uprightness", and then you fill it with some precious liquid "this is your good deed". Now, if the container is bottomless and you fill it with a precious liquid, this is a foolish action, as the liquid will be gone in vain. Whereas, if you have a well bottomed container, and you fill it with one, two, or more liters, they will be well-preserved.
 Hence, you should have a definite and decisive uprightness, without compromise, while you can perform righteous deeds as much as you can. Allah the Almighty says:

"286. Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope."

[Al-Baqarah Surah]

  The uprightness as we've said should be definite and decisive; but if someone deviates slightly (commits small sins) and he is content with that, this will be resembling someone who sails a boat on a river, he should sail straight because there is a very deep river valley beside him, but if the steering wheel of the boat is deviated 1 cm and he doesn’t fix this deviation, he would fall in the deep river valley. Small sin is considered small because it can be fixed easily; you can easily fix the deviation of 1 cm, as you just need to push no more than 2 g in order to get it back, whereas, the big sin is similar to a sudden deviation of 90 degree from the straight path. If man insists on doing a small sin, it will gradually become a big sin in terms of results. And remember that there are no big sins when there is seeking forgiveness, and no small sins when there is insisting on doing them (they become big sins gradually).

 Therefore, uprightness is definite, without compromise, while performing good deeds is relative; you may pay 1000 S.P as sadaqa (alms), May Allah bless you, and you may pay 2000, 5000, or 100.000 S.P as sadaqa as well, this is good, May Allah bless you. If this sadaqa is put inside a tight container (which is uprightness), it will be preserved and will flourish, but if it is put inside a bottomless container, it will vanish; regardless the amount of money you are paying either it was 1000, 5000, or even 1 million S.P, they are all the same; they are all worthless. Allah the Almighty says:

"And the righteous deeds exalt it (the goodly words i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allah unless and until they are followed by good deeds)"

[Fatir Surah, Verse 10]

 Someone might say, 'look…I am not a prophet'. This is the saying of most people…… who does say that you are a prophet? No, you are not a prophet or a very sincere believer, but you are Muslim. There is a definite proof from the Noble Quran proves that you are required to be upright in the way of Allah. Allah the Almighty says:

112. "So stand (ask Allah to make) you (Muhammad ) firm and straight (on the religion of Islamic Monotheism) as you are commanded and those (your companions) who turn in repentance (unto Allah) with you"

[Hud Surah]

 Therefore, the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said:

"The recitation of Surahs Hud, Al-Waaqiah, Al-Mursalat, Amma (An-Naba') and Idhash-Shamsu Kuwwirat (At-Takwir) have turned my hair gray."

[Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, from Ibn Abbas]

 Look at this hadith which proves this fact:

"Allah has commanded the believers to do the same as He commanded the Prophets"

[Sunan Al-Darimi]

 For Example, if a king wants to drive a car, he should abide by the driving rules which are the same rules that a poor person should abide by in order to remain safe. Whereas good deeds vary according to the possibilities and sincerity of people, they depend on their longing for Allah the Almighty as well.
 Most people think that uprightness is relative; as they say, obey Allah as much as you can, and as much as it is possible, this is nonsense, because Allah does not charge a soul except with that within its capacity.

3- Remembering Allah and connecting with Him:

 Connecting with Allah is a comprehensive conception that includes many branches; the prayer is a connection, fasting is a connection, asking Allah's forgiveness is a connection, glorification of Allah is a connection, and supplication is a connection as well. Connecting with Allah is the common denominator in all these acts of worships.

 If someone has a good knowledge and performs good deeds, but he rarely remembers Allah and makes supplication, this will make his connection with Allah the Almighty weak.
The drought of the heart causes a lack of emotion, and when there are no believing emotions in the heart, boredom and tedium will penetrate it, because the heart is like a motor, and when the motor stops, the driving wheel will be useless. Consider this ayah:

32. "And he said: "Alas! I did love the good (these horses) instead of remembering my Lord"

[Saad Surah]

 The Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon) preferred good deeds over remembering Allah the Almighty, so Allah admonished him for that, whereas, the Prophet Dawud (David) preferred just remembering Allah over performing good deeds, so Allah admonished him as well. Therefore, man should make a balance between the two; every righteous deed should go along with remembering and connecting with Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty says:

