What is the importance of belief for man?
Belief is the reason why man was created. That is, he was created in order to know his Creator with belief and to worship Him. If man acts in accordance with the reason of creation, he will attain the endless bliss in the hereafter and enter Paradise; otherwise, he will be sent to Hell and will be exposed to endless trouble and unhappiness. In this regard, belief is the means of gaining the endless bliss and the key to Paradise. One cannot enter Paradise without belief. Therefore, it is more important than anything in the world for a man to believe and to preserve his belief without losing or weakening it until his last breath.
Because of the great importance of belief, our Prophet said:
“Renew your belief by saying la ilaha illallah : there is no god but Allah” (Musnad, 2/359; al-Munziri, at-Targhib wa’t-Tarhib, 2/415; al-Haysami, Majmauzzawaid, 1/52); he attracted our attention to renewing and preserving belief.
A question like, “the belief is repeatedly ordered to be renewed; is there a continuous possibility of belief to weaken and be lost?” may come to one’s mind. Badiuzzaman, interprets the issue of renewing belief as follows by giving also the answer to that question:
“Since man himself and the world in which he lives are being continuously renewed, he needs constantly to renew his belief. For in reality each individual human being consists of many individuals. He may be considered as a different individual to the number of the years of his life, or rather to the number of the days even to the hours of his life. Since a single individual is subject to time, he is like a model and each passing day clothes him in the form of another individual.
Furthermore, just as there is within man this plurality and renewal, so also is the world in which he lives in motion. It goes and is replaced by another. It varies constantly. Every day opens the door of another world. As for belief, it is both the light of the life of each individual in that person, and it is the light of the world in which he lives. And as for la ilaha illallah (there is no god but Allah), it is a key with which to turn on the light.
Then the instinctual soul, desire, doubts, and Satan exercise great influence over man. In order to damage his belief, they are much of the time able to benefit from his negligence, to trick him, with their wiles, and thus to extinguish the light of belief with doubts and uncertainty.
Also, man is prone to act and utter words which apparently oppose the Sharia, and which in the view of some religious authorities are no less than unbelief.
Therefore, there is a need to renew belief all the time, every hour, every day.” (Mektubat: Letters)
In the passage above, the necessity of renewing belief is underlined from three different points:
First point: The time and place man lives, his spiritual mood, psychology, thought and understanding can change very often due to the environment he is in. The things that he was exposed to, the things that he did and the people that he contacted leave positive or negative marks on him.
Our Prophet states the following about the issue:
“The heart of a believer undergoes changes more than a boiling pot.”
“The heart is like a sparrow. Every moment, it turns towards a different direction.”
“The heart is like a bird wing that was thrown in the countryside. The wind overturns it; the heart is like that.”
Due to the fact that the heart of man and his psychological mood is so vulnerable to outside effects, our Prophet ordered us to renew or beliefs often by saying la ilaha illallah.
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The Messenger of Allah said the following during a talk:
“– Hearts rust just as the iron rusts.
One of the companions asked:
– What is the thing that will eliminate the rust and that will polish it, O Messenger of Allah? He answered:
– It is to read the Quran and to think about death.” (Taj)
From Abdullah bin Amr:
“Our Prophet prayed as follows:
– O Allah Who has the hearts in His hand of power! Direct our hearts towards the deeds and worshipping that you are pleased with.” (Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“The place of belief in a believer resembles the situation of the horse and the stake it is tied to.
The horse turns round and round and approaches the stake, similarly, the believer makes some mistakes through negligence and then repents and turns to the belief that he is tied to spiritually.” (Ibn Hibban)
Second Point: It is the fact that there are negative feelings like the soul, desires, delusion in man and the devil constantly tries to tempt and deceive him. In a moment of heedlessness, those negative thoughts may cause doubts in man about belief. It is necessary to renew belief so as not to fall into a dangerous situation like that.
Third Point: Man cannot keep himself away from some words and sentences that are contrary to religion seemingly and that are even regarded as unbelief by some scholars. Therefore, it is necessary to say la ilaha illallah and renew belief.
Another way of strengthening and preserving belief is to upgrade it from the level of imitative belief to investigative belief. It can only be achieved by reading the books about belief that teach the truths of belief investigatively and answer the doubts and delusions that can come to the mind and by taking part in talks about belief. If man upgrades his belief from imitative to investigative, it will be out of question for him to lose his belief and to die without belief in the last breath. Islamic scholars say that the devil will come to deceive man and take away his belief in his deathbed using all of his tricks and delusions. Therefore, they say that they are afraid of the time of death.
Man can be freed from dangers like that in deathbed through investigative belief. It is because in investigative belief, belief is not only in the mind; it is distributed over the heart, spirit and other feelings and settled there. Even if the devil damages the belief in man’s mind, it cannot remove the belief settled in other feelings. Thus, he remains a believer and dies as a believer.
2. Belief is a great source of morality and a strong supporting point. A person who attains the real belief can challenge the whole universe and can get rid of the pressure of the troubles that he undergoes to the extent of the strength of his belief.
Our victories that made history and caused people write legends are good examples of the strength that belief gives to man.
A believing person, no matter how great a disaster happens to him, may face those troubles and sorrows with the trust in Allah and surrender, and with the feeling of consent to destiny and confront them with patience and endurance. He does not fall into hopelessness and pessimism. He does not resort to rebellion and screaming. It comes from the strength that belief gives a man. We see very often that people with no belief give way to despair so much so that they think of committing suicide when they face very small problems. The fact that we witness almost no suicides in Islamic countries and that suicides increase in the most civilized and wealthy countries with high level of welfare confirm it.
Our Prophet pointed out to the power of strength and resistance that belief makes man gain as follows:
“A believer is like a green plant. The winds of misfortune that are never missing make him bend but cannot break him. On the contrary, they make him revive and recover. A hypocrite (and an unbeliever) is like a dry plant. The winds of misfortune make the leaves shed, make the stem break and kill them.”
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“ Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer; for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus, there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it..”
[Muslim/Zuhd 64 (2999)>
Neither the joyful moments of life nor the sorrowful times make a believer go astray. They do not make him spoil; they do not make him pessimistic or rebellious, either. He has a definite criterion. He thanks Allah when he receives bounties and he shows patience when he faces troubles. Therefore, he wins in both states.
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- What is investigative belief?
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