The verse in the Qur'an, "They have different ranks with Allah. Allah sees what they do" (Surah Al 'Imran: 163), draws our attention to an important truth. Some refuse to accept the faith. But even the faithful vary in their fear of Allah and the faith in Him which they hold in their hearts. In the Qur'an, Allah refers to people who do not believe in the following verse, "The desert Arabs say, 'We believe.' Say: 'You do not believe. Say rather, 'We have become Muslim,' for faith has not yet entered into your hearts'..." (Surat al-Hujurat: 14). In another verse, Allah tells us that amongst believers, there may be those who remain behind, stay in the middle or forge ahead: "Then We made Our chosen servants inherit the Book. But some of them wrong themselves; some are ambivalent; and some outdo each other in good by Allah's permission. That is the great favor" (Surah Fatir: 32).
Amongst these people described in the Qur'an is another group: "those who mix up their faith with wrongdoing," which means failing to separate oneself fully from ignorant morality, despite realizing the superiority of the true faith and being aware that there is no other way to salvation in the Hereafter than by conforming to the Qur'an. These individuals may live with their faith, but at moments when their interests are challenged or when they are faced with problems, may also demonstrate the behavior of unbelievers instead of behaving in accordance with the Qur'an.
When speaking of such people, not only those who openly reject the instructions of the faith and demonstrate irreligious behavior should come to mind. The people concerned may conform to most provisions of the Qur'an and behave like believers throughout a large portion of their lives. On certain matters, however, they may not like to be aware that according to the Qur'an, they are in the wrong. Or they may not be able to understand that such is the case. Some who live as Muslims may think that some of their beliefs and actions do not conflict with the Qur'an, and that they do not venture into what is described as forbidden and sinful.
For example, some people do not understand—or do not want to—that emotionalism is a character trait contrary to the morality of the Qur'an. This can be seen clearly in a number of verses. Upon the death of a relative, for instance, a Muslim realizes that the person has not perished but that for him eternal life is a new beginning. And if the relative was one of the faithful, he takes pleasure in hoping that he will enter Paradise. In addition, death is a part of one's destiny, predetermined by Allah. Like everything else, Allah brings death for a reason.
As a result, the believer knows that even in the case of a relative, there is a blessing in his death and behaves in such a way as to show his contentment. But despite being aware of this truth, many people show ignorant behavior when faced with death. They behave emotionally and react in an excessive manner.
Those who do not consider that such behavioral defects conflict with the morality of the Qur'an see no reason not to continue this behavior. At certain moments of their lives, they live like ignorant people, exhibiting the same characteristics, suffering the kind of troubles that believers do not suffer, prevalent amongst ignorant people. And unlike believers, they are frequently unhappy.
Because of this, everyone who declares, "I believe" should consider whether "living a beautiful life in this world and the Hereafter"—which Allah has promised the faithful in the Qur'an—is apparent in himself in the light of this knowledge. If, at certain moments, his life still contains unhappiness, troubles and sorrows to even a small extent, he should take this warning to heed.
For a person who suffers trouble and sorrow throughout his life, the solution is simple. As we are told in the verse, "... Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you..." (Surat al-Baqara: 185).
For anyone who has any open or secret characteristic of ignorant morality remaining within him, the basic solution is to abandon this mode of living and behave in conformity to the Qur'an. Every person with faith in Allah and every believer who conforms to the Qur'an must approach the Book with greater sincerity and must be protected from any kind of act or thought that runs counter to the behavior of the faithful described in its verses. He should not regard the truths contained in the Qur'an as theoretical, but should apply them in practice in his life and feel and experience them at all times. He must not forget that Allah encompasses everything and that He knows all the secret emotions inside a person, including concealed insincerity.
A Muslim should not regard simply performing religious observances as sufficient and view the insincerity inside himself as insignificant. He should consider that Allah has the power to punish insincerity with severe torment at any moment and that sooner or later, he will be called upon for a reckoning and treated accordingly. Everything that occurs in the world is created by Allah. All living creatures bow to Allah and act according to His instructions. Muslims should live in submission to their destiny without forgetting these truths and knowing that in every event, there is a goodness and a blessing.
When a person arrives at awareness of these truths, he will see a different, beautiful life begin for him. He will understand that, up to that time, he never tasted the full flavor of the blessings that he believed were giving him pleasure—and how ordinary are the things people believe bring them happiness, when compared to true happiness! He will realize that everything from the meals he eats to the sights he sees, to the very air he breathes can bring far greater joys than he ever thought. Loving, being loved, showing moral perfection, seeing the delicate beauty in people, laughing and enjoying himself, friendship and conversation will take on very different flavors. His life and his worldly circumstances will, in a sense, become reminiscent of life in Paradise.
At this point, however, another important matter needs to be understood. When we speak of "living a beautiful life," you should not take this to mean that people will experience no difficulty, for this world is a place where everyone is tested, and a person will be tested by various events until the end of his life. As Allah tells us in the verses of the Qur'an, everyone will suffer difficulties and problems. Some will be tested with hunger, some with fear, some with losses of property or loved ones. But none of these detract in the slightest from the internal tranquility or the happiness in the heart of a believer described here, because a believer submits to the destiny, seeing the benefits and blessings in events, or believes in them even if he cannot perceive them, and experiences the beauty in all this. Thinking positively about events and submitting to the will of Allah, the Possessor of boundless knowledge, brings lasting and genuine happiness.
This book is about showing people the path to the true, heartfelt happiness and internal tranquility that is experienced by believers—a blessing granted by Allah only to His sincere followers who have genuine faith.
Allah describes this matter as good news for believers in this world and the Hereafter:
Yes, the friends of Allah will feel no fear and will know no sorrow: Those who believe and have fear of Allah, there is good news for them in the life of this world and the Hereafter. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory! (Surah Yunus: 62-64)
In another verse, Allah tells us that security is again only for those believers who have sincere faith in their hearts and do not mix faith with wrongdoing:
Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with any wrongdoing, they are the ones who are safe; it is they who are guided. (Surat al-An'am: 82)