Man's effort and movement, which are the very reasons of his existence, have a starting point and a platform. That is called FAITH .Faith means to accept and to believe in what man is trying for, in the way which leads him to that aim and. finally, in his very effort and movement.
Without faith every movement or effort is evanescent and fruitless. Without faith searchers become discouraged and mirthless and, as a result, they become dumb, stagnant and motionless. Taking this reality into consideration, the Qur'an emphasizes on "faith" and "the faithful" and introduces this characteristic as the supreme value which stands at the peak of all human characteristics.
Now let us consider the list of the most important Islamic values and on the dignity of faith, which enjoys the highest rank among them, in the following verse:
لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
It is not piety, that you turn your faces to the East and to the West. True piety is this: To believe in God, and the Last Day, the angels, the Book , and the prophets, to give of one's substance, however cherished to kinsmen, and orphans, the needy, the traveler, beggars, and to free the slave, to perform the prayer, to pay the poor-due. And they who fulfill their covenant, when they have engaged in a coven ant, and endure with fortitude, misfortune, hardship and peril. These are they who are true in their faith. These are the truly God- fearing. (2:177).
In this way, in response to the believers of the Bible, who regard Judaism or Christianity as the only way of salvation, the Quran lays emphasis on the vast Islamic faith as the cause of man's salvation:
وَقَالُوا كُونُوا هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَىٰ تَهْتَدُوا ۗ قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
Say you: "We believe in God, and in that which has been sent down on us and sent down on Abraham, Ismael, Isaac and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and the prophets, of their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we surrender. 'And if they believe in the like of that you believe in, then they are truly guided ..(2:135- 136).
In this regard, the following subjects are to be seen in the Qur'an:
1. Having faith in the principles and foundations of the religion is one of the outstanding characteristics of the Prophet of God and his true followers. It is so outstanding that the Qur'an has specifically emphasized on it, saying:
آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْ رُسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
The Messenger believes in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; each one believes in God and His angels, and in His Books and His messengers; we make no distinction between anyone of His messengers. They say, 'We hear, and obey. Our Lord, (grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord! unto Thee is the homecoming'. "(2:285).
2. Faith arises from understanding, intellect and knowledge; it is not a blindfold and imitative belief. This very characteristic distincts faith from other wrong devotions which are often absurd, fading and devoid of any action.
In the following verses an evident indication of this kind of understanding can be observed:
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ مَنْ تُدْخِلِ النَّارَ فَقَدْ أَخْزَيْتَهُ ۖ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنْصَارٍ
رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلْإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُوا بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا ۚ رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الْأَبْرَارِ
Surely in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alteration of night and day there are signs for men possessed of minds who remember God, standing and sitting and on their sides, and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: 'Our Lord , Thou hast not created this for vanity. Glory be to Thee. Guard us against the chastisement of the Fire. Our Lord, whomsoever Thou admittest into the Fire, Thou wilt have abased; and the evil-doers shall have no helpers. Our Lord, we have heard a caller calling us to belief, saying, ..Believe you in your Lord" And so we believed." (3:190-193).
3. Only an enlightened mind can perceive this knowledge and understanding; otherwise, faith would turn into a petrified and foolish bigotry and the way to truth and salvation would be blocked for man. This is why the Qur'an seriously condemns the bigoted and imitative faith of pagans. Let us consider the rebuking and meaningful tone of the following verse:
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ قَالُوا حَسْبُنَا مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۚ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ
··And when it is said to them. 'Come now to what God has sent down, and the Messenger, they say. Enough for us is what we found our fathers doing. · What even if their fathers had knowledge of naught and were nor guided?" (5:104).
Does faith mean just an abstract belief or thought? Is faith worthy of consideration as far as it is dynamic and decisive in shaping our life?
