An Explanation of the Tree of Faith based upon Notes taken from a Study Seminar

This was a free one day study seminar named, An Explanation of the Tree of Faith from the work of Shaykh Abdur-Rahman As-Sa’dee (rahimahullah), translated and explained by our elder brother Ustadh Abu Iyaad Amjad Rafiq (hafidhahullah), that took place in Middlesbrough (UK) in the year 2012. The following explanatory notes are based on the written notes taken by Abu Yahya Imran Rafiq at the time.

This was the original flyer:

The notes have been published and made available now due to a general benefit. The current trial and tribulation we are all facing and experiencing where restrictions and lockdowns have been imposed upon us and upon whole nations and lands, has caused many to have anxiety, fear, depression, stress and weakness in Eemaan. Mental illnesses have also increased and many are struggling to cope. Learning about Eemaan, in particular the ways to increase one’s Eemaan, will help an individual to enact patience and to develop strength and mettle, in sha Allah.


Brief notes on the author, Shaykh As-Sadee (rahimahullah)

  • Born 1889.
  • His mother passed away when he was 4 or 5. His father at 8 or 9. So he was an orphan.
  • By the age of 21 he was already teaching. He lived in Riyadh.
  • He did a lot of refutations against atheists and philosophers.
  • He passed away around 1956. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) was one of the students of Shaykh As-Sa’dee (rahimahullah).

Topics/areas to be covered in seminar

1. Parable of the Tree of Eemaan.
2. Meaning and definition of Eemaan.
3. Eemaan increases and decreases.
4. What are the things that cause Eemaan to grow and develop?
5. What are the fruits and benefits of Eemaan?

1. Parable of the Tree of Faith

Allah has implanted the seed of faith in the heart of every believer. A soul is already inclined to believe in Allah. Allah nourished this seed of faith by sending the Messengers with knowledge.

This tree of Eemaan should already be producing fruits.

“Do you not see how Allah has set forth a parable, a good wholesome word like a good wholesome tree, whose branches are in the sky? It bears fruits all the time by its Lord’s permission. Allah sets forth metaphors for people so that hopefully they will pay heed.”

Surah Ibrahim (14):24-25.

The tree in every single Muslim will be different and vary. The roots, branches and fruits will vary. This variation occurs in the psychical tree.

When a believer looks at himself he is looking at a tree. This is a great parable.

2. Definition of Eemaan

First meaning:
– At-tasdeeq (firm resolute belief) and complete acknowledgement of everything that Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) commanded that we have faith in. Then to comply with that both inwardly and outwardly.

Second meaning:
Belief and acknowledgement of the heart which comprises within it the actions of the heart and actions of the body.

Eemaan essentially encompasses entire religion.

Salaf used to say: al-Eemaan qawlun wal ‘amalun, Eemaan consists of speech and action.

Speech: of the tongue and heart.
Action: of the limbs and heart.

Part of the heart which speaks and a part which acts. Beliefs which heart holds is speech of the heart.
Actions of the heart are remorse, repentance, etc.

Inqiyaad – heart acknowledges it must do something with this knowledge.

Hypocrite is missing Tasdeeq.

Ibn Taymiyyah says in Majmu Fatawa:

“Tasdeeq is from Eemaan. However, if there are no actions of the heart (love, fear, hope, etc) then it is not valid Eemaan. It would be like the Eemaan of Iblis and Fir’awn.”

That which is in the heart expresses itself in the body. Famous hadith: “…Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.”

(Bukhari & Muslim, hadith no. 6 in An-Nawawi’s forty hadeeth).

Types of disbelief

1. Takdheeb – hold the Messenger to be a liar, opposite of Tasdeeq. Clashes with speech of the heart.
2. I’raad – To turn away. Not bothering to learn the truth.
3. Shakk – doubt. Person says, not fully convinced that Qur’an is word of Allah or that Messenger was truthful. This Shakk invalidates Tasdeeq.

In these first three, Tasdeeq is absent.

4. Juhood – Deny after having knowledge such as Iblis and Fir’awn. Tasdeeq was present. Other example, Jews who knew description of Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in Torah but concealed it.

5. Istikbaar, Ibaa’, Inaad, Kurh (arrogance, refusal, stubborn opposition/rejection, hatred/dislike)

Tasdeeq is present. Actions of the heart are being suppressed. Iblis refusing to prostrate to Adam (alaihis-salaam) due to arrogance. This invalidates love and compliance that should have been in the heart.