“1. Have We not opened your breast for you (O Muhammad ( ))?2. And removed from you your burden,3. Which weighed down your back?4. And raised high your fame?5. So verily, with the hardship, there is relief,
6. Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).
7. So when you have finished (from your occupation), then stand up for Allah's worship (i.e. stand up for prayer).8. And to your Lord (Alone) turn (all your intentions and hopes and) your invocations. “

[Ash-Sharh Surah]

 This surah indicates that acquiring knowledge and performing good deeds should be in line with remembering Allah the Almighty, as if they are two parallel straight lines moving together.

When connection with Allah is missed, anxiety fills the heart:

 Remembering Allah is a comprehensive notion; as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, almsgiving, asking for Allah's forgiveness, supplication, glorifying and thanking Allah are all among its branches.
 Allah the Almighty says:

'Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest."

[Ar-Ra'd Surah, Verse 28]

 The human being consists of mind and heart; some people only fill their minds with knowledge and leave their hearts without charging, thus their hearts will be filled with lusts and desires, whereas the believer charges his mind with knowledge and his heart by remembering Allah the Almighty.
 Dear brother, each one of us should have his own Hira' cave in order to recharge himself (Hira’ is the cave where the prophet PBUH used to resort to for meditation).

 When I went to the pilgrimage, someone told me, 'When you went to the pilgrimage, you disappeared for two weeks', I told him, 'I need to recharge myself in order to be able to give people'. Because in pilgrimage, you are totally devoted to Allah the Almighty; as it includes supplication, invocation, Tawaf (walking around Ka'bah), Sai (between As_Safâ and Al_Marwa), etc…...

 So the third general principle is: remembering Allah the Almighty.
 By remembering and connecting with Allah the Almighty, you avoid the feeling of anxiety, fear, boredom, and weariness. If we have a machine that measures the morality level of people, it will indicate that whenever you are connected with Allah the Almighty, you will achieve high morality level, but when you are disconnected with Allah the Almighty or rarely performs it, your morality level becomes low, and thus anxiety and fear will penetrate your heart.
 Examine this Surah:

151. "We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined sh3er in worship with Allah"

[Al-Imran Surah]

 The heart of the person, who is away from Allah, is full of terror and worry, whereas the heart of the believer is full of serenity and peace.  

4- Tawheed (monotheism)

 The fourth item of the general principles of this great religion is Tawheed (monotheism), but should this item be involved with the aspect of knowledge? The answer would be no. Actually, this question has led me to an important issue; if you know Allah without knowing His order, then you will go astray from the right path, whereas, if you know Allah's order without knowing Him, then you will become an atheist (may Allah forbid). Hence, you should know Allah the Almighty and know His order at the same time. Therefore, it is a big mistake to make the student of religious knowledge concentrate on Fiqh issues only, without teaching him how to get introduced with Allah the Almighty well, and thus he will face many contradictions in his life. Therefore, the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), had spent too much time in acquainting people with Allah the Almighty, during his da'awa period (calling for Allah), then he spent some time in acquainting people with Allah's orders. Hence, the da'awa (calling for Allah) has two stages; identification with Allah the Almighty, and identification with Allah's orders. If one of the stages is overlooked, the da'awa will be deficient.

 You may find someone who has reached to the highest degree in Shari'a sciences; he has learned the ideology, fiqh issues, laws of inheritance, marriage and divorce laws, laws of iddah (waiting period for a widow), laws of deposit and loan, sharecropping laws, and power of attorney laws, etc… Yet, he commits very big violations; this indicates that this person has known Allah's orders, but he has not truly known Allah the Almighty, he has only known laws of Sharia without knowing the truth; he has only known the fiqh laws without knowing the Legislator (Allah the Almighty).

 On the other hand, you may find someone who has a limited knowledge in fiqh issues, so he commits some violations out of ignorance with these rules, not because he wants to disobey Allah the Almighty, as he may speak about the Divine Names and Attributes of Allah; he knows Allah the Almighty through contemplating on the universe, but because of his ignorance, he commits sins and violations. Such people are so many in life, they commit very big violations without even knowing that, and when you ask them about the reason, they simply replay that they don't know that these actions are impermissible.

