Understanding the Believers
In this article, we will try to understand some important attributes of believers. A believer is someone who believes in the existence of Allah and the Hereafter with no doubt, as well as the Revelations sent down to guide mankind. It is the Qur’an which gives various lessons, admonitions and inspirations to a believer and is the only guide for mankind. Therefore, a believer is completely defined by the lessons of the Qur’an and therefore it is essential that we draw all our points from the Qur’an.
"This is a blessed Book which We have sent down – follow it and be conscious of your Lord , so that you may receive mercy." (Qur’an 6:155-157)
Majority of people on earth simply lead their lives in the flow of day to day occurrences of events. Having no awareness of Allah, their decisions and responses to these occurrences are not always that which will please Allah. However, this does not bother them. Primarily, they are motivated in life by their own interests. All humans will find themselves now and again, in a situation where there is a decision they have to make; there will be a narrow margin between the best response that would be most pleasing to Allah and a response which is easier to carry out, but not the best one in Allah's sight. A believer who truly fears Allah and hopes to attain Paradise will have the will-power to obey what his conscience tells him to do, and thus take up the best response for Allah’s sake. Allah is constantly watching all people, both believers and disbelievers and He is testing them to see whether they take the best response or not.
"It is He Who created life and death to test you to reveal which of you is best in deeds." (Qur’an 67:2)
The above verse reveals an important purpose in the creation of man. Believers are those who always strive to do the best deed primarily out of love and fear of Allah. In many verses, Allah commands believers to do good deeds
“Believers, bow down, prostrate yourselves, worship your Lord and do good deeds so that you may succeed.” (Qur’an 22:77)
Most people live and serve only the stake-holders in their lives. Outside these, instead of being selfless, compassionate and caring, they care less about the interest of others while vehemently protecting their own. They even encounter problems in the relationships with their own people due to a lack of goodness of their own souls.
The people around a believer may find it strange seeing his or her consistent right actions. This is because only when one comprehends the existence of Allah and the purpose of life and also becomes a devoted believer himself or herself, can true uprightness in conduct and behaviour make sense. A person who has little or no faith in the Hereafter cannot be said to have the will-power to have the best manners, conduct and deeds.
"On the Day when every soul will find all the good it has done presented in front of him, it will wish there were a great distance between him and all the evil he comitted. Allah cautions you about Himself. Allah is full of kindness to His servants." (Qur'an 3:30)
Since the Qur’an informs
us that the Hereafter is our permanent home, everything in life comes
second to Allah's approval for a believer. For instance, at work, the
money to be earned is not the primary goal. Or for instance, a job at
the end of a course of study is not the primary goal. The way a believer
perceives life is that every moment of living is a 'means' to earn
Allah's approval and hence Paradise in the Hereafter. Any worldly reward
at the end is merely the worldly reward and is secondary to the prime
objective of the Hereafter. In fact, the believer sees himself as a slave of Allah and on a mission to fulfill his purpose stated in the Qur'an.
He sees those as his objectives in life, and not any worldly achievements.
“What is with you runs out but what is with Allah goes on forever. Those who were steadfast will be recompensed according to the best of what they did. Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did.” (Qur’an 16:96-97)
That is why at any instance, the believer never compromises perfect behaviour, even if it does not work in favour of his worldly objectives. For instance, he will find time to help a needy person even if he is running late to work and will never pretend to ignore a person in need. In addition to his righteousness in simple day to day events, the true believer is on a 'steep path', defined in the Qur'an as the path of those who achieve Allah's Garden.
"Yet, he has not embarked upon the steep path. What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave. To feed people in days of shortage. To bring the orphans near as well as the very poor. Only then he would become one of the believers, who exhorts people to the truth and to kindness. These are the companions of the right".
Let alone doing additional good deeds for the sake of Allah, disbelievers are always open to the whisperings of Satan and the desires of their own souls. Without the protection of Allah and the criterion of the Qur’an, they are free to observe no boundaries and are open to all instigations of evil. All small acts of evil such as lack of proper mannerism and bad language right up to big crimes such as theft and murder all stem from a lack of faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment. It may be said that a disbeliever can be good in the world. If a disbeliever keeps away from some evil deeds, or does any good, he does so for reasons such as the following:
1) It makes him feel good inside doing the right thing.
2) It is the norm of the society; people will reject him if he does such and such. Doing good will make him look good in front of people.
3) It will harm his long term worldly interests if he does a bad action, for instance getting a promotion, or jeopardize an existing relationship with a partner if he cheats.
