What Excites Believers?
The Observance of Allah’s Artistry in Creation
Wherever man looks, he sees astonishing examples of Allah’s artistry. In a Qur’anic verse Allah says:
Believers get excited when they notice the perfection and order Allah continuously creates in every corner of the universe. They see the wisdom, might and the unprecedented artistry behind these miracles and derive pleasure from pondering over the magnificent creation of Allah. They are amazed at people who remain insensitive towards these miracles. If such people would only listen to their conscience for a short while and think sincerely, they too would surely feel great excitement at Allah’s artistry and might. As expressed in many verses of the Qur’an, the perfection in Allah’s creation is so impressive that anyone who exercises consciousness can see it. In one verse it is stated that whenever believers think about the glory in Allah’s creation, they feel awe:
Believers who sincerely contemplate subjects which occur to their consciousness realize that the creation of the heavens and the earth is marked by eternal wisdom and power. They realize that Allah conceals hundreds and thousands of divine purposes in every creation and feel great excitement about their perfect order. Unlike the agitation peculiar to ignorant societies, it is an excitement and joy that leads man to the straight path of Allah. The consequence of this comprehension and excitement is an even stronger conviction that there is no god but Allah. The more believers think about the art and splendor created around them, the more they understand the omnipotence, wisdom and majesty of Allah, Who is man’s only true friend and protector. They immediately remember Him, honor Him and take refugee in Him from His punishment as stated in the verse above: "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire."61
Seeing Blessings and Beauties
The people who get most excited by Allah’s blessings and derive the most pleasure from them are believers. They know that everything has been created by Allah and consider every incident they encounter and everything they see as a blessing from Him. For this reason a particular beauty means more to them than it does to other people.
Another reason why believers feel such intense excitement at blessings is that they notice the details and delicate points that others fail to see. Those who cannot exercise reason properly and who do not profoundly ponder over events will comprehend only their outward appearance. Therefore, the pleasure they derive from them remains limited. Believers, on the other hand, see faith-related points and divine purposes in everything they encounter. Thus, they manage to appreciate many details and blessings, which give them more pleasure and excitement.
Another reason why believers see blessings in detail and are more impressed by them is the following: A person who is arrogant against Allah cannot recognize the beauties and marvels He creates because if he acknowledges Allah’s omnipotence, he must acknowledge his own imperfection. Since he finds this unacceptable, he will not see the beauties of creation in their proper perspective. Even if he notices them, he prefers to explain them away and suppress his excitement.
Free from arrogance and conceit, believers never fail to appreciate beautiful things and witness the magnificent creation of Allah, and they express inner feelings and excitement. For example, when they see a rose or a violet of eye-catching color arousing pleasure with all its beauty and attractiveness, they first realize that it is a manifestation of Allah’s attribute "jameel" (beautiful). Beautiful and fascinating creations lead them to reflect upon the vastly superior and eternal beauty of the Creator. This reflection excites them greatly, for they perceive that all these beauties have been created for them and that they are a favor and gift from Allah. They experience excitement knowing that all of them are signs of Allah’s love and mercy toward them. They enjoy thinking that although these beauties may not mean much to many people, they are the fortunate ones, the friends of Allah who derive the most pleasure from His blessings. They are grateful that He gave them the opportunity to see these beauties and had bestowed His favors upon them, and they experience the excitement of giving thanks to Allah.
They are happy that Allah gave them eyes to see such beauties, a clear consciousness to comprehend them and sincere faith to be grateful for them. They feel privileged, as many people do not derive pleasure from beautiful things due to spiritual blindness. But they can see and enjoy these beauties because Allah has chosen them and made them love faith. In addition, their contemplation of the variety of blessings, their perfect creation and the eternal wisdom manifested in them augments their reverence for Allah and the excitement they feel about His artistry. As Allah reminds:
Thus, they are in awe of the boundless variety in the blessings of this world. With gratitude to Allah they are elated at the thought that Allah has given all these favors out of His mercy; He gave such an abundance of blessings, whereas He could have given much less. Allah said:
Remembering that Allah will add even more favors to those who are thankful is additionally pleasing.
