Faith, Half faith and no faith at all

Mohamedarif Suleman

(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.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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