Iman bil Qist, Temptations, Psychological Health

Issue 972 » November 10, 2017 - Safar 21, 1439

Living The Quran

Iman bil Qist
Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verse 18

"Allah, the angels and the people of knowledge all bear witness that there is no god but He, upholding justice. There is no god other than Him. He is supreme and most wise."

Belief in Allah is strengthened by the knowledge that His dominion is firmly established on justice. This is most significant as a part of faith. It occupies a most prominent place in the scheme of Islam, so much so that justice and Islam are almost synonymous and interchangeable. According to Ustadh Farahi, this attribute is significant for the following reasons:

Firstly, iman, or faith, is derived from aman or trust. In other words, trust is its intrinsic part. This means that for a person to have faith, he must have a firm belief in the existence of Allah. This cannot be achieved unless we accept that reason is initially given to humans in order to guide rather than misguide them. Human reason is an instrument of justice placed within human beings. This, in turn, leads us to yet another conclusion: the Creator has created and fashioned nature on the principles of truth and justice, as He essentially loves justice and wills to establish and confirm it in all its forms.

Secondly, the essence of iman is love for Allah. We believe in a Deity Whom we adore and love, to Whom we look with hope and strive to win His pleasure. This is not possible unless we firmly believe that He is free of all traces of injustice and cruelty and that He will reward only those who obey Him and punish those who justly deserve such recompense for their misdeeds. To love an unjust and cruel master is utterly abhorrent to human nature.

Thirdly, the incentive to believe in Allah that arises out of our reflection over His blessings and the manifestations of His grace is rooted in our sense of gratitude. But this sense of gratitude becomes active only when we accept that we owe it to Him as our true Benefactor and as a necessary consequence of His blessings upon us. That is why the Quran describes shirk, or associating others with Allah, as injustice; while iman, or belief, is described as an act of gratitude. Under this principle, the privilege of entitlement to rights is linked to the obligation of establishing justice as a necessary condition. Every Divine law is essentially based on justice and equity.

Fourthly, the first fruit of iman is obedience to Allah while the fruit of obedience is the attainment of the pleasure of Allah. This relationship between actions and their effects has been established by Allah through His acts of creation and command and His arrangement and control of affairs. He has explained and guided us to this right way of obedience by various means. As we fully believe in these consequences of human actions, we obey and serve our Creator and Sustainer and place our trust in His promise. In the absence of such a faith and trust in His promise, the entire basis and fabric of our actions and our life collapses. Thereafter, we will have no option but to put our trust in deviant hopes and beliefs. To safeguard ourselves against such deviance, it is essential to believe that Allah is established in justice and maintains justice and, moreover, that all His promises are true.

Consideration of the above four points will clearly show that the belief in justice — iman bil qist — is an integral article of belief and on it rest some extremely important and basic creedal, moral and legal issues.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah Ali Imran" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Understanding The Prophet's Life


People often yield to temptation when position, wealth, power, sex and the like are on offer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was offered all these more than once. For example, Utbah ibn Rabiah was the chief of the Abd Shams clan of the Quraysh, and was highly respected by all people in Arabia. He was on the moderate side of the Quraysh. He did not like the polarization that was taking place between the new Muslims and the rest of the people of Makkah. One day he saw the Prophet worshipping at the Kabah. He spoke to him, hoping to reach some understanding with him. He addressed him in a very gentle manner, highlighting the problem before making him the following offers: "My nephew, if you have started this affair hoping to make money out of it, we are all willing to give you some of our own wealth so that you would be the richest among us. If it is honour and position you want, we will make you our master and seek your advice in all matters. If it is a throne you are after, we will make you our king. If, on the other hand, you are possessed and are unable to resist what overwhelms you, we will spare no expense in seeking a medical cure for you."

The Prophet's reply consisted of reciting to Utbah the first 38 verses of Surah 41 of the Quran, and Utbah listened attentively. When the Prophet finished his recitation, the Prophet prostrated himself in humble devotion to God, before saying to Utbah: "You have heard what I have to say and you can make up your own mind." [Ibn Hisham] That recitation explained to Utbah the basic principles of Islam, coupled with God's warning of severe punishment for those who reject His faith. Utbah realized that the Prophet would agree to no compromise. He, therefore, went back to his people and suggested to them that they should leave Muhammad alone, and let him carry his message wherever he wanted. He reasoned that if Muhammad achieved honour and power, they would benefit by that; if others killed him, then the Quraysh would have been spared the need to do that themselves.

The offer included everything people covet and often fall for. Sometimes the temptation is too strong that resistance requires great strength that can only be supplied by a strong belief in one's principles. The process of hesitation between the temptation and resistance is often referred to in Islamic terminology as listening to one's own Satan. The Prophet mentioned this to his Companions. In explanation, he told them that everyone had their own Satan tempting them to commit different sins. They asked him whether he also had a Satan doing the same. He said: "Yes, I have; but God has helped me against him and now he only tells me what is good." [Muslim]

Compiled From:
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi


Psychological Health

One may live for a very long time without complaining of bodily aches or pains, but it is unlikely that one will pass a day without experiencing something that causes anger, anxiety, sadness or gloom. This is due to the intrinsic essential nature of the soul and its volatile essence and changeability. And it is for this reason that man should do his utmost best to protect the soul from (external and internal) emotionally disturbing events and keep it in its best possible condition. And just as when the body is afflicted with painful symptoms or illnesses, it can only be helped by treatments similar to it in its physical nature such as medicines or special diets that bring about its cure; so the treatment of the disordered soul that complains of psychological symptoms requires a spiritual (psychic) kind of therapy that is similar to its nonphysical nature.

Furthermore, just as the body can be treated either internally through prevention of certain foods or externally through the use of medicines and special diets, so the soul can also be treated through these internal and external approaches. One suffering from psychological disturbance can fight his symptoms internally by developing within the soul thoughts (of an opposite nature to the ones that sustain the problem) that neutralize the symptoms and desensitize their provocation. Externally, one can listen to the advice of another whose (therapeutic) discussion (or counseling) would calm the agitated soul and treat its abnormality.

So a person who cares about the health of his soul should spare no effort in benefiting from these two (internal and external) means to protect the soul from being dominated by negative psychological symptoms that upset his life. It is vital to do so, since the psychological symptoms may become severe and lead to bodily disorders.

Compiled From:
"Abu Zayd al-Balkhi's Sustenance of the Soul: the Cognitive Behavior Therapy of a Ninth Century Physician" - Malik Badri, p. 33