Believers As Described In The Qur'an
True believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His revelation, find their faith strengthened, and put all their trust in their Lord (Surat Al-Anfal: 2)
... He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the faith of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this Revelation... (SuratAl-Hajj: 78)
Who speaks better than one who calls men to Allah, does what is right, and says, "I am of those who bow in Islam"? (Surah Fussilat: 33)
The first condition of being a Muslim is worshipping the one and only deity, Allah, alone. In fact Islam is the realization of this principle in life in various forms. All other things not based on this principle are not Islam but some form of "religion of ignorance".
However, the reality is quite other. This misapprehension arises from the fact that "worshipping" is understood only as prostrating oneself in front of a being that is to be served. This limited meaning of worshipping causes neglect of other religious duties and failure to adopt a Qur'anic morality. However, the real meaning of worshipping should be derived from the Qur'an. In other words, its meaning should be comprehended according to its description in the Qur'an, rather than its wrong portrayal by the society of ignorance.
"I have created Jinns and men, only that they may serve Me." (Surat Adh-Dhariyat: 56)
As the above verse asserts, humans and Jinns are created to "serve Allah". It is certain that a believer is one who fits this definition. In accordance with his purpose of creation and his nature, a believer serves Allah alone, and, as mentioned in the verse, does nothing but worship Him. How to serve Allah, and how to worship Him is explained in the Qur'an:
"Say: 'Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are all for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds.'" (Surat Al-An'am: 162)
As this verse indicates, worshipping Allah is not confined to performing daily prayers five times a day and other religious observances, but overarches all aspects of life and also death. A Muslim is one who spends all of his life serving in the way of Allah. As a reward of this, he will be rewarded with the approval of Allah, His mercy and eternal paradise.
On the other hand, leading one's life to attain ends other than Allah's favor, is the same as "ascribing partners to Him", or in other words, "setting up partners with Him" as Allah reveals in the Qur'an. Throughout the ages, the prophets have urged people to stop attributing partners to Allah. According to the Qur'an, all societies of ignorance, have attributed partners to Allah. Consequently, today, a great part of the world population consists of the followers of a religion based on polytheism. In this world, it is exclusively the societies of true believers who live by the true religion by worshipping only Allah. All that believers say, as revealed in a verse, is as follows;
The only thing a believer must declare is: "Men! If you are in doubt as to my religion, behold! I do not worship what you worship, other than Allah! I worship Allah – Who will take your souls at the time of your death: I am commanded to be in the ranks of the believers.'" (Surah Yunus: 104)
Then, how should the believer worship Allah? How should he spend his life that solely consists of performing this holy duty? Should he act according to the common belief held in ignorant societies and go to spend all his life undergoing severe suffering? Should he adopt a motionless, stable way of life as a withdrawn person?
On the contrary, a sincere believer enjoys the security, peace and comfort that come from genuine submission to Allah. He knows that everything he owns and sees is a blessing from Allah, and enjoys the excitement and fervor of these blessings. In short, a believer is a high-quality, joyous, easy going and determined person who is pleasant and easy to talk to.He lives for Allah alone, works for Allah and uses all these means placed at his disposal for Allah's approval.