Allah’s creations indicate monotheism

 Monotheism (Tawheed) is included within the aspect of knowledge; as contemplating in the universe and incidents of life leads us to get to know Allah the Almighty well, while the Noble Quran and Sunnah represent the orders of Allah the Almighty. The evidence is the saying of Allah the Almighty:

1. All praises and thanks be to Allah, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth.

[Al-An'am Surah]

1. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave (Muhammad ) the Book (the Qur'an), and has not placed therein any crookedness.

[Al-Kahf Surah]

 Thereby, the universe is an open book, while the Noble Quran is a readable Book; the universe is a book with huge letters that everyone in this earth can read whether they know Arabic language or not, while the Quran is a Book that can be read by people who knows Arabic language only.

The fifth principle: Company and surrounding

 Now we come to the fifth item of the general principles of the Islamic religion which is the environment. Allah the Almighty says:

119." O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)."

[At-Taubah Surah]

 For example, there is a straight person, who has a brilliant mind, upright deeds, pure soul, and he always remembers and connects with Allah. If this person lives in a corrupt society, his resistance to sins and faults will weaken by time, until he glides down from one sin to another and from a level to another one. It was narrated in Prophetic Tradition:

"He who lives with the polytheists, all guardianship privileges are removed from him"

[Narrated by Ibn Al-Monther, from Jarir Ibn Abdullah Al-Bajli]

"He who craves for disbelievers' (support) will be a company to them and his deeds will not avail him."

[Narrated by Al- Suyuti, from Jaber]

 Hence, being in a good and right environment is something badly needed, because the believer supports his Muslim brother.
 Being ignorant is not a shame, but the insistence on your ignorance and negligence in seeking knowledge are the real shame. There must be a religious person in your life, whom you trust his knowledge, so you can ask his advice and benefit from his religious knowledge. Allah the Almighty says:

119." O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)."

[At-Taubah Surah]

The righteous surrounding is a foundation of the raising belief

 If you say (may Allah forbids), 'I don't trust any person, Daa'iyah (caller to Allah), mosque, or any scholar; I think that they are liars, and I don't like to be with them.' Ok, do whatever you like, but if you observe yourself well, you will notice that you are alone, surrounded by people who are far away from Allah the Almighty, by lustful and secular people. If you live in a depraved, atheist, or dissolute society, by time you will find yourself melt into this corrupted society without your knowledge. Therefore, you should live in a good society; where righteous people, good scholars, and trusted Duaat (callers to Allah) are around you.
 Now, suppose that there is a believer, whom all of his friends are corrupted, disobedient, wince drinkers, and salah abandoners, they will have by time bad and negative impact on him, whereas, if he has good friends, they will encourage one another to perform righteous deeds such as, the night prayer (Qiam Allail), paying sadaqa (voluntary charity), helping the weak, etc…
Befriending secular persons will make you feel disturbed as if your heart is falling down; the same feeling you get when the airplane shakes suddenly because of the air pockets.
 Compare the difference between befriending righteous, pure, polite, and compassionate people who pray and remember Allah the Almighty and how you feel comfort and secure with them, and befriending secular people who make cheap and bad jokes, laugh at sexual jokes, make insolent comments, and backbite each other, not to mention that they are rude, immortal, and lustful, and how you feel unclean and anxious with them. You'll definitely notice the difference between these two environments.
 The summery of the fifth item: You will not be able to adhere to the Straight Path of Allah, and keep your belief strong unless you live in a straight and righteous social environment. This is the meaning of Allah's saying:

13. "O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have been in despair to receive any good in the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have been in despair about those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection)."

[Al-Mumtahinah Surah]

1. "O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists, etc.) as friends, showing affection towards."

[Al-Mumtahinah Surah]

 Allah the Almighty says:

24. "Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brother, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight... are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah)."

