A Christian woman can get married with a Muslim man. There is no problem with such a marriage. And also she does not have to convert Islam when she makes such a marriage. For a detailed information please click on the link given below.
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Faith is a light, a blessing from Allah. However, faith is knowledge at the same time, which must be necessarily learnt. There are two ways to strengthen our faith:
The first and the primary one is to learn the rules of the sunnah and to investigate it in accordance with the Quran and the sunnah, as required by our time.
The second one is to advance in spirituality through performing good deeds, purifying the heart and soul by avoiding sins.
However, the course of this century makes the second way really difficult to take. For this reason, it is very important to read books which teach investigative faith. It has also become essential to study science as a feature of our century, besides studying religious knowledge. This is because the light of the mind is science as the light of the heart is religious knowledge. We can state that one of the most important books which teach both of them together is Risali-i Nur Collection. In addition, one can benefit very well from books of significant people such as Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Imam Mawardi and Imam Qushairi.
Protecting and enhancing faith is a Muslim’s most important issue. It is necessary to attach importance to taqwa (God-Consciousness) in order to protect faith. Faith can only be protected within the castle of taqwa. Without taqwa, faith tends to deteriorate. It is necessary to read and make research on books about faith a lot in order to enhance faith. Issues about faith which result from knowledge do not have effect on one’s feelings unless it is filtered through reasoning. Firstly, mind must be satisfied.
Contemplation is very important. The fact that Prophet Abraham found his Lord by watching the moon and stars and contemplating is narrated in the Quran. Faith improves with thinking. For this reason, it is stated in hadith that “One hour of contemplation is superior to one year of nafilah (supererogatory) prayer.”
Environment has a great influence on human being. Sins suggest people infidelity. Suggestion has a great influence on human beings. It infuses infidelity into one’s sub-conscious though people are unaware of it. For this reason, one must keep away from from sinful places as much as possible. Sins committed outside carelessly suggest people that there are not hereafter and punishment. To be protected from the negative effects of such suggestions, one must keep away from sinful places as much as possible and try to suggest people goodness and prevent them from evil as much as s/he can. One needs to study issues about faith a lot and pay attention to delivered messages in order to compensate for the damages of the negative suggestions which s/he has been imposed to. It is necessary to meet often with people who care about good deeds and live in accordance with taqwa. In this sense, the importance of a community (jama’ah) becomes more obvious. Just like sins suggest infidelity, good deeds suggest faith.
What is the essence of faith?
Faith, in its essence, is the greatest and kindest blessing from Allah to human beings. Allah bestows it upon whomever He wishes. However, it cannot be said that human beings do not play a role in this bestowment. Contrarily, first of all, a human being must be willing to have faith and righteousness using his/her choice and free will. Allah will bestow faithfulness and righteousness upon him/her because of this will and demand. For this reason, Islamic scholars described faith as “It is the light that Allah places in His servants’ hearts after servants display a partial will and choice.
Are There Degrees and Development in Faith?
Faith develops like a seed develops and grows into a tree. Islamic scholars divided faith into two levels firstly:
1. Imitative faith, 2. Investigative faith…
Imitative Faith: having faith in the pillars of faith in the way one has seen from parents, hodjas and people around, without any reasoning about them. As imitative faith is a kind of faith that one believes without comprehending the pillars, consciousness and details of faith, one can be subject to some doubts and misgivings especially in our time and it may lead to the destruction of faith.
Investigative Faith: having faith in all issues about faith in a detailed way with proofs, and confirming them. Such a faith can prevent itself from being destructed by doubts and misgivings. Investigative faith has got many levels. Islamic scholars have classified those levels in three parts:
1. Certainty at the degree of knowledge: knowing issues about faith together with all of its details, with proofs and having faith in them.
2. Certainty at the degree of witnessing: knowing issues about faith and having faith in them as if you have seen them with your own eyes and witnessed their trueness. Believing with knowledge and witnessing are very different in terms of giving one a precise conviction. One can know something exactly without having any doubts, yet if s/he witnesses it, his/her conviction increases. Like the difference between knowing that America exists and seeing it… So, certainty at the degree of witnessing is the state of believing in the pillars of faith as if one has seen them with his/her own eyes.
3. Absolute certainty: Accepting and comprehending issues about faith by experiencing them in person, apart from witnessing. An example can be given in order to explain those three degrees of faith: A man who sees smoke coming from somewhere knows that there is a fire burning over there. Knowing that there is a fire by seeing smoke from a distance refers to “certainty at the degree of knowledge”. Then he goes to the place where the smoke comes from and sees the fire with his own eyes from a distance. It refers to “certainty at the degree of witnessing”. Then he goes close to the fire and feels its warmness, and it refers to “absolute certainty”.
Is Imitative Faith Enough in Our Day?
As we have mentioned above, imitative faith encounters many misgivings and doubts and eventually is subject to breaking down because of those doubts in our day. Ali Fuad Basgil explains why imitative faith is not enough in our day though it was enough in the past as follows:
“People were in need of religion and power of spirituality in every period of time. However, this need has become an obligation in our day. Our ancestors used to live peacefully with quite a simple knowledge of religion and traditions, that is, with imitative faith; because, all social neighborhood around them suggested them religion and morals.
