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Old 09-13-2015, 12:17 AM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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I often get very confusing statements and definitions from Woodrow LI regarding 'Who is a Muslim.'
This OP is to nail exactly what is the typical definition of a 'Muslim.'

I believe the following description best defined 'Who is a Muslim.'
A Muslim, sometimes spelled Moslem,relates to a person who follows the religion of Islam, a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. -wiki
A Muslim is one who has declared the 'Shahada' in whatever form as reflected in the Quran.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahada
Shahada is a statement of both ritual and worship. The statement has two parts – la ilaha illa'llah (there is no god but God) and Muhammadun rasul Allah (Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Though these statements are both present in the Quran but not present side by side as in the Shahada formula, the shahada may be considered a "defining statement of what it means to be a Muslim".
In the Quran there is mentioned of Abraham, Jesus and some Jews, Christians and Sabeans who existed before Muhammad and they are regarded as 'Muslims'.
However, I believe these people are regarded as 'Muslim' in a very loose and general sense which is of no significance to the general definition of 'who is a Muslim.'

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Old 09-13-2015, 03:19 AM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 13,302,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Continuum View Post
I often get very confusing statements and definitions from Woodrow LI regarding 'Who is a Muslim.'
This OP is to nail exactly what is the typical definition of a 'Muslim.'

I believe the following description best defined 'Who is a Muslim.'
A Muslim, sometimes spelled Moslem,relates to a person who follows the religion of Islam, a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. -wiki
A Muslim is one who has declared the 'Shahada' in whatever form as reflected in the Quran.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahada
Shahada is a statement of both ritual and worship. The statement has two parts – la ilaha illa'llah (there is no god but God) and Muhammadun rasul Allah (Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Though these statements are both present in the Quran but not present side by side as in the Shahada formula, the shahada may be considered a "defining statement of what it means to be a Muslim".
In the Quran there is mentioned of Abraham, Jesus and some Jews, Christians and Sabeans who existed before Muhammad and they are regarded as 'Muslims'.
However, I believe these people are regarded as 'Muslim' in a very loose and general sense which is of no significance to the general definition of 'who is a Muslim.'

Views?
Rather then using my own words I will copy and paste the Islamic definition of Muslim from some Islamic sites


Quote:
Every person who starts Islam is a Muslim (although Muslim can be any submission to Allah as well, as may be the case for even people of the book). The name of Islam is Islam to show its highest goal (being submitted to Allah) but this submission has only one constraint, it should be truthful not only a word of mouth or even a decision of mind not backing with proper behavior at the times of examinations.

So becoming Muslim starts from saying the world by mouth (say, after seeing a spark of light in the hearth, an evolution in hearth, feeling a presence of Allah and similarly other cases).
Then this statement absorbs examinations to the new Muslim, he would be examined at the same time that he is gradually learning Islam, its ideology and Shari'ah. The examinations have at least one important objective, the person would find his weak points as Allah says "For thy Lord is (as a Guardian) on a watch-tower" (Al-Fajr:14), he can either choose to accept the weak point and try to resolve it or simply deny it arrogantly.
He cannot pass to a higher level until he passes the examinations successfully, step by step.
At some point (perhaps from the very beginning that he faces the examinations for the first time and decide to overcome his weak points, switching from only tongue to also mind situation?) the rather new Muslim will feel the joy of presence of Allah all over around as a sign of faith, as faith is now touching his hearth.
terminology - What is the definition of Muslim according to the Holy Quran? - Islam Stack Exchange
Quote:
Muslims literally "submit" to the Will of Almighty Allah (Arabic for "The One God of the universe, and stronger in meaning than "god" in English).

Everything is in the control of Allah and the Muslim is the one who recognizes this and submits himself or herself to the Allah's Will in all matters.

This may be best understood for those of the Christian faith by referring to the New Testament of the Bible wherein Jesus, peace be upon him, instructs his followers to pray the Lord's Prayer with the words, "Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This is clearly the proper attitude for one who is turning to the Creator of everything and asking Him for His Will to prevail in all matters and indicates a willingness to accept whatever Allah may decree. The difficulties and the pleasures alike would be seen by the true believer in this concept as all eminating from the same source, Allah, and as such the Muslim is at peace with whatever takes place.