The Qur'an always associates faith with action and regards it a motivation for crossing the way to the desired destination. In many verses of the Qur'an rewards of this and the next world are dependent upon the faith together with action. Listen to the Qur'an and think about what it says here:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ارْكَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا وَاعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَافْعَلُوا الْخَيْرَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
O believers, bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good; haply so you shall prosper; and struggle for God as is His due, for He has chosen you, and has laid on you no impediment in your religion, being the creed of your father Abraham; He named you Muslims aforetime and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness against you and that you may be witnesses against mankind. So perform the prayer and pay the poor-due, and hold you fast to God; He is your protector an excellent protector, an excellent Helper. (22:77-78)
In the above verses the most important peculiarities of religious belief, which are victory, success, superiority, leadership of human beings and, finally, the support of God, are dependent upon the dynamic faith together with action. The following verse reminds us of actions resulting from faith and specifies the role of dynamic faith in an Islamic society.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَوْا وَنَصَرُوا أُولَٰئِكَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يُهَاجِرُوا مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ وَلَايَتِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ يُهَاجِرُوا ۚ وَإِنِ اسْتَنْصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ النَّصْرُ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِيثَاقٌ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
"Those who believe, and have emigrated and struggled with their possessions and their souls in the way of God, and those who have given refuge and help those are friends of each other. And those who believe, but have not emigrated-you have no duty of friendship towards them till they emigrate; (8:72).
According to the verses mentioned previously true faith is inseparable from action. Profiteers do not consider the responsibilities of faith as an obligatory promise. They accept these responsibilities as far as they are in harmony with their personal interests. Otherwise, they would not take care of these responsibilities at all.
In the culture of the Qur'an these people, who may have some sincere faith in their hearts, stored for the days of distress, are called faithless and disbelievers. The Quran promises salvation, prosperity, victory, superiority, to the faithful who, under all conditions, are attentive to the responsibilities of faith.
The following verses are the clear voice of the Quran in this regard.
لَقَدْ أَنْزَلْنَا آيَاتٍ مُبَيِّنَاتٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ وَيَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالرَّسُولِ وَأَطَعْنَا ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّىٰ فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَمَا أُولَٰئِكَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمْ مُعْرِضُونَ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ لَهُمُ الْحَقُّ يَأْتُوا إِلَيْهِ مُذْعِنِينَ أَفِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ أَمِ ارْتَابُوا أَمْ يَخَافُونَ أَنْ يَحِيفَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ بَلْ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَنْ يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَخْشَ اللَّهَ وَيَتَّقْهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
"Now We have sent down signs making all clear; God guides whomsoever He willed to a straight path. They say, we believe in God and the Messenger, and we obey.' Then after that a party of them turn away; those-they are not believers. When they are called to God and His Messenger that he may judge between them, lo, a party of them are swerving aside. But if they are in the right, they will come to him submissively. What, is there sickness in their hearts, or are they in doubt, or do they fear that God and His Messenger may be unjust towards them? Nay, but those- they are the evil-doers. All that the believers say, when they are called to God and His Messenger to judge between them, is that they say, ·we hear, and we obey, those they are the prospers. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears God, and keeps duty (unto Him); such indeed are the victorious (24:46- 52).
And finally in the following two verses, the Qur'an gives the pleasing promise of establishing the Divine government and ideal Islamic society over the world to those true believers when deeds arc decent and tied with faith.
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
'"God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in the land, even as He made those who were before them successors, and that He will surely establish their religion for them that He has approved for them, and will give them in exchange, after their fear, security: 'They shall serve Me, not associating with Me anything ... "'(24:55).
What does man need in order to obtain perfect prosperity?
1. He needs to know the aim and the right road to achieve it (guidance).
2. The veils of ignorance, ambition, fancy and every other thing which cast a cloud over man’s vision and his power of thinking should be removed. Instead, the light of truth should penetrate into his heart (light).
3. In his long way towards prosperity he should get rid of confusion and anxiety which are internal hindrances and are much more difficult than external ones to overcome (tranquility and security).
4. He should consider his struggle fruitful and hope for an agreeable conclusion.
5. His faults and guilt should be compensable and forgivable (forgiveness and pity).
6. At any time he should enjoy a reliable and firm hold.
7. When confronting the enemies, he should enjoy the fruits of a power superior to human being's power.
8. He should be superior to the opposite rank.
9. He should overcome the enemies of his aim and way who are the obstacles to progress.
10. Finally, he should get rid of all the difficulties, hindrances, bondages in order to accomplish his aim (success and prosperity).
