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.
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 will do better works” (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)
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 behavior make sense. A person who has little or no faith cannot be said to have the will-power to have the best manners, conduct and deeds.
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, the reward in the Hereafter is even better.
“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 behavior, even if it does not work in favor 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 needy person.
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 loose 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 paradise of Allah and avoid the Fire of Hell, no loss or gain in the world is a justification for even the mildest incorrect behavior. 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. In contrast, the believer is fully conscientious of that fact that these are all gifts from Allah and glorifies Allah and obeys Him; each moment of his life becomes a mean to earn Allah’s reward.
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 one 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 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 kind and considerate towards one another, loving one another because of one another’s love for Allah and 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)
Many people wonder why a disbeliever is rewarded in this world for his efforts by Allah. Why do they get good things while a believer remains poor? These people do not realize 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. 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, 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 explains 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. In the society of disbelief, it is all too common to see people loosing 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. 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 required by the Qur’an.
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.
THE PEACEFUL LIFE OF THE TRUE BELIEVER
It is revealed in the Qur’an that whoever believes in Allah and does good work, whether male or female, Allah will make them live a good life in this world. This is a promise of Allah in Surah An-Nahl, Verse 97, from the creator of human beings. Based on the verse, we will briefly look at how the true believer is saved from the woes of everyday life of the mass, and earns the good life in this world, promised by Allah.
A believer is the one who has absolute faith in the existence of Allah and the Day of Judgment. In every moment of his life, his unique goal is to earn Allah’s pleasure. He knows he will have to give an account of every single moment of his life. Unlike the rest, he is aware that his purpose in creation is to worship Allah by always seeking to do what is right and avoiding what is evil, and by fulfilling the commandments of the Qur’an. The believer is therefore never worried about what other people are thinking of him, since his goal is never to please people, but Allah. He always seeks to do what is right regardless of the people around him, because of fear and love of Allah, and awareness of the Hereafter. He is not unduly moved by other people’s perception of him because what truly matters is Allah’s approval. Most ignorant people worry about what others will think of them, but the believer has no such worries and his deeds are always sincere.
“Say, ‘My Lord, make my entrances to all affairs sincere, and make my departures sincere, grant me lasting authority from your presence’.” (Qur’an 17:80)
Another way the believer attains peace even during apparently troublesome times is as follows. He knows that everything befalls him according to Allah’s destiny and to test him. When he encounters trouble big or small, he accepts that it is the destiny created by Allah and so remains calm and collected. Therefore, he retains his mental resources in a crisis or a difficult situation and comes up with sound solutions to the problem.
“Say, ‘only what Allah has decreed for us will happen to us. He is our Master: let the believers put their trust in Allah” (Qur’an 9:51)
The believer has no attachment to this world. His emotional detachment from the world is manifested in the fact that if necessary, he will give up his life in Allah’s way. Since he is prepared to give up his life for Allah, material wealth or other blessings removed from him do not make him lose his balance in life. On the other hand, a disbeliever or those who have doubts, may suffer from depression or even commit suicide after a loss of wealth or a close person. It is Allah who gives provision and it is Allah who takes them when He wills.
“There is no creature on earth which is not dependent on Allah for its provision. He knows where it lives and where it dies. It is all in a clear book” (Qur’an 11:6)
The fundamental reason why the irreligious person leads a restless life compared to the true believer is that all their actions and thoughts in life do not carry the right motivations and intentions. Allah created people so that they may worship Him. This worship is defined in the Qur’an as encompassing every single moment of one’s life. This means that a believer should always aim to worship Allah at all times by doing all actions purely for Allah’s pleasure. Doing everything for Allah’s approval are right intentions and motives for everything in life. The irreligious person who does not live according to Allah’s purpose in creation only prepares distress for himself in this world and agonizing punishment in the Hereafter.
“Such is the punishment (in this world), but the punishment of the Hereafter is even greater, if only they knew.” (Qur’an 68:33)
Death is the moment when one begins his life in the Hereafter. For disbelievers, death is the end of a life where they desperately tried to find eternal happiness. Just the thought of death fills them with fear, hopelessness and sorrow because for them, death brings an absolute end to everything and a beginning of bleak ‘nothingness’. The believers on the other hand, have lived their lives earning the approval of Allah and looking forward to Paradise. They always sought Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. Death is a moment believers look forward to, whether it is sooner or later.
As the believer overcomes the greatest source of fear and anxiety, death, all other stress and anxiety become trivial. Each every single moment can only be a way to conform even more to the moral values of the Qur’an and draw nearer to Allah. The believer enjoys a sense of confidence and finds joys in the good things Allah provides for him. Having absolute trust in Allah, he is a very confident person, yet humble. This confidence is carried forward in his strong sense of what is right and wrong, his desire to do good, and in inviting others to follow this sublime path made clear by the Creator of man in the Qur’an.
“But when the righteous are asked, ‘What has your Lord sent down?’ They say, ‘all that is good’. There is good in the world for those who do good, and the abode of the Hereafter is even better. How excellent is the home of the righteous!” (Qur’an 16:30).