By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
25 October 2016
The Quran Describes Three Types Of
Believer: A person who lives a life based on truth and chooses all that is
good and noble is attuned to recognize and accept the truth and recognize
falsehood and reject it. He is not arrogant and will therefore accept good from
whatever source it comes and support it. He is a person who strives actively on
the path of truth. The characteristics of a believer are described in the
(2:2) This is the Book; in it is
guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah;(3) Who believe in the
Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for
them;(4) And who believe in the Revelation sent to you, and sent before your
time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.(5) They are on
(true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.
Charity is one of the noblest virtues as it
combines sacrifice with empathy and caring for others and is the foremost among
the various practices that form part of the golden rule. The moral way of
living enunciated in the revelations provides proof that this can come only
from the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and from none else. Belief in
the Unseen God who is the author of the divine moral code and belief in the
Hereafter in which God’s justice finds perfection by design of God, is
therefore easy for such people. The assurance in their hearts of the Hereafter,
is what makes it easy for the believers to live a moral life in accordance with
the way of living enunciated in the scriptures since they hope for the major
portion of their rewards in the hereafter and not in this world. This is what
makes it easy for them to sacrifice self-interest for truth, justice and for
the well-being of all life on this earth without expecting returns in this life.
They are people who are patient in the face of adversity and practice
self-restraint. Such people progress on the path of guidance.
(16:30) To the righteous (when) it is
said, "What is it that your Lord has revealed?" they say, "All
that is good." To those who do good, there is good in this world, and the
Home of the Hereafter is even better and excellent indeed is the Home of the
With all their hopes resting with God, they
care very little for the vicissitudes of this life. The believer is a faith
neutral term in the Quran and is any person who believes in one God, the
Hereafter and practices righteousness.
(2:62) Those who believe (in the
Qur´an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and
the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work
righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no
fear, nor shall they grieve.
Hypocrite: The hypocrite is a weakling straddling both belief and
disbelief. He is trying to maximize his gains. He wants to be on the winning
side always. He is not arrogant and therefore sees the truth in flashes but
since truth is not what interests him but his self-interest, he is immediately
blinded by the very brilliance of the light and is left in the darkness as if
he was blind. The characteristics of a hypocrite are described in the following
(2:8) Of the people there are some who
say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day;" but they do not (really)
believe. (9) Fain would they deceive Allah and those who believe, but they only
deceive themselves, and realise (it) not! (10) In their hearts is a disease;
and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they
(incur), because they are false (to themselves). (11) When it is said to them:
"Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "Why, we only Want
to make peace!" (12) Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but
they realise (it) not. (13) When it is said to them: "Believe as the
others believe:" They say: "Shall we believe as the fools
believe?" Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know.
These people are able to see the truth
momentarily but do not follow the truth and are therefore false to themselves.
Each time they see the truth and suppress it, such behaviour becomes stronger
and the cognitive dissonance weaker until they reach a stage when the truth no
longer bothers them and they become as it were deaf and blind to it. The following
verses describe the same:
(2:14) When they meet those who believe,
they say: "We believe;" but when they are alone with their evil ones,
they say: "We are really with you: We (were) only jesting." (15)
Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and give them rope in their
trespasses; so they will wander like blind ones (To and fro). (16) These are
they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and
they have lost true direction, (17) Their similitude is that of a man who
kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and
left them in utter darkness. So they could not see. (18) Deaf, dumb, and blind,
they will not return (to the path).
Who Reject Faith Or The Kafir: The kafir is a person who has chosen to be selfish
and self-centred and convinced himself that the ends of a life on this earth
are to maximize his gains and pleasures adopting whatever means appear
appropriate. Truth, justice, kindness matter to him not in their absolute sense
but only to the extent these can serve his purpose on this earth. He is
arrogant and envious of others. He wants power, money and all the good things
in life to lord over. He will therefore reject any message that invites him to
what is moral. The rejection is of the messenger out of envy and arrogance and
of the message as it is the opposite of what he is inclined to. He will
actively resist both the messenger and the message and by his behaviour become
so confirmed in his rejection that he becomes totally deaf and blind to the
message. They are described in the following verses:
(17:94) What kept men back from belief
when Guidance came to them, was nothing but this: they said, "Has Allah
sent a man (like us) to be (His) Messenger?"
Arrogance and envy of others is what makes
people reject guidance in the first place.
(14:3) Those who love the life of this
world more than the Hereafter, who hinder (men) from the Path of Allah and seek
therein something crooked: they are astray by a long distance.
(16:22) Your Allah is one Allah: as to
those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know, and they
A person who seeks immediate gratification
loves the life of this world and to such a person, promises in the Hereafter
are too distant, uncertain and probably appear as false. The fact that that he
has gained much in this life through immoral means and the fact that he sees
that any change in his present ways would cause an immediate loss in power and
wealth is what prevents him from seeing the truth. His arrogance is also
self-gratification through self-aggrandizement.
