Faith and Life – Yusuf Qaradawi Book Review
Yusuf Qaradawi’s ‘Faith and Life’ explores the Aqeedah of an ideal Muslim believer, his interactions with the physical and spiritual world, his perceptions of life and death and the ideal frame of mind that a Muslim should have. This book is consists of four chapters: Iman (Faith) and the Dignity of Man, Iman and Happiness, Iman and Love and Iman and Hope, respectively. In this review, I will summarise further explore each chapter and add my own commentary InshaAllah.
Iman and the Dignity of Man
From a believer’s point of view, the creation of mankind by Allah SWT is the belief that the Lord of the Worlds created mankind in the best shape and design and honoured him in the Heavens by making the Angels prostrate to Adam AS. Allah SWT gifted mankind intellect, reasoning and free will, He guaranteed them guidance and bestowed upon them further physical gifts such as mobility, hearing and sight. Qaradawi’s main point in this chapter is that mankind are created as Allah’s vicegerent on Earth. With these glorious gifts, mankind is the one who should use his body to worship Allah and help others, use his intellect to call people to Islam and to judge falsehood from truth and use any power bestowed upon him to enforce Allah’s Laws upon the land. It is because of man’s intellect and soul that he has such a high status within the creations of Allah even though he may be physically small and weaker than other great creations in the universe. Allah SWT says,
‘Oh son of Adam! I created you for Myself so do not neglect [your duties toward me] and guaranteed your provision so you may not feel tired [seeking it]. Oh son of Adam! Ask for Me and you will find Me and if you find Me you will have found everything but if you lose Me, you will have lost everything. And I should be dearer than everything to you.’
On the other hand, from a materialist point of view, the creation of mankind is just an accumulation of certain elements in this finite world: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, water and fat etc. Materialists regard humans as mere animals and that the only reason we have reached the state that we are in now is because of evolution. They do not think that mankind has a greater purpose or any relationship with any such Divine Being. They believe that life is here and now, our desires and wishes must be fulfilled and then in the end we will die and rot in the ground for eternity. When materialists look at themselves and only see certain elements and not a soul, they think that all sorts of immoral and indecent acts are natural to them. Whereas seeking the meaning of life and worshipping Allah is deemed unnatural. Qaradawi quotes a contemporary Arab atheist who proclaimed,
‘We are only an outcome of nature just like insects. We equal nothing more than ourselves, as do insects. The difference between us and insects is a difference of excellence and the difference of excellence of us and the highest kind of animal does not much exceed the lowest kind of insect and the highest kind of animal. What then will the cosmos, the sun or the moon lose if we lose ourselves?’
However the believer of Islam, despite his physical size, certainly believes that he is above the status of the animals and that he has a divine spiritual connection with his Creator. Man does not need any intermediaries for his call to reach Allah as Allah is the All-Seeing, the All-Hearing and there is not a single corner in the Earth is not in His reach. Allah SWT explains in numerous verses of the Holy Quran,
‘When the servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close to them. I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls to Me.’ 2:186
‘To Allah belong the East and the West, wherever you turn there is the presence of Allah.’2:115
‘It is We (Allah) who created man and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him; for we are nearer to him than his jugular vein.’ 50:16
The relationship that a believer has with Allah is one that he must build himself, the more effort he puts into knowing his Lord, the more his Lord will favour him. Allah SWT says in a divine hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari,
‘I am as my servant thinks I am and I am with him whenever he remembers Me: if he remembers Me in himself, I remember him in Myself: if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a better group of people: if he draws to Me a hand span, I draw to him an arm’s length: if he draws to Me an arms length, I draw to him a fathom’s length and if he comes to me walking, I go to him at speed.’
Mankind’s position in respect to the Angels is more favourable to Allah. Allah gave humans free will so a believer’s worship is more loved by Allah than an Angels’ as Angels are all created to worship regardless. Humans were also bestowed more knowledge than the Angels as Adam AS, the first created man, taught the Angels their names. To honour mankind, Allah SWT commanded all the Angels to prostrate to Adam AS and all of them did except for Iblees for he was surely arrogant.