Knowing that Allah created for them a lifetime abounding with favors and beauties and a destiny that always brings goodness invigorates them. A person of faith is aware of Allah’s protection and mercy toward him every second, and that both are favors from Him. Indeed, Allah grants mercy to whom He wills, and a person leads a pleasant and happy life only because Allah has decreed it. This fact is stressed in many verses such as these:
A believer knows that he owes the blessings he enjoys to Allah. Allah’s choosing him, enabling him to live in goodness, keeping him away from evil, and creating him with particular abilities greatly excites him. With zeal he turns toward Him and strives to attain His approval through both his behavior and attitude. As he observes the beauties of this world, he thinks about Paradise, how perfect and flawless the beauties in Paradise must be, and becomes excited with the hope of attaining them. The spirit of believers is manifested in Prophet Muhammad’s (saas) words, "Truly, in every glorification of Allah is a sadaqah, in every magnification of Him is a sadaqah, every praise of Him is a sadaqah, and in saying, ‘There is no god but Allah’ there is sadaqah."67
What has been cited above is only a few examples of what excites believers. The scope of this book is too limited to mention all the details that believers notice. Their horizons are broad, and their power to reflect is strong. The pleasure that disbelievers can never experience is the great favor which faith grants to believers.
Love and Friendship
A majority of people complain about not being able to find true love and companionship throughout their lives and are thoroughly convinced that it is impossible to experience them. In a sense this is true for the people in ignorant societies who never attain true love and companionship since the affection they have for one another is often advantage-ridden. As soon as they no longer find benefits to reap, the intimacy they consider to be love or friendship also ends.
The people who best experience love and friendship and live them in their truest sense are believers. The main reason, as expressed earlier in this book, is that they love one another not for benefit but only because those they love are conscientious and sincere believers. What makes a person lovable and desired as a friend is the fear of Allah and piety which makes a person live by the values of the Qur’an in the most meticulous way. One who lives by the values of the Qur’an also knows what characteristics he must possess to be worthy of friendship, and he adopts these characteristics in the most perfect way. Similarly, he can appreciate characteristics worthy of admiration in another person and can love in a true sense.
As long as this understanding persists and values of the Qur’an pervade, the excitement derived from love and friendship never abates. Furthermore, as people display more and more good morals, the pleasure and excitement they receive from love and friendship continuously increases. As they notice attributes peculiar to believers, signs of faith and conscience, sincerity, fear of Allah and piety in one another, their enthusiasm grows. They find it inspiring to be surrounded by people who are worthy of Allah’s acceptance and love and are likely to attain an admirable rank in the Hereafter. Hence, they feel pleasure in making friends with people to whom Allah has granted His own companionship.
Since their love is based on an understanding of companionship which will last for all eternity, it never lessens and does not end with death. On the contrary, it extends into eternity in a more perfect form. From this aspect believers’ understanding of love differs from that of the society of ignorance. The love and friendship of people of ignorance are not based on the intention of being together for all eternity, so they fail to truly practice the concepts of loyalty, faithfulness and trust. If two people who claim to be friends select a particular circumstance for their association, then it means they can put an end to their friendship at any time. Both parties’ awareness of this possibility makes them conduct themselves cautiously towards one another and feel uncomfortable. Caution impairs sincerity, which is a requisite of love and friendship. In worldly relationships people always consider the possibility of the termination of their friendship and thus avoid displaying the kind of sincere attitude which could embarrass them when cordiality comes to an end.
Sincere believers, on the other hand, never conduct themselves dishonestly. A person who intends to be with another for all eternity is someone who is committed to show unceasing loyalty, love and friendship. This distinctive characteristic of believers’ love and friendship, that is, willingness to be together for all eternity, lets them derive great pleasure from the affection they experience and the excitement of expecting to be with their loved ones in Paradise. There is also the pleasure of certainty that they will be loyal to their loved ones forever.
