Author: Harun Yahya
Publisher: Goodword Books (2003)
Pages: 120 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
The "perfected faith" discussed in this book represents the highest level of maturity and depth of faith an individual can ever attain. According to Qur'an, saying just "I believe in Allah" alone is sufficient. However, Allah warns people against this rationale: "Do people imagine that they will be left to say, 'We believe,' and will not be tested?" (Surat al-'Ankabut, 2)
But how does a believer's faith grow mature and become perfect? The purpose of this book is to define the "perfected faith" and explain what is a person of perfected faith like, from what kind of a belief in Allah does he have to about which matters does he talk and how does he pray and what does he ask for.
Allah sent down the Qur'an as guidance to man. Living by the "morality of the Qur'an" in its true sense can only be possible through practicing all that is enjoined in these verses.
There are some who fail to recognise this fact and pay meticulous attention to complying with some commands of the Qur'an while disregarding others. They perform some forms of worship to the letter, yet fail to display the moral perfection of which Allah gives a clear picture in the Qur'an. According to such people, saying, "I believe in Allah" alone is sufficient. However, in the Qur'an Allah warns people against this rationale: "Do people imagine that they will be left to say, 'We believe,' and will not be tested?" (Surat al-'Ankabut, 2) This verse makes it clear that, as well as what he professes, the way a believer conducts himself must also prove that he truly lives to earn Allah's approval. That is to say that he must display the morality that he hopes to please Him.
That is the way to become a true believer. One's sincere endeavour to display the values that pleases Allah is the sole criterion of one's sincerity.
There is a misconception prevalent among people about this. The majority of them believe that displaying the values of the Qur'an is a virtue peculiar to the prophets and the believers with moral perfection exemplified therein. This is simply not so. The lives of these people are exemplified in the Qur'an so that others may also adopt the same values and follow in their footsteps. In this way, Allah summons all believers to comply with the commands of the Qur'an and to live scrupulously by Islamic principles.
When one sincerely follows the voice of one's conscience and strives for the cause of religion, one can live by the values of the Qur'an just as well as the true believers described in its verses. One verse reads:
Then We caused Our chosen servants to inherit the Book. But some of them wrong themselves; some are ambivalent; and some outdo each other in good by Allah's permission. That is the great favour. (Surah Fatir, 32)
As the above verse maintains, some people may either fail to follow the path to which Allah invites him and thus suffers loss, or some become the forerunners in moral perfection and hope for salvation.
A believer of strong faith strives to attain the highest levels of moral perfection of which he is capable. He knows that he can please Allah and earn His love and pleasure only in this way. This is indeed the purpose of his existence on earth; to be able to earn the good pleasure of Allah and His consent through properly appreciating Him.
Everyone is responsible for aiming at moral perfection and striving towards that end. No boundaries limit such a noble human endeavour. Each believer who has a deep-seated faith in Allah and strives sincerely to draw closer to Him can display this moral perfection and thus attain the "maturity of faith".
One of the purposes of this book is to define the "perfected faith" one can attain through turning to Allah for every deed, striving to earn the approval and friendship of Allah and displaying moral perfection under all circumstances. Another purpose is to make it clear that nothing hinders man from attaining the moral perfection displayed by prophets, provided that he fears and reveres no one but Allah and strives sincerely for His cause. Over and above this, the intention in writing this book is to stress that putting forth a "sincere" effort to attain the hereafter is a praiseworthy act in Allah's sight. In one verse, Allah states the following about this issue:
But as for anyone who desires the hereafter, and strives for it as he ought to, being a true believer, shall have his endeavours be gratefully acknowledged. (Surat al-Isra', 19)
What is Perfected Faith?
"Such people (the pious) are truly racing towards good deeds, and they outstrip (others) therein."(Surat al-Mu'minun, 61)
The adjective "kamil" in Arabic means perfect, genuine, and complete. The "perfected faith" (kamil iman) discussed in this book represents the highest level of maturity and depth of faith an individual can ever attain. But how does a believer's faith grow mature and become perfect?