11. In every situation he should enjoy what ha; been ready for man in this world. At last, after the exhaustion of the span of life and finishing all the struggle"- he should face a decent reward and response in the convenient heaven.
Now let us consider the verses of the Qur'an which promise all these to those believers whose faith is accompanied with responsibility and action.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ يَهْدِيهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِإِيمَانِهِمْ ۖ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ
"Surely those who believe, and do deed, of righteousness, their Lord will guide them by their belief ...;" (10:9).
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بُرْهَانٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُبِينًا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِهِ فَسَيُدْخِلُهُمْ فِي رَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَفَضْلٍ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَيْهِ صِرَاطًا مُسْتَقِيمًا
··o men, a proof has now come to you from your Lord, We have sent down to you a manifest light. As for those who believe in God, and hold fast to Him. He will surely admit them to mercy from Him, and bounty, and will guide them to Him on a straight path. (4:174-175)
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
"But those who struggle in Our cause, surely We shall guide them in Our ways; and God is with the good-doers."(29:69).
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُمْ مِنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
"God is the Guardian of the believers; He brings them forth from the darkness into the light. And the unbelievers-their patrons are idols that bring them forth from the light into the dark ness; those are the inhabitants of the Fire. There in dwelling forever. (2:257)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۚ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا
"O believer, remember God oft, and glorify Him at the dawn and in the evening. It is He who blesses you, and His angels (bless you), to bring you forth from the darkness into the light ... "(33:-41-43)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَآمِنُوا بِرَسُولِهِ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ نُورًا تَمْشُونَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
·o believers, fear God, and believe in His Messenger, and He will give you twofold portion of His mercy, and He will appoint for you a light whereby you shall walk....(57:28)
To get rid of confusion and anxiety is one of the most important characteristics of the faithful. The Qur'an promises to provide the faithful with this valuable spiritual state.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ طُوبَىٰ لَهُمْ وَحُسْنُ مَآبٍ
"Those who believe, their hearts being at rest in God's remembrance in God's remembrance are at rest the hearts of those who believe and do righteous deeds, theirs is blessedness and a fair resort. " (13:28-29)
Abraham (P.B.U. H.) explained this reality to the wandering pagans of his time who did not enjoy internal tranquility and peace due to the lack of any definite and logical ideology. He spoke about his inner ease and security the origin of which was his solid faith.
وَحَاجَّهُ قَوْمُهُ ۚ قَالَ أَتُحَاجُّونِّي فِي اللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانِ ۚ وَلَا أَخَافُ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ بِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ رَبِّي شَيْئًا ۗ وَسِعَ رَبِّي كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا ۗ أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ وَكَيْفَ أَخَافُ مَا أَشْرَكْتُمْ وَلَا تَخَافُونَ أَنَّكُمْ أَشْرَكْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا ۚ فَأَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ أَحَقُّ بِالْأَمْنِ ۖ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْأَمْنُ وَهُمْ مُهْتَدُونَ
"His people disputed with him. He said. 'Do you dispute with me concerning God, and He has guided me'.' I fear not what you associate with Him, except my Lord will my Lord embraces all things in His knowledge; will you not remember? How should I fear what you have associated with God that whereon He has not sent down on you any authority:' Which of the two parties has better title to security, if you have any knowledge? Those who believe. and have not confounded their belief with evildoing-to them belongs the true .security; they are rightly guided . "(6:80-82)
The faithful person knows that each step he takes makes him nearer to his aim. He knows that his efforts and activities are generally fruitful and none of them will be in vain.
وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنْتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَنْ يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّنْ يَنْقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ ۚ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ
And We appointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided. But it was not Allah's purpose that your faith should be in vain, for Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful toward mankind. (2:143)
فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَا كُفْرَانَ لِسَعْيِهِ وَإِنَّا لَهُ كَاتِبُونَ
''And whosoever does deeds of righteousness, being a believer, no un thankfulness shall befall his endeavors. Lo! We record (them) for him". (21:94)