Our era of existence - often termed as that of progress and development is dominated by those who have fallen in the cesspool of materialism and avarice in the name of progress. Yet, on the other hand, there are those who pour over the verses of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet to illuminate a path wherein human spirit is uplifted and it blossoms to its true purpose of creation.

The purpose of this small treatise is to draw our attention to the reality that a person's beliefs - the principles that one lives one life by - play an important role for his success and happiness in this world and the hereafter.

Traditionalists and distinguished scholars have divided Islam effectively into 2 branches:

  1. Belief - also known as Usule' Deen (The Roots of Religion) or Eeman. These are largely discussed under three headings - Tawheed (oneness of God), Nabuwwat (Prophethood) and Qiyamat (The Day of Judgement).

  2. Actions - also known as Furue' Deen (The Branches of Religion).

Traditions have likened Usule' Deen to the foundation and Furue' Deen to the upper stories of a building. It is common knowledge that the strength and the prolonged existence of any structure are directly co-related to the strength and depth of its foundation. In other words, one can definitely construct a paper edifice without a foundation; however the lack of a foundation or rather even a weak foundation can lead to the downfall of many a structure.

It is a strong foundation which not just ensures the strength of a construction but also protects the lives and the possessions of its inhabitants; it secures the building from earthquakes and other natural calamities and ensures that it meets not just the current, but also the future needs of its residents.

In the spiritual realm, beliefs play pretty much an identical role for human development. When the beliefs are strong and unwavering, the spiritual reward and pleasure that a person derives from his worship is unmatched. A person observed that Janab Owais'e Qarni (May Allah be pleased with him) often spent the entire night in bowing and prostration. He sought the secret of this capacity to spend the long nights in Allah's worship to which Janabe' Owais sighed and replied, "Where are the nights long?" By this sentence he meant that he derived such spiritual pleasure from the worship of Allah that he was oblivious to the physical passage of time. Dear readers, if this is not the result of a belief then what is?

The great prophet Isa bin Maryam once raised his mother from the dead by the permission of Allah and asked her, "Dear mother, if you were offered a chance, would you like to return back to this world?" She replied in the affirmative. When questioned about the reason for her choice she replied, "Just so that I can worship Allah in the cold nights and fast in the hot days."

The above incidents highlight the fact that the it is only the strength of one's belief which lightens the difficulties encountered in worshipping Allah. This concept is underscored by yet another incident during the life of the Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh). The African slave Bilal was tortured and tormented by his master with the sole objective that he renounce Islam and revert to the pagan religion of his master. However, such was his firm resolve that despite being tied and made to lie upon the sand in the searing Arabian heat and a heavy stone placed upon his chest, he chanted Ahad, Ahad (The One Allah, The One Allah). With this determined action Bilal not only bore the heat and difficulties in protecting his faith, but also ignited the flame of belief in the hearts of millions of Muslims.

A few opponents of religion have opined that belief instills helplessness and makes one spineless. Nothing could be farther to the truth than this concept. On the contrary it is only one's belief that instills a sense of courage and makes one's opponent tremble with fear. There is can be probably no better example than the event of Karbala to stress forth my point.

History finds no parallel to courage and bravery displayed in the incident of Karbala. While on one side we have the illustrious personality of Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) along with his band of 72 loyal followers, on the other side we have a multitude of blood-thirsty soldiers. The bravery of the 72 is etched in the pages history forever. It is only on the strength of their faith that the companions of Hussain, despite the odds against them are heard to say, "O Hussain! Even if we are killed 70 times and made to come back to life, we shall not forsake you." The resistance offered to the enemy despite three days of hunger and thirst is truly astounding.

On the other hand, the assembly of an army of thousands to combat the 72 warriors was a blatant display of cowardice. Such was their fear of the faith of Hussain that they did not even spare his 6-month old son. History informs us in its tear-laden pages that when Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) brought his son before the army so that they may offer some water to the infant, the commander of the army ordered that the child be slaughtered so that his soldiers do not rebel against him. It is shocking that an army of thousands was reeling in fear of the sight of an infant! The child was martyred shortly, an arrow piercing his neck. Historians have recorded that the child simply smiled in Hussain's arms before succumbing to his death. This one incident is sufficient to highlight the level of courage that Faith induces in an individual.

The incident of Karbala continues to provide us lessons long after the martyrdom of Hussain. The ladies of the House were arrested and paraded in the streets like ordinary criminals. Surprisingly, the government considered this as an accomplishment. However despite all odds, strength of belief always rears its head and instills courage in a person. The sermons of Janabe Zainab, (May Allah be pleased with her) in the courts of Kufa and Syria are shining examples of this fact.

  1. Belief plays an important, rather pivotal role in a person's life. Its role is similar to that of the foundation of any construction.

  2. The strength of one's belief lightens the spiritual load on a person and offers him peace of mind. It also makes light of the difficulties faced by a person in the way of worshipping Allah.

  3. The strength of one's belief inspires courage in one's heart and instills fear in his opponent.

  4. The strength of one's belief not only protects one's faith, but also becomes the cause of acceptance of his faith by others.

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