26 Oct The Basic Concepts of Islam: Part 1
The Concept of Faith (Iman)
Some people may think that man becomes a Muslim when he confesses belief in the Oneness of the True God and in Muhammad as His Last Messenger. But this is far from the full meaning of Faith. The full meaning of Faith in Islam is not, by any means, something nominal or mere formality. Faith in Islam is a state of happiness acquired by virtue of positive action and constructive conceptions as well as dynamic and effective measures.
The Holy Quran and the Traditions of Muhammad define these required measures and establish the standards which build up a meaningful Faith. Thus, the true believers are:
1. Those who believe in God, His angels, His Books as completed by the Quran, His messengers with Muhammad being the Last of them all, the Day of Final Judgement, the absolute knowledge and wisdom of God.
2. Those who trust God always and enjoy unshakable confidence in Him.
3. Those who spend in the way of God of what He has given them in the form of wealth, life, health, knowledge, experience, and so on.
4. Those who observe their daily prayers regularly as well as the weekly and annual congregations
5. Those who pay their religious taxes (alms or Zakah) to the rightful beneficiaries (individuals or institutions), the minimum of which is two and half percent of the annual net income, or of the total value of stocks if in business – after discounting all expenses and credits.
6. Those who enjoin the right and good, and combat the wrong and evil by all lawful means at their disposal.
7. Those who obey God and His Messenger Muhammad; and feel increasing strength of faith when the Quran is recited, and humility of heart when Gods name is mentioned.
8. Those who love God and His Messenger most, and love their fellow men sincerely for the sake of God alone.
9. Those who love their near and distant neighbours and show genuine kindness to their guests, especially the strangers.
10. Those who say the truth and engage in good talk, or else abstain.
It is clear that the very meaning of Faith makes Islam penetrate deeply and constructively into every aspect of life. According to Islam, true Faith has decisive effect on the spiritual and material lot of man, and also on his personal and social behaviour as well as his political conduct and financial life. To show how the Quran describes the true believers, here are some examples. The Qur’an contains numerous references like these:
They only are the true believers whose hearts feel submissive (and humble) when God is mentioned; and when the revelations of God are recited unto them, they (the revelations) increase and strengthen their Faith; and who trust in their Lord, establish the prayer (as enjoined on them) and spend of what We have bestowed on them (in the cause of God). Those are they who are in truth believers. For them are (high) grades (of honor) with their Lord, and a bountiful provision (Quran, 8:2-4).
And the believers, men and women, are protecting (and allied) friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey God and His Messenger. As for these, God will have mercy on them; verily God is Mighty, and Wise. God promises the believers, men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of God. That is the supreme felicity (Quran, 9:71-72).
The true believers are those only who believe in God and His Messenger (Muhammad) and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of God. Such are the sincere (Quran, 49:15).
Besides these Quranic references, there are many relevant Traditions of Muhammad. For example, he says:
None of you can be a true believer unless; he loves for his fellow believer what he loves for himself.
Three qualities are the sign of sound faith, and he who acquires them can really feel the sweet taste of Faith. They are to love God and his Messenger most of all, to love his fellow man for the sake of God alone, and to resent and resist returning to disbelief as much as he does being cast into fire.
He who believes in God and Last Day of Judgment is forbidden to cause any harm to his neighbour, is to be kind to his guests – especially the strangers, and is to say the truth or else abstain.
There are many verses and traditions like the ones cited above. But it should be borne in mind, however, that the given quotations are not and cannot be the exact words of the Quran and Muhammad as they sound in the Arabic Text. The reason for that is simple. No interpreter, however learned and masterful he may be, can ever convey the spiritual power and charming appeal of the Quran through any language. The Quran is – and so God made it – inimitable, and it is beyond human imagination and power to produce anything like it. What is true of the Quran in this respect is also true of the Traditions of Muhammad to a certain extent, because, after the Quran, his words are the most conclusive and eloquent.