The statement, "This too, is from Allah" very well suits a Muslim and should be his goal in all that occurs on a daily basis.
Islam Tomorrow .com
Quote:
Definition of Islam and Muslim

Islam : the meaning comes from the Arabic verbal noun (like a gerund) s-l-m. When appropriate vowel markers are added the word Islam appears. The etymology of s-l-m is to submit, accept, or surrender. From this comes Islam’s conventional definition of surrender to God.
Muslim : also has its roots in the s-l-m verb. It is a participle of the verb and refers to a person who engages in the act of submission, acceptance, or surrender. Therefore a Muslim is a person who submits to the will of God, or a follower of Islam.


Read more: Difference Between Islam and Muslim | Difference Between | Islam vs Muslim Difference Between Islam and Muslim | Difference Between | Islam vs Muslim
Quote:
According to the Constitution of Pakistan: “A 'Muslim' means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and does not believe in, or recognize as a prophet or religious reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad.”
[Defining a Muslim] - Is the Pakistani Constitutions's definition Islamic? - Jersey City Islam | Examiner.com
Quote:
In Arabic, the word “Islam” means submission or surrender – however, it was derived from the root word “salam”. From this root word, you can also derive the words peace and safety. Many people feel that Islam implies some sort of enslavement to Allah, but others find it more helpful to define the word “Islam” as surrender.

Many religions have a concept of surrender to God. In Jewish history, when the ancient Hebrews obeyed God’s commands, they had a long period of prosperity and stability.

In Christianity, surrendering to God is a way of putting your life into more capable hands – in fact, Jesus asked many of his disciples to surrender their livelihoods and follow him.

So, if we look at the word ‘Islam’ in this way, we can understand why obeying Allah’s commands and trusting in Allah’s wisdom could bring about peace for a Muslim.

The word does not represent a one-sided relationship, where the believer is enslaved to Allah. Rather, the word Islam indicates a covenant between Allah and his followers, where a Muslim surrenders his or her will to Allah in return for peace or safety.
Meaning of the Word
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
Rather then using my own words I will copy and paste the Islamic definition of Muslim from some Islamic sites
Any definition from yourself.
Unfortunately, the above definitions of 'who is a Muslim' are very partial, loose and incomplete.
I have done extensive research on the definition of 'Who is a Muslim' and so far I have not come across any 'definitive' comprehensive definition that capture the essence of the meaning of a 'Muslim.'

I believe to get to a comprehensive precise meaning of 'Muslim' it is imperative to start from the Quran that is revealed to Muhammad by Allah via angel Gabriel and taken into account the religious, historical and anthropological perspectives.

A Muslim should at least understand more exactly the meaning of 'Muslim' especially in a discussion situation. I propose the process to understand who is a Muslim should take the following steps;
Basic Definition of 'Who is a Muslim'
I believe the most encompassing basic definition of 'who is a Muslim' is the following;
A Muslim is a person who has entered into a covenant [spiritual contract/agreement] with Allah in accordance to the terms and conditions from the Quran that is revealed to Muhammad.
Agreement -Covenant -Spiritual Contract
There are many verses in the Quran that support the concept of a covenant with Allah. In simplistic term this is merely an agreement or spiritual contract that is signed and seal [implicitly].
Agreement/Contract Format
Even though a Muslim agreement with Allah is implied [not on paper], such an agreement/contract nevertheless will have the essential elements of what a contract should is made up of.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract
Here are samples of how a contract and agreement should be stated;
Sample Contracts • Contract Templates
Contents of the Contract/Agreement
The contents of the Contract or Agreement, rightly a covenant entered between a Muslim and Allah should contain the following elements.
1. Name of Contract
2. Parties to the Contract
3. The Purpose of the contract and the agreements
4. Terms and Conditions
5. Clauses
6. Terms of termination
7. Sealing of the contract - Signatures of the parties
8. Appendixes: [not part of the contract]
......Explanatory Notes
Once we have a set up the above then we will be very confident to know 'who is a Muslim.'

The important point here all of the above essential elements should be sourced from the Quran that is revealed to Muhammad via Gabriel originating from Allah - and no where else!

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Old 09-13-2015, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 13,302,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Continuum View Post
Any definition from yourself.
Unfortunately, the above definitions of 'who is a Muslim' are very partial, loose and incomplete.
I have done extensive research on the definition of 'Who is a Muslim' and so far I have not come across any 'definitive' comprehensive definition that capture the essence of the meaning of a 'Muslim.'