(1) The mutual
rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the
more serious things),
(2) Until ye
visit the graves.
(3) But nay, ye
soon shall know (the reality).
(4) Again, ye
soon shall know!
(5) Nay, were
ye to know with certainty of mind, (ye would beware!)
(6) Ye shall
certainly see Hell-Fire!
(7) Again, ye shall see it with certainty of sight!
(8) Then, shall
ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in!).
(2:6) As to those who reject Faith, it
is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not
believe.(7) Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on
their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).
When Allah says that Allah sets a seal on
the hearts of the sinners, the reference is to the natural law of Allah,
whereby a person who is arrogant and dismissive of others on account of his
arrogance, and is only interested in immediate gratification, is selfish,
self-centred, and shuts out the voice of reason and truth, loses the ability to
perceive anything except what is immediately gratifying so that it were as if
‘a seal is set upon his heart'. It is
not Allah who wrongs them, but they wrong themselves by what they choose for
themselves (3:117, 9:70)
6:12 It is they who have lost their own
souls, that will not believe.
(6:108) Revile not ye those whom they
call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their
ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end
will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all
that they did.
They have by their choice, lost all their
potential for nobility that man is endowed with, by wilfully inclining towards
evil and rejecting what is good. Such people will never believe and they will
be happy in their disbelief considering the believers to be fools and
themselves to be smart.
The word kafir is a faith neutral term in
the Quran. A kafir could be a Muslim, Christian, Jew, polytheist or a person
professing any other faith. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall says: “In the Qur’an I
find two meanings (of a Kafir), which become one the moment that we try to
realize the divine standpoint. The Kafir in the first place, is not the
follower of any religion. He is the opponent of Allah’s benevolent will and
purpose for mankind - therefore the disbeliever in the truth of all religions,
the disbeliever in all Scriptures as of divine revelation, the disbeliever to
the point of active opposition in all the Prophets (pbut) whom the Muslims are
bidden to regard, without distinction, as messengers of Allah.
Understanding God’s Laws of Human
The Role of Cognitive Dissonance
Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said in
his 1925 book, Science and the Modern World: “It is easy enough to find a
[self-consistent] theory . . . , provided that you are content to disregard
half your evidence. The moral temper required for the pursuit of truth,
includes an unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account.”
There are many people who show an
unflinching determination to disregard half of the relevant evidence!
In Psychology this is called cognitive bias
where we pay attention only to facts that support our prejudices. Uncomfortable
evidence that contradicts our theory causes what is called cognitive
dissonance. An honest way of dealing with cognitive dissonance is to revise our
opinion/theory taking the full facts of the case into consideration. Dishonest
ways are by way of discounting, falsifying, or by ignoring altogether the
evidence that does not suit our purpose.
Not everyone feels cognitive dissonance to
the same degree. People with a higher need for consistency and certainty in
their lives usually feel the effects of cognitive dissonance more than those
who have a lesser need for such consistency. People who have not trained
themselves to deal honestly with cognitive dissonance become habitual liars and
feel nothing. It is about these people that the Quran says:
(2:16) These are they who have bartered
Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true
direction,(17) Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it
lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter
darkness. So they could not see. (18) Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not
return (to the correct path).
People who have learnt to suppress
cognitive dissonance will rarely change their stand on any issue no matter even
if they are proved wrong. This is so since their stand is not based on an
objective analysis and the truth in any case is unimportant to such people. The
only deity they worship is self-interest. Pride and arrogance prevent such
people from changing their stand even if proved wrong. The Quran says about
(6:109) They swear their strongest oaths
by Allah, that if a (special) sign came to them, by it they would believe. Say:
"Certainly (all) signs are in the power of Allah: but what will make you
realise that (even) if (special) signs came, they will not believe."?
(110) We (too) shall turn to (confusion)
their hearts and their eyes, even as they refused to believe in this in the
first instance: We shall leave them in their trespasses, to wander in
What made them refuse to believe in the
first instance will continue to dominate their thinking and they will not
believe no matter what signs are sent. This is because, through wilful rejection
of the truth on all previous occasions, they have perverted their thinking
progressively and completely and they are too far gone astray.
(111) Even if We did send to them
angels, and the dead did speak to them, and We gathered together all things
before their very eyes, they are not the ones to believe, unless it is in
Allah´s plan. But most of them ignore (the truth).
(112) Likewise did We make for every
Messenger an enemy,- evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with
flowery discourses by way of deception. If your Lord had so planned, they would
not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone.
The laws of human behaviour which help man
progress on the path of guidance or goes astray, are part of Allah’s plan and
it is in Allah’s plan to allow full freedom and autonomy to man to choose
whatever path he may, after providing complete guidance and making the truth
clear from falsehood.
