- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
One Who Submits to God
ACCORDING to Islam, a believer is one who submits to God totally. He is like a small infant who owes everything to his parents and his life revolves around them. A believer’s life should reflect and revolve around God. He should fear and love God alone. He should do everything for God’s sake. He should have absolute trust in God; his Guardian and Protector.
Usually, people live for mundane things. That is why they never find contentment. They either live for personalities or for worldly splendour. Either their families mean everything to them, or they have made prestige and wealth their ultimate goals in life. Some are obsessed with hatred. Some live to thwart, humiliate or ruin others. All these ways of living are based on false notions. They place total reliance on things which are ephemeral and out of place in God’s cosmic order. These things can never give man true peace of mind. They do not allow one to proceed along the divine path, which is the only road to salvation.
A believer will strive utmost to maintain peace. He will bear the loss of anything else, but never the loss of peace.
A startling transformation takes place when a person starts living for God. He finds silence more gratifying than speech. He is happier to obey than to rebel, to forgive than to hold grudges, and he tries to cover others’ faults. He is unassuming and self-effacing. He is not interested in occupying a privileged position. His life will be an example of simple living and high thinking.
A Believer’s Attitude Towards Wealth Wealth is useful only when it can solve the problems of life. True believers are concerned about the next world and consider real wealth to be that which will be of use to them there.
People see wealth in gold and silver, but a believer’s wealth is God. That which brings him nearer to his Lord and makes him eligible for God’s blessings in the life to come is of supreme importance to him.
A Believer is a Kind Person God’s attribute in the Quran is said to be ‘The Compassionate’, ‘The Merciful’. That is, very kind and sympathetic. Similarly the Prophet of Islam has been called ‘a mercy to the worlds’ meaning, the Prophet of Islam has been sent as a blessing to the whole world. The most prominent quality of the Prophet is his being the instrument of universal mercy.
A true believer therefore will be patient and compassionate in his dealings with others, treating others with sympathy and kindness. He will not return unkindness for unkindness, but continues to behave sympathetically with unconditional characteristic kindness. Believers exhort one another to patience and compassion.
A Believer Sacrifices One of the qualities of the believer described in the Quran is the readiness to sacrifice his interests for that of another; holding the needs of others to be above his own; taking the trouble to help others; giving preference to others while occupying a back seat for oneself.
This willingness to sacrifice, is a superior human quality. Almost every day such occasions arise when one feels the necessity for one kind of sacrifice or the other, to recede into the background and leave the path clear for others to go forward; to suffer oneself in order to give comfort to others; to cut down one’s expenses and help others; to suppress one’s personality so that others may come to the fore, to remain silent and allow others to speak; to direct one’s conveyance to one side and give room for others to go ahead to their destinations. Such sacrifice is a form of altruism. According to the Quran, true believers are those who possess this quality.
A Believer Restrains Anger The Quran defines believers as those who “when angered are willing to forgive.” (42: 37)
When a believer is confronted with such a behaviour as makes him angry, he does not retaliate, but rather returns forgiveness for anger. By adopting the path of avoidance, he nips evil in the bud. Instead of becoming embroiled with his antagonist, he engages himself in his own constructive work.
Once a man came to the Prophet of Islam and said to him: “O Prophet of God, give me some advice which I may follow all my life. And let this advice be brief so that I do not forget it.” The Prophet replied, “Do not be angry.”
Anger never surfaces without reason. It always bursts forth when provoked, when someone ill-treats you or says something which hurts your ego. Anger is a reaction. It generally manifests itself when you are faced with some unpleasant experience.
One way to deal with this is to react, by returning tit for tat. But this is not the teaching of Islam. Islam teaches that when someone or something angers or provokes you, you remain undisturbed. A believer’s conviction is that if he remains patient in the face of trouble stirred by others, he will be amply rewarded by God. This conviction generates unfathomable peace of mind within, so that he is no longer disturbed by any antagonism. This spirit of faith converts his anger into forgiveness. Provocation is disregarded. He even derives food for modesty and humility from the very things which are designed to destroy his peace of mind.
A Believer has the Desire for Peace A believer is necessarily a lover of peace. In his mind, faith and a desire for peace are closely interlinked and regardless of the circumstances, he will strive utmost to maintain peace. He will bear the loss of anything else, but never the loss of peace. The life that the true believer desires is possible only in the propitious atmosphere which flowers in conditions of peace. Conditions of unrest breed a negative atmosphere which to him is abhorrent.
A believer’s conviction is that if he remains patient in the face of trouble stirred by others, he will be amply rewarded by God.
But if peace is to be maintained, it calls for a certain kind of sacrifice. In disturbed conditions, the believer must overlook both the misdeeds leading up to this situation and the identity of the wrongdoers. He might suffer at their hands but will make no attempt to retaliate, so that peace may prevail. The believer should be willing to pay this price, so that his pursuance of constructive ends can proceed unhampered.
The believer is like a flower in the garden of nature. Just as a hot wind will shrivel up a bloom and cause it to die, so will constant friction distract the believer from achieving positive goals. And just as a cool breeze will enable the flower to retain its beauty for its natural lifespan, so will a peaceful atmosphere enable the believer to fulfil the obligations of divine worship in a spirit of great serenity. Peace is thus central to the life of the believer.
Today’s turbulent times place the additional responsibility on all true believers to actively participate in peace efforts. It is not about participating from a comfort level but doing it with dedication and complete devotion.
Islam is a religion of peace and peace is a universal law of nature. That is because God loves the condition of peace, and disapproves of any state of unrest. God’s predilection for peace is reason enough for the believer also to love peace. In no circumstances will the true believer ever tolerate the disruption of peace.