How True Faith Affects the Society?

By: Prof.Dr. Ja’afar Sheikh edrees

I would like to start with a question: Why is faith made as the basis and primary pillar of religion?
It may come to the minds of some people, especially in this modern age when concrete and visible things are given remarkable consideration, that apparent good deeds like charity, good treatment of people and fighting for the sake of Allah should be given preference to faith. Hence, why Allah gave such a sublime position to an inner thing although we evaluate people by the activities they undertake in our sensible world not by the concepts they have in their hearts or consciences.
To briefly answer the above question, we can say that inner beliefs are given more weight over visible actions because the former is the basis for and the source of the latter. Any apparent act whether good or bad has an inner basis. This is a fact that every person knows about himself. Had he known the inner feelings of others as he knew his, his evaluation of their deeds would have been based on the inner basis not the outer appearance. Imagine that someone has given you a valuable present but you heard him say inside his heart: “You do not deserve it or even less than it. Had it not been for a better present I am expecting from you in consideration of this present, I would not have given it to you.
It is something uncovered to us and hence we cannot judge but by the apparent acts which we usually take as a reflection of the inner beliefs. However, Allah knows best the seen and the unseen and what chests hide from our eyes. Hence, He evaluates people by such inner beliefs which are the basis of the apparent acts.
The wisdom behind giving such a lofty position to inner faith is that Allah willed that human being be created from two elements: mud and spirit. The mud constituent is the apparent and visible image while the spirit is the hidden reality. This does not mean that they are separate from each other; rather they are interrelated. The spirit occupies the body and hence affects it. This might be the secret behind ascribing some spirit’s acts to physical organs for their close relationship with them. The physical heart is not the one which reasons as Sheik Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah puts it. Hence, health and malady that inflict it as described in the Qur’an and Sunnah are not two physical conditions as is usually seen; rather they are spiritual conditions ascribed to relevant physical organs.
Allah, the All-Wise, made man as a human being with relevance to his inner spiritual essence not to his outer physical appearance. The spirit is the place of conception, belief, imagination, will and feelings and a human being acts on the basis of his beliefs, whether true or false, and his conceptions whether real or imaginary. As such, all good or corrupt deeds and behaviours are true reflections of his true or false beliefs. Hence, the practical side of the human life which we mistakably give more importance than the other, is a resultant and an outcome of his inner side which we again mistakably give a lesser importance than the other and hence describe as something theoretical or even ideal. On the contrary, it is the active side that determines man’s destiny and to which we should give more attention.
Since Allah has made the body survive on foods and drinks and willed that malady and death result when such things are neglected, he also made the spirit survive on knowledge. Indeed, he made the human spiritual life as the real and true one without which a human being is really a dead man.
Facts which man can know about are many and useful sciences are diverse but the most sublime knowledge is the one that guides to Allah as the only sustainer and the only Lord that deserves to be worshiped. This is the knowledge that hearts would die without it and a human being would be considered a dignified creature when he acquires and admits it.
Yes, admission is the cornerstone for instilling such knowledge in your heart and for it to yield fruits, i.e. to believe in what you knew. Spirit cannot survive with knowledge only if no will is added to such knowledge. It is the will of beIief. Allah says:
“And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur’an) is the Truth from your Lord and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it…” (AlHajj: 54).
The influence of this knowledge depends on accepting or rejecting it not merely on acquiring it. Allah says:
“Whenever there comes down a Sura, some of them say: Which of you has had his faith increased by it?’ Yea, those who believe, their faith is increased, and they do rejoice. But those in whose heart is a disease, it will add doubt to their doubt, and they will die in a state of unbelief.” (Al-Tobah: 124-125)
When a human being knows and believes in his Lord, the springs of good would throb in his heart and reflect on his organs depending on the extent of knowledge and strength of belief. Why? Because Allah has made the spirit as the essence of man and hence made belief the source of all goodness. Therefore, calling to and reminding of belief and faith is the key to every sound thought and straightforward conduct. It is the panacea that no one can dispense with for the treatment of all types of behavioural deviation. It is belief and faith that Prophets started with in their efforts to reform societies to which they were sent. The first thing they did was that they called their people to worship none but Allah followed by the details of Sharia (Divine Law) and to abandon all behavioural deviations whether moral, economical, political or social. Faith is the thing that prepares souls to worship Allah and the thing that makes limbs and organs act on it.
It is belief that prepares human beings to accept Sharia. Aisha- prophet’s wife -, May Allah be pleased with her, said:
The first thing (of the Qur’an) was revealed talked about Paradise and Hell. When people reverted to Islam, prescriptions and prohibitions were revealed. Had the order to abandon intoxicants been revealed first, they would have said: “we would never give up drinking wine. Had the order to abandon adultery been revealed first, they would have said: “We would never give up adultery. The verse “Nay, the Hour (of judgment) is an appointment for them; verily the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter’ (Al-Qamar:46) was revealed in Makkah, but the Suras Al-Baqara and Al-Nisa’a were revealed after I married the Prophet.
It is belief that solves all economical, political and moral problems. It is the basis on which legislative details rest, and along with other natural and social factors which Allah made effective, form the ground for a good and prosperous life.
To end, the faith of monotheism is the impetus to psychological happiness in this life and to eternal happiness in the Hereafter. Allah says:
“Allah does not forgive setting partners with him but he forgives anything other than this for whom he wills.” -(Al-Nisa’a: 48).
He also says:
“The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, but only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart.” – (AI-Shu’ara: 88-89).


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