"Having faith in Allah" is to grasp that Allah is the sole Creator and Owner of everything and that He is the only Judge. It is one's submission to Allah at every moment of his life; it is being aware that one is in need of Him, that Allah is rich beyond need and that He creates all things in compliance with a specified destiny.
"Submission to Allah" becomes possible only through having a profound fear of Allah, being deeply attached to Him and loving Him more than anything or anybody else. One who submits himself to Allah, in the real sense, takes Allah alone as his intimate friend. Throughout his life, he knows that each event he encounters occurs by Allah's will and that behind every one of them there are particular divine purposes. For this reason, he never strays from his submissive attitude and always remains obedient and grateful to Allah.
To attain perfected faith, one needs to comply strictly with the commands of the Qur'an, the revelation of Allah through which He introduces Himself and conveys His commands to His servants. For this reason, a believer pays the utmost attention to observing Allah's limits till the day he dies. Throughout his life, he displays the qualities of the true believer without departing from patience. The determination a person of perfected faith shows in living by the values of the Qur'an is a very important and distinctive quality. Because, it is with this very quality that a man of perfected faith excels others in his efforts to do good. The Qur'an also refers to those "who become foremost in good deeds" (Surah Fatir, 32) in their efforts to earn the approval of Allah. The Qur'an however, refers also to those who do not fully live by religion: "Among the people there are those who profess to worship Allah, but who stand on the very fringe of true religion..." (Surat al-Hajj, 11)
Here appears the distinctive feature of perfected faith. Those who do not embrace faith wholeheartedly worship Allah right on the "very fringe" while the people of perfected faith adopt the Qur'an as an essential guide for themselves at every moment of their lives. While insincere people stipulate certain conditions for keeping their faith, people of perfected faith are truly unconditional in their observances. The former group remain devoted to the religion and pretend to display the values praised by the Qur'an as long as they enjoy the blessings given to them and everything goes their way. Yet, whenever they are deprived of blessings or adversity befalls them, they simply turn away from religion or show disloyalty to it. The people of perfected faith, however, show an unshakable commitment to their faith and loyalty. The basic impetus behind this commitment is their "assured faith." "Assured faith" is true acknowledgement of Allah's existence and the hereafter with one's wisdom, heart and conscience. Believers who possess this character trait are described in the Qur'an as "those who have faith in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain about the hereafter." (Surat al-Baqara, 4)
Perfected faith manifests itself through unceasing attention to one's conscience. Conscience is a spiritual quality that engenders a good attitude and worthy thoughts, and helps man think straight and tell right from wrong. A person of perfected faith listens to the voice of his conscience under all circumstances. Such inclination ensures the morality and attitudes that comply with the Qur'an. The Prophet Muhammad (saas) pointed out the importance of conscience in this way:
A person asked Allah's Messenger (saas): What is faith? He said: When a good deed becomes a source of pleasure for you and an evil deed becomes a source of disgust for you, then you are a believer. He again said Allah's Messenger (saas): What is a sin? Whereupon he said: When something pricks your conscience, give it up. (Ahmad)
Of the alternatives he encounters, the believer chooses the attitude with which, he hopes, Allah will be pleased. He never stoops to baseness. The difficulties he encounters while displaying the ideal attitude never make him feel frustrated. He does not compromise the most appropriate attitude by being overtaken by the whims and desires of his lower self.
An example from daily life will make this issue clear. Let's assume that a big factory is on fire. Beset with such adversity, the owner of the factory is faced with many alternatives. He may, for instance, remain inside and, mobilizing the workers, struggle to put out the fire. Another course would be to leave the building and save his own life without notifying the workers. Or, he can do everything to save all his workers and meanwhile call the fire department.
All these alternatives may seem reasonable from different points of view. The conscience, however, guides man to the choice that would please Allah most. Perfected faith is the faith of one who unconditionally assumes the most noble attitude to which his conscience guides him, without feeling any trivial regret or disappointment.