The Secret Beyond Matter

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One should not remain behind without an excuse

Those believers who stay behind—other than those forced to by necessity—are not the same as those who strive in the Way of Allah, sacrificing their wealth and themselves. Allah has given those who strive with their wealth and themselves a higher rank than those who stay behind. Allah has promised the best to both, but Allah has preferred those who strive over those who stay behind by an immense reward." (Surat an-Nisa'; 95)

In this verse, Allah explains the situation of those Muslims who do not feel and display the zeal becoming to a believer. That is why they cannot be given much responsibility and are left to their own devices. Avoiding due effort for the cause of Islam without suffering any guilt is a moral weakness. Such believers are described as lower in rank compared to those who make a strenuous effort for the cause of Islam and risk their lives and possessions to earn the good pleasure of Allah. The words, "Allah has preferred those who strive over those who stay behind by an immense reward" in the verse above imply the vastness of the difference between the two groups. To risk noble rank in the Hereafter for a minor benefit in the life of this world never befits believers. There can be no question of reluctance or lagging behind in the intellectual struggle on Allah's path for a true believer who loves Allah above all things and has no aim other than pleasing Him. The believer wages an intellectual struggle to bring about the dominion of the moral values of the Qur'an, using all the means at his disposal, and takes great enjoyment from doing so. The joy that comes from striving to earn Allah's approval and laboring on His path is incomparably more valuable than any worldly blessing. In short, intellectually striving on Allah's path is a delight and a blessing for the believer.

Being sincere and truthful

Making false promises is a common practice of people who do not live by Qur'anic principles and values.

These people pretend to engage in deeds solely to give the impression they are important and superior. In order not to lose prestige, they promise things they never intend to do. Interestingly, this insincere attitude has gained overall acceptance in society, although it is displeasing to Allah:

You who believe! Why do you say what you do not do? It is deeply abhorrent to Allah that you should say what you do not do. (Surat as-Saff; 2-3)

This attitude leads to such characteristics as hypocrisy, deception and insincerity which Allah condemns. Believers who make it their goal to live by the moral virtues described in the Qur'an will surely avoid this dishonest behavior.

Moderation in joy and grief

Muslims' commitment to Allah and His religion entails an unconditional loyalty. For this reason, fluctuating conditions and circumstances never change believers' zeal, enthusiasm and determination to live by the morals of the Qur'an. Allah mentions two basic reactions displayed by a believer. First, conditions that are seemingly hard and severe never daunt him. Second, he never exults or feels pride because of what he obtains in this world. Allah states:

That is so that you will not be grieved about the things that pass you by or exult about the things that come to you. Allah does not love any vain or boastful man. (Surat al-Hadid; 23)

Man is always vulnerable, since he has no idea about what awaits him in life. A young person may suddenly be seized by a serious disease or become bedridden because of an accident. Anyone may lose all his wealth in a day or encounter events he never anticipated. In such a situation, those of weak faith will despair or feel rebellious. Forgetting all the blessings of Allah in an instant, they may even lose their love for and trust in Him. For sure, this is a serious moral distortion.

This is the value of true Muslims, for faith in Allah does not depend on particular circumstances. Aware that there is a Divine purpose and good in every event that Allah creates, believers merely persevere in the face of unexpected events and trust firmly in Allah's wisdom, compassion and justice. Whatever their loss, they do not consider it difficult and do not grieve over it.

Besides, in the Qur'an it is revealed that Muslims will experience unpredictable events throughout life and often face difficulties and carry on an intellectual struggle. While advocating truth and siding with the righteous, a Muslim will certainly encounter the opposition of those who would like to safeguard their own well-being and suppress the truth. There will always be those who consider the moral excellence to which Muslims summon people as a threat to their own interests and who thus are against the spread of Islam. These individuals, then, by their words and deeds, will want to prevent Muslims from living their religion and from calling on others to practice the morality of the Qur'an. Meanwhile, believers may sometimes experience loss of material wealth, have to risk their lives or abandon their homes. Yet all such seemingly adverse occasions will bring great reward, joy and glory in the Hereafter. For this reason, true Muslims accept all that happens to them.

As well as unexpected losses, people may also experience unexpected gains. Allah opens His infinite dominion to whomever He wills and grants them success, authority and power. But He warns Muslims against exulting in pride since any person receiving a great possession, authority or benefit becomes only a trustee, while it is Allah Who is the real possessor of everything. A person attains material wealth or comfort only because Allah wills it, and not because he has any power of his own. Aware of this fact, believers never forget their own weakness and do not become arrogant, even when they enjoy great blessings and wealth. They feel only a deep gratitude to Allah, and they strive to use their blessings for His cause in the best way possible.

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