Protecting the Righteous
In this verse Allah draws attention to the situation of people who are oppressed and wait for a supporter or an ally. In compliance with this verse protecting innocent people who are unable to stand up for their own rights, helping them and ensuring their safety is a responsibility upon believers.
Believers aware of their responsibilities feel a great desire and eagerness to save people who are oppressed only because they believe in Allah. They have conscience and a precise understanding of justice, so they never condone the oppression of innocent people; rather, they provide them with material and moral support. For this cause their zeal and enthusiasm gives them great courage and strength.
Allah also holds believers responsible for struggling against evil and preventing it, which adds to their enthusiasm. Striving against evil, wiping out tyranny from the earth, and establishing peace and welfare are among the greatest and most honorable services that can be rendered for humanity. The importance of fulfilling the duty of forbidding evil is stated in the Qur’an:
In the Qur’an many prophets are cited for their zeal and determination in guarding the righteous and struggling against evil. Prophet Moses (as), for instance, strove hard to save the Children of Israel from Pharaoh’s tyranny. Pharaoh, introduced in the Qur’an as "haughty within the land and of the transgressors," 70enslaved the Egyptian people, slaughtered their sons and humiliated their women. Allah revealed to Prophet Moses (as):
So he went to Pharaoh and demanded that he stop the tyranny imposed on his people and let them leave Egypt with him.
As this example suggests, Prophet Moses (as) took on responsibility for his people’s safety, and for that cause he carried out an unrelenting struggle for many long years until the Pharaoh’s tyranny was finally ended. In addition, he strove to strengthen his people morally, and patiently called upon them to pray for Allah’s help. Indeed, as a result of the zeal and determination he showed, Allah made him and his followers victorious over Pharaoh.
As such examples reveal, believers always side with the righteous, that is, with the compassionate, tolerant, helpful and self-sacrificing people while standing against evil, resentful, unjust and selfish people. They always strive to stop the tyranny of oppressors and relieve those who are oppressed. While so doing, they enjoy the zeal and excitement of fulfilling Allah’s command. And through this good deed they practice the justice preferred by Allah, listen to the voice of their consciences, live by the values of the Qur’an, and ensure the safety of innocent people. So they derive excitement from all these good deeds and the rewards they earn.
The commitment of believers to such matters improves their morality. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi drew attention to the fact that those who take on great responsibility with the intention of earning the good pleasure of Allah attain moral maturity:
"When one commits himself to loftier purposes, his efforts become more sincere. As he puts forth more efforts on behalf of Muslims, he, himself, attains moral maturity."72
For believers seeking Allah’s good pleasure, His approval and love takes priority over everything else. Thus, throughout their lives they continually seek ways to draw nearer to Him. Allah has commanded:
Believers regard fulfilling the obligations of worship ordered in the Qur’an as among the means that brings them near to Allah. However, they are aware that performing these alone is not sufficient, and what matters more is the sincerity and enthusiasm one feels while performing worship. As a matter of fact, Allah has stated that it is not the flesh and blood of sacrifices which reach Him but the piety in the hearts of those who offer them:
Awareness of this fact leads believers to engage in all good deeds with the enthusiasm for fulfilling an obligation of worship. They understand that sincerity is the attribute most appreciated by Allah. That sincere acts done for Allah are invaluable in His sight is also related in a narration of Prophet Muhammad (saas), where a believer of good character is defined as a person who finds pleasure in prayer, who performs the worship of his Lord well, and who obeys Him in secret.