I believe to get to a comprehensive precise meaning of 'Muslim' it is imperative to start from the Quran that is revealed to Muhammad by Allah via angel Gabriel and taken into account the religious, historical and anthropological perspectives.

A Muslim should at least understand more exactly the meaning of 'Muslim' especially in a discussion situation. I propose the process to understand who is a Muslim should take the following steps;
Basic Definition of 'Who is a Muslim'
I believe the most encompassing basic definition of 'who is a Muslim' is the following;
A Muslim is a person who has entered into a covenant [spiritual contract/agreement] with Allah in accordance to the terms and conditions from the Quran that is revealed to Muhammad.
Agreement -Covenant -Spiritual Contract
There are many verses in the Quran that support the concept of a covenant with Allah. In simplistic term this is merely an agreement or spiritual contract that is signed and seal [implicitly].
Agreement/Contract Format
Even though a Muslim agreement with Allah is implied [not on paper], such an agreement/contract nevertheless will have the essential elements of what a contract should is made up of.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract
Here are samples of how a contract and agreement should be stated;
Sample Contracts • Contract Templates
Contents of the Contract/Agreement
The contents of the Contract or Agreement, rightly a covenant entered between a Muslim and Allah should contain the following elements.
1. Name of Contract
2. Parties to the Contract
3. The Purpose of the contract and the agreements
4. Terms and Conditions
5. Clauses
6. Terms of termination
7. Sealing of the contract - Signatures of the parties
8. Appendixes: [not part of the contract]
......Explanatory Notes
Once we have a set up the above then we will be very confident to know 'who is a Muslim.'

The important point here all of the above essential elements should be sourced from the Quran that is revealed to Muhammad via Gabriel originating from Allah - and no where else!

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You are trying to make it too complicated and think in terms of Islam being something a person joins. A Muslim is simply a person who performs the act of Islam to the best of his abilitity. Based upon what he knows and has the ability to do. that includes people with no knowledge of Muhammad(saws) or the Qur'an. We have no central teaching, no "certified" teachers, no ordained clergy, no required attendance anyplace, pay no dues or tithes, have no membership folrms to fill out, are not on any Roles, Can practice alone, at home. Are not obligated to follow any living leader, are to question all things.

We are extremely independent and carry the full responsibility for what we seek to learn and from our own sources we ourself find to be true. If we are in error, it is our own choices that made it so and we accept full consequences for the result of our choices.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
You are trying to make it too complicated and think in terms of Islam being something a person joins. A Muslim is simply a person who performs the act of Islam to the best of his abilitity. Based upon what he knows and has the ability to do. that includes people with no knowledge of Muhammad(saws) or the Qur'an. We have no central teaching, no "certified" teachers, no ordained clergy, no required attendance anyplace, pay no dues or tithes, have no membership folrms to fill out, are not on any Roles, Can practice alone, at home. Are not obligated to follow any living leader, are to question all things.

We are extremely independent and carry the full responsibility for what we seek to learn and from our own sources we ourself find to be true. If we are in error, it is our own choices that made it so and we accept full consequences for the result of our choices.
Your above points has no relevance to this quest for precision and excellence.
What I am presenting is trying to be more factual and to reduce ambiguity. As in real life, would you prefer a serious contract based on a written formal/legal basis or an oral one that is based on a hand shake.
Obviously an agreement, covenant or spiritual contract with God is not expected to be written, signed and sealed, but at least if laid out in written form it will make it clearer and avoid ambiguities.

It is resolving the same problem with the original oral and memorized Quran which was improved in terms of compiling and putting the Quran in writing by Umar.

I did not said being a Muslim within Islam MUST be related to 'something' a person joins, e.g. an organization, groups, sect, etc.
However, there is obviously an implied agreement [covenant, spiritual contract] between a person and Allah in becoming a Muslim. Do you deny this? The concept of 'covenant with Allah' is so evident in the Quran.


What I am proposing is a personal agreement with Allah and no one else. By putting it out in writing for personal purpose only [or discussion] it will improve one to be a 'better' Muslim which Allah exhort in the Quran.
In any case what I am proposing is to extract from the words of Allah, i.e. the Quran and no where else.
So I don't see any issue as far as anyone or a Muslim should be concerned.
After all there will not be any agreement written in paper and lodged in anywhere except for personal reference.

If one do not analyze the details of the necessary covenant, it is most likely a 'hit and miss' thing and one could end in hell instead of paradise.

