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The sweetness of Islamic faith


Adil Salahi | Arab News


Anas ibn Malik quotes the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: ďAny person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for Godís sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.Ē (Related by Al-Bukhari).

The first thing to note in this Hadith is that certain qualities are necessary before a person experiences the sweetness of faith. This suggests that a person may look at the message of Islam and find it reasonable and logical. He declares himself a believer and expresses his unhesitating belief in Godís oneness and in Prophet Muhammadís message. Such a person is a Muslim, no doubt. He earns the reward of believers. However, he needs to do more in order to experience what the Prophet describes as ďthe sweetness of faith.Ē

Such sweetness is like the fruit of a tree. Thus, when one is convinced of the truth of faith, that person has planted a shoot, which one needs to nurture and look after so that it grows into a tree and produces its fruits. Nurturing the tree of faith is by fulfilling Godís orders, doing what He wants us to do and refraining from what He has forbidden us. Indeed when a believer begins to do that, committing himself to do what God has bidden, he will soon find the effects of such commitment within himself and in his life generally because God only orders us to do what is good for us, and He forbids us only what is evil and harmful to us or others. Thus, such committed person will realize that his commitment brings him increasing benefits in this present life, in addition to what he hopes to receive of Godís reward. He would then love his commitment and do it more than willingly.

Islam forbids all intoxicating drinks, putting extra emphasis on even tasting an alcoholic drink. Take the case of a young Muslim studying in Europe or America. He may find himself among a group of friends who are all drinking. They try to persuade him to have a small glass of wine, concentrating on its benefits and saying that drinking in moderation causes no harm. He may feel tempted to join, but then he looks at one of his friends on whom the effects of alcohol are beginning to tell and realizes how that person is starting to lose control of himself. Our Muslim friend will then step back, finding extra strength to resist the temptation. The more he reflects on the effects of drinking the greater is his love of the Islamic way that forbids all alcoholic drinks, even in the smallest measure. His commitment to do Godís bidding grows always stronger. It is such strong commitment that is the mark of his love of God and His messenger.

The two other qualities develop in consequence of the first. A Muslimís commitment to obey God in all that He bids us to do or refrain from will begin to influence his social life. His relations with other people will put much importance on their attitude to Islam and Islamic life. He will love those who do what He does of obeying God and following the Prophetís guidance. His relationship with them will be based on the fact that they share a commitment and a method of living that places obedience to God as paramount. They will all feel a bond uniting them in a cause that brings only goodness in human life. Such bond generates a sort of happiness that envelops them all, a happiness that can transform every human society and bring the best out of it.

Experiencing all this, a true believer is always increasingly happy with his faith and way of life. He will not barter it for anything on earth. He realizes that this happy life will also bring him far superior happiness in the life to come. He cannot imagine himself going back to disbelief. Indeed, to him the very thought is so repugnant that he would prefer to be thrown in the fire rather than be an unbeliever.





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