The Criteria of Belief

Selection of Ahadith from a chapter titled Kitab al-Iman from the forthcoming collection called Miftah al-Ma`aniby Syed Iqbal Zaheer

1. On the authority of Anas b. Malik, the Messenger said, “One of you does not become a believer until I am dearer to him than his children, parents and the entire mankind.”

– Muslim

2. Anas reported the Prophet: “By Him in whose hands is my life, a man does not believe until he approves that for his neighbor – or he said his brother – what he approves of for himself.”

– Muslim

3. `Abdullah b. Hisham said, “We were with the Prophet, who had `Umar b. al-Khattab’s hand in his. He said, ‘By Allah, Messenger of Allah, you are beloved to me more than anything else, except myself.’ The Prophet remarked, ‘By Him in whose hand is my life! None of you believes until I am more beloved to him than his own self.’ `Umar (thought for a while and) said, ‘Now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.’ The Messenger responded, ‘Now! O `Umar.” 

4. Abu Shurayh reported that the Prophet said: “By Allah, he does not believe, by Allah, he does not believe, by Allah, he does not believe.” He was asked, ‘Who do you mean, Messenger of Allah?’ He answered, ‘He whose neighbor does not feel free of his disturbing behavior.


5. Abu Hurayrah reports: the Prophet said, “A man does not wholly believe until he gives up lies in his jokes, and gives up argumentation, even if he is the one on the right.”

6. Ibn Mas`ud reported the Messenger: “There was never a Prophet but he had close companions who guided by his guidance, following his Sunan. Then came after them people who say what they do not do, do things they themselves disapprove. So whoever combated against them with his hand is a believer; whoever combated against them with his tongue is a believer, and whoever combated against them with his heart is a believer. Beyond this there is no faith (in him) even equal to a mustard seed.”

– Ibn Hibban, Sahih

7. Abu Sa`eed (al-Khudri) said that he heard the Prophet say, “Whoever of you saw an evil deed committed (before him) then, if he can change it with his hand, let him change it with his hand. If he cannot do that, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart. And that is the weakest level of faith.”

– Muslim


An Important Hadith to Note (Not from Kitab al-Iman)

  • Tameem al‑Dari narrated that the Prophet (saws) said: “Religion is nothing but Naseeha.” We asked him: “Naseeha for whom?” He said: “For Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and for the people, the leaders as well as the common folk.”


Naseeha of the original has not been used in the sense of admonition. It is in fact one of the most difficult terms of the Arabic language that has no one-word equivalent (in other languages). Hence, it has been explained differently in accordance with the context in which it appears.

For instance, Naseeha for Allah would imply belief in Him, denial of all others besides Him, glorification of His Names and Attributes, struggle against His enemies who deny Him or His Attributes, acknowledgement of His bestowals and sincerity in all actions devoted to Him.

Naseeha for His Book would imply faith in it as His revelation, its recitation, testification of its contents as true and contemplation over its meaning, etc.

Naseeha for the Messenger would imply testification of faith in him, belief in all that he has brought, living in the light of his Sunnah, abandoning of those that do not follow his Sunnah etc.

Naseeha for the leaders of the people, in the sense of the rulers, would imply helping them in the affairs of the state, reminding them of their responsibilities and not revolting against them.

Finally, Naseeha for the common people would imply reminding them of the worthlessness of the this world and importance of the Hereafter, teaching them what they are ignorant of, concealing their defects from others, revering their elders, wishing for them what one would wish for oneself, etc.