Today, everything has changed. Religious feelings have weakened and good manners of religious respect have been replaced by an insolent disrespectfulness. Families have gotten smaller and family relations have loosened. Financial burden of the family have been placed merely on spouses and parents have started to neglect to educate their children in terms of religion because of financial needs of the family. On the other hand, schools and universities have become places of anti-religionist propaganda. Today, a simple knowledge of religion has become inefficient in the atmosphere which has become hazier because of the invective words and resistance of obstinate deniers.
Questions such as “What is religion?”, “What is the relationship between religion and science?” and “What should religion do and what should be its place compared to science today?” preoccupy minds more than ever now. Especially educated young people need to know the answers to those questions.”
The knowledge of religion and faith to be given to people today must have an investigative content that combines science and religion and that convinces the mind and reason about the issues of faith. Otherwise, simple knowledge of religion and imitative faith in the form of traditions will be far away from satisfying the people especially the young people of today.
What is the Importance of Faith for Human Beings?
1. Faith is the reason why human beings were created. That is to say, they were created so that they would recognize the Creator through faith and worship Him. If one acts in accordance with this reason of creation, s/he will reach eternal bliss in the Hereafter and will enter Heaven. Otherwise, s/he will enter Hell and be subject to eternal misery and unhappiness.
In this sense, faith is a means of gaining eternal happiness and the key to Heaven for human beings. Without faith, there is no Heaven. For this reason, it is a more precious blessing than the world and than anything in the whole world for a human being to have faith and to keep this faith until his/her last breath without losing it or letting it weaken. Our Prophet said in one of his hadiths “renew your faith by saying ‘la ilaha illallah” because of the importance of faith and emphasized the importance of renewing and keeping faith. One can come up with a question like “Is there a possibility of faith to weaken or to get lost since it is suggested to renew it continuously?”
Badiuzzaman, explains the issue of renewing faith as an answer to the question above, as follows: “Since man himself and the world in which he lives are being continuously renewed, he needs constantly to renew 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 or even the hours of his life. For 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 this world in which he lives in motion. It goes and 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 ‘There is no god but God’, 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 Shari’a, and which in the view of some religious authorities are no less than unbelief. Therefore, there is need to renew belief all the time, every hour, every day.” (The Letters, 26th Letter)
Those statements emphasize the importance of renewing belief from three points of view:
The first point: one’s mood, ideas and understanding can often change depending on the period of time in which he lives, the place he is in and the neighborhood he is in contact with. Events he has been subject to, the things he has done and the people he has been in contact with impress him in a positive or negative way. Our Prophet states the following on the issue: “A true believer’s heart is subject to more changes than a boiling pot…” “The heart is like a sparrow. It can head towards anywhere at any time.” “The heart is like a bird’s wing thrown to the fields. The heart can change like wind turns this wing upside down.” It is ordered to renew faith by saying “la ilaha illallah (there is no god but God)” in the hadith because of the fact that human heart and mood are subject to external influence.
The second point: Human beings have got negative feelings such as instinctual soul, desires and doubts, and Satan constantly tries to deceive them and suggest them evil. It is possible that those negative suggestions will make people to have doubts about faith while they are careless. It is necessary to renew faith in order to avoid such a state.
The third point: One cannot totally keep away from some words and sayings which are against Shari’a and also considered to be disbelief by some Islamic scholars. For this reason, renewing faith by saying “la ilaha illallah” is essential. Another way of strengthening and keeping faith is to save it from imitative level by turning it into investigative faith. And it can be realized only by reading works about faith which teach the realities of faith in an investigative way and respond to all doubts and misgivings one can think of, and by making conversations on faith constantly. If a person upgrades his faith from imitative level to investigative level, there is no possibility for him to lose faith and to pass away to the Hereafter as an unbeliever. Islamic scholars stated that Satan will come and try to deceive people with all of his tricks and misgivings in order to take their faith away while they are about to die. For this reason, Islamic scholars stated that they were afraid of the moment of death. People can be protected from such suggestions at the moment of death with the help of investigative faith; because, in investigative faith, faith is not only in mind, but also in heart, soul, other senses and feelings. Even though Satan may damage the faith in one’s mind, he cannot manage to take the faith in other senses away. In this way, that person remains and dies as a believer.
2. Faith is also a great source of high spirits and endurance. A person who gains true faith can challenge the world and escape the suppression of the troubles he has encountered with the power of his faith. Our victories, which honor the history and inspire authors to write legends, are doubtlessly a good example to the power and might which faith earns a person. A faithful person can react to events and troubles he has been through with sturdiness, can be patient and put up with them, with the help of trust in God which faith earns a person. A faithful person does not become hopeless and pessimistic, does not choose to rebel and complain. It results from the power and might the faith has earned him. Faithless people can easily end their lives by committing suicide when they encounter an insignificant trouble as they become desperate and hopeless. While in Islamic countries committing suicide is so rare, it increases day by day in the world’s most civilized and wealthy countries, which confirms it. The Prophet points out to the power and endurance the faith earns a person in his hadiths: “A true believer resembles green plants. The continuous winds of trouble bend them, yet they cannot break them down. Contrarily, they enable them to pursue their lives and become healthier. However, hypocrites (and infidels) are like faded plants. Their leaves fall down and their body breaks down and they die with the winds of trouble.”
“How astonishing a true believer is! If he encounters goodness, he gives thanks; if he encounters evil, he endures. And this way he makes both of those states good for himself.”
