Is saying "I am a Muslim" sufficient to be
considered one of the faithful?
No, because people are considered believers only if they verbally affirm
their belief and then live according to it and call others to follow Allah's
commands. According to the Qur'an, the believers have the following attributes:
They pay constant attention to living by the values of religion, sacrifice
their personal benefits for the common benefits of religion, overcome
the selfish passions of their own souls, pardon others, control their
rage and are moderate in their behavior, sacrifice for others even when
they are in need, spend their wealth in the way of Allah, are steadfast,
convey the message of Islam to spread the religion, remember Allah constantly,
perform the prayers meticulously, control their temper even when faced
with injustice, are just, and who make sincere efforts in many other such
None of these actions can be fulfilled only by speaking. In other words,
it makes no sense to say: "I am doing my best" when no actual effort is
being made, or to say: "I will spend my wealth when necessary" and then
not doing so. Accordingly, even though saying "I am a Muslim" may be the
first step in becoming one of the faithful, it will become true faith
only when the person sincerely adheres to Allah's commands to the best
of his or her ability. This is explained in the Qur'an, as follows:
Who could say anything better than someone who summons to Allah and acts
rightly and says: "I am one of the Muslims"? (Surah Fussilat, 33)
How does the Qur'an explain that unbelievers are also
under Allah's control?
All beings in the universe, whether living or nonliving, are under Allah's
absolute control. Whether they are aware of it or not, the unbelievers
are under His control at every instant of their lives, for as "all things
We created with predestination" (Surat al-Qamar, 49) reveals, only Allah
has the power to determine the destiny of all beings. As He has predetermined
their destinies, they live throughout their lives completely dependent
on this destiny. Allah relates this fact in the following verse:
Is it other than the religion of Allah that you desire, when everything
in the heavens and Earth, willingly or unwillingly, submits to Him, and
to Him you will be returned? (Surah Al `Imran, 83)
Given that Allah's existence surrounds the entire universe, He sees and
hears the voice of every living being. Everything, from the unbelievers'
subconscious to a thought that crosses their mind, from a single spoken
word to any act, is known to Allah at every instant. Therefore all people
without exception live, always and everywhere, under His control and oversight.
As the Qur'an states:
You do not engage in any matter, recite any part of the Qur'an, or do
any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it.
Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on Earth or in Heaven.
Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a
Clear Book. (Surah Yunus, 61)
How should we love Allah?
Love for Allah, a very deep-rooted affection, is a combination of various
emotions. This love contains a feeling of submission to our Creator, Who
is the Lord of infinite might, a strong trust in His infinite mercy, a
respect for His infinite wisdom, and a great admiration for the infinite
beauty He creates. Knowing that Allah is the Lord of all adds loyalty
and devotion to this love. Those who are aware of all of these things
become devoted to our Lord with a very intense love, which is utterly
real and pure. The love that the believers feel for our Lord is expressed
in the Qur'an, as follows:
Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah.
But those who believe have a greater love for Allah. If only you could
see those who do wrong at the time when they see the punishment, and that
truly all strength belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment.
(Surat al-Baqara, 165)
What does "being mighty against the unbelievers" mean?
O You who believe. If any of you renounce your religion, Allah will bring
forward a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble to the believers
and powerful against the unbelievers, who strive in the Way of Allah and
do not fear the blame of any censurer… (Surat al-Ma'ida, 54)
Allah commands the believers to conduct themselves according to the Qur'an's
morals and, no matter what happens or how they are treated, always to
be resolute in this respect. On the other hand, unbelievers exhibit some
behaviors that are completely opposed to the believers' good morals. Upon
encountering such behavior, the believers do not respond in the same way,
but rather respond in a mighty and dignified manner and, by displaying
their strong decisiveness, never neglect the Qur'an's morals. They respond
to corrupt words with good words, arrogance with humility, injustice with
justice, and mercilessness with mercy. They never consider it necessary
to adopt attitudes resembling the attitudes of those who reject belief.
The Qur'an gives several examples of believers' maintaining their dignity
toward the unbelievers, as follows:
Those who do not bear false witness and who, when they pass by worthless
talk, pass by with dignity. (Surat al-Furqan, 72)
The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk lightly on the land
and who, when the ignorant speak to them, say: "Peace." (Surat al-Furqan,
Is the person who communicates the religion responsible for someone's
decision to believe or not to believe?
