Belief in Allah, the Almighty, is at the core of the Islamic faith, and its declaration basically takes the form of a verbal affirmation of that faith which can outwardly be heard by people.
In fact, that is not the kind of faith we are talking about here because verbal declaration of faith is also seen to be done by hypocrites, and the Quran brings home this point when it states inter alia:
And of the people are some who say 'we believe in Allah and the last day, " but they are not believers. They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and perceive (it) not." Quran 2:89
And the faith we intend to discuss here is not about outward actions of the believers or people in general, because outward actions are also put up by hypocrites and yet they are condemned by the Quran.
“Indeed, the hypocrites (think to) deceive Allah, but he is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing (themselves to) the people and not remembering Allah except a little." Quran 4:142
Again, the faith we intend to look at here is not the mere possession of knowledge about the details of faith and its basic requirements. For, there are those who have enough knowledge about faith and its distastes but they do not have faith.
The Quran thus states:
And they rejected them, while their (inner) selves were convicted thereof, out of injustice and haughtiness...". Quran 27:14
Truly, the faith we are drawing home here is the one which the mind deeply recognises and accepts; the one that is perceived by the human heart and gets rooted in it; and the one that has actions reflecting what is in the mind and the heart.
In fact, it is this kind of faith that the Prophet (SAW) described in the following prophetic words:
“Faith is that which gets established in the heart and expressed in deeds".
In short, it is the kind of faith that has life. It is the kind of faith that is able to withstand difficulties and adversities of life with absolute confidence in the Creator.
Indeed, it is this kind of faith in the Creator that heals the wounds of the human self.
The three selves
Without any pursuit into details, there are three adverse states of the self that faith addresses and heals. These are the worried self, the anxious self and the hopeless self.
A worried self is the one that the mishaps and adversities of life have pushed into a state of submission and has raised up its hands in despair.
His/her state of despair is rooted in the thought that there is no way out of an existing predicament.
Day in, day out, the worried self is obsessed with thoughts over past events and his/her inner self, which influences his/her outward dispositions, is enslaved and incapacitated by those events.
He/she is worried and thinks he/she is finished. The Quran appropriately intervenes here to emancipate the self from its state of worry with two basic strategies.
First, the Quran makes it clear that if you are in a state of worry as a result of an affliction, so it has been with people in the past and so it will continue to be till the end of time.
You are not alone in this struggle. Your situation may even be better off than others.
If a wound should touch you, here has already touched the (opposing) people a wound similar to it. And these days (of varying conditions) we alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe..." Quran 3:140.
Second, the Quran calls on believers to exhibit faith by not focusing on past bad events, since that may stop them from thinking about the future.
In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult (in pride) over what He has given you..." Quran 57:23.
Undoubtedly, that is true emancipation of the self from the clutches of worry.
Look ahead with faith; plan for the future with tenacity of spirit and effectively execute your plan with confidence in your Creator that all will be well.
The writer is a Theologian/Educationist