Beads are something that is used for glorifying Allah the Most High. Using these bead are not innovation. It is useful in order not to forget the number of glorifications. Our Prophet (pbuh) advised to do glorfy, praise and to say Allahuakbar at different times, especially after salats (prayers).
The Companions of Our Prophet (pbuh) used to do this glrifications by counting their hands or by gathering small stones. So, it can be said that today’s beads which are used for glorifying Allah Almighty is similar to what the Companions used and a good custom as well.
“After belief, the most elevated truth in Islam is the obligatory prayers”
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Faith is in heart. But what is mentioned here is not the heart in its bilogical sense.
Islam’s message also reveals the existence of the inner sense mechanisms which gain man perfection in addition to eyes, ears what we briefly call the sense organs.
What makes man superior to the other living beings is not his material body but his spiritual side.
The centre of this spiritual structure is heart. Heart is like a mirror which could receive the rays of revelation coming from Allah.
The each sin committed is like a black spot on heart-miror. As man keeps sinning, his heart starts to blacken. In the end, heart grows completely blackened. Such a person starts to think of himself mere accumulation of flesh. Since he is alone with his evil-commanding self and its desires, he deems the life fulfilled by satisfying himself with these desires.
Since heart is the centre of any kind of spiritualities, Allah (SWT) will hold people responsible according to what they have in their hearts.
“…Allah hath set a seal upon them for their disbelief, so that they believe not save little.” (An-Nisaa, 155) “…if We will, We can smite them for their sins and print upon their hearts so that they hear not?” (Al-Araf, 100) “They are content that they should be with the useless and their hearts are sealed, so that they apprehend not.” (At-Tawba, 87) “…Thus print We on the hearts of the transgressors.” (Yunus, 74) “Such are they whose hearts and ears and eyes Allah hath sealed. And such are the heedless.” (An-Nahl, 108)
Those who keep sinning would have blackened hearts. As the verses above states, their hearts become sealed. As the Qur’an suggest, one who has such a heart is dead. He is blind and deaf. As the Qur’an puts it, “indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts.” (Hacc, 46)
Faith blossoms in the heart. Thanks to the faith in the heart man gains perfection who thinks, contemplates, and gains an insight of things. He is always with Allah (SWT). That is he always feels love for Allah (SWT) in his heart and. His heart is always full of love for Allah (SWT) and fear to lose Him.
It is understood from these explanations that the heart transplanted in medicine and the one faith is placed are separate.
There are a number of expressions that the word “heart” passes:
(2-7) “Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts…” (This verse implies the indifference to the truths and heart’s and heart’s sensing side lowers in a way not to grasp the truths because of sins.
(2-10) “In their hearts is a disease…” ( It is implied that the actual function of the heart is partially impaired.)
(2-74) “…your hearts were hardened and became as rocks, or worse than rocks, for hardness…” (Deterioration of the heart with sins in a way not to receive Divine inspiration and understand truths is implied.)
22-46) “…it is the hearts, which are within the bosoms, that grow blind…”
Heart has two windows which open to the outer world. These two windows are hearing and seeing.
Just as eyes and ears have their functions, so too heart functions which are expressed with seeing and hearing. Hearts’ growing blind in bosoms means the disappearence of these functions of heart.
Thus we could say this: Faith is in heart but the biological heart has nothing to do with this. Therefore it is out of question that faith is transplanted too in heart transplantations.
Gerçeğe Doğru (Towards the Truth), C:4, Zafer Publications
Belief means to believe. Believing is a result of knowledge. One cannot believe without knowing. Belief cannot be realized just by saying, “I believe”.
The religion of Islam has got two essential elements: the first is belief and the second is the pillars of belief. The pillars of belief require knowledge and information. The elements of Islam require submission (to Allah) besides requiring knowledge.
The sum total of belief (ijmal; believing in God’s oneness and His messenger) is a part of detailed (tafsili) belief. Detailed belief means to examine each issue in Islam seriously and to enlighten one’s soul with a clear consciousness. This issue is not something that everybody can accomplish. For this reason, it is also considered “belief” to accept the details of an examined issue in total with submission. The principle of “Belief in everything sent down to the Messenger of Allah” explains this reality.
For instance, after believing in the Quran, which is Allah’s words and one of the pillars of belief, it is an obligatory result of belief to accept the details of issues that are mentioned in the Qur'an. This is because it is an illogical conflict for someone who believes that the Quran is the words of Allah, the All-knowing, to consider some issues in it wrong.
A person who believes in Islam must fulfill the requirements of the religion and apply his/her belief into daily life. However, a Muslim who does not perform the requirements is not rejected by Islam but they become sinful. A sinner is not rejected by Islam.
In a Quranic verse, Allah states the following: “If ye (but) eschew the most heinous of the things which ye are forbidden to do, We shall expel out of you all the evil in you and admit you to a Gate of great honour.”1. This statement points out that a Muslim has to avoid great sins and he must perform fards (obligatory acts) in order to gain eternal bliss.
The great sins that Allah wants us to avoid are clearly indicated both in the Quran and in hadiths. For instance, regarding great sins, the following is stated in a verse:
“Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god nor slay such life as God has made sacred except for just cause, not commit fornication; - and any that does this meets punishment.”2.