No, because each person is responsible only for himself or herself. The
believers are responsible only for conveying the message to others in
the best way and to call them to believe in Allah.
Nevertheless, the heart of the person to whom the religion is communicated
is completely in Allah's hand. If it is that person's destiny to believe,
Allah will give him or her the love of Islam and will settle faith in
his or her heart. Accordingly, Allah states in the Qur'an that Muslims
communicate the religion, but only He guides the person:
You cannot guide those you would like to, but Allah guides those whom
He wills. He has best knowledge of the guided. (Surat al-Qasas, 56)
Can a Muslim live in isolation from other Muslims?
As long as they do not have sound reasons for being alone, Muslims should
live with other Muslims in order to exhibit good morals, generosity, submissiveness
to advice, humbleness, love, and loyalty. The believers should be together,
because they cannot be loyal to those who are irreligious, yield to the
unbelievers' conduct, be submissive to unbelievers or remember Allah with
unbelievers. Therefore, the believers must be with other believers in
order to live the Qur'anic lifestyle.
Besides this, the believers have to spread the morals of Islam among
people so that everyone can live by them, since this is one of the responsibilities
that Allah has given to the believers. Such a responsibility requires
that the believers support each other as much as possible, for Allah commands
them to act "in ranks like well-built walls." (Surat as-Saff, 4)
In addition, the believers can be at ease only when they are with other
believers who live by the Qur'an's morals. They find pleasure only in
the friendship of people who have taken Allah as their Friend. They would
like to see people with good morals, who are deeply devoted to Allah,
and would wish to live in the world with people whom they desire to be
with eternally in the Hereafter.
Allah has related this command in the Qur'an, as follows:
Restrain yourself patiently with those who call upon their Lord morning
and evening, desiring His face. Do not turn your eyes from them, desiring
the attractions of this world. And do not obey someone whose heart We
have made neglectful of Our remembrance, who follows his own whims and
desires, and whose life has transgressed all bounds. (Surat al-Kahf, 28)
Can one be happy without religion?
People who do not live by the religion cannot be happy, in the true sense
of the word, for in order to be happy, first of all one's conscience needs
to be at ease. In other words, nothing should cause them distress or confusion,
or make them feel remorse. Ease of conscience can be attained only by
living by the religion. One's conscience, which is under Allah's control,
always commands a person to believe in Allah, to fulfill the religion's
requirements, and to adhere to the Qur'an's values. For that reason, irreligious
person, one who has struggled against this command of his or her conscience
throughout his or her life, cannot be truly happy. Allah reveals that
people can attain ease of heart and true peace only by having faith in
Those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah.
Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat ar-Ra`d,
Is everybody responsible for living by the religion?
Everybody, from the moment one gains consciousness to comprehend Allah's
existence, is responsible for fulfilling His commands. Being sick or poor,
very rich or very famous, or having a high rank does not hinder a person
from living by the religion.
No one can change the fact that people are created to serve Allah. The
Qur'an informs us that only physically disabled people will not be held
accountable for some of the religion's commands. Apart from this, every
person is to worship Allah and fulfill His religion's commands. Allah
states that the Qur'an is a binding duty upon humanity:
It [the Qur'an] is certainly a reminder to you and to your people, and
you will be questioned. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 44)
Can Isa' (as), Musa (as), and other Prophets be referred to as "Muslims"?
All Prophets, including `Isa (as), Musa (as), Sulayman (as), Ibrahim
(as), Nuh (as), and Yusuf (as), are referred to in the Qur'an as "Muslims,"
because Allah's religion is one: Islam. The religion that has been taught
since Prophet Adam (as) has always been the same. The essence of the Gospel
of Prophet 'Isa (as), the Torah of Prophet Musa (as), and the Psalms of
Prophet Dawud (as), before they were distorted, conveyed the message of
this religion. For that reason, all of Allah's Prophets communicated and
belonged to the religion of Allah-Islam-the religion of truth. This point
is explained in the Qur'an, as follows:
Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a man of pure natural
belief-a Muslim. He was not one of the associaters. (Surah Al `Imran,
In another verse, Prophet Musa (as) referred to his followers as "Muslims":
Musa said: "My people. If you believe in Allah, then put your trust in
Him if you are Muslims." (Surah Yunus, 84)
Another verse informs us that the disciples of Prophet 'Isa (as) also
referred to themselves as Muslims:
And when I inspired the Disciples to believe in Me and in My Messenger,
they said: "We believe. Bear witness that we are Muslims." (Surat al-Ma'ida,
. What does "being pleased with Allah" mean?