Qaradawi then goes on to further explain man’s position in relation to the material world. If we ponder about the world we live in, we realise that everything in the material world is designed by Allah SWT to suit man, to help him, to feed him, to keep him alive and to serve as his home. The creations of Allah on Earth revolve around the benefit of mankind as everything is the correct size, in the correct position, the correct temperature and function to give man life. These creations of Allah SWT can be explained in the further Quranic quotes,
‘It is Allah who has created the Heavens and the Earth and sends down rain from the skies and with it brings out fruit with which to feed you, it is He who has made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command, and the rivers also He has made subject to you. And He has made subject to you the sun and moon, both diligently pursuing their courses, and the night and the day He also made subject to you. And He gives of all that you ask for. And if you were to count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them.’ 14:32-34
‘We have honoured the sons of Adam, provided them with transport on land and sea, given them for substance things good and pure and conferred on them special favours above a great part of Our Creation.’ 17:70
‘Do you not see that Allah has subjected to your use all things in the Heavens and on Earth and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, both seen and unseen?’ 31:20
Qaradawi then answers the obvious question of why then are humans given such a supreme position when there are surely “greater” creations of Allah SWT in both the Heavens and on Earth? In his own words, Qaradawi says, ‘It is the secret of the light which is derived in Allah’s Light and the breath which is from Allah’s Spirit. It is the breath which prepared him for the vicegerency on Earth and for undertaking the greater trust of responsibility.’
‘We did offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it being afraid thereof…. But man undertook it.’ 33:72
This verse from Surah Al-Ahzab implies that even though the mainly obvious enormous creations of Allah SWT exists, it was after all mankind with its intellect, reasoning and soul that is the only one that Allah deemed capable to spread His religion and maintain His Trust. Because everything in the Heavens and in the Earth is subject to mankind, Allah SWT has given man freedom of choice and facilitated all means of guidance but on the other hand also removed any chance of an excuse against worshipping Allah.
‘Let him who will believe, and let him who will reject it.’ 18:29
‘Nay, man will be evidence against himself.’ 75:14
‘If you did well you did it for yourself, if you did evil you did it against yourself.’ 17:7
The Path to Truth and goodness is surely guaranteed to be easy as Islam has elevated the status of mankind and seeks to guide him in all aspects of his being whether it be the mind, body, soul, his desires, his worldly life and his provisions. The Quran and Sunnah are clear in every matter, they do not forbid anything that is essentially good for man nor does the religion impose anything that is difficult upon man. Any excuse is eliminated for disbelief since Islam is a religion for the rich, the poor, the healthy, the disabled, the young, the old and for every person of every nationality and background. Every human being is created to solely worship Allah and every human being is fully capable of it, if he so submits.
Even the greatest scholars of Islam have all come to a consensus that indeed the creation of man is something to be praised. Abu Bakr ibn Arabi, a scholar of Fiqh has said, ‘Allah the Almighty has never created a better creature than man, for He created him as living, knowledgeable, mighty, able to speak, able to see, able to dispose of his affairs- wise and these are the attributes of the Lord (Glorified and Exalted be He).’ Imam Al Ghazali in his book: ‘Ihya Ulum ad-Din’ said,
‘What can be mentioned in the servant’s nearness to his Lord (Glory be to Him) as regards the attributes that Allah has commanded him to imitate and follow, that is to adopt the morals of Lordship. Thus it was said, ‘Adopt Allah’s morals’ and that is by acquiring the good attributes pertaining to knowledge beneficence, benevolence, kindness, beautifulness, mercy and guidance in addition to any other noble trait of the Shari’ah. All these draw men near to Allah SWT.’