Our Prophet (pbuh), in a hadith narrated by Hazrat Anas, indicated the great sins as follows:
“Attributing partners to Allah, being cruel to parents, killing a human and telling lies”3.
In another hadith, telling lies and bearing false witness are also included in great sins. 4.
There are also sins which our Prophet (pbuh) attaches importance to and which have an important place amongst great sins. Those sins are characterized as “seven sins leading one to the deterioration of soul. Once our Prophet said “avoid seven things that deteriorates” and listed them as follows:
“Attributing partners to Allah, putting spells, murdering a person for an unfair reason, depriving orphans of their rights, charging or getting interest, running away from battle during enemy attack, slandering an innocent and modest woman by accusing her of fornication”.5
In addition, drinking alcoholic beverages, gambling and supporting innovations which can damage the religion are also included in great sins. 6
Sin means disobedience to Allah. Especially, someone who commits great sins without any hesitation, plunging into them willingly, opposes Allah’s rules openly and forgets about His omnipotence. For this reason, every Muslim must avoid great sins in order to escape from this danger. And it is only possible with having taqwa which means to refrain from things forbidden by Allah and from sins, and doing good deeds and to gain thawabs (reward for good deeds). The safest fortress to take refuge in order to be protected from sins is taqwa. Whoever takes refuge in this fortress can gain lots of thawabs with few good deeds. In fact, it is wajib (obligatory) to avoid a haram (forbidden act). And thawabs gained through a wajib is many times more than thawabs gained through many sunnahs. Consequently, the most important duty of a Muslim is protecting his/her taqwa against the flood of sins attacking him.7
As for the relation between committing sins and belief, as it is known, belief consists of accepting the essentials that must be believed in by heart and professing them orally. One who accepts the essentials of Islam by heart and professes them orally is a Muslim both in the eyes of Allah and of people. That person is considered neither to be rejected by the religion nor to be an infidel, even if he/she commits great sins. In fact, according to sunnah-follower scholars, acts are not a part of belief. A Muslim who commits one of the great sins does it not because of the deficiency of his/her belief but because he/she obeys the voice of his/her emotions.
That is to say, people are not fully rewarded with thawabs of obeying Allah’s orders, i.e. performing prayers and refraining from forbidden acts in this world, because this world is not a place of reward or prize, but a place of service and worshipping. In this sense, Allah delays the reward of worship and thankfulness in order to give it infinitely in the Hereafter. Just like the rewards are delayed, so too are punishments of sins which cannot be erased with repentance delayed until Hereafter. For this reason, punishment is not given as soon as a sin is committed and consequently it leads people to absentmindedness and causes them to continue to be defeated by their excessive desires, as they think future is so far away. Badiuzzaman explains this state as follows:
The human soul prefers a small amount of instant delight given right away to a big amount of delight postponed to the future. Similarly, it is more afraid of an instant slap than a punishment which will last for one year in the future. If emotions rules over a person, he/she does not listen to the judgment of his/her mind. Judging with temporary desires and groundless thoughts, he/she prefers an insignificant yet instant delight to a relatively great delight which will be given later. And he/she refrains from an instant yet little pain more than a great punishment which will be given in the future. This is because one cannot see the future with groundless thoughts, temporary desires and emotions. Indeed, they deny it. If excessive desires of the soul are involved, the heart and mind, which are the locus of belief, are silenced and defeated. Consequently, committing great sins does not result from infidelity but. from the predomination of emotions, temporary desires and groundless thoughts over the mind and heart. 8
Therefore, it is impossible to say that a Muslim will be excluded from the religion when he/she commits one of the great sins.
In fact, it is clearly deduced from the following hadith that a Muslim who commits one of the great sins will not be infidel, but he/she will go into Heaven after going through his/her punishment. Our Prophet (pbuh) states:
“Gabriel came to me and gave the good news of that “Whoever from your followers dies without having attributed partners to Allah will go to Heaven”. I asked “even if he/she fornicates or steals?”. “Yes, even if he/she fornicates or steals.” replied Gabriel.” 9.
As already known, infidels cannot go into Heaven and stay in Hell eternally, because Allah forbid the boons of Heaven for infidels. It is indicated that fornicators and stealers are not considered infidels, through stating in the hadith that fornicators and stealers can go to Heaven. So, a person who commits one of the great sins except attributing partners to Allah is a Muslim. He/she will go to Heaven after going through punishment of his/her sins. However, a person should not believe the sin he/she committed is permissible (halal). It is already certain that a person who believes a sin, which is surely proved to be forbidden by certain evidences, is permissible will be excluded from the religion. Such as claiming that charging/paying interest is not forbidden or it will not be forbidden today.
However, it is necessary to bear in mind that “in every sin there is a way leading to infidelity” 10. Badiuzzaman, who states that when a sin is committed consistently, it is a seed of infidelity, explains it as follows:
“There is seed of infidelity in the essence of the sin especially if it is committed consistently. This is because, whoever commits that sin consistently gains familiarity with it, falls in love with it and becomes addicted to it. He/she comes to such a stage that he/she cannot find an opportunity to quit it. Then, he/she starts to hope that this sin does not require punishment. As long as this state continues like that, the seed of fidelity starts to sprout. Eventually, it causes to deny both punishment and the place of punishment (hell). ”11
As it is impossible for us to avoid sins completely because we are human beings, this danger threats us all. When we are exposed to this danger, we must regret for what we have done in front of Allah right after a sin, whether it is great or small. We must turn to Allah with repentance and ask Him to forgive us.