This phrase means that people should be content with the destiny that
Allah has predetermined for them and with what He gives them, both unconditionally
and without any internal resistance. People may not realize the goodness
in a given event at that very moment. But whether they realize it or not,
they know that Allah wills goodness in a given event at that very moment
and in every event. In fact, believers always have infinite trust in Allah
in everything that befalls them. They never wonder whether that event
will bring them good or bad; rather, they trust in Allah unceasingly and
know that they will always find good.
One may become fatally sick, have a serious accident and become physically
disabled, lose all of his or her wealth, be wronged by others, or encounter
an utterly unexpected event. No matter what happens, one should know that
all of these things take place under Allah's complete control, and therefore
feel at peace. That person submits completely to Allah's wisdom and mercy
and thanks Him, regardless of the circumstances in which they find themselves.
This is the behavior exhibited by those who are pleased with Allah, about
whom Allah states the following:
Allah will say: "This is the Day when the sincerity of the sincere will
benefit them. They will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining
in them timelessly, forever and ever. Allah is pleased with them, and
they are pleased with Him. That is the Great Victory." (Surat al-Ma'ida,
... Allah has inscribed faith upon such people's hearts, and will reinforce
them with a Spirit from Him and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing
under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. Allah is pleased with
them, and they are pleased with Him. Such people are the party of Allah.
Truly it is the party of Allah who are successful. (Surat al-Mujadala,
Is it appropriate to believe in superstitions?
Superstitions are irrational and mistaken beliefs that spread among the
people. Some people may become nervous due to their unfounded beliefs,
such as believing that some beings bring bad luck. However, no one or
thing can bring good or bad luck, for nothing in the universe comes into
being by mere chance. Every person, plant, animal, or object has its own
destiny. How long they will live, how their life will be, what they will
look like, and everything else is already known in Allah' s sight, for
not a leaf falls without Him knowing it.
Every event that has taken place since the creation of the universe,
and that will take place in the future, occurs according to Allah's will.
No person, animal, or object has the strength to change this destiny.
If a person meets with an unexpected accident, this is due to his or her
destiny, which was predetermined even before he or she was created. Achieving
success, regaining one's health, or coming across something good is not
due to good luck, but to Allah's favor:
The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him.
He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing
it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or
dry, which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat al-An`am, 59)
Has the Qur'an been sent to all nations, regardless of time or location?
Yes, for the Qur'an's commands are for every person who lives until the
Day of Resurrection. Those who lived 1,000 years ago and those who will
live from now on will all be judged by the same book and the same commands.
Entering a new century or changing technology or cities do not change
humanity's responsibilities to Allah. Whether a person lives in the midst
of a great desert or in an apartment in a skyscraper, he or she must pray
and adhere to the Qur'an's values. Allah reveals that the Qur'an is sent
to all beings and that all people will be judged from this book:
It [the Qur'an] is certainly a reminder to you
and to your people, and you will be questioned. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 44)
Blessed be He Who has sent down the Criterion (Furqan)
to His servant, so that he can be a warner to all beings. (Surat al-Furqan,
Is it proper to complain about a disease, a disability, a physical defect,
Such imperfections are specially created by Allah in order to make people
grasp the temporary nature of this world's life and yearn for Paradise,
so that they will strive to attain it. Hence, and in fact, these imperfections
are blessings that Allah grants to His servants. For those who know how
to take heed, situations that seem to be difficulties in the world turn
out to be great blessings in respect to the eternal life. Allah promises
Paradise to His servants who, when faced with the deficiencies and difficulties
of this world's life, trust Allah and are steadfast in order to earn His
good pleasure. Furthermore, Allah will remove all imperfections, both
spiritual and physical, of those who attain Paradise and will create them
in the most beautiful and eternal form.
That is why, when faced with any imperfection, one should remember this
fact and utterly yield to Allah, the Lord of infinite wisdom. There is
absolute goodness and great wisdom, unknown to any person, in the destiny
that Allah has determined for them. It is incompatible with the Qur'an's
morals to be displeased with and to complain of situations that people
do not like, such as poverty, unattractiveness, or sickness. All men and
women should be content with their destiny, for those who complain and
are unhappy with a situation are, in fact, displeased with a good thing
that Allah has willed for them. Such an attitude displays their ingratitude
toward Allah, because He creates every incident in order to test people,
and makes it a means for their eternal salvation. The ideal behavior that
believers should exhibit is described in the Qur'an, as follows:
Say: "Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us.