Shahadah – first pillar of eemaan. Anyone who has the ability to say Shahadah, but does not say it, invalidates faith.

Anyone who says fasting is not Waajib, this is Kufr of Juhood.

Person who abandons prayer is a Kaafir. This is the correct opinion. Prayer is greatest sign of faith.

“Never would Allah consider your faith to be lost…” (ayah in Qur’an)

Faith here refers to Salah (as explained and clarified the Mufassiroon, Exegites of the Qur’an, and the Salafi scholars).

Abandoning is from actions. Eemaan invalidated if do not abandon major Shirk and Kufr.

Important point/usool: Every Muslim is not necessarily a believer. Every believer is a Muslim.

Eemaan is:
– belief in the heart.
– speech of the tongue.
– action of the heart and limbs.

Eemaan consists of 70 odd branches. Highest is Kalima – incorporates belief in the heart and speech of the tongue. Lowest is to remove something harmful from the road – an action of the limbs. Haya’ (humility/modesty) is a part of faith – an action of the heart.

Groups which deviated in understanding Eemaan:

1) Jahmiyyah said Eemaan is Ma’rifah, to have knowledge of Allah. This means Iblis is a believer, so is Fir’awn and Jews and Christians. From the most extreme views of Eemaan. Kufr to believe this. Many false implications arise from this.

2) Ash’aris adopted view of Jahmiyyah. Believed Eemaan is Tasdeeq. To them everything else is not from Eemaan. This would imply Jews and Christians are believers.

3) Karramiyyah – Appeared in the third century. They say Eemaan is Shahadah, speech of the tongue only. This is wrong as Munafiqoon are disbelievers.

4) Murji’ah tul-Fuqaha – Those who expel actions from Eemaan (Irja’). Arose from the jurists in Kufah. They said Eemaan is speech of the heart and speech of the tongue (Tasdeeq + Shahadah).

What is common between them is that actions are not from Eemaan. They believed any decrease would mean disbelief as it is a single entity.

Another implication is that someone can mock the religion, commit Shirk and still be a believer.

Maturidis carry belief of Murji’ah tul-Fuqaha. Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) made a mistake in this affair as he expelled actions from Eeemaan.

This bid’ah of Irja’ corrodes the religion, causes people to be distant from the religion. One of the most dangerous bid’ahs.

Jahl (ignorance) is opposite of Ma’rifah.
Takdheeb opposite of Tasdeeq.
Inaad opposite of Inqiyaad.
Istikbaar falls into actions of the heart.

3. Eemaan increases and decreases

Eemaan becomes strong and it becomes weak. Proof that Eemaan increases:

“That they may increase their Eemaan on top of their Eemaan.”

Surah al-Fath (48):4

“Those who believe may increase in their Eemaan.”

Surah 74:31

Also refer to Surah 3:173 and 9:124.

Some people have detailed knowledge, some do not. Some have lusts, some have doubts. Some people have good manners, some don’t.

So there’s a variation in:
1) Knowledge
2) Manners
3) Worship
4) Patience
5) Shubuhaat
6) Shahawaat.

4. What are the things that cause Eemaan to grow and develop?

This is a major aspect of the book. We’re in dire need of knowing it. The servant is perfected by Eemaan.

1. Names and Attributes of Allah.

Greatest of them. Hadith of 99 Names of Allah. One who worships Allah by way of them.

Ruboobiyyah – Al-Khalq, Al-Raaziq
‘Uloohiyyah – al-Qudoos, Allah

Groups of innovation cut off root to knowing Rabb (Lord).

The Mu’attilah are like highway robbers, who steal Eemaan.

2. Reflecting upon the Qur’an

3. Knowledge of the Sunnah/Ahadith, the Deen that Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came with.

Allah praises the people of knowledge. They are praised because of knowledge of Sunah/Ahadith.

4. Knowing the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) – his manners, characteristics, lineage, etc.

5. Reflecting upon the creation.

Types of reflection:

1) Perfection of creation – vastness of Allah’s Knowledge and Hikmah. Belief in Allah’s generosity, leads to Shukr (gratitude, thankfulness).
2) Looking at poverty and need of creation. Creation cannot do without Allah for the blinking of the eye. Leads to Khudu’ (humbleness, submissiveness) and tawakkul (reliance upon Allah).
3) Favours and bounties of Allah. Life, food, drink, sight, vision, spouses, children, home, shelter, car, etc. This leads to Shukr.