It needs to be known that real trouble comes from living far removed from religious moral values and love and fear of Allah, contrary to the belief of most people who do not know anything about Islam. Indeed, one who worships only Allah is the most independent, the most peaceful, happy and cheerful. He gets rid of all the fake deities which enslaved him. Milions of fears like "What do people think about me?", "What would I do, if that person does not like me?", "What happens if I get fired?" and similars moves away from him. No longer trouble him. Once rid of all the yokes laid upon him by millions of incapable, helpless, cruel, unreasonable imaginary deities, he dedicates himself to the only God, the Mighty, the Wise, the Knower of all things, the Compassionate, the Merciful and Powerful Allah. He "has grasped indeed the firmest hand to hold." As one verse says:
"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clearly from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, one that never breaks. Allah hears and knows all things." (Surat Al-Baqara: 256)
Allah thus expreses in the Qur'an that the Prophet's "freeing people from their chains and yokes":
"Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummi, whom they find mentioned in their own scriptures, – in the law and the Gospel – he commands them to do what is just and forbids them to do what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good and pure and prohibits what is bad and impure; He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him, who will prosper." (Surat Al-A'raf: 157)
Allah reveals the attributes of believers as follows in another verse:
"For Muslim men and women, – for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast and deny themselves, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward." (Surat Al-Ahzab: 35)
The Muslim has an intimate and close connection with Allah. Allah is his only comrade, helper. The Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) intimate liaison with Allah is revealed as a role model for Muslims:
"He said: 'Do you then see whom you have been worshipping, You and your fathers before you? For they are enemies to me; not so the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds,
Who created me; it is He Who guides me;
Who gives me food and drink,
And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me;
Who will cause me to die, and then bring me back to life again;
And Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the day of Judgment.
O my Lord! Bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous Grant me honorable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest generations. Make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss. Forgive my father, for he is among those astray. Do not let me be in disgrace on the Day when men will be raised up – the Day in which neither wealth nor sons will avail. " (Surat Ash-Shu'ara': 75-88)
The example of the comparison made between the person who feels the comfort of serving Allah only and the person who ascribes false partners to Allah, and therefore serves too many gods, is given in the Qur'an as follows:
"Allah puts forth the parable of a man having many masters who are always at variance with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge." (Surat Az-Zumar: 29)
One of the most important characteristics of a believer is his avoidance of arrogance and haughtiness, in a different way of saying, his avoidance of almost deifying himself. A believer who genuinely submits to and seeks refuge in Allah will never regard himself as self-sufficient and become limited in that way, but will constantly seek to improve himself. Every passing day he will strive to live ever more by the qualities of a believer as revealed in the Qur'an. His humility can be seen in all his activities. Allah gives examples about His humble servants in a verse as:
"And the servants of Allah, the Most Gracious, are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, 'Peace!'" (Surat Al-Furqan: 63)
One of the biggest problems of an unbeliever is his being conceited, and deifying himself. (Surely Allah is beyond that.) The Qur'an asks us to consider the fate of those who reject the truth because of their conceit, although their souls confirm it:
"And they rejected those Signs in iniquity and arrogance, though their souls were convinced of their truth: so see what was the end of those who acted corruptly." (Surat An-Naml: 14)
In contrast to proud people's denial and deviation from the true path, a believer spends his life striving to discharge the responsibility that Allah reveals to him. What a believer must, in fact, constantly combat is his own earthly desires. Allah revealed the aspect of the lowerself which encourages evil asfollows in the Qur'an:
I do not say my self was free from blame. The self indeed commands to evil acts – except for those my Lord has mercy on. My Lord, He is Forgiving, Merciful.' (Surah Yusuf: 53)
The believer is on guard against his lowerself at every moment, and heeds the voice of his conscience under all circumstances. He always does what is compatible with Allah's approval. His own self will try to lead him astray turning him away from Allah's way by the use of countless tricks and obstacles such as fear, hopelessness, and slackness. However, a believer will overcome all of this through his eagerness, affection, determination, courage and patience. He will never digress from the right path because this is the path of Allah, his sole guardian, sole protector and sole supporter.
Of course a Muslim's struggle is not only confined with his lower self. Our Lord reveals another responsibility to believers in the Qur'an: to command what is good and discourage what is bad. As revealed in the verses of the Qur'an, Muslim is the successor of Allah on this earth. Therefore, he wages an intellectual struggle against those transgressors who oppress people, tyrannize over them and try to prevent them from treading the path of Allah. Because this is a responsibility revealed in the Qur'an.
Only such societies that are governed by practitioners of the moral principles and orders of the Qur'an can attain to real justice. A believer is one who deals with people justly and leads them to the truth for the pleasure of Allah. Believers never make any concessions regarding the moral values taught by Allah, no matter how great the responsibilities they assume. These attributes of theirs are described as follows in the Qur'an:
Those who, if We establish them firmly on the earth, will establish prayer and pay alms, and command what is right and forbid what is wrong. The end result of all affairs is with Allah. (Surat Al-Hajj: 41)
People who do not fear Allah, however, constantly seek their own personal advantages and compete to acquire rank, fame, possessions and property. That is why there is never any true peace and happiness in the life of a society in which such people are in charge.