1. Chapter an-Nisa, 31.
2. Chapter al-Furqan, 68.
3. Muslim, Faith: 144.
4. ibid. Faith: 143.
5. ibid. Faith: 145.
6. Appendix of Barla, p.179.
7. Appendix of Kastamonu, p.106.
8. The Flashes, p.70
9. Muslim, Faith: 153.
10. The Flashes, p.7
11. Mesnevi-i Nuriye, p.115
Faith is a light, a blessing from Allah. However, faith is knowledge at the same time, which must be necessarily learnt. There are two ways to strengthen our faith:
The first and the primary one is to learn the rules of the sunnah and to investigate it in accordance with the Quran and the sunnah, as required by our time.
The second one is to advance in spirituality through performing good deeds, purifying the heart and soul by avoiding sins.
However, the course of this century makes the second way really difficult to take. For this reason, it is very important to read books which teach investigative faith. It has also become essential to study science as a feature of our century, besides studying religious knowledge. This is because ‘the light of the mind is science as the light of the heart is religious knowledge.’ We can state that one of the most important books which teach both of them together is Risale-i Nur Collection. In addition, one can benefit very well from books of significant people such as Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Imam Mawardi and Imam Qushairi.
Protecting and strengthening faith is a Muslim’s most important issue. It is necessary to attach importance to taqwa (God-Consciousness) in order to protect faith. Faith can only be protected within the castle of taqwa. Without taqwa, faith tends to deteriorate. It is necessary to read and make research on books about faith a lot in order to strengthen faith. Issues about faith which result from knowledge do not have an effect on one’s feelings unless it is filtered through reasoning. Firstly, mind must be satisfied.
Contemplation is very important. The fact that Prophet Abraham found his Lord by watching the moon and stars and contemplating is narrated in the Quran. Faith improves with thinking. For this reason, it is stated in a hadith that “One hour of contemplation is superior to one year of nafilah (supererogatory) prayer.”
Environment has a great influence on human beings. Sins suggest people infidelity. Suggestion has a great influence on human beings. It infuses infidelity into one’s sub-conscious while people are unaware of it. For this reason, one must keep away from sinful places as much as possible. Sins committed outside carelessly suggest people that there are no hereafter and punishment. To be protected from the negative effects of such suggestions, one must keep away from sinful places as much as possible and try to suggest people goodness and prevent them from evil as much as s/he can. One needs to study issues about faith a lot and pay attention to delivered messages in order to compensate for the damages of the negative suggestions which s/he has been exposed to. It is necessary to meet often with people who care about good deeds and live in accordance with taqwa. In this sense, the importance of a community (jama’ah) becomes more obvious. Just like sins suggest infidelity, good deeds suggest faith.
What is the Nature of Belief?
Belief is the greatest blessing and grant of Allah to humans. Allah gives it to His slaves that He wishes. However, it cannot be claimed that the slave has no role in receiving it. On the contrary, the slave should use his preference and will first and be willing for belief and guidance. Allah will give him belief and guidance upon his demand and request. Therefore, some Islamic scholars and saints described belief as, “It is a light that Allah Almighty puts into the heart of a person He wishes after that person uses his partial will and preference in that way.”
Is an increase and development in belief in question?
A seed grows and develops greatly until it becomes a tree; belief is like a tree too. Islamic scholars divide belief into two levels first:
1– Taqlid (imitative) belief,
2– Tahqiq (investigative) belief...
Imitative belief: It means adhering to the fundamentals of belief traditionally without reasoning on the issue as one hears from his parents, teachers and environment. Since imitative belief is a kind of believing that is not based on a detailed belief in the fundamentals and consciousness of belief, it may be exposed to some doubts and delusions and face the risk of faltering and breaking down especially in this age.
Investigative belief: It means knowing all of the issues about belief with evidence and in detail, to approve and believe without hesitation. A belief like that can protect itself from faltering and breaking down when faced by doubts and delusions. There are various degrees of investigative belief. Islamic scholars divide those degrees into three:
1 – Certainty at the degree of knowledge: It means knowing and believing in Islamic issues scientifically and in detail.
2 – Certainty at the degree of witnessing: It means knowing and believing in Islamic issues as if seeing them or as if observing their truthfulness personally.Seeing through eyes and knowing scientifically are very different from the aspect of giving a person an idea. Man can know something definitely, without hesitation but when he sees it, his belief increases. For instance, knowing the existence of America and seeing America personally. Certainty at the degree of witnessing is believing in the fundamentals of belief as if seeing through the eyes.
3 – Absolute certainty: It means accepting and realizing the issues concerning belief by entering into them and experiencing them personally.
The following example can be given to explain the three levels of belief: When smoke is seen somewhere it is known that there is a fire there. To know the presence of fire by seeing the smoke is certainty at the degree of knowledge. To go near the fire and to know the existence of fire by seeing it is certainty at the degree of witnessing. To go near the fire and to put your hand into the fire and feel the burning property of the fire and to know the existence of fire like that is absolute certainty.
Is imitative belief sufficient today?