(113) To such (deceit) let the hearts of
those incline, who have no faith in the hereafter: let them delight in it, and
let them earn from it what they may.
(114) Say: "Shall I seek for judge
other than Allah? - when He it is Who has sent to you the Book, explained in
detail." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it has
been sent down from your Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt.
(115) The word of your Lord does find
its fulfilment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is
the one who hears and knows everything.
The word here refers to the laws of Allah
which none can change and through which Allah ensures justice.
(116) Were you to follow the common run
of those on earth, they will lead you away from the way of Allah. They follow
nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie.
(117) Your Lord knows best who strays
from His way: He knows best who they are that receive His guidance.
The verse refers to the characteristics of
persons who strays from His way and those who receive guidance.
Arrogance and Rejection of Belief
(7:146) Those who behave arrogantly on
the earth in defiance of right - them will I turn away from My signs: Even if
they see all the signs, they will not believe in them; and if they see the way
of right conduct, they will not adopt it as the way; but if they see the way of
error, that is the way they will adopt. For they have rejected our signs, and
failed to take warning from them.
Arrogance to the extent that a person does
not care for what is right is defiance of God. Such people will not believe in
God or turn to what is right.
Whom Does God Guide?
(8:23) If Allah had found in them any
good. He would indeed have made them listen: (As it is), if He had made them
listen, they would but have turned back and declined (Faith).
It is the natural law of God that all those
in whom is some good will incline towards His message and if God did make those
in whom there is no good listen, they would still soon revert to their
(10:32) Such is Allah, your real
Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then
are ye turned away? (33) Thus is the word of your Lord proved true against
those who rebel: Verily they will not believe.
The distinction between truth and falsehood
is clear and anyone who turns away from the truth is clearly a rebel. The law
of Allah (Allah’s word) is that a person who turns away from the truth in
rebellion, will not believe.
Can A Person Living The Life Of Error
And Falsehood Change Himself?
A person has to first accept that there is
a problem and make a moral choice to change and seek God’s help. He must
realize that refusing to learn to deal honestly with cognitive dissonance in
its most basic form, is a lie to oneself and self-deception. Matz and his
colleagues (2008) found that people who were extraverted were less likely to
feel the negative impact of cognitive dissonance and were also less likely to
change their mind. Introverts, on the other hand, deal more honestly with
cognitive dissonance. This is hardly surprising since introverts are concerned
with self-image and telling a lie to one self is more difficult and the
extraverts are more concerned with what others say about them. The cronies,
side-kicks and sycophants of the extraverts are there to heap praise on them
whatever they say or do. If there are people who confront them with their lie
and embarrass them, they will be conveniently categorized as belonging to the
`enemy party’ and drowned with more lies. These people will never change if
they have people who support them in their lie. Politicians therefore are some
of the most adept liars and practitioners of systematic deceit and the most
shameless among all the liars.
Self-awareness and a desire to change is the
key to changing oneself. You know when you are disregarding information that
contradicts your stand on any issue. As Socrates said “An unexamined life is
not worth living.” Develop self-awareness which is the first step to change.
If there is a conflict between what you
desire and what you consider right, then consciously choose what is right. Learn
to admit past mistakes, apologize for these and learn to move forward. The
congenital liars when confronted with evidence that proves them wrong label the
evidence ‘deceptive’. To them the uncomfortable truth is deception and their
own comfortable lies are the truth.
People who talk about morals speak about
the ‘conscience’ or the inner voice which is nothing but the cognitive
dissonance that we experience when our action does not match what we consider
to be right. This is not anything that we are born with but the values that we
imbibe. To develop such a conscience, read the Quran to know right from wrong.
Can Prayer Help?
Prayer is a form of self-priming and is
most effective in changing one’s behaviour. Belief in God helps but it should
work even without such belief if the prayer is changed to a daily resolution or
This prayer (of the Prophet) is part of my
daily morning prayers:
O Allah! Purge my
heart of hypocrisy,
My conduct from
My tongue from
And my eyes from treachery,
For You indeed
know the treacherous glance of the eyes
And that which the
The Quran describes the laws of human
behaviour but puts the same across as what God does. This is so since these are
nothing but the unchanging laws of God which work inexorably in the most
consistent and unchanging fashion. People take this literally and say that if
God is allowing people to go astray or sealing up their hearts, or causing them
to become “deaf, dumb and blind”, how can they be blamed? This is again more of
self-deception and inability to take responsibility for the moral choices they
themselves make or for the path that they have chosen even though God
constantly reminds them that:
(4:120) Satan makes them promises, and
creates in them false desires; but satan´s promises are nothing but deception.
(35:5) O men! Certainly the promise of
Allah is true. Let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the Chief
Deceiver deceive you about Allah. (6) Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat
him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents that they may become Companions
of the Blazing Fire.