Imam al Ghazali is implying that there is a hidden harmony between Allah SWT and mankind, one that is not easily resembled but we can find hidden meanings through the Quran and Sunnah for in a Hadith the Prophet SAW says, ‘Surely Allah created Adam (AS) in his own Image’. And when Allah SWT said to Musa AS, ‘I was ill and you did not visit Me!’ to which Musa AS asks how can this be Allah says, ‘My servant, so and so, fell ill and you did not visit him. Had you visited him, you would have surely found Me with him!’ This is not to say that Allah SWT resembles humans in any concrete form as it is part of our Islamic Aqeedah to believe that there is nothing like Allah nor is it to say that Allah can ever fall ill but what these abstract verses imply is that there is a harmony between Allah and his creation which appears through voluntary acts of worship, good deeds and performing religious obligations to the best of one’s ability. In one Divine hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari, Allah says,
‘My servant continues to draw near to me with voluntary acts of worship so that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his tongue with which he speaks.’
To sum up the previous main points, Imam ibn al-Qayyim in his book ‘Madarij as Salikin’ said,
‘Allah SWT favoured man with special gifts among his creatures. He honoured, preferred and dignified him, created him for Himself and created all things for him, gave him out of His knowledge, love, nearness, honouring which He did not give to anyone else, subjected all things in the Heavens and on Earth and what is between them to his use, used even His Angels who are near to him for his benefit and made them protectors during his sleep, awakening, travels, staying at home etc. sent down His Books to him, sent him Messengers also from among men and addressed him directly. Thus man has a special position that none of the other creatures have.’
When a man is a true and sincere believer in Allah SWT, he is granted even more honour and dignity on top of that which he already possesses. Allah SWT is the one with the Honour and the Prophets as well as the Believers are gifted a part of that divine Honour.
‘But Honour belongs to Allah, and His Messenger and to the believers.’ 63:8
‘You are the best of Peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah’ 3:110
‘Thus we have made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that you might be witnesses over the nations.’ 2:143
‘He has chosen you and has imposed no difficulties upon you in religion.’ 22:78
The believers are the Chosen Ones upon this Earth and they are inherently protected by Allah and given freedom and dignity. They believe Allah is always with them, watching and guiding, granting them lawful provisions and dealing with their worldly affairs. The Muslims are also protected by the infidels who seek to harm them or turn them astray. They are always in comfort knowing that they hold ultimate success and their Lord will never abandon them.
‘And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over the believers.’ 4:141
‘That is because Allah is the Protector of those who believe, but those who reject Allah have no Protector.’ 47:11
‘Allah is the Protector of those who have Faith, from the depth of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith; the patrons are the evil ones, from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness.’ 2:257
‘And it was due from Us to aid those who believe’ 30:47
‘Verily Allah will defend [from ill] those who believe, verily Allah loves not any that is a traitor to Faith, or shows ingratitude.’ 22:38
The believers are hence pleased with what Allah is pleased with and are displeased with what displeases Allah. Qaradawi says, ‘The Quran takes believers as a criterion of righteousness of deeds as their judgements are considered by Allah and His Messenger: ‘And say work righteousness, soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger and the believers. 9:105’ and it is also shown in the verse, ‘Grievous and odious is such conduct in the sight of Allah and of the believers.’ 40:35
The believer does not fear any other human being or calamity because he knows he is a master in this world, carrying the vicegerency of Allah SWT and being a Slave to Him alone. Qaradawi gives the example of Bilal ibn Rabah, the famous black slave who embraced Islam and who was one of the greatest Companions to the Prophet PBUH. His status in the Pre-Islamic society of Makkah may have been the lowest of the low yet because of his belief in Allah, he regarded himself on a higher level than the wealthy and powerful pagan leaders. It was his Iman that made him rich in the soul and ultimately successful while it was the Pagan leaders’ arrogance which made their souls broke and poor. Another example that Qaradawi gives is that of an illiterate Bedouin named Rib’i ibn ‘Amir who stood with honour in front of the Persian General Rustum who paraded before Rib’i with his power, attendants, gold and might. When asked who he was by Rustum, Rib’i ibn ‘Amir said, ‘We are people sent by Allah to lead people away from the worship of creatures, to the worship of the Lord of creatures alone from the life of hardship to another life of ease and from the injustice of doctrines to the justice of Islam’. This shows how Islam can enlighten even a poor man in the desert and raise his status, honour and confidence to the point where he will no longer be subject to any man and only subject to Allah alone.