[At-Taubah Surah]

Righteous companion is a great blessing:

 After you get introduced with Allah the Almighty through contemplating on the universe, incidents of life, and the Quran, and after knowing His orders, and being a righteous person and make good deeds, after connecting with Allah the Almighty through praying, fasting, performing Haj, paying zakat, making duas, and remembering Allah the Almighty, etc…, there must be a right environment to live in; no one will recognize this concept – according to Ibn Ataa'illah Al-Sakandari - except the one who follows the path of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).

 The believer can't live in a society with infidel environments; in an environment where fornication is committed overtly on roads and pavements; and where everything in this society is an open invitation for adultery and dissipation,. Therefore, the blessed people by Allah are those who live in good and righteous societies, where there are mosques, remembering Allah the Almighty, and assemblies for seeking religious knowledge, and in spite of the negative points in this society, but it is still a blessing and righteous environment, where you can still find uprightness and honesty within, and comparatively you will feel its value and importance when you travel away from it.

 A Muslim brother, who has travelled to a foreign country and occupied a respectable position, told me once that one day he heard a recitation from the Noble Quran coming out from an Islamic center in that advanced and civilized country, so he immediately felt homesick, he yearned to his Islamic country, and to the Quran recitation and seeking religious knowledge; Muslim always feels his belonging to Islam and to his home country.
 The fifth item is supported by many Ayat (verses) and prophetic hadiths. This item stresses on the importance of the righteous environment and having good company. It was narrated from Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) as reporting from his father Umar that he had heard the prophet (PBUH) saying:
 “Be kind towards my Companions, then those who follow them, and then those who follow them. Then lying will become widespread.”

Worship consists of: knowledge, obedience, and happiness

 Man was created in order to worship Allah the Almighty, Allah says:

56. "And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)."

[Surah Adh-Dhariyat]

 Worship consists of three levels; seeking knowledge comes first, then comes in second place obedience, that leads to the third which is happiness. This is the structure of the religion; an action that is based on a previous knowledge which in turn leads to satisfaction and happiness. Happiness of course is the aim of every living creature, and eventually you have been created to live in Al-Jannah (Paradise) where you find a real and lasting happiness, the hardships, mandate, commands, difficulties, afflictions, and inner struggle are all temporary situations, and when man really deserves Al-Jannah he will be addressed by the following Ayah:

46. "(It will be said to them): 'Enter therein (Paradise), in peace and security.'

[Surah Al-Hijr]

 Allah the Almighty says as well:

“73. And those who kept their duty to their Lord will be led to Paradise in groups, till, when they reach it, and its gates will be opened (before their arrival for their reception) and its keepers will say: Salamun 'Alaikum (peace be upon you)! You have done well, so enter here to abide therein."

[Surah Az-Zumar]

 When the Angel of Death comes to the dying believer, and he sees his seat in Paradise, he says, 'I don't remember that I've faced any hardships and difficulties through my life, while when the unbeliever sees his seat in Hell fire, he will raise a scream that if people on earth could hear, they would definitely fall dead (out of panic). This unbeliever will say that he has never seen something good in his life, he forgets his houses, he forgets his pleasures, parties, trips, influence, power, and different kinds of food, he even forgets the girls that he met and the high-class soirees that he attended….Where have all of these temporary pleasures gone? Actually, they have disappeared, but their consequences are present in his record of deeds.
 Living in a righteous and good society is badly needed; when a man attends an assembly for seeking knowledge, he feels safe and comfortable, and when he keeps going to that good place and remembers Allah the Almighty, he will feel that he is closer to Allah the Almighty and even gains high morality level and inner strength.

Conclusion:

 There are five basic principles in Islam:
 1- Seeking knowledge: in all its kinds; to get to know Allah the Almighty, His orders, the Islamic laws, thorough study, contemplation, observation, listening and attending religious lessons, reading, etc…
 2- Performing deeds: with their negative and positive aspects; the negative is having uprightness only, while the positive one is to be upright and perform good deeds at the same time.
 3- Uprightness
 4- Connecting with Allah the Almighty; by performing prayers, fasting, performing al-Haj, remembering Allah, making duas (supplications), reciting the Quran, etc…
 5- To live in an Islamic society and righteous environment.

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