In addition to the commandments Allah has revealed to all Muslims, there are also those He has revealed to Muslim women. One distinguishing feature of Muslim women is their care over the measure of modesty in clothing and their covering their heads. Muslim women have observed this obligation with great fervor and scrupulousness in all ages. The verses concerning covering the head in Surat an-Nur were revealed in the period following the Hegira:
Safiyyah bint Shaybah said: "When we were with A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her), we mentioned the women of Quraysh and their virtues. A'isha said, 'The women of Quraysh are good, but by Allah I have never seen any better or more strict in their adherence to the Book of Allah than the women of the Ansar. When Surat al-Nur was revealed (...that they should draw their veils over their bosoms...) their menfolk went to them and recited to them the words that Allah had revealed. Each man recited it to his wife, his daughter, his sister and other family relatives. Every woman among them got up, took her decorated wrapper, and wrapped herself up in it out of faith and belief in what Allah had revealed. …"(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surat an-Nur,"The Rulings of Hijab")
A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "When Allah revealed the verse: 'and to draw their veils all over their bosoms,' they tore their aprons and covered themselves with them." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surat an-Nur, "The Rulings of Hijab")
In the time of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), Muslim women immediately obeyed Almighty Allah's commandment, and experienced a great enthusiasm and desire to do so. The Muslims who came after them also fulfilled this commandment with the same enthusiasm and determination. We must not, of course, regard the headscarf simply as a covering that conceals the hair. The headscarf and the modesty of women’s clothing show how much they fear Allah, and how determined, respectable, noble, honorable, free and chaste they are. That is why modest clothing is a symbol of chastity. It is an instrument that elevates a woman in the Sight of Allah and believers and that liberates her from all forms of dependence and trouble. In addition to modesty of dress, one’s manners, behavior and actions must also be compatible with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The result, when all these elements are combined, is a most majestic and respectable appearance. A person’s nobility becomes clear through their scrupulousness regarding Almighty Allah’s stipulations and their fervor and enthusiasm in abiding by them.
Reciting Verses of the Qur’an
In the Qur’an, Allah describes believers:
Prostration when reminded by the verses of Allah is certainly a sign of strong faith and the pleasure they obtain from being servants of Allah.
They feel excitement about possessing the Qur’an, the Book revealed by Allah that includes all knowledge, realizing that every single verse of the Qur’an is a manifestation of Allah’s love, mercy and justice toward them. Furthermore, they have great happiness in their souls for having been given a clear consciousness enabling them to comprehend all that. Therefore, they feel close to Allah and feel a deep attachment to Him, which gives them tranquillity. In the Qur’an it is stated that believers fall to the ground in prostration, weeping due to the emotion they experience upon hearing verses of Allah:
In the verses above Allah draws attention to the fact that the Qur’an, when recited to believers, increases their humility, that is, their fear and reverence for Him. And Allah informs us that the prophets also fell on their faces in prostration, weeping due to the emotion they felt from the verses of Allah:
In another verse it is stated that the skins of the believers who fear Allah tremble when they hear verses of the Qur’an:
As stated in a Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saas), believers know that the reward of those who read the Qur’an and remember Allah is great, and this increases their zeal even more:
"Fear Allah, for He is the one who sets right all that concerns you. Recite the Qur’an and keep remembering Allah, for you will be remembered in the heavens, and it will be light for you on the earth."79
Allah has summoned all people to supplication. He has informed them that He is nearer to them than their jugular vein. He hears them when they pray to Him, and He will answer their prayers. Allah’s granting such an opportunity to people and His being a witness to everything they say or think is a cause of excitement for believers, the excitement of knowing Allah’s friendship, His constant protection of them, and His blessings upon them. For this reason believers take refuge in their Lord with great emotion, profoundly feel the need for His guidance, and ask His help for anything at any time. Another cause of enthusiasm for them is that there is no limit to what they may ask of Allah. Everyone has the opportunity to ask for anything he might need, whether important or insignificant, spiritual or material. Allah answers the supplications of His servants according to what is best for them.