A believer carries himself with honour and self respect because of his belief in Allah and the afterlife. He does not succumb to his personal desires nor does he believe that this life is only for his personal enjoyment. Because the believer knows that he will be accounted for all that he does, he will enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil in this life while also striving for the eternal happiness of a promised Jannah. The hope for Jannah becomes the believer’s drive for living his short life here on Earth with morality and purpose. He is not like the materialists that do not live with Islam and think that their existence is worth no more than an ape’s existence. Only a materialist will wrongly believe that after his life, he will rot to bones in the ground for eternity therefore in his life, its his right to fit as much personal enjoyment and fun as he can with little regard for morals and values.
When it comes to man’s position the materialist considers himself to be just a random creature who emerged from non-existence into existence by himself and by chance, who merely ‘evolved’ from being an unintellectual animal to a human who can now supposedly master all things in life. For this reason, the materialist thinks that there is no Divine Being and that he himself must be a god. Qaradawi says, ‘This materialistic view concerning man has produced two different views:
- Man’s feeling of triviality and loss and him looking at himself in a purely animalistic perspective.
- The feeling of self-conceit and pride, which leads man to consider himself a god when he discards the existence of the True God and acts as a god who is not to be asked about his deeds as was claimed by Julian Hiksli when he described man in the modern time as Allah and who can create things!’
Hence the more man grows in his materials, science and his money, the more he delves deeper into a state of psychological crisis. This is because he believes he acquired all these things of his own accord and he can do with it whatever he wishes. He does not think that his possessions and his knowledge are to be used for justice nor does he believe he will even be held responsible for what he did with these gifts from Allah.
Along with man’s position, there are also two natures to man. There is his physical entity, a body which can grow, suffer pain, have an appetite and certain lusts. This is the more animalistic side which only concerns that which is tangible. The other side to man is his mind and his soul, that which is responsible for his emotions, his decisions. This side is unseen yet it is surely felt. Professor Seshot, an American scientist at Yale University gives his opinion on this matter saying, ‘The strange dual nature of a man is a matter that has confused scientists for a long time. This is because the physical aspect in man ie. his body- lives, grows and then dies, yet still there is something that is not perceived by the senses and that seems to control this body. This thing can feel and think. It is a side that contains the essence of his entity.’ Some people in life fail to understand this inherent nature of man, they either deny one or the other entity. For example, devout Christians take an oath of celibacy because they think the physical entity of man should be suppressed and a person’s life should only revolve around prayer and faith. On the other side, materialists suppress the entity of their soul and think that life should revolve around their physical personal enjoyment. The stance of choosing one or the other is problematic as it leaves people corrupted, confused and unhappy in their life. However the religion of Islam acknowledges both these natures to man as his normal nature and provides guidance for his soul as well as his worldly affairs. Qaradawi says,
‘The dual nature is not an accidental or secondary nature in man, but is the nature with which Allah created him and qualified for him to be His vicegerent on Earth. When the Almighty created Adam, He gathered both the handful of clay and the breath from His Spirit: ‘Such is He, the Knower of all things, hidden and open, Exalted (in power), the Merciful: He who has made everything which He has created most Good, He began the creation of man with nothing more than clay and made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised; but He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed into him something of His Spirit, and He gave you (the faculties) of hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding); little thanks do you give.’ 32:6-9
Islam urges its followers to adopt a middle ground when it comes to dealing with the mind and the soul. When the Prophet SAW heard of a woman who spent her entire nights in prayer, he said disapprovingly, ‘Do (good) deeds which are within your capacity as Allah never gets tired of giving rewards till you get tired of doing good deeds.’ On another occasion the Prophet SAW advised a Muslim to act towards life as if he will live forever and to work for the hereafter as if he were to die the following day.