He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust."
(Surat at-Tawba, 51)
Will we see the Prophets on the Day of Judgment?
All people who have ever lived, including the Prophets, will be gathered
on the Day of Judgment. Each Prophet will return to Allah to bear witness
to his people. People will be judged in His presence for all of their
actions in the world. Hence, it will be possible, by His will, to see
Prophets Muhammad (saas), `Isa (as), Adam (as), Yusuf (as), and all of
the other Prophets on that day. Allah relates this in the Qur'an, as follows:
And Earth will shine with the Pure Light of its
Lord, the Book will be put in place, and the Prophets and witnesses will
be brought. It will be decided between them with the truth, and they will
not be wronged. (Surat az-Zumar, 69)
Who will accompany the believers in Paradise?
In Paradise, all of the believers who have lived since the time of Prophet
Adam (as) will be together. Among these people will be the Prophets, martyrs,
and sincere believers who affirmed the Messengers and followed the path
they showed. The glad tidings are given to the believers in the Qur'an,
Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those whom Allah has
blessed: the Prophets and the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs,
and the righteous. What excellent company such people are! (Surat an-Nisa',
What is the place of "boasting of things that one has not done" in the
In the Qur'an, Allah advises humanity to be sincere in every deed and
to seek only His good pleasure. On the other hand, any expectation of
praise results from seeking the appreciation of other people and trying
to please them. Those who have such a point of view attempt to boast about
what they have and have not done. However, taking credit for what one
has not done and using it to gain other people's esteem is simply lying
to Allah, for He knows what each person has and has not done. The Qur'an
condemns trying to profit from knowledge unknown to people, whereas Allah
knows it, and boasting. Even though such people may seem to be gaining
some benefit at that very moment, they are, in fact, losers, for Allah
will hold them responsible for every word they utter and will certainly
pay them their due in the Hereafter. Their situation is explained in the
Qur'an, as follows:
Those who exult in what they have done and love to be praised for what
they have not done should not suppose that they have escaped the punishment.
They will have a painful punishment. (Surah Al `Imran, 188)
How should Muslims understand art?
Allah has created many beautiful things; art is the product of people's
activities, those who take beauty as a model and imitate it. Given that
art is a favor that Allah grants to humanity, it is part of human nature
to appreciate aesthetics and beauty. The believers, especially, are people
who can appreciate Allah's blessings, perceive the subtleties in them,
and are broad-minded in terms of aesthetics. As a result, the pleasure
they find in art multiplies.
The believers consider art as a gift of Paradise. The Qur'an relates
that Paradise is furnished with unparalleled elegant art, which deeply
impresses the soul. In addition, it relates that Paradise contains gold-embroidered
cushions, garments made of rich brocade, jewels, lofty chambers, green
garments made of the finest silk, and thrones encrusted with gold and
precious stones. All of this beauty, which Allah commends, are blessings
for the believers in this world, too.
Besides these, the exquisiteness of Prophet Sulayman's (as) palace, as
mentioned in the Qur'an, is noteworthy in terms of revealing the believers'
understanding of art and aesthetics. Prophet Sulayman (as) decorated his
palace with pools, large basins, and statues, and produced such excellent
work of art that everyone was struck with admiration.
Our Prophet (saas) also states that Allah loves beauty in the following
hadith: "Allah is beautiful and loves beauty" (Muslim).
What does "wisdom" mean?
Wisdom is the ability to determine what is right and most appropriate.
All speech, decisions, and behavior of people of wisdom are wise and proper.
They can explain a subject in the most correct, most concise, and wisest
manner; can make the right diagnosis of an event, a person, or a behavior;
react to events wisely; and can exhibit the finest behavior. Therefore,
people of wisdom are also people of high intelligence.
One can have wisdom only through belief in Allah and following the Qur'an,
for the Qur'an is the only source that teaches humanity the truth of events,
good and wise behavior, thought, and speech.
Allah gives wisdom as a blessing to His sincere servants who turn to
Him. The Qur'an points out that Allah grants this gift to whom He wills:
He gives wisdom to whoever He wills, and he who has been given wisdom
has been given great good. But no one pays heed but people of intelligence.
(Surat al-Baqara, 269)
What is the "decisive speech" that Allah gave to Prophet Dawud (as)?
