O you who believe! Fear Allah, and let every soul look to what provision He has sent forth for the morrow. Yes, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. And do not be like those who forgot Allah so that He made them forget their own souls! Such are the rebellious transgressors! (Surat Al-Hashr: 18-19)
The attributes of believers are set out in the Qur'an, as explained in the previous pages. The believers whom Allah is pleased with and whom Allah allows into heaven, are such as are mentioned above. But what about ourselves? Have we ever asked ourselves if we resemble them?
The characteristics of the believer as described in the Qur'an show us that saying "Alhamdulillah, I'm a Muslim" and occasionally performing some religious observances may not be enough in the Sight of Allah. The believer must strive with all his might to possess the attributes revealed in the Qur'an. Doing the opposite may mean "serving on the verge of true faith." The position of those "serving Allah on the verge of true faith" is described in the Qur'an as follows:
"There are among men some who serve Allah, as it were, on the verge of true faith: if good fortune befalls them, they are well content; but if an ordeal befalls them, they turn upon their heels: they lose both this world and the hereafter: that is a loss for all to see!" (Surat Al-Hajj: 11)
Another matter on which those who never question themselves are mistaken is that they regard it as enough for them to do good to some people or help the poor from time to time. However, in the Qur'an, Allah reveals what is valuable and good in the Sight of Allah, as follows:
"It is not righteousness if you turn your faces towards the east or west; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend your wealth, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in suffering and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing" (Surat Al-Baqara: 177)
Although the attributes of believers are explicitly set out in the Qur'an it would be quite meaningless to deceive ourselves by such thoughts as: 'My heart is pure, I do not have any bad habits and I do not do any evil to anyone. Undoubtedly Allah loves me'. Allah wants people to serve Him, and not just be a pure-hearted person who does not do any harm to anyone. Of course everyone has a responsibility to have a pure heart and do no evil to anyone, but that by itself is not enough. However, someone who does not serve Allah and has little faith cannot be "pure" in heart literally. One can only have a pure heart by oneying all the provisions Allah sets out in the Qur'an and maintining the bounds set by Him.