As we have mentioned above, today, imitative belief faces many delusions and doubts and they are exposed to be shattered and break down. Ali Fuad Başgil explains the reasons why imitative belief was sufficient in the past but not sufficient today as follows:
“People needed the strength of religion and spirituality in every period. However, that need became an obligation today. In the past, our ancestors lived comfortably with quite simple knowledge of religion and “imitative belief” in the form of tradition because the whole environment presented them with spirituality. Today, the situation has changed completely. The feeling of religion has weakened; the former religious respect has been replaced by an arrogant disrespect. The family has diminished and the family ties have loosened. The burden of the family has been placed on the shoulders of the father and mother; they have not been able to take care of the religious education of their children due to the economic needs.”
“On the other hand, schools and universities have become centers of anti-religious propaganda. In an environment that has become more blurred with the derisions and obstinacy of the stubborn deniers, simple knowledge of religion is not enough today.”
“Questions like “What is religion? What is its relation with science? What should religion do in the presence of science and what kind of attitude should it assume?” have been occupying minds more than ever. Especially the intellectual young people should know the answers to those questions.”
Indeed, the religious knowledge and the belief lesson to be given today should have an investigative content that will make the mind and logic accept the issues about belief. Otherwise, a simple lesson of religion, some knowledge about belief in the form of tradition will not be satisfactory for the people, especially the youth of today.
What is the Importance of Belief for Man?
1. 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”; 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...” (Letters The Twenty-Sixth Letter)
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 is exposed to, the things that he does and the people that he contacts leave positive or negative marks on him. Our Prophet states the following about the issue:
“The heart of the son of Adam is like a sparrow; it turns seven times a day; it is turned continuously.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 2342)
“Doubtlessly, all of the hearts of the sons of Adam are like one heart in the powerful fingers of Allah, who is Rahman (the most Compassionate); Allah turns His slave wherever he wants to turn.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 2344)
“The heart of the son of Adam is more changeable than a saucepan; when it boils, the water moves.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 7300)
“The heart is like a feather in the desert. The wind turns it inside out continuously.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 8135)
“The reason why the heart (qalb) is called so is that it turns all the time. The heart is like a feather stuck in a tree in the desert; the wind turns it inside out continuously. (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 2595)
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.”
Second Point: It is the fact that there are negative feelings like the soul, desires and 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 achievedby 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 level, 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 for man. 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 big a disaster happens to him, may face those troubles and sorrows with trust in Allah and surrendering, and with the feeling of consent to predestination 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 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:
The example of a believer is that of a fresh green plant. The leaves of it move in whatever direction the wind forces it to move. When the wind becomes still, it stands straight. Such is the similitude of the believer: He is bent by calamities (but does not fall down). And the example of an unbeliever is that of a pine tree which remains hard and straight till Allah pulls it down when He wishes." (Bukhari, Tawhid, 32)
"The state of a believer is very nice. If a misfortune hits him, he shows patience; it is good for him. If something good happens to him, he thanks God; it is good for him." (Muslim, Zuhd, 64)
When we see a bad deed, we should try to correct it based on our position.
Every Muslim is responsible for fulfilling his duty. The position (rank) of a person in a community encumbers him with some responsibilities. Every Muslim becomes responsible in accordance with his position. We can deal with the issue through the following hadith:
“Whoever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whoever is not able, then with his tongue, and whoever is not able, then with his heart.” (Tirmidhi, Fitan, 11)
People cannot interpret this hadith on their own in all situations. For instance, if you see an evil on the way and try to correct it by beating a person and if that person sues you, you may be punished. Then, how should we understand the meaning of the hadith?
Correcting/stopping something with the hand is the duty of the people with authority, that is, the state, the police. To correct something with the tongue is the duty of the scholars; to dislike it by the heart is the duty of others.
A person can be in the position of correcting with the hand in some places and correcting with the tongue in others. For instance, regarding an affair of the state, we can fulfill our duty by stopping it with the tongue or by disliking by the heart. However, in a family affair, we can correct it with the hand.
We should try to tell a person who does an evil deed about his mistakes through soft words. However, if he is likely to react or to oppose, we can dislike it by our heart and feel relaxed.
Coincidence: It means something taking place on its own, happening without any measures. If it is used in the sense of taking place on its own by denying the Creator, it becomes polytheism (shirk).
However, it does not become polytheism in the sense it is used today by Muslims in the Islamic community. People use it in the sense of coming across unexpectedly without thinking about it. That is, they use the word coincidence in terms of people's understanding and thinking, not contrary to Allah's knowledge; therefore, it is not polytheism. However, it is better to use the word "tawafuq" (synchronization; divine coincidence).
Tawafuq: means synchronization of the things with each other, being in conformity with each other, being in conformity in an arranged way.
Although we use the word coincidence a lot in daily life, there is no coincidence in reality; there is tawafuq. Many similarities in creation and the incidents that take place are not coincidence but tawafuq.
When Allah Almighty created this enormous universe, He created it with a lot of tawafuqs in order to show that there is only one creator and to enable us to make use of the universe more.
For instance, there is a tawafuq, similarity between an atom and the solar system. Their models are similar. There is a nucleus in the middle of an atom; and electrons rotate around it. The solar system is similar to it. The sun is in the middle and the planets rotate around it. More examples can be given.
