By Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Islam can be summed up as fear of God (taqwa) and benevolence towards others. Taqwa means piety, which is, leading a life of caution and restraint in the world. The object of all the teachings of Islam is to produce the spirit of piety in every action.
Those imbued with taqwa keep in view the will and pleasure of God in every task they perform. Their lives are based on truthfulness and honesty. No worldly loss diverts them from the path of truth. Those who hold on to taqwa firmly believe that God watches us. He sees everything whatever we do and wherever we do. This inspires in them a strong desire to perform good deeds and a hatred for all things evil. Such thinking induces righteous conduct and taqwa thus becomes the foundation of all good deeds.
Once an individual becomes a God-fearing person, his life is changed completely. He becomes careful to avoid which will lead him to hell and is desirous of anything which will make him deserving paradise. He loves and fears God above all. Fear of God and consciousness of the external destiny of mankind makes one extremely cautious in dealing with fellow men. It is then clear that mistreating others would mean exposing oneself to the fire of hell. Arrogance is never an option, for in human interaction every man is supported by the power of God. Neither is injustice an option, for he knows that eventually, he will have to answer to God for his actions. One doesn’t see others as mere people; for one realizes that Almighty God is also standing by their side.
Faith in God transforms the believer completely. It shakes his soul. His entire being is engulfed in the fear of God. This fear is manifested in his dealings with others. He doesn’t humiliate the weak, for he sees that God is standing by the side of His servants. He doesn’t know bow before the strong, because he sees that all are helpless before God
Faith in God transforms the believer completely. It shakes his soul. His entire being is engulfed in the fear of God. This fear is manifested in his dealings with others. He doesn’t humiliate the weak, for he sees that God is standing by the side of His servants. He doesn’t know bow before the strong, because he sees that all are helpless before God. A man of faith has been likened to a tree in the Quran (14:24). As we all know, a man receives shade, fruits and flowers from the tree. All such qualities are found in God’s worshippers in the true sense of the world. They give comfort to everyone. They have a soothing effect upon all. There is a Hadith to this effect.
The Prophet of Islam said: “The believer is like a gentle plant. When the wind blows, it doesn’t become rigid, but rather sways to and fro with each gust and when the winds are not blowing it standstill once again.” This is exactly the case of a true believer. He doesn’t display arrogance. His way is that of adjustment and not of clash and confrontation. He follows the principle of persuasion and avoids the way of violence. A true believer is one who is always conscious of the presence of God. He feels that each time he gives his word to another, it is a divine promise.
Another impact of faith upon the behaviour is that a person becomes a truth-loving person. He always speaks the truth. In all matters, he says only what is in accordance with reality. Truth is the highest virtue of a believer’s character. A man of faith is a man of principle. He finds it impossible to deny the truth. He thus becomes totally free of falsehood or double standards
Therefore, he is extremely circumspect about giving his word. He believes that every commitment is actually made under the watchful eyes of God and that he will be accountable for its fulfilment on the day of judgement. This compels him to be highly responsible as regards his promises. Whenever he gives his word to anyone, he makes a point of keeping it.
Many other virtues come in the wake of the fulfilment of promises. One of these is mutual trust. In a society, where mutual trust exists, there is an atmosphere of confidence, as there is no fear of promises being broken. It is, therefore, faith that makes man the professor of the highest virtues.
Another impact of faith upon the behaviour is that a person becomes a truly loving person. He always speaks the truth. In all matters, he says only what is in accordance with reality. Truth is the highest virtue of a believer’s character. A man of faith is a man of principle. He finds it impossible to deny the truth. He thus becomes totally free of falsehood or double standards. His whole existence is shaped by truth. Faith makes the believer a responsible person towards both God and man. His duty towards God means believing in Him, worshipping Him and carrying out all His commandments. Duty towards man means giving him such treatment as is in accordance with Islamic teachings.
A true believer, therefore, gives proper respect to others, never humiliates them while helping them, doesn’t harm them, fulfils trusts, never breaks his word, never usurps the wealth and property of others and deals justly with others in all circumstances. In short, faith changes a person’s thinking. After all his desires are under the sways of God. He never trespasses. His feelings are compatible with the divinity. His interests are not his own interests but the interests of God. His relations are according to the will of God. He doesn’t prioritize the relations but set by God. His dislikes also are according to the plan of God. In his daily life, all things are done according to the plan set by God. Faith is a parameter that makes a person a true human being. (The author can be reached at [email protected].)