(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
I recently heard a very interesting statement from someone who was calming down another person about her poor and adverse life conditions – that he knows she believes in God but there is a difference between belief and faith or trust. He said to her that if indeed she trusted God, she would not doubt that He would bring her out of it.
This, probably, happens to most of us when we unconsciously fail to accept that we can only do so much and that some results are indeed in His hands. These are times when half faith or no faith at all can lead to the feeling of failure or hopelessness.
At other times, we are rather pompous in stating the whole faith thing – when we carve religious matters according to how we feel at that point in time. We interpret things the way feel it suits us and we even aim at the attainment of mundane happiness and comfort, while simultaneously breaking the law. This is another form of half faith or no faith at all, because Allah (SWT) does indeed promise hardship in this life and pleasure and comfort in the next. In turning the game rules, we do exactly what some companions of the Holy Prophet (SAW) were doing when it came to trusting in him.
Sura al Baqarah speaks about the issue from the onset when it is stated thus: “who believe in the unseen and establish the prayer and of what we have provided them with, they spend in the way of their Lord” (verse 3), followed by “And who believe in that which has been sent down to you (O our messenger Muhammad) and that which has been sent down to the other messengers before you and of the hereafter they are sure” (verse 4).
There is also mention of disbelievers (note the context does ingrain upon the characteristic of half faith too) “Verily as for those who disbelieve, alike is it for them, you warn them or not, for they will not believe”(verse 6), followed by “They intend to deceive God and those who believe, while they deceive not but themselves, but they perceive it not” (verse 9).
S V Mir Ahmed Ali, in his celebrated commentary of the Holy Qurán interprets these verses as follows: “All those who believed or followed the Holy Prophet were not naturally equal in the degree of their connection and faith. Most of them were reluctant believers, some believed with their personal doubts about the truth as well as the bonafide of Muhammad as the Prophet of God. Some were believers only by declaration to follow the crowd, but at heart, they were inclined to their own creeds and some were those who were antagonists but were making a mere show of their belief. Such half or partial believers had little or no capacity at all for higher spiritual conceptions or for the sincere or perfect practice their faith. It is natural that such half-hearted adherents could never be able to keep themselves attached to their faith when it demands of them anything which did not well harmonise with everything else in their minds, or that which they held to be true or probable”.
It is for each one of us to analyse and then to understand what is the level of our belief – and if indeed we do not hold dear our inherited practices and thoughts over what faith commands us to do so.