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an
independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private
sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent
contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism
Any way God is asking muslims below questions:-
Dear muslims, who asked you to call me by name Allah? I am beyond your senses and imagination and yet you say I spoke to moses and many so called prophets and angels? Who said I created jannah, angels, jinn, adam and satan? it is your imagination!! I am beyond space and time and you say I am in jannah or I am sitting in a throne over jannah? You wrote in quran 67:16 to 67:17. Thus you define me in your own way but if non muslims calls me by different names, imagine forms of me and try to worship me in their ways you attack them!! who gave you the right to ridicule other religions and harm others?Lastly I don't condemn anyone for eternal damnation for their finite crimes they do. Do not threaten others with hell fire on my behalf.
Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?
If I wasn't confident about what I write, I wouldn't write what goes against the current Islamic theology and all my articles do that without exception.
The confidence comes from the fact that my understanding is in perfect harmony with the entire Quran. That in itself is proof of correctness and validity of the understanding. The Quran provides such a test to check on the correctness of one's understanding. The certificate of correctness is provided by the Quran itself. The current Islamic theology, based as it is on the doctrine of abrogation, is defective.
The dictionary meaning of kufr is to cover up. Treating any verse of the Quran as abrogated, obsolete, to be ignored, not to be read, to be reduced to footnotes etc is kufr by definition.
There is right way and a wrong way to deal with any issue. Verse 7:146 in the article above describes those who will choose the right way and those who are turned away from it and will choose the wrong way.
GM Sb says: “Let us give our attention to the parts of the Quran that
are uplifting, glorious and enlightening. Let us ignore the parts that are pejorative
or abasing. Would that be hard for you?”
There are no parts that are pejorative or abasing unless you read with
distorted meanings of key words. Is it difficult for you to correct your
understanding of the key words, passages and themes? I have written more than
50 articles based on the Quran covering all the misunderstood words, themes,
passages, laws and shariat. Which part do you find pejorative and abasing in my
To leave out any part of the Quran by saying that such and such a part
is pejorative and abasing is a sign of hypocrisy especially when everything has
been explained. It would be far more honest to apostatise. I think that
Muhammad Yunus Sb has given you the same advise in the past. Rational showed far greater honesty.
However what you choose to do is your look out
Somehow the NAI was not opening on my
mobile and thus I was out of the scene. Today it has started working again. In
any case I do not find it interesting to discuss religion too much, much less
abusing Islamic ideology which I find to be the best. It is another matter that
I also believe Muslims in general to have gone far away from Islamic ideology,
which does not mean I condemn them because I do not condemn non-Muslims either.
Mr. hats off, forget Nauman Ali. In my dictionary, kafir refers to 'religious
persecutors of the then Mecca only, as far as the meaning of kafir implies any
action on my part (Attn Mr SL).
So my faith is that kafirs as 'religious
persecutors of the then Mecca' were wrong and were rightly warned by Allah in
the strongest damning terms (Attn Mr GM). My faith is, what I believe in and
not what you believe in.
So I am not going to be raving mad to go chasing
non-Muslims to kill them wherever I find them - despite what GM sb or HO sb or
SL sb or A. sahiba want me to believe in. Hope they get this straight, because
I am not duty-bound to discuss my faith with anybody. Yes I agree with the
analytical works of Naseer Ahmed sb, because he is honestly trying to present
the true philosophy of the holy Qur'an, in the modern context whether somebody
likes it or not. He is within his rights.
Somebody has asked about Truth. Truth
is a 'qualitative' spectrum starting from 2+2=4 (which can be used to sell
Apples truthfully but may not be used either), to the Revelations from the
Cosmic Power (which can be used to create a just and helpful human society but
may not be used either). There are many intermediate points in the spectrum
which can similarly be used for the right purpose or may not be used. There is good
news for GM sb, HO sb, SL sb, etc. that I do not actually defend the Muslims,
because it is obvious to me that they are the least defensible.
I had thought
NAI will address, the pertinent issues of the Muslims of the day, so that they
are able to live a full life, physically, emotionally, economically, happily,
humanly, and spiritually; but I find abusing Islam has become the greatest
pastime here. The area of my interest is elsewhere. I feel Muslims have to
limit their focus on afterlife and turn their focus to life. Islam only lays
down an abstract parameter, it does not fill all the spaces within.
It is open
for a Muslim to freely paint the canvass of life creatively with the best
possible colour combination by his
individual choice. That Indian Muslims have an added responsibility to
live amicably with Hindus, to bear the deficiencies of civic life here, to try
to find space in the national life through all the limitations. Muslims cannot
close their eyes to the realities of life. Not finding them up to the task
stifles me. I am hardly grudgeful against the Hindus in Indian context or
against all others in international context. My problem arises from the siege
Thanks and regards.