Last edited by Continuum; 09-13-2015 at 09:49 PM..
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Continuum View Post
Your above points has no relevance to this quest for precision and excellence.
What I am presenting is trying to be more factual and to reduce ambiguity.

I did not said being a Muslim within Islam MUST be related to 'something' a person joins, e.g. an organization, groups, sect, etc.
However, there is obviously an implied agreement [covenant, spiritual contract] between a person and Allah in becoming a Muslim. Do you deny this?

What I am proposing is a personal agreement with Allah and no one else. By putting it out in writing for personal purpose only [or discussion] it will improve one to be a 'better' Muslim which Allah exhort in the Quran.
In any case what I am proposing is to extract from the words of Allah, i.e. the Quran and no where else.
So I don't see any issue as far as anyone or a Muslim should be concerned.

If one do not analyze the details of the necessary covenant, it is most likely a 'hit and miss' thing and one could end in hell instead of paradise.
This is what I have not been able to convey to you. Islam is different for each individual Muslim.
While your proposal is a way to quantify what you believe Islam to be, it is not what many, probably most Muslims believe Islam to be.

The closest things you will find that bears any resemblance to a central agreement is a Madhab if the Muslim follows one. Many do not follow any madhab. The largest and oldest Madhab is the Hanafi, about 30% of all Sunni follow some form of it. It does differ by location as much emphasis is placed upon Analytical Deduction

Quote:
The Quran and Sunnah however did not offer the solution to every specific case that ever came before the community. The jurists in that case had recourse to such legal methods as Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (analogical deduction). Ijma refers to the process of obtaining consensus regarding a particular legal problem among the Companions, their successors or all the mujtahids of any one of the future generations. A Hanafi scholar Shashi, writing in the eighth century CE, considers the consensus among few mujtahids accompanied by silence or absence of objection by all other Mujtahids a valid Ijma. The concept of Qiyas is of analogical deduction. If no direct solution is found regarding a particular case in Quran or Sunnah,
An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudence with Special Reference to the Hanafi School of Law
The Smallest madhab, Hanbali, is the strictest and is very inflexible, it is only followed by 2 countries, Saudi and I believe Qatar.

The Shi'ite have several madhabs, I am not very familiar with them except for the Jafa'ari and the Ismaili.

Wahhabi is not a recognized madhab and is a recent innovation that came about in the 1800s. The al-Saud family are/were the strongest supporters of it. Virtually all identified terrorists have claimed to be Wahhabi.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
This is what I have not been able to convey to you. Islam is different for each individual Muslim.
While your proposal is a way to quantify what you believe Islam to be, it is not what many, probably most Muslims believe Islam to be.
I disagree with you on this.
In the Quran there is in essence what a generic Muslim should be.
We have discussed this many times, there is a Substance of what is a Muslim and the Forms of it. You don't seem to get that. Note the principle of Substance versus Form is a very common principle.

Quote:
The closest things you will find that bears any resemblance to a central agreement is a Madhab if the Muslim follows one. Many do not follow any madhab. The largest and oldest Madhab is the Hanafi, about 30% of all Sunni follow some form of it. It does differ by location as much emphasis is placed upon Analytical Deduction

The Smallest madhab, Hanbali, is the strictest and is very inflexible, it is only followed by 2 countries, Saudi and I believe Qatar.

The Shi'ite have several madhabs, I am not very familiar with them except for the Jafa'ari and the Ismaili.

Wahhabi is not a recognized madhab and is a recent innovation that came about in the 1800s. The al-Saud family are/were the strongest supporters of it. Virtually all identified terrorists have claimed to be Wahhabi.
Any agreement related to the Madhab [of no divine authority] is a secondary agreement that is outside the ambit of the Quran. The Madhabs are expositions by humans and the implied agreement entered into are based on the terms of fallible humans where some of the terms may not comply with what is the Quran.

You cannot comprehend the implied contract or covenant a Muslim have had with Allah?
Note this verse;
5:7. Remember Allah's grace upon you and His covenant by which He bound you [Muslims] when ye said: We hear and we obey; and keep your duty to Allah. Allah knoweth what is in the breasts (of men).
Of course there were no written covenant but the existence of the above covenant is implied. There is no reason why we cannot analyze this covenant [in reference solely to the Quran] and express it in a logical, intellectual manner in writing for discussion and personal guidance sake.