Repentance to Draw Closer to Allah
Man is prone to make mistakes. It would be unreasonable to expect anyone to have knowledge of everything or to be perfect in conduct because the world is a place where Allah tests man. He will remain in this world for a short while, where he will acquire better qualities through the guidance of his Lord, and then pass on to the Hereafter, which is his permanent abode. That is why mistakes, imperfections and faults are particular to this world, which is a place of trial. The important thing is not to persist in mistakes, to follow the right as soon as one recognizes it, and to quit one’s old, bad habits. This process continues toward perfection, although believers are people who are aware that they are imperfect and weak servants of Allah. Hence, they seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent. Repentance, an important form of worship ordered in the Qur’an, grants them spiritual bliss.
When believers err, they do not show pessimism; rather, they experience hope and the expectation that Allah will forgive them. As soon as they realize that they have committed a wrong, they immediately seek refuge in Allah and ask His forgiveness. Allah describes this characteristic of His sincere servants in the Qur’an:
Allah’s good tiding that He accepts sincere repentance from His servants inspires hope and excitement. That is because until death comes upon them, even the most evil people of this world have the opportunity to be purified of sin and to acquire attributes making them worthy of Paradise. Allah describes His mercy and love for all people as follows:
Perceiving Allah’s kindness and mercy to them and expecting His forgiveness every time they turn to Him inspires deep feelings of love and excitement in the hearts of believers.
Communicating the Good Values of the Qur’an
Allah ordered the development of a community among people which summons others to good conduct, kindness and righteousness:
In compliance with this verse sincere Muslims endeavor to convey the beauty of Qur’anic morality, point out the moral corruption inherent in ignorant societies and, by the will of Allah, guide people to the right path. Since they have personally attained peace and comfort through the Islamic way of living, they also wish others to experience the same. Furthermore, knowing that Hell is a definite truth, they want to protect all people from eternal torment by encouraging them to lead the kind of life that will please Allah because one’s deeds in this world determine an eternal life in either Paradise or Hell. Even a single person’s eternal salvation means a lot to believers. For this reason they commit themselves to any sacrifice to save someone from Hell and guide him toward attaining Allah’s mercy. They might even spend months or years, day and night, to help a person adopt the good values of Islam. Similarly, they eagerly spend their wealth for this cause. The zeal they feel grants them great power both in the physical and spiritual sense. To the end of their lives they never stop communicating the message of Allah in the best and wisest way.
However, it should be made clear that even if all their efforts do not result in a single person’s guidance, they will never feel frustrated because the duty of a believer is only to communicate the message, while it is Allah Who actually guides an individual. From the Qur’an it is known that many of the idolaters in Makkah did not embrace Islam in spite of all the sincere and great efforts of Prophet Muhammad (saas). But his effort was rewarded, and Allah revealed to him:
It is stated in the Qur’an that all prophets showed the same commitment in communicating the message. The difficulties they encountered along the way never discouraged them. On the contrary, they continually resorted to every method to show their peoples the right path. The zealous efforts of Prophet Noah (as) have been described as follows:
As the verses reveal, Prophet Noah (as) conveyed the message with great zeal to reconcile the hearts of his people. In spite of their evasion, he never faltered in conveying the attributes of Allah. His people, however, stubbornly turned away each time they heard the truth. Owing to the zeal and excitement Prophet Noah (as) felt about fulfilling Allah’s command and conveying His message, he did not denounce their behavior but continued his duty with an unyielding determination. Despite the arrogance they showed, he sought other viable methods to reconcile their hearts. His intent was to relieve them of the corruption of their ignorant society by reminding them about Allah, both openly and through less obvious methods.
It must be kept in mind that the efforts of Prophet Noah (as) and others who convey the message with great zeal and sincerity will not remain unrewarded. By Allah’s will each word uttered and every second spent for His cause will be generously compensated.
The Thought of Paradise
One of the subjects about which believers feel excitement most is that of Paradise and the blessings they will attain there. Paradise presents to man an existence unprecedented in the life of this world; none of the defects or flaws present in this life exist there. Paradise is created not for test, as is life on this earth, but as a place of compensation. Furthermore, Allah purposely created this world as an imperfect place so that people can long for Paradise and strive hard to attain it. One who strives to attain perfection throughout his life desires Paradise with an even greater enthusiasm.
