What is the difference between Faith and Belief? Belief is counting on the reality of something which one knows as one sees it. It may vary from one person to another, as we see things differently. Faith is belief in the unseen, and, that which makes it sure is the love which one feels for the One in whom one has Faith. The word of the One in whom one has Faith, the Quran, was revealed to the heart of the Beloved of Allah, as its author says:
“The Quran is the clear sign
from Allah which enters in the hearts
of the ones who are given knowledge.”
We know that all of us have only one heart, as Allah says:
“Allah has not placed two
hearts in any man.”
But He also says:
“We have given them ears and eyes
in addition to their hearts.”(46:26)
To be able to love is a gift. Yet, for the one without eyes to see, and ears to hear the signs of the Beloved, and a heart to contain His love, this is like a gift offered to one who has no place to put it. Yet, all of us have this immense gift of invaluable treasure at birth so that we know, we find, and we become that love. He made the human being His deputy knowing that He has given him all that he needs to be one. Yet, there are so many of us who are not aware of that treasure in us.
What must we do to be worthy of that gift of love, and the greater gift of having Faith in the One who gave us this gift? The Generous One also tells us what to do:
“Whether you turn to the east
or to west in prayer does not
suffice to be worthy.
The one who is worthy
is the one who believes in Allah,
in the day of last judgment,
in Allah’s angels, in His books,
in His prophets; and with His love
serves for His sake to the ones close to him,
to the orphan, to the poor, to the wayfarer,
to those who ask for help;
and helps to set slaves free, keeps up prayers,
pays poor-rate, keeps promises,
shows patience in distress and affliction,
and in times of conflict.
Those are the ones who are sincere,
and on the straight path;
those are the ones who fear
the consequences of their actions.”
These are the things we must do to be worthy to receive the gifts of love, faith and hope. We must also be aware that the ability to understand what we have to do, the ability to do, and the results of our actions are all in Allah’s hands, not in ours. For He says:
“Surely, Allah makes those
whom He wishes hear.”
And may He protect us from being among those whom He mentions as:
“Those are the ones whose eyes,
ears and hearts are sealed shut by Allah,
and those are the heedless ones...”
He also says:
“And certainly, We have created
many jinn and men in Hell.
They have eyes which do not see,
they have ears which do not hear,
they have hearts which do not feel...
These are the heedless ones.”
But Allah watches over all His creation, His Beneficence covers all, even those who think that their lives are good, and that they are having fun. In fact, those think they are having a much better life than the ones who have Faith. He says:
“Hell looks the way one sees it.”
And the final warning is :
“Whatever good comes upon you is from Allah,
and whatever bad comes upon you is from your own self.”
But there are some of us who are unable to differentiate the good from the bad. Some of us are ashamed to show their good deeds feeling that they will be taken as weak simpletons, and some proudly boast about beating, hurting, cheating, and even killing fellow human beings. Allah says:
“Oh believers, if you fear Allah,
Allah will offer you the light
to see what is right and what is wrong.”
What are the signs of the ones who fear Allah? The first is to follow the example of the guide whom Allah has sent as His Mercy upon the universe. He says:
“Oh Mohammed, those who
swear allegiance to you,
do but swear allegiance to Allah.
Allah’s hand is above your hand
which holds their hands...”
And then He declares in a divine hadith:
“There is no prophet who has not been ordered to impose ritual prayer and fasting upon his followers.”
The Prophet s.a.w.s says:
“If you lower yourself amongst men, Allah will raise you above them.."
Hz. Ibn Arabi, may his soul be sanctified, says:
“A hand which gives is above the hand which takes.”
To follow the example of the Prophet, to serve in Allah’s name, to give and not take, to be humble, to show respect and love to all Allah’s creation, and to do one’s "salat" ritual prayer are the signs of the ones who love and fear Allah. Allah says:
“Allah does not accept
the generosity of the one
who denies Allah and His prophets,
and resents that which He gave,
and is lazy in doing his prayer.”
"Salat", ritual prayer five times a day is the key. It is the best way to remember one’s Lord. It is one’s thankfulness to Him. It is a prostration to Adam, our father. Allah ordered his angels to prostrate in front of Adam for Allah’s attributes and His names are in him, and the perfect man is as man is created to be; the deputy of Allah upon the universe. The prerequisite that one’s salat be accepted is to feel, and show love and respect to all the creation of Allah. It is not an easy task, for there are negative as well as positive aspects within the creation. This patience is also a prerequisite to the acceptance of one’s devotion to the Creator. Allah says:
“We have created man with the ability to bear all difficulties.”
And He says:
“We have offered Our trust
to the heavens, and to earth,
and to the mountains. They
shied away from accepting it,
and begged for Our Compassion,
but man accepted Our trust
without knowing it, and without
asking for compassion.”
It is only when man accepts Allah’s trust without any conditions, without asking for anything in return, that Allah gives him the strength with His Mercy, Compassion and Justice.
When man becomes truly "abdAllah", the loving fearing devoted servant of Allah, his daily prayers become a declaration of his state, a state in which his kaaba becomes the hearts of other men, and the realization of his thankfulness for all the gifts which he receives from Allah through the hands of other men, and his gratefulness for all and everything around him in which he sees the manifestation of the Beneficence of his Lord. Allah says:
“Don’t those who disbelieve see...that I have
created all living things from water.”
“Don’t you see that We bring
water from the heavens by which
grows food and fruits in all colors,
and layers on the mountains,
white, red and black.
Man and other creatures
who walk on earth are also
in these colors.
The servants of Allah
who fear Him are the ones
who know. Indeed, Allah
is All-Powerful and All-Merciful."
Allah hides His names within His attributes, and His attributes within His divine names. Knowledge lifts the veils of our egos and personal opinions, and enables us to see this. Haven’t you seen people whom you judged as ugly in their appearance, but when they open their mouths, words like pearls come from their lips. If you turn your backs to what you consider ugly, you risk not to benefit from some hidden aspect of it. You must bear the thorns to enjoy the fragrance of a rose. Whatever may seem to you negative, may become positive depending upon your attitude towards it. How beautifully Hz. Niyazi Misri , may his soul be sanctified, puts it in his poetry:
“Drink that bitter poison
that it becomes honey,
what is good in that honey,
may truly poison be.”
Ask yourself, what is truly worship, what is truly service, what is true generosity? Hz. Ibrahim Kusadali Halveti, may his soul be sanctified, says:
“Worship is that which comes hard for you to do.
When it becomes easy, it is no longer worship,
for then it becomes something which belongs to you
as if you have bought it. Then, what you are
doing is limiting your Lord’s Beneficence.
It is wrong. True faith in Allah’s infinite greatness
is facing difficulties. Climb mountains instead of
walking on flat land.”
You may ask why should worship and service be made difficult. Difficulty is negative, resented, tiring, discouraging. Don’t you see that night leads to day, and climbing mountains gives
a far and wide view. Pain and difficulty lead to salvation and bliss. It is only with difficulty that you remember Allah, and find Him in remembering Him. Allah warns us by asking our Guide to warn us:
“Oh Mohammed, there is no messenger or prophet
whom We sent before you, who when he wished for Us,
was safe from the delusions inflicted by the Devil.
Allah eliminates the confusion caused by the Devil
by strengthening His signs.
Allah is the Knower of all, and the Master of all.”
And Allah announces to His loving, fearing servants:
“Indeed, We are going to test you
with a little fear, a little hunger; decreasing
your property, your health, your harvest.
Give this good news
to the ones who will show patience.”
Allah knows best.