I presume you know the meaning of 'covenant'
Covenant
  1. (law) An agreement to do or not do a particular thing.
  2. (law) A promise, incidental to a deed or contract, either express or implied.
  3. A pact or binding agreement between two or more parties.
  4. An incidental clause in an agreement.
  5. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/covenant
Note there are many verses that contain the concept of 'covenant' in the Quran relating to those Allah made with Jews, Christians, Prophets, etc. It is obvious the mentioned covenants were not in writing. To understand what these covenants meant we need to analyze them in writing intellectually and theoretically.

My point is a responsible and truer Muslim must make an effort to understand the terms and conditions [can only be from the Quran] of what the covenant re 5:7 and related ones stated elsewhere entail.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Continuum View Post
I disagree with you on this.
In the Quran there is in essence what a generic Muslim should be.
We have discussed this many times, there is a Substance of what is a Muslim and the Forms of it. You don't seem to get that. Note the principle of Substance versus Form is a very common principle.

Any agreement related to the Madhab [of no divine authority] is a secondary agreement that is outside the ambit of the Quran. The Madhabs are expositions by humans and the implied agreement entered into are based on the terms of fallible humans where some of the terms may not comply with what is the Quran.

You cannot comprehend the implied contract or covenant a Muslim have had with Allah?
Note this verse;
5:7. Remember Allah's grace upon you and His covenant by which He bound you [Muslims] when ye said: We hear and we obey; and keep your duty to Allah. Allah knoweth what is in the breasts (of men).
Of course there were no written covenant but the existence of the above covenant is implied. There is no reason why we cannot analyze this covenant [in reference solely to the Quran] and express it in a logical, intellectual manner in writing for discussion and personal guidance sake.

I presume you know the meaning of 'covenant'
Covenant
  1. (law) An agreement to do or not do a particular thing.
  2. (law) A promise, incidental to a deed or contract, either express or implied.
  3. A pact or binding agreement between two or more parties.
  4. An incidental clause in an agreement.
  5. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/covenant
Note there are many verses that contain the concept of 'covenant' in the Quran relating to those Allah made with Jews, Christians, Prophets, etc. It is obvious the mentioned covenants were not in writing. To understand what these covenants meant we need to analyze them in writing intellectually and theoretically.

My point is a responsible and truer Muslim must make an effort to understand the terms and conditions [can only be from the Quran] of what the covenant re 5:7 and related ones stated elsewhere entail.
That would be true if the Qur'an taught how to perform Islam. Which it does not do. Muhammad(saws) taught how to perform Islam and that is summarized in the madhabs. I follow the Hanafi because it is the oldest and therefore the one most likely to be what Muhammad taught. Although sunni are in agreement that all 4 madhabs contain what Muhammad(saws) taught as Islam and a Sunni can follow any one of the 4 but can not choose parts from one and parts from another
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
That would be true if the Qur'an taught how to perform Islam. Which it does not do. Muhammad(saws) taught how to perform Islam and that is summarized in the madhabs. I follow the Hanafi because it is the oldest and therefore the one most likely to be what Muhammad taught. Although sunni are in agreement that all 4 madhabs contain what Muhammad(saws) taught as Islam and a Sunni can follow any one of the 4 but can not choose parts from one and parts from another
Your Allah stated very clearly in the Quran, it is a perfected and complete Guidance for believers.
I suggest you read, search and you will find all the basic requirements that is necessary to be a Muslim of the Islam faith.

The Quran dictates the terms and conditions of the covenant [as mentioned in the Quran itself] and provide the basic requirements of how to be a Muslims.
Example the Quran dictates a Muslim must pray at least 3 time a day. That is a sufficient principle and it does not have to specify the exact time or phases of the day.

When the Madhabs [Hadiths] dictate the exact number of times and time in the Performance of prayer, fasting, it faces a serious problem and confusion when one in the North Poles and in space, and in other circumstances.

Performance is secondary.
Analogy: One can get a manual to show the basics of how to drive a car efficiently.
But to perform tricks and other acts with the car is secondary and that need a separate independent and specialize manual.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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5:7. Remember Allah's grace upon you and His covenant by which He bound you [Muslims] when ye said: We hear and we obey; and keep your duty to Allah. Allah knoweth what is in the breasts (of men).

It is obvious there exists a covenant between believers and Allah.
From the above, in order for a Muslim to hear, obey and keep their duty, they must know what to listen, obey and carry out their duty as reguired.

I suggest one prepare at least a draft pro-forma covenant and find out where it lead and whether it is useful or helpful.
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