Such a person whose motives revolve only around this world can commit sins when these worldly motives no longer comply with his interests. For instance, a disbeliever slacks in his current job if he is due to leave the position soon. This is because he no longer has the worldly goal of gaining the approval of colleagues or get a promotion. Or a husband cheats on his wife because she does not interest him anymore and he no longer feels there is anything to lose if she leaves him, even if she is the most loyal and considerate partner.
Since worldly motives do not drive the believer, rather to earn the eternal Gardens of Paradise and avoid the Fire of Hell, no loss or gain in the world is a justification for even the mildest incorrect behaviour. The believer is well aware that Allah will call into account, even his smallest deeds:
“On that Day, people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds: whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, but whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will see that.” (Qur’an 99:6-8)
Thus, a person due to resign from a job will not slack the least, since he has to remain loyal to Allah by not taking salary for work he did not do. The husband does not treat his wife with even the slightest of harshness, even when things do not work out well since Allah will take into account all his deeds.
A correct understanding and implementation of the religion of the Qur'an makes a person live by the most superior morals in the world. This superior morality of true believers, above and beyond all disbelievers and hypocrites is identified in this verse:
"You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong, and believe in Allah." (Qur'an, 3:110)
We have seen that the believer is the person with supreme morality in the world and has an unshakable criterion of right and wrong and who never wavers from doing the right action. We have also seen faulty reasonings behind good actions of disbelievers. However, the most important reason why even a good-doing disbeliever is guilty of crimes in Allah’s sight is that he arrogantly refused to accept his Creator, his Maker and the one who provided him with everything. A disbeliever, no matter how good he may seem on the outside is committing great wrong in the sight of Allah at each moment of his life. He is guilty of denying his Lord, who gave him hearing, sight, understanding, of all the delicious and healthy food growing from the earth, spouse and children, home, wealth and career. A single breath a human takes is a great miracle and blessing from Allah. In the sight of Allah, to be arrogant of the fact that Allah is the One who gave one all these are unforgivable crimes no matter how much the disbeliever wishes to belittle these.
"That is because you wrongfully enjoyed and rejoiced on earth. Enter the gates of Hell, there to remain - an evil home for the arrogant." (Qur'an 40:75-76)
Only the true believers are the rightful consumers of all the blessings, joys and pleasures available in this world. Allah explains as follows:
"Say, 'Who has forbidden the wonderful things and good provisions that Allah has brought forth for His servants?" Say, 'They are meant for those who believe during this worldly life, and they will be exclusive for them on the Day of Resurrection.' It is such that We explain the Revelations for those who know." (Qur'an 7:32)"
From the QuranicPath Article:
The believer is fully conscientious of that fact that these are all gifts from Allah for people to glorify and praise Him. He thus glorifies Allah ceaselessly and obeys His orders in the Qur'an; each moment of his life becomes a mean to earn Allah’s reward of Paradise, and comply with His reason to why He made him.
"Say, 'My prayers, sacrifice, my life and death are all for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds." (Qur'an 6:162)
When spending time among believing men and women, a disbelieving person will witness some unique attributes which he may not be used to in his circle of disbelieving friends. He will notice that they are not ordinary friends, rather united by something very strong – the love and fear of Allah. Believers behave in the most compassionate and caring way because they love each another out of love for Allah, which is very strong in their hearts. They are self-sacrificing and consider fellow believers before themselves. The meaning of friendship is on a whole new level, though the disbeliever cannot grasp why as he cannot comprehend faith.
The disbeliever will also notice how believing men and women behave in the most modest manner with one another. They do not indulge in any speech or conduct between genders that they would not in their own gender, nor would they behind one another’s back. This is because they take the Qur'an as a guide. Men respect women as dignified fellow believers and view them only in terms of their fear of Allah, good conduct, sincerity and adherence to the Qur'an since only these count in Allah’s sight. The believing women likewise view believing men similarly. Having the goal of earning Allah's Paradise, all believers are extremely compassionate and considerate towards one another, loving one another because of each other's love of Allah and strong eagerness to good deeds. Allah explains this unity in the following verse:
"The believing men and the believing women, they are the friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong.” (Qur’an 9:71)
"The friendship of believers break all worldly reasons for friendship and is stronger than any other basis many ignorant people rely on such as language, culture, wealth, career, gender or intelligence. The part of the verse regarding the people of Paradise, "And We will remove any malice from their hearts" (7:43), indicates that Allah will remove all such tendencies of prejudice from the hearts of believers in Paradise. Yet, as we learn from another verse, believers try to achieve the same state in the life of this world too, as indicated by their prayer in this world: "Lord, ...leave no malice in our hearts towards those who believe." (59:10).
