The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith – Imam al-Bayhaqi [d. 458 A.H]

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said

“There are some 60 or 70 branches of faith. The highest is to bear witness that ‘There is no god but Allāh and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh’ (lā ilāha illallāhu muhammadur rasūlullāh). The lowest is the removal of harm from the road. Modesty is also of faith.” [1]

The “Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith” [2] is a collection of Qur’anic verses and Prophetic narrations compiled by Imām al-Bayhaqī [d. 458 A.H], Allāh be well pleased with him. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true faith [imān]. These seventy-seven branches are some of the essential attributes and characteristics that a true believer should have or strive towards having.

Complete Iman in reality consists of three components:

  1. Confirmation by heart of all the essentials of Iman
  2. Confirmation by tongue of all the essentials of Iman
  3. Confirmation by actions of all the essentials of Iman

Thus, the ”77 Branches of Faith” are divided into three categories:

  1. the first of which concern the intention, belief and action of the heart,
  2. the second concern the use of the tongue,
  3. and the third concern all the remaining parts of the body.

Abdul Hakim Murad, professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, was the first to translate this work into the English vernacular.[3] As the book is no longer in print, here then are theSeventy-Seven Branches of Faith:

30 Qualities are Connected to the Heart

  1. To belief in Allāh Most High.
  2. To believe that everything other than Allāh was non-existent. Thereafter, Allāh Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.
  3. To believe in the existence of angels.
  4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Qur’an, all other books are not valid anymore.
  5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ alone.
  6. To believe that Allāh Most High has knowledge of everything from before-hand and that only that which He sanctions or wishes will occur.
  7. To believe that Resurrection will definitely occur.
  8. To believe in the existence of Heaven.
  9. To believe in the existence of Hell.
  10. To have love for Allāh Most High.
  11. To have love for the Messenger of Allāh, ﷺ.
  12. To love or hate someone solely because of Allāh.
  13. To execute all actions with the intention of religion alone.
  14. To regret and express remorse when a sin is committed.
  15. To fear Allāh Most High.
  16. To hope for the mercy of Allāh Most High.
  17. To be modest.
  18. To express gratitude over a bounty or favour.
  19. To fulfill promises.
  20. To exercise patience.
  21. To consider yourself lower than others.
  22. To have mercy on the creation.
  23. To be pleased with whatever you experience from Allāh Most High.
  24. To place your trust in Allāh Most High.
  25. Not to boast or brag over any quality that you posses.
  26. Not to have malice or hatred towards anybody.
  27. Not to be envious of anyone.
  28. Not to become angry.
  29. Not to wish harm for anyone.
  30. Not to have love for the world.

7 Qualities are Connected to the Tongue

  1. To recite the Testimony of Faith [Kalimatu-sh Shahādah] with the tongue.
  2. To recite the Qur’ān.
  3. To acquire knowledge.
  4. To pass on knowledge.
  5. To make supplications [du’a] to Allāh Most High.
  6. To make invocations [dhikr] of Allāh Most High.
  7. To abstain from the following:
    • lies,
    • backbiting,
    • vulgar words,
    • cursing, and
    • singing that is contrary to the Sharī’ah.

40 Qualities are Connected to the Entire Body

  1. To make ablution [wudū], take bath [ghusl], and keep one’s clothing clean.
  2. To be steadfast in offering the prayer [salāt].
  3. To pay the tithe [zakāt] and Sadaqatu-l Fitr.
  4. To fast.
  5. To perform the Hajj.
  6. To make i’tikāf.
  7. To move away or migrate from that place which is harmful for one’s religion [din].
  8. To fulfill the vows that have been made to Allāh Most High.
  9. To fulfill the oaths that are not sinful.
  10. To pay the expiation [kaffārah]for unfulfilled oaths.
  11. To cover those parts of the body that are obligatory [fard] to cover.
  12. To perform the ritual slaughter [Udhiya/Qurbani].
  13. To enshroud and bury the deceased.
  14. To fulfill your debts.
  15. To abstain from prohibited things when undertaking monetary transactions.
  16. To NOT conceal something true which you may have witnessed.
  17. To get married when the nafs desires to do so.
  18. To fulfill the rights of those who are under you.
  19. To provide comfort to one’s parents.
  20. To rear children in the proper manner.
  21. To NOT sever relations with one’s friends and relatives.
  22. To obey one’s master.
  23. To be just.
  24. To NOT initiate any way that is contrary to that of the generality of the Muslims.
  25. To obey the ruler, provided what he orders is not contrary to the Sharī’ah.
  26. To make peace between two warring groups or individuals.
  27. To assist in noble tasks.
  28. To command the good and forbid the evil.
  29. To mete out punishments according to the Shari’ah, IF it is the government.
  30. To fight the enemies of religion [din] whenever such an occasion presents itself.
  31. To fulfill one’s trusts (amana).
  32. To give loans to those who are in need.
  33. To see to the needs of one’s neighbour.
  34. To ensure that one’s income is pure.
  35. To spend according to the Sharī’ah.
  36. To reply to one who has greeted you.
  37. To say yarhamuka-Llāh [Allāh have mercy on you!] when anyone says alhamduliLlāh [all praise is for Allāh] after sneezing.
  38. To NOT cause harm to anyone unjustly.
  39. To abstain from games and amusements contrary to the Shariah.
  40. To remove pebbles, stones, thorns, sticks, and the like from the road.

 

References:

[1] Sahīh Bukhārī
[2] Al-Bayhaqī, Shu’ab al-Īmān.
[3] al-Qazwīnī, 1300. Mukhtasar Shu’ab al-Imān. Translated from Arabic by TJ Winter, 1990. India: The Quilliam Press.
[4] AA al-Tahanawi. The 77 Branches of Faith. F. Rabbani on Sunni Path website [Online] Available from: http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=103&CATE=24.  [Accessed 30 Dec 2013].
[5] Jalali. The 77 Branches of Faith. [Online] Available from: http://taqwa.sg/v/articles/77-branches-of-faith/. [Accessed 30 Dec 2013]

 

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