What is Perfected Faith?
The adjective "kamil" in Arabic means perfect, genuine, and complete. the "perfected faith" (kamil iman) discussed in this book represents the highest level of maturity and depth of faith an individual can ever attain. But how does a believer's faith grow mature and become perfect?
"Having faith in Allah" is to grasp that Allah is the sole Creator and Owner of everything and that He is the only Judge. It is one's submission to Allah at every moment of his life; it is being aware that one is in need of Him, that Allah is rich beyond need and that He creates all things in compliance with a specified destiny.
"Submission to Allah" becomes possible only through having a profound fear of Allah, being deeply attached to Him and loving Him more than anything or anybody else. One who submits himself to Allah, in the real sense, takes Allah alone as his intimate friend. Throughout his life, he knows that each event he encounters occurs by Allah's will and that behind every one of them there are particular divine purposes. For this reason, he never strays from his submissive attitude and always remains obedient and grateful to Allah.
To attain perfected faith, one needs to comply strictly with the commands of the Qur'an, the revelation of Allah through which He introduces Himself and conveys His commands to His servants. For this reason, a believer pays the utmost attention to observing Allah's limits till the day he dies. Throughout his life, he displays the qualities of the true believer without departing from patience. the determination a person of perfected faith shows in living by the values of the Qur'an is a very important and distinctive quality. Because, it is with this very quality that a man of perfected faith excels others in his efforts to do good. the Qur'an also refers to those "who become foremost in good deeds" (Surah Fatir, 32) in their efforts to earn the approval of Allah. the Qur'an however, refers also to those who do not fully live by religion: "Among the people there are those who profess to worship Allah, but who stand on the very fringe of true religion..." (Surat al-Hajj, 11)
Here appears the distinctive feature of perfected faith. Those who do not embrace faith wholeheartedly worship Allah right on the "very fringe" while the people of perfected faith adopt the Qur'an as an essential guide for themselves at every moment of their lives. While insincere people stipulate certain conditions for keeping their faith, people of perfected faith are truly unconditional in their observances. the former group remain devoted to the religion and pretend to display the values praised by the Qur'an as long as they enjoy the blessings given to them and everything goes their way. Yet, whenever they are deprived of blessings or adversity befalls them, they simply turn away from religion or show disloyalty to it. the people of perfected faith, however, show an unshakable commitment to their faith and loyalty. the basic impetus behind this commitment is their "assured faith." "Assured faith" is true acknowledgement of Allah's existence and the hereafter with one's wisdom, heart and conscience. Believers who possess this character trait are described in the Qur'an as "those who have faith in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain about the hereafter." (Surat al-Baqara, 4)
Perfected faith manifests itself through unceasing attention to one's conscience. Conscience is a spiritual quality that engenders a good attitude and worthy thoughts, and helps man think straight and tell right from wrong. a person of perfected faith listens to the voice of his conscience under all circumstances. Such inclination ensures the morality and attitudes that comply with the Qur'an. the Prophet Muhammad (saas) pointed out the importance of conscience in this way:
a person asked Allah's Messenger (saas): What is faith? He said: When a good deed becomes a source of pleasure for you and an evil deed becomes a source of disgust for you, then you are a believer. He again said Allah's Messenger (saas): What is a sin? Whereupon he said: When something pricks your conscience, give it up. (Ahmad)
Of the alternatives he encounters, the believer chooses the attitude with which, he hopes, Allah will be pleased. He never stoops to baseness. the difficulties he encounters while displaying the ideal attitude never make him feel frustrated. He does not compromise the most appropriate attitude by being overtaken by the whims and desires of his lower self.
An example from daily life will make this issue clear. Let's assume that a big factory is on fire. Beset with such adversity, the owner of the factory is faced with many alternatives. He may, for instance, remain inside and, mobilizing the workers, struggle to put out the fire. Another course would be to leave the building and save his own life without notifying the workers. Or, he can do everything to save all his workers and meanwhile call the fire department.
All these alternatives may seem reasonable from different points of view. the conscience, however, guides man to the choice that would please Allah most. Perfected faith is the faith of one who unconditionally assumes the most noble attitude to which his conscience guides him, without feeling any trivial regret or disappointment.