6. Dhikr of Allah, from which is Dua. Dhikr is something that nourishes the roots.

Dhikr is protection from the enemy, seeking refuge in a fortress.

7. Knowing virtuous aspects of Islam.

Reflect upon excellencies. Compare belief of Islam with belief of Christians i.e. Trinity, that God died, etc.

In terms of Akhlaaq (manners), Islam is in perfection. Ahkaam (rulings), protect 1) religion, 2) life, 3) intellect 4) honour (lineage) and 5) wealth.

Everything is in harmony.

8. Striving to reach level of Ihsaan.

Pillar of Ihsaan is Muraqabah (being observant, safeguarding) in secret and in open. Ihsaan is between servant and Lord. Another type, Ihsaan to servants of Allah, in terms of speech, actions, wealth, time, etc.

The reward of a deed is its like.

“The Deen is Nasihah (sincere advice/sincerity)” (Hadith)
“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (Hadith)

9. Qualities mentioned in Surah al-Mu’minoon (23):1-9.

Core qualities which are from Eemaan and cause it to grow:
1) Khushu in Salat.
2) Turning away from vain speech.
3) Giving the Zakah, sign of Eemaan growing.
4) Protecting private parts from illegal activity, keeping away from Fawahish.
5) and 6) Keep trusts and promises (Amanah).
7) Safeguarding the prayers.

10. Da’wah to Allah.

Command the good and forbid the evil. Perfects himself and others.

Based on Surah al-Asr. Four levels:
1) Seeking knowledge
2) Action on the knowledge
3) Calling to it.
4) Patience upon it.

Patience applies to each of these.

11. Protecting the soul from everything that harms it.

Branches are:
1) Kufr (disbelief)
2) Nifaaq (hypocrisy)
3) Fusooq (sinning)
4) Isyaan (disobedience)

These are like the weeds. They stop the flow of Eemaan. If you do not avoid these things then your likeness is of 2:265/266.
Believer is growing his tree and protecting it from weeds.

5. What are the fruits and benefits of Eemaan?

1. Earning wilayah of Allah, loyalty and friendship of Allah. Done by having Eemaan and Taqwa.

Surah Yunus (10):62-63 mentions qualities of walee of Allah. Greatest walee after the Prophets is Abu Bakr (radiAllaahu ‘anhu).

2. Person earns the pleasure of Allah. Surah Tawbah (9):71-72. This ayah mentions the qualities of the believers and then their reward in Paradise. After that the reward of Allah being pleased with them is the greatest reward.

3. Complete Eemaan prevents from entering into the Hellfire, safety from Hellfire.

4. Repels harm from you and protects you, refer to Surah al-Hajj (22):38.

5. Healthy, wholesome, good life in this world and the Hereafter.

6. Ikhlaas (sincerity), actions will not be invalidated. They will be acceptable to Allah.

7. Guidance to and in the Straight Path.

8. Attaining the love of Allah. Also becomes beloved to the believers.

9. Raising of the ranks.

10. Receiving glad tidings and perfect security.

11. Falah (success).

12. Benefitting from admonitions and reminders. “Reminder benefits the believers.” (Qur’an, 51:55).

13. Goodness in all situations.

14. Protection from doubts.

15. A place of refuge.

a) Situations of ease, plenty and happiness – praising Allah, thanking Him.
b) Situations of hardship and difficulty – remains firm, has patience.
c) State of fear – finds bravery and strength in his Eemaan.
d) State of ‘Amn (peace and security) – being grateful to Allah.
e) Obedience – seek refuge in Eemaan.
f) Disobedience – make Tawbah, rectify affairs.

16. Prevents from sin.

“One who steals is not a believer while he steals.” (Hadith)

Eemaan should prevent person from stealing in the first place.

17. Example of believer like a citrus fruit.

Believer engages in good deeds which produces fruit. Some people like a date palm – has taste but no smell. There is goodness in every believer.

Strong believer is better than the weak believer.

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The Qur'an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors).
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2 Responses to An Explanation of the Tree of Faith based upon Notes taken from a Study Seminar

  1. Hameed says:

    Asalamu alaikum

    Is the audio available for this seminar?

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