All in all, we know by now that man is surely created with a purpose. His dignity, honour, special design and dual nature cannot be a coincidence nor can it all be for nothing. The purpose of man is to know Allah, to worship Him and to be his vicegerent on Earth. And man is created ever immortal.
‘Did you think that we have created you in jest, and that you would not be brought back (to Us) for account? Therefore Exalted be Allah, the King, the Reality’ 23:115-116
I will conclude this chapter with a meaningful quote by Qaradawi,
‘There is a huge difference between one who lives for himself and one who lives for his Lord; between one who lives for worldly pleasures and one who lives for an existence which is not limited by time or place!’
Iman and Happiness
Where is happiness? People have gone far and wide, to all corners of the globe and tried and experienced all sorts of new things that they thought would make them happy. But what they soon found was that this happiness was short lived and sometimes it would even bring about a new kind of grief. People have thought that if they acquired a mass ton of wealth, it would surely put all their sufferings to an end. There are some people in this world who have been given a massive amount of wealth, for example take the residents of Sweden. They have the highest standard of living in the world and rarely do they ever have to worry about financial problems, yet for some reason they have a high suicide rate and are severely depressed. Even though their physical life is perfect, nearly all of them are struggling with the abyss of a lack of faith. All they ever know will be worldly things yet the more worldly things they have, the more dissatisfied they are, leading them to believe that they need more material things. The love of materialism is a perpetual cycle that only leads to corruption and depression.
‘Let not their wealth nor their (following in) sons dazzle you, in reality Allah’s plan is to punish them with these things in their life’ 9:55
The Prophet SAW said, ‘Were it that a son of Adam had two valleys of gold, he would have sought a third one.’
Prophet Isa AS said, ‘The likeness of a lover of this worldly life is as the likeness of a drinker of intoxicants: the more he drinks from them, the more he feels thirsty.’
If happiness is not found through material and wealth, is it found through having children or experimental science? Qaradawi answers this question saying that while children may be a source of happiness they are not with a person forever and they can often cause their parents grief by rebellion and ingratitude. Even though science has been the gateway into man enjoying a life of luxury like never before, science has still not been the way to happiness. It has instead left many people feeling empty and confused and scientists still have not come close to an absolute understanding of the universe. As well as this people are realising that their own human reasoning and logical explanation to life isnt making their hearts content any more. Qaradawi concludes,
‘Therefore, happiness is not in having abundant wealth, enjoying power and prestige, in having a large number of children, in gaining benefits and profit, nor in material science. Happiness is an abstract thing that cannot be seen by the eye, measured by quantity, stored in cases, or brought by money. It is something that man feels in the form of purity in the soul, tranquility of the heart and peace of mind. It is something that springs from within man and is not imported from outside.’
It is only the springs of Iman that can provide a deeper and everlasting happiness for man and it overrides everything physical and tangible. Iman comes from the heart and from within provides light into man’s life.
Chapter Three- Iman and Love
The Prophet SAW said, ‘By Him in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise unless you truly believe and you will not truly believe unless you love one another.’ Narrated by Muslim.
Love is what facilitates happiness and it should be the most important thing to uphold with every relation pertaining to a Muslim whether it be a parent, siblings, elders or a partner. Love is something the Muslim Ummah as a whole has been struggling to maintain. We have become an Ummah that is always in dispute with one another whether it be regarding nationality, ethnicity, sect, Islamic ideology ie. Sufi, Salafi, Wahabi, Shia etc. Our history and our Sunnah that is actually filled with so many hidden gems of values of love, kindness and mercy have often been swept under the carpet. What’s sad is that when people think of Islam, pictures of aggression and oppression come to mind. On the other hand, the Christians do not have but a few verses of peace and love yet they’ve filled the whole world with these sayings (ie. love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek) so that these virtues have ‘Christian’ connotations to them.
The believer should love everything that comes from Allah but overall love Allah the most. Included in this should be a believer’s love for the creations of Allah and nature as these were created in perfect order as Signs for mankind. They are a sign that points to Allah and things in nature should be respected because they too glorify Allah SWT.