The Lord of the realms created many wonderful differences in both systems in detail in order to show His art of invention. Although there are endless models in His knowledge, He used the same model in both systems. The first reason for it is the seal of oneness. This tawafuq declares that it is Allah who created both the atom and the solar system and that the intervention of polytheism is impossible.
The second reason is that this tawafuq is ease for us, human beings. A scientist who knows the solar system will examine the atom and electrons with the model in his mind while studying the atom whether he is a believer or not. These studies, which were made making use of models and tawafuq, gained a lot of things to the world of science.
The tawafuq between fingers and toes and the other organs are among the tawafuqs in the universe. In fact, Allah Almighty created mathematics by creating Hz. Adam with ten fingers and ten toes. He also gave Adam an instruction having ten pages. Thanks to the number of fingers, all civilizations used the decimal number system being aware or unaware of one another.
That the human body or flowers and fruits and other creatures are symmetrical is an indication of Allah Almighty's domination and the manifestation of His names in beauty and esthetics.
The golden proportions used by sculptors and artists for centuries in their works of art are manifestations of Allah Almighty's names of Adl (the Just) and Hakam (the Judge). These tawafuqs were known by the scientists and philosophers of the old ages. One of the founders of geometry who knew this said, “Allah always uses geometry.”
Indeed, if the universe is viewed from this perspective, we will notice that a secret compass, ruler and other geometrical instruments work constantly in our face, eyes, trees, fruits, atoms, the sun, their orbits, in short, in everything in the universe. Besides, Allah Almighty states the following in several verses in the Quran: “Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure.”
The Lord of the realms, who does not leave atoms and suns unattended and without measure and proportion, definitely controls all deeds of people and He will assess their deeds on the Day of Reckoning as precisely as He created the atoms. That is, the mathematics in the world is a sign of the mathematics in the hereafter.
Among people, expressions such as “I had good luck”, “My luck was with me”, “My luck helped me”, “I was born lucky” are used with a positive meaning by the persons whose things are going well and who do not meet any misfortunes; and expressions such as “I have no luck”, “I am an unlucky person”, “If I had luck, I would not be in such a bad condition” are often used with a negative meaning by the persons who experience misfortunes and who think their lives rely on chance.
In the community, the word “chance” is mainly repeated by the surroundings and institutions such as gambling, lottery and pools. “Take your chance”, “good luck” are repeated for that.
Although “luck” is used for positive things, it is used for “negative” things more. The thought and psychology of a person who relies on and sets his hopes on “luck” is sufficient to tell the essence of the luck concept. A person who acts according to “luck” feels suspended, he believes in chances, and all the time he gets his heart, spirit and even his life in stress, agitation and turmoil. If what he wanted does not happen and the result he desired does not take place, he becomes anxious and distressed; he desponds and cannot keep himself from the frustration of that situation.
Why does a person in such a situation give himself over to “luck”? Its reason is quite clear. Just as a baby who is deprived of milk takes up artificial dummy immediately so too does that person rely on a hypothetical, ambiguous, vain thing like “luck” since he does not know the real points of support such as “divine determining, reliance on Allah, and consent to his fortune.”
However, Islam has never let people suspended. It has not allowed them to abandon themselves to worthless things and thoughts whose essences are not known.
There is no place for the words such as “luck and chance” in Islam.In our religion, there are “destiny and reliance on Allah and consenting to what comes from Allah.” And the source of those is faith. The believing person has faith in Allah; he resigns to fate and he is saved from getting confused before the events and he overcomes anything he meets by the force and light of the faith.
As it will be comprehended from the expression
“Belief necessitates affirmation of Divine unity, affirmation of Divine unity necessitates submission to Allah, submission to Allah necessitates reliance on Allah, and reliance on Allah necessarily leads to happiness in this world and the next”,
a person who has faith in Allah recognizes Allah as “the only one” as the possessor of power and strength. He submits to Him. He puts his trust in Him, reclines upon His power; and as a result he attains happiness both in this world and the next.
A person who has faith is strong; he has a courage that can “challenge the whole universe”. He believes that he has a Lord who has created him from non-existence, who has prepared the world and has bestowed him bounties such as life, health and peace which cannot be measured materially, and who keeps the control of not only the earth but also the sun and billions of stars and the universe. Besides knowing that his Creator has not created him in vain, he also knows that He has not left him suspended in air as a plaything of “chance.” He has the belief that his life, minutes and seconds passing from the moment he comes to the world to his death, has been known, programmed and determined by Allah. Therefore, he does not believe in chance, rely on it and give place to it in his world. He perceives that good things or bad things happening to him are under the knowledge of Allah. He always endeavors, he has recourse to all means and causes and then he puts his trust in his Creator who knows and thinks of him better than himself in the end and expects the result from Him. He consents to the happening of whatever exists in the Divine program (fate).
However, how about the person who does not put his trust in Allah and fluctuates in “chance” and “luck”? He does not do his best and endeavor or even if he does, he does not rely on a Power; and what happens in the end? He cannot be delivered from “begging before all the universe”, namely, begging before everything he sees and feeling weak before the things he regards as powerful; from “trembling before every event”; from “pride”, namely, supposing that he is the owner of beings; from “making a fool of himself”; from “misery in the hereafter”, namely, losing the eternal life, and from “the prison of the pressures of this world”. (The Words, p. 292)
And so, the persons whose senses of reliance on Allah and consenting to what comes from Him are weak rely on inessential, pointless and vain things such as luck, stars, horoscopes and chance and are obsessed by superstitions such as “his star is low”, “his star is high”.