From the QuranicPath Article:
Many people wonder why a disbeliever is rewarded in this world for his efforts by Allah. Why do they get good things while many believers remain poor? These people do not realise that the disbelievers are given wealth and children so that Allah can test them to see whether they give thanks to Him or become ungrateful. As they always reject Allah as the provider of all blessings, the disbelievers always increase in their evil-doings in the face of every blessing given to them.
"Do not let their wealth and children impress you. Allah only wishes to punish them in this life through them. Their lives will vanish while they are in their state of denial." (Qur'an 9:55)
This is why they are the losers in the Hereafter. But all true believers are victorious in the Hereafter, regardless of whether they were poor or rich in this world. A believer who is poor is being tested to see if he remains loyal to Allah in the face of his poverty and his loyalty is rewarded. A believer who is rich is expected to give thanks to Allah and spend his wealth in Allah’s way selflessly, and this will be rewarded in return. All true believers gain the best reward of Allah - the Paradise of Allah, but they may earn it in slightly different ways due to them being tested in differing ways. Allah identifies this to those who believe as follows:
“If anyone desires the fleeting life, we readily grant him in it such things as We will it, but in the end, We have prepared Hell for him to burn in. But if any one desires the life to come and strives for it with due striving, being a believer, his striving will be thanked. To both the latter and the former, We give some of your Lord’s bounty – your Lord’s bounty is not restricted. See how we have given some more than others - the Hereafter holds greater ranks and greater favours!” (Qur’an 17:18-21)
Another important attribute among the believers is that they are never irritated by mishaps, delays and mistakes of others due to their patience and general forgiving nature. Allah says, "Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish Allah to forgive you?" (Qur'an 24:22). In the society of disbelief, it is all too common to see people losing patience and becoming hot-tempered very easily. For example, a mother with her child, or a driver on the road with another driver. Patience and forgiveness are some of the key attributes of a believer as is stated throughout the Qur’an. The believers always remain calm and collected through all incidents of life due to a key understanding in them revealed to them in the Qur’an:
“No misfortune can happen, neither in the earth nor in your selves that was not set down in writing before We brought it into being – that is easy for Allah. So you need not grieve over what you miss or be overjoyed by what you gain.” (Qur’an 57:22-23)
What we have explained so far is only a brief overview of the definition of a true believer as taken from the Qur'an. We have only mentioned a few verses. The reader is urged not to fall into the trap of believing that being the ideal believer is a utopia or an impossible dream.
"Do you have another book which you study? In it you find whatever you wish to find?" (Qur’an 68:36-38)
Many ignorant so-called Muslims live a religion where they knowingly or unknowingly believe that only certain people of the past were true believers and no one today can truly be like them in their God-consciousness and conduct. Thus, instead of trying to understand the Qur'an, implementing its teachings and becoming sincere believers, they simply emulate superficially the outward aspects of these past venerated characters hoping to live the moment they lived without developing true faith. This tragic nostalgic way of life stems from a very flawed understanding of religion not based on the Qur'an. Though its members will rigorously maintain that the Qur'an is the most important Book in their lives, their understanding of religion is often incompatible with the Qur’an due to them in reality being far distanced from the Quranic verses in spite of their claims. This prevents them from becoming true believers as is explained in the Qur'an.
"When they are told: 'Follow what Allah has sent down to you,' they say: 'We are following what we found our fathers doing.' " (Qur'an: 2:170)
There is no excuse for anyone to not have first-hand knowledge of every single verse revealed by Allah. The Qur'an can be understood by any sincere believer. Understanding the Qur'an is not a duty reserved for scholars and elite people and there are no scholarly prerequisites to study the Qur'an. Studying the Qur'an is a duty on all people. Allah has revealed that He will call to account every single person with regard to their adherence to the Quranic verses:
"Surely, the One who made the Qur’an compulsory for you will summon you to a predetermined appointment. Say: 'My Lord is fully aware of who it is that brings the guidance, and who has gone astray.' " (Qur’an 28:85)
Therefore, without wasting time in a path devoid of Allah’s guidance, we must start to research, learn and implement the Qur'an and become the kind of sincere believer we have discussed here, before a Day when it would be too late.
"And We have revealed the Book to you which has clear explanation of everything, and a guidance, mercy and good news for those who submit." (Qur'an 16:89)
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