‘The seven Heavens and the Earth and all beings therein declare His glory; there is not a thing but celebrates His praise and yet you understand not how they declare His glory’ 17:44
‘Behold! In the creation of the Heavens and the Earth and the alteration of night and day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding, men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of ) creation in the Heavens and the Earth, (with the thought): ‘Our Lord! Not for naught have You created (all) of this! Glory be to You!’’ 3:190-191
The Prophet SAW even declared his love for a mountain saying, ‘This is a mountain that loves us and that we love’ (Narrated by Al-Bukhari) when speaking about Uhud. Qaradawi says, ‘The universe does not contain anything that was created aimlessly or for jest. Everything in it was prepared to fulfill its role according to the will of Allah regarding the population of the Earth, continuation of life until the end of its term, and service to the honoured part of creation: man.’
When it comes to living, a believer should love his life and not wish for death. A believer does not consider life to be a burden rather every day he is alive is a blessing for which it is another chance to further gain Allah’s favour by doing good deeds. I would like to add the story of two men in a situation where one of them a non-martyr will enter Jannah before the martyr. As we know gaining the status of Shaheed guarantees an easy acceptance into Jannah. This hadith states that there were two people who approached the Prophet SAW to convert and become Muslims on the same day. One of these men was a little more God-conscious and used to work a bit harder in his deen than the other man for the sake of Allah and when he went to Jihad, this man died a martyr. The other man died a year later, a normal death of natural circumstances. A righteous companion, Talha bin Ubaidallah had a dream where he saw himself in front of the gates of Jannah. Talha says, ‘I saw these two people that became Muslim and then an Angel came out of Jannah and opened the Gates for the one who died later; the non-martyr entered Jannah first. The man who died a martyr was admitted into Jannah second. The Angel then came to Talha and told his time had not come yet, he must go back. It was then that Talha bin Ubaidallah woke up. Talha spoke of his dream to the Prophet SAW because he was so amazed that the regular man would go into Jannah after a Shaheed, what is it that the regular man did to go to Jannah first? The Prophet SAW said, ‘Ya Talha, didn’t the man who died later witness one more year than the martyr?’ Talha replied, ‘Yes’. SAW then said, ‘Didn’t the man who die before witness the month of Ramadan? Didn’t he witness the whole month of Ramadan and didn’t he pray more? Talha again said yes. The Prophet SAW then said, ‘Due to his witnessing of Ramadan and praying more, the difference between him and the martyr is the difference between the Heavens and the Earth.’ SubhanAllah. This story shows us why we should always wish for life- it gives us multiple chances to do more good, which can raise our status to that even above a martyr. The Prophet SAW said,
‘None of you should wish for death or call for it before it comes (in its predestined time). A man’s (good) deeds come to an end when he dies and a believer’s lifetime adds nothing but goodness to him.’ Narrated by Muslim.
The believer however does not love life just for what he gains in his personal desires and material pleasures but rather he loves it because he is able to carry out his duty for Allah SWT. On the other hand, just as the believer loves life, the believer loves death because he is able to meet with his Lord. When it came to the end of Rasulullah’s life, he was given the option of dying or living further on. The Prophet SAW inevitably chose death and to be with the highest companions. Rasulullah says,
‘Allah loves to meet whoever loves to meet Him.’ Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Another thing that a believer must love are people as they are his brothers and sisters, sons of Adam, sharing a common purpose and goal as well as a common enemy: Shaytaan. A believer must strive to improve the lives of their community if they have the power to do so, to make people happy, not to break other’s hearts and to guide them away from the Shaytaan path onto the right path. A believer always respects other people no matter who they are or what their background is. The fact that we are all created different is a Sign from Allah,
‘And among his Signs is the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours; verily in that are Signs for those who know.’ 30:22
The believers are required to always stay united and not to cause conflict within themselves. The believer does not preoccupy his mind and affairs with conflicts, fighting and revenge. He tolerates and restrains his anger even when he is right. This is because he believes that the worldly life is too short to be spent with feelings of animosity. A true Muslim only wishes happiness and the best of the Hereafter to their brothers and sisters in Islam. They must strengthen and protect one another, they must help each other, feed each other and advise each other. The Prophet SAW said in a hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik, ‘Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed one.’ People asked, ‘Oh Allah’s Messenger! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?’ The Prophet PBUH replied, ‘By preventing him from oppressing others.’