In the Hereafter believers will rejoice at being saved from the torment of Hell, which is what they strove to avoid during their lives. On the other hand, those who fought against Allah’s religion, against people’s adherence to Qur’anic morality, and those who opposed believers and attempted to suppress them will fully receive whatever they deserve as a manifestation of Allah’s absolute justice. How those people will be repaid and the joy believers feel upon witnessing it is stated in the Qur’an:
The fact that unbeliever’s will be repaid with Allah’s justice heals the hearts of believers. Indeed, the mere thought of Allah’s promise stirs a deep excitement in the hearts of believers.
In addition, remembering the angels’ greetings and salutations in Paradise and the way believers will be hosted therein is a major source of pleasure. They will meet the angels of Allah who will lead them to Paradise, their eternal abode. While those who avoided serving Allah in the life of this world will be in pain and fear at being seized by angels of punishment, believers will be accompanied by angels of mercy in peace and security. This expectation enables believers to feel great joy. How they will be met in Paradise is described in the Qur’an as follows:
Another reason why the thought of Paradise excites believers is undoubtedly the unprecedented nature of the blessings promised to them. But what is more exciting than that is their attainment of Allah’s approval, the result they had desired and worked for all through their lives:
In the above verse Allah gives glad tidings that He will be pleased with the people He accepts into Paradise. Likewise, it is stressed in the Qur’an that the greatest among blessings in Paradise is Allah’s approval:
In addition, Allah gives more good news to believers regarding the favors of Paradise:
And this is the best compensation for the sincere struggle believers put forth in the course of their lives.
Believers also feel the excitement of contemplating the beauty of Paradise, which is beyond present human comprehension despite many detailed descriptions in the Qur’an. Allah has revealed that there are as many beauties and blessings there as man’s soul could ever desire or his mind could ever imagine. Man’s horizons in this world are too limited to give a full grasp of the variety of those eternal blessings. Indeed, Paradise is replete with endless surprises for believers. Thinking about these surprises and knowing that they shall continue by the will of Allah for all eternity brings great pleasure.
Believers have some knowledge even now about certain of the blessings in Paradise, thanks to Qur’anic descriptions. For instance, believers know that they will be together with their loved ones and friends. They will be companions of all the prophets, martyrs, truthful, devoted and sincere believers of the past and will have the honor of being in the company of these noble souls with whom Allah is pleased. They will experience true love and friendship there and will never get bored.
Satan will never be able to approach the people of Paradise; he will be subjected to eternal torment in the Hellfire, so in Paradise everyone will be trustworthy, good tempered and faithful to their Lord. No unfavorable morals peculiar to ignorant societies (such as hatred, rage or jealousy) will exist there; they will perish once and for all.
In Paradise no difficulties particular to the life of this world will persist. There will be no need to thwart the plans of those who devise plots or to be alert against the strategies of hypocrites. Believers will be hosted there for all eternity, residing in peace and joy among whatever favors their soul desire. All people will be created in the best form and will be purified of human imperfections. They will be good-natured, beautiful, loving and equal in age. The natural laws of the life of this world will no longer apply; a new life with new kinds of blessings has been prepared for those whose faith was assured. Paradise is additionally a place of physical magnificence with splendid mansions, perpetual fruit trees within easy reach, rivers of honey, and many other appealing aesthetic aspects.
Above and beyond all that, "eternity," a concept the human mind finds difficult to grasp, permeates Paradise. Life in Paradise is not limited to hundreds, thousands, billions or trillions of years... it is an endless and eternal life. Man will not feel boredom or weariness therein, and he will forever derive great pleasure from every moment he spends in it.
Thinking about these blessings while still in the world and the hope of attaining Paradise becomes a major source of zeal and desire for believers. With the incentive of obtaining such blessings, they become more zealous and put forth more effort to be servants of Allah who are worthy of Paradise. As the Qur’an describes, they compete with each other in good works and strive to be foremost in winnin "a garden as wide as the heavens and earth."96