We made his kingdom strong and gave him wisdom and decisive speech. (Surah
Decisive speech is the ability to explain the truth in the most concise,
most articulate, and most influential way. In other words, it is the ability
to talk wisely. The most significant characteristic of such speech is
that its very sincerity and fluency moves the conscience of others. Those
who have decisive speech deeply influence other people by causing them
to alter their thoughts, ideologies, and ways of living, and to adopt
the right path.
Remember that decisive speech is not the result of being well-cultured,
having read many books, being experienced, knowing the rules of grammar,
or making perfect sentences. Rather, it is a gift of Allah to His firmly
believing, sincere, and true servants.
Does Allah reward the believers in this world for their faith?
Allah provides great rewards to His sincere servants during their lives
in this world. He guides them to the right path, provides them with ease
in their affairs, sends down serenity and peace upon their hearts, multiplies
His blessings to them many times over, and helps them in return for their
services in His way. He may also send them some difficulties to test their
faith. However, in addition to all of these, He provides them with a good
life. Allah states that He will reward the believers' good deeds:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give
them a good life and will recompense them according to the best of what
they did. (Surat an-Nahl, 97)
Say: "O My servants who believe. Be in awe of your
Lord. For those who do good in this world there is good, and Allah's Earth
is spacious. The steadfast will be paid their wages in full, without any
reckoning." (Surat az-Zumar, 10)
So Allah gave them the reward of this world and
the best reward of the Hereafter. Allah loves good-doers. (Surah Al `Imran,
Does Allah punish the unbelievers in this world?
Allah states: "As for those who do not believe, I will punish them with
a harsh punishment in this world and the Hereafter. They will have no
helpers." (Surah Al `Imran, 56) In this verse, Allah informs us that He
will recompense the unbelievers in this world too. The Qur'an points out
that these people may experience both a physical and a spiritual punishment.
As outlined in the verse "Do they not see that they are tried once or
twice in every year? But still they do not repent. They do not pay heed,"
(Surat at-Tawba, 126) Allah mentions that He sometimes strikes the unbelievers
with various afflictions in this world. In addition, the Qur'an contains
accounts of past nations that suffered such punishments as earthquakes,
drought, scarce crops, flood, lightning, or perishing all together at
the same time.
On the other hand, their spiritual punishment continues as long as they
are alive. These people, who do not follow the right path to which their
consciences guide them, can never escape their remorse. Likewise, since
they do not live by the Qur'an's morals, they can never experience true
happiness, friendship, love, and loyalty. The people around them also
do not adhere to the Qur'an's morals, and so live in a world of disorder,
chaos, and anxiety. Although Allah gives them many blessings in this world,
the Qur'an points out that they are created only to try them:
Do not let their wealth and their children impress you. Allah merely
wants to punish them by them in this world, and for them to die while
they do not believe. (Surat at-Tawba, 85)
Is it possible to distinguish those people who are more pious? How is
It is impossible to determine who has the most piety in Allah's sight.
A person's true piety, sincerity, and faith are hidden in his or her heart,
and only Allah knows them, whereas people may only form a strong opinion
about somebody's piety.
People form their opinions about others based upon their conduct. For
example, a person's sincerity toward Allah, loyalty to the religion, sincere
effort to earn Allah's good pleasure, eagerness and resoluteness to serve
religion, love for the believers and loyalty allow others to form an opinion
about that person's piety. Even so, the final judgment belongs to Allah
People become pious by avoiding sins, forbidden acts, or behavior that
does not comply with the Qur'an's morals. Whoever is firmer in living
according to good morals, makes more effort to help religion, and is more
devoted to adhering to the religion's commands increases his or her piety.
Pious believers also can be identified by their wisdom. Their decisions
are right, they find much easier and quicker solutions to problems, and
their speech is much wiser and more impressive. They can perceive aspects
of events that remain unnoticed by others, and have a much keener awareness.
They do not do things to put themselves forward, but display a sincere
manner. They do not seek the adulation and praise of other people, but
only Allah's good pleasure. Regardless of the situation, they always observe
the limits set by Allah. People who possess all of these features may
be expected to have a high degree of righteousness. However, one still
cannot form a definite opinion concerning another's degree of piety or
level of faith in relationship to other people, for all such evaluations
are only superficial, being based upon what is seen from the outside.
Peoples' true faith, devotion, sincerity, and nearness to Allah is known
only by Allah.