The believer wishes only good for his Muslim brothers and sisters and does not envy anyone as envy is a sign of ungratefulness and ungratefulness is akin to disbelief. Envy causes ongoing sorrow and fury at one’s life and makes them despise what Allah allocated them out of His Bounty. The Prophet SAW said,
‘There is no envy except in two: a man whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way and a man whom Allah has given wisdom and he judges (between people) according to it and teaches it (to them).’ Narrated by Al-Bukhari
‘And for this (piety), let those aspire who have aspirations’ 83:26
Qaradawi says, ‘Islam divides the human world into two categories: the friends of Allah and the friends of Satan; advocates of truth and advocates of falsehood. It has legislated war and fighting only against supporters of falsehood and those who fight in the cause of Satan whoever they may be and whoever they are.’
‘Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject Faith fight in the cause of Evil so fight against the friends of Satan, feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.’ 4:76
The believer does not hate for a personal benefit ie. nationality, tribalism, caste, class or for animosity or envy. His hate should only be for the sake of Allah. However the Muslim must also be tolerable with the disbelievers and feel pity and grief for them because of their ignorance. Leave the judgement to Allah and do not get into vain disputes with them. A believer shouldn’t turn other people away from Islam.
‘If they do wrangle with you, say, ‘Allah knows best what it is you are doing, Allah will judge between you on the Day of Judgement concerning the matters in which you differ’’ 22:68-69
Chapter Four- Iman and Hope
Qaradawi stresses the importance of hope in our lives calling it the ‘elixir of life’ and saying it is the source for tranquility and peace. A person who has hope can do anything, it is hope of good grades that makes a student study, it is the hope of victory that makes a soldier put his life on the line and it is the hope for recovery and health that makes the sickly endure. Hope is the fuel in people’s lives, it keeps them going no matter what happens.
The opposite of hope is surely despair. Despair makes people not work for anything because they think that any result will be impossible to achieve hence this despair weakens their motivations and makes them idle. Ibn Masud says, ‘Loss is involved in two things: despair and self-satisfaction’. Despair makes people think nothing fruitful will come out of their actions and self-satisfaction makes people think they have done all there is to do already. Despair is found in a person who either denies Allah or has very weak faith. Allah SWT says,
‘Truly no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith’ 12:87
‘And who despairs of the Mercy of his Lord but such as go astray?’ 15:56
Despair often emerges in times of calamity and hardship. People have a hard timekeeping hope when there is destruction before their eyes. Often times people blame Allah straight away for the hardships they have to go through,
‘If We give man a taste of mercy from Ourselves and then withdraw it from him, behold! He is in despair and (falls into) blasphemy’ 11:9
The believer is the most hopeful because he knows that Allah is the Most Powerful and that He will ultimately be Just in all affairs. No person is given a burden more than that which they can endure. Qaradawi says,
‘He gives days of varying fortune to people by turns, so He may change a state of fear to one of security and peace, and a state of weakness to one of strength, and makes ease with every hardship, a way out with every affliction and relief with every difficulty.’
The believers are guaranteed relief not once, but twice. One difficulty can never overcome two reliefs.
‘So, verily with every difficulty there is relief, verily with every difficulty there is relief’ 94:5-6
With that concludes Qaradawi’s book on faith, life and what it means to be a believer. The time to change our mindset and actions for the better does not start tomorrow, it starts here and now. It is after all not the quantity of good deeds that one performs nor who sees it, rather it is about the sincerity and consistency of those deeds. And as my mother always says, ‘Manners, Hanifa, manners.’