Belief is something related to the heart. Therefore, a person who believes inthe existence and oneness of Allah, and the principles of belief, he is a believer even if he does not utter kalima ash-shahada.
Belief is a property belonging to the heart; therefore, it is not necessary for a person to express his belief by his tongue in order to be a believer. That is, he is a believer if he believes with his heart but does not utter it with his tongue. Therefore, he does not have to utter his belief by his tongue, and witnesses are not necessary.
If a person says by his tongue that he believes and practices all of the orders of Islam but does not believe by his heart, he is not regarded as a believer in the eye of Allah. If a person whom we know as an unbeliever andhave buried in the cemetery of unbelievers has died as a believer, he is a believer in the eye of Allah though he is an unbeliever in our eye. That is, what is essential is what is in the heart.
However, it is sunnah for a person who believes by the heart to utter it by the tongue. It will be appropriate for him to say that he is a believer and inform others about it so that other believers will have good thoughts about him, apply the decrees of Islam to him in his life and when he dies.
On the other hand, when a person does the things that are regarded as signs of being a believer and a Muslim, people will be witnesses for him. If a person who is not known to be a Muslim is seen while performing a prayer even once, Islamic decrees are applied to him and he is buried in the cemetery of Muslims when he dies. For, prayer (salah) is among the signs of Islam.
That is, the most important issue for a person is to believe by the heart. It is Sunnah for himto utter it by the tongue. The existence of witnesses is important in terms of applying Islamic principles.
From this point of view, the belief and Islam of a person who conceals that he is a believer due to various reasons and who practices Islam secretly is valid.
Conceit is divided into two: The first is conceit toward Allah and the Prophet, which is unbelief. The second is conceit among people, which is unethical.
The expression in the hadith states that a conceited person will not be able to enter Paradise. However, the conceit mentioned in the hadith is conceit toward Allah and the Prophet. Such conceit will be unbelief and it is definite that a person having conceit in the sense of unbelief cannot enter Paradise.
If conceit, which is an ethical property, is considered in the sense of despising others and making fun of them, it is not a property that makes man exit religion. However, it is haram and it can cause a person to commit deeds that can make him exit religion. A person with such conceit will enter Paradise with the forgiveness and pardoning of Allah after he is punished in Hell. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in a verse:
"And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury." (al-Hijr, 15/47)
He states that the ethical faults of the world will be cleaned from the heart of the people who enter Paradise.
Abu Hanifa’s book that explains principles of belief is called "al-Fiqhul-Akbar". Abu Hanifa states that it is not possible to attribute space and place to Allah, who is free of space and place.
Various works were made on this book. One of them is the explanation (sharh) made by Aliyyul-Qari. Aliyyul-Qari explains the words of Abu Hanifa mentioned above as follows:
Allah states the following: «He is the Irresistible (watching) from above over his worshippers...» (1) Allah’s superiority over His creatures is not in terms of space and place. On the contrary, it is in terms of being superior and lofty. As a matter of fact, the view adopted by Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah is like that. In addition, Mutazila, Kharijites and other people of bid’ah also hold the same view. However, some people who attribute direction and side to Allah and the group of Mujassimah are excluded. Allah is free and away from what they say.
Some hadiths and verses indicating His attribute of loftiness and superiority are evidence that will prove Allah’s attribute of loftiness for the scholars of salaf. However, all of them are interpreted as the loftiness expressed by His attributes of ghalib (winner), qahir (supreme) and hakim (dominant).
The issue narrated from Abu Muti' al-Balhi is like this: When he asked Abu Hanifa the state of a person who says, «I do not know whether my Lord is in the sky or on the earth», Abu Hanifa answered as follows: He becomes an unbeliever. For, Allah said, «(Allah) Most Gracious is firmly established on the Throne (of authority).» (2) His Throne is over the seven skies.
Sheikh al-Imam Ibn Abdussalam states in his book called “Hall ar-Rumuz” that Abu Hanifa said, «A person who says I do not know whether my Lord is in the sky or on the earth» becomes an unbeliever. For, this statement gives a wrong idea that Allah Almighty is in a place. If a person holds a wrong view like this, he is from Mushabbiha. He likens Allah to His creatures, which can never be true. Abu Hanifa states that we need to avoid things that will mean attributing space and place to Allah. (3)
(1) al-An'am, 6/61.
(2) Taha, 20/5.
(3) see Aliyyul-Qari, Fıkh-ı Ekber Şerhi, Hisar Publishing House.
As man is busy with lofty feelings, he gets rid of simple, worldly feelings. The higher the purpose of life, the more distant man keeps from minor issues. The following statement of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who knows no limits related to the service of belief in conveying the message of Islam:
"They ask me: ‘Why do you attack this and that?’ I am not aware of it. There is a great conflagration before me, the flames of which are touching the skies. My children are burning in it. My belief has caught fire too, and is burning. I am racing to put out the fire and save my belief. If someone wants to hold me up on the way, or I trip on him, what importance has it? What importance has such a minor incident in the face of that conflagration? Narrow minds! Narrow views!" (Tarihçe-i Hayat, Tahliller)