One of the most significant characteristics of someone who can appreciate Allah’s might and thus reorients all his deeds to earn Allah’s blessing, is his liberating himself from all beings other than Allah. Having his life focused on earning His approval and being a servant to Him, he develops a different outlook on the universe, which he knows is created and controlled by Allah. Since he considers Allah as the only god, the false deities surrounding him lose their meaning.
The lives of those lacking true faith, unlike those of the believers, are subservient to countless false deities. Such people devote their entire lives to gaining the approval of countless people, and when they seek help, it is from other people. In reality, however, the creatures an unbeliever idolizes in his mind are nothing but weak “servants,” just like himself. The deadlock these people face is related in the Qur’an as follows:
They have taken [other] deities besides Allah [Alone], hoping that they may be helped. They cannot help them, even though they are an army mobilized in their support. (Surah Ya Sin: 74-75)
Unbelievers base their entire lives on this very distorted rationale. There emerges from this another important difference between believers and unbelievers: Believers adopt the criteria laid down by Allah as their only guidance. They observe the commands of the Qur’an, the just Book and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas). Their religion is Islam, which is explained in detail in the Qur’an and is presented to us through the exemplary of the life of the Prophet (saas).
People who lead their lives in a state oblivious of Allah will surely accept the criteria laid down by the imaginary deities rather than the criteria set forth by Allah. Unlike Islam, the one and immutable law of Allah, theirs is a polytheistic religion. These people have various conflicting rules and goals imposed by society. This being the case, the polytheistic religions they abide by take various forms.
Some of them aim at money and power, while others desire a prestigious and influential status. Some aspire to find a “good spouse” and have a “happy family life.” This diversity that engenders different life styles and accordingly different “religions” is, in fact, based on the failure to grasp Allah’s existence and His limits.
However, man is, by nature, inclined to trust Allah and be a servant to Him. Unable to fulfill his infinite needs and desires by himself, by nature, he tends to turn to Allah alone. Accordingly, the nature of man is inclined to recognize Allah as his Lord:
So, as a pure and natural believer, set your face firmly towards the faith, Allah’s natural pattern on which He made mankind. There is no changing Allah’s creation. That is the true faith—but most people do not know it. (Surat ar-Rum: 30)
Said Nursi, the renowned Turkish scholar, explains how man fails to understand that his real duty is to be a servant to Allah and adds: “… They unwisely concluded that life is a struggle.”
This rationale, subscribed to by those who do not live according to the values of the Qur’an, is one of the fundamental tenets of their religion. It is due to the rationale in question that these people always suffer feelings of distress and tension:
- The majority of these people, unlike believers, are selfish, self-seeking people whose only concern is to benefit themselves.
- They lack the delicate disposition that develops with self-sacrifice. Their love is based on gaining advantage; they love a person not because of his good values or attributes but because it is in their interest to love him.
- Those whom they consider to be their loved ones, too, approach them with the same rationale, which creates a relationship bereft of loyalty. They always feel concerned about the potential unfaithfulness of their partners, since they know that at any time they may find others who are wealthier or more beautiful…
- They are consumed by jealousy, a trait that prevents them from taking pleasure in beauties and blessings. For example, instead of taking pleasure in someone’s beauty and saying “How beautifully Allah has created him or her,” they feel restless and ask, “Why am I not as good looking and beautiful as him or her?”
- They do not feel grateful to Allah or are not contented with their blessings. With such a disposition, they always want to possess more. This insatiable desire becomes a constant source of uneasiness.
- Unable to accept their feebleness and weaknesses, they do not ask for help from Allah. They assume they will get rid of their weaknesses if they turn away from Allah haughtily without asking Him for help. However, this is not the way to get rid of their weaknesses. At this time too, they turn to others and pin their hopes on them. Yet those they turn to are also weak individuals who only think about their own benefit. Moreover, they are far from being merciful and compassionate. This being the case, they often feel “depressed,” and lose their spirit through a failure to satisfy their expectations.
- They lack forgiveness and tolerance. For this reason, even a minor disagreement among them is likely to develop into a clash or conflict. Most of the time, each party makes it a matter of pride to refuse to accept being the one in the wrong. For this reason, they often feel distressed.
- They do not believe that they live in a world under Allah’s protection and control, but rather in a ruthless jungle where they have to “defeat” others to survive. According to their misguided idea, they assume they have to develop a tough, aggressive and egoist character to be able to survive in this “jungle.” Indeed, their attitude matches what they encounter. They are either, as the society of ignorance calls it, swallowed up, as in the example of the “small fish,” or they grow into a “big and cruel” fish and swallow others.
These laws apply to almost all societies where people do not experience true faith, and behave according to the mistaken morality described above. The Qur’an calls these societies “ignorant and behavent,” because they are entirely unaware of Allah and the Hereafter.