The Quran teaches “be mindful of God and make things right between you. Obey God and his messenger if you are true believers; true believers are those whose hearts tremble with awe when God is mentioned, whose faith increases when his revelations are recited to them, who put their trust in their Lord, will keep up the prayer and give to others out what we provide for them. Those are the ones who truly believe. They have high standing with their Lord, forgiveness, and generous provision” (Anfal; 1-4).
In Surah Ale Imran, the Quran says “O believers! Believe strongly.”
These verses make it clear, in order to be a true believer one has to have a firm belief, fear and deep trust in Allah. This deep faith and conviction is then displayed by praying continuously, and giving generously in God’s way. The outcomes and the fruits of such behaviour are mentioned as receiving high status with the Lord, His forgiveness and abundant provisions.
The messenger of God (peace be upon him) met Harris ibn Malik and asked him “how did you spend your morning?” He replied, “I spent my morning as a true believer”, the messenger cautioned him and said, “be careful of what you say, for everything has a reality and what is the reality of your faith?” He replied, “I have abandoned the world, my night is spent in worship, I fast during the day and sometimes it is as though I am seeing my Lord on the throne, on other occasions it is as though I am seeing people of paradise strolling in their gardens and I see the people of hell screaming” (Tabarani).
The true and the fake
Plastic fruits and ornamental objects; Taxidermy is an art of stuffing and preparing the skins of animals with life-like effects. Both the plastic fruits nor the animals are real, both are fake.
Rumi’s wonderful story of the jackal that fell into dye and claimed to be a peacock. The jackal was proud of himself as he shimmered in the sun, it had acquired a new coat that made it look like a peacock. It was proud of itself and asked others to bow before it and to be proud of it. The other jackals walked around it, sniffing at it and asked, can you dance like the peacock? Can you sing like the peacock? And it said no, the jackals said then how can you be a peacock? The lesson here is don’t pretend to be something that you are not.
Comparison of real and fake faith
Real faith is capable of doing miracles of overcoming tremendous obstacles and huge problems. However, fake faith is not be able to do this. Let’s look at a few examples of where real faith was able to conquer many realities of life, like love of one’s homeland, love of ones children, relatives and wealth.
The example of Abu Talha, as he prayed in his palm grove, a small bird fluttered and sang gaily in the branches. This distracted him from his prayer so much so that he forgot how many units he had performed. When Abu Talha was confused, he was embarrassed and felt guilty that his worldly possessions had distracted him from the divine remembrance. Therefore, he decided to give his palm grove in charity, so he went to the messenger (peace be upon him) and told him the whole story. Upon hearing this, the messenger (peace be upon him) advised that he should give, one third to his relatives. This is an example of real faith coming face-to-face with the reality of the love of possessions. Abu Talha’s heart was strong enough and his faith was real enough to be able to combat this love of worldly possessions.
Another example comes from Suhaib Rumi, a disciple who lived in Makkah. When he was about to migrate to Madinah with his family and camels laden with his goods, the people of Makkah stopped him from leaving the city. They said to him “you can leave, however you cannot take with you, your wife, children and these possessions. They must remain in Makkah.” Here again the reality came face-to-face with reality of faith, the reality of Islam, the reality of the love of God. Could Suhaib face this new challenge? History bears witness that he walked past all these things, leaving them behind and migrated to the great city of Madinah to be close to the messenger (peace be upon him).
Khubaib, a young disciple who was captured by the people of Makkah was tortured and was about to be hanged. The executioner said to him, ‘wouldn’t you like to be with your family and instead of you Muhammad was to be hanged?’ He bravely said ‘I cannot bear the thought of a thorn pricking the feet of my beloved (peace be upon him)’. Here again we notice the reality of faith counselling the reality of life, however real faith is capable of fighting all these realities.
Who are real believers?
“The believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, and when His verses are recited before them, their faith increases; and they put their trust in their Lord. They perform the prayer and spend out of their wealth, they are the real believers” (Anfal; 2-3).
Successful believers are…
“The successful indeed are the believers, who offer their prayers humbly, those who turn away from vain activities, those who pay the Zakat, those who guard their chastity, who fulfill their obligations and pledges…they shall inherit the paradise” (Muminun;1-11).
Nine qualities of believers
In the following verse Allah describes nine qualities of a believer, may Allah give us the ability to acquire these qualities.
“Verily, the Muslim men and women, the believing men and women, the obedient men and the women, the truthful men and women, the men and the women who are patient, the men and the women who are humble, the men and the women who give charity, the men and the women who fast, the men and the women who guard their chastity, the men and the women who remember Allah much, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward” (Ahzab; 35).