Believers, on the other hand, always strive to discourage evil under all circumstances, to encourage good behavior, to be role models for other people and to "command" what is good. And they never get weakened in these efforts. This unflinching character of believers is described thus in the Qur'an:
Many a Prophet has been killed, when there were many thousands with him! They did not give up in the face of what assailed them in the Way of Allah, nor did they weaken, nor did they yield. Allah loves the steadfast. All they said was, 'Our Lord, forgive us our wrong actions and any excesses we went to in what we did and make our feet firm and help us against these kafir people.' So Allah gave them the reward of this world and the best reward of the hereafter. Allah loves good-doers. You who have faith! if you obey those who are unbelievers, they will turn you round on your heels and you will be transformed into losers. (Surat Al 'Imran: 146-149)
One of the salient characteristics of a believer, which makes him different from the fake devotee, is that when he delivers the Qur'anic message to people, he does not expect to gain anything from it. His goal is not earning money, wealth and position, but the pleasure of Allah. He looks for his reward only on the path of Allah. There are many verses of the Qur'an that cite exemplary moral values of the prophets on this subject. Two of these read:
"(Noah:) But if you turn back, consider: no reward have I asked of you: my reward is only due from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of those who submit to Allah's will in Islam." (Surah Yunus: 72)
"Those were the prophets who received Allah's guidance: Follow the guidance they received and say: 'No reward for this do I ask of you. This is no less than a message for all the nations.'" (Surat Al-An'am: 90)
The true believer is on an exalted plane of morality. He has an understanding, compassionate and forgiving personality. Since he is not unduly swayed by events, he shows a mature reaction and behaves with wisdom, keeping his feelings well under control. He is self-sacrificing, helpful and kind.
"Those who patiently persevere, seeking the countenance of their Lord; say regular prayers; spend out of the gifts. We have bestowed upon them for their sustenance, secretly and openly; and ward off evil with good: for such there is the final attainment of the eternal home." (Surat Ar-Ra'd: 22)
Those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people – Allah loves the good-doers. (Surah Al 'Imran: 134)
Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (Surat Al-A'raf: 199)
Can you make the dead hear or guide the blind and those who are patently misguided? (Surat Ash-Shura: 40)
Those who do not bear false witness and who, when they pass by worthless talk, pass by with dignity; (Surat Al-Furqan: 72)
They give food, despite their love for it,to the poor and orphans and captives: (Surat Al-Insan: 8)
However it should also be stated that, of course, the believer will make mistakes as well; this is because he is only human, and just a servant. But as soon as devout Muslim realizes his mistakes, he will fully correct them and pray Allah to forgive his faults. None of his faults make him hopeless, because he is sure of Allah's help and seeks refuge in His boundless mercy. The Qur'an states this as below:
"And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in the wrong they have done." (Surah Al 'Imran: 135)
The believer's only friends are Allah and the servants of Allah, other believers. He considers people only according to their faith (iman). His closest friend is no longer a friend if he turns out to be an enemy to Allah. On the other hand any believer who dedicates himself to Allah is a close brother to him, even if they might not have anything in common in terms of a family relationship, social status or financial opportunities. He attains the virtue of loving for the pleasure of Allah, and loves other people for Allah's approval.
He is a man of understanding. He trusts in Allah. Because he puts his trust in Him, he is saved from fears, anxiety and sorrows of our worldly affairs. Since he is an "open-minded" person, he can think big and he can easily fathom the complex sides of events. His reason has been enforced by wisdom and knowledge.
He will be staying in this world for only a short time. During this short period, he will be educated and become noble. Then he will get ready for his real home in the hereafter. The story written for him in this world is full of glory and honor as is suited to the devout servants of Allah.