The Muslim Vibe
September 19, 2016
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the
أَوَّلُ الدِّينِ مَعْرِفَتُهُ، وَكَمَالُ مَعْرِفَتِهِ التَّصْديقُ بِهِ
‘The foremost in religion
is the acknowledgement (knowledge) of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him
is faith in Him’
From this glorious passage by Imam Ali
(as), it can be seen that the purpose of معرفة(ma’rifah – knowledge) is to reach تصديق (Faith). Thus knowledge of Allah is the prerequisite towards faith
It is also clear from the passage above
that not all knowledge leads to faith. Being knowledgeable about God does not
necessitate faith in Him. This has been made abundantly clear in the Quran, as
in the case of Satan, who testified to God’s Lordship but faith was absent from
him.. There are other examples presented in the Holy Quran.
وَجَحَدُوا بِهَا وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَا أَنفُسُهُمْ ظُلْمًا وَعُلُوًّا
“And they rejected
those Signs in iniquity and arrogance, though their souls were convinced
As the noble verse above demonstrates,
people despite the knowledge they held, refused to have faith.
So what is faith? How does it differ from
Knowledge (Ma’rifah) is generally part of
an intellectual (Aqlani) domain. It is concerned with understanding. It is that
truth which is obtained in the mind.
Faith (Iman) begins with the recognition of
the truth in the heart (Qalb). Faith (Iman) is linked with the spiritual, inner
dimensions, particularly the heart. It is when the knowledge obtained has been
tied to ones existence (Wujood). It also explains why matters which require
faith, in Islam are called عقاءد Aqaid.
Aqaid is derived from the word Aqd which means to entine, to make a
link, to tie one thing to another. Thus faith can be said as the link between
knowledge and one’s existence.
It is worth noting that faith (Iman) which
is usually defined as a belief should be distinguished from belief as the
English language does not make such a distinction. “When we say that people
believe in something, we mean that they have confidence that something is true,
but frequently we are implying that they are mistaken and are flying in the
face of all the evidence. In Islamic languages, the word Iman has no such
negative connotation. Iman involves confidence in a truth that is really true,
not a supposed truth.” (The Vision of Islam, Sachiko Murata and William C.
Secondly, “faith means that when people
have this confidence, they commit themselves to acting on the basis of the
truth they know” (Ibid). Thus faith is that which is established from knowledge
and upon which actions result. The holy Prophet (s) defined the word iman by
saying “Faith is a knowledge in the heart, a voicing in the tongue and an
activity with the limbs.” Thus faith must result in an internal transformation
and external action. In a narration by Imam Al Sadiq (as) says “Faith is all
action, and the internal belief is part of that action.” Not all action is
faith, but all faith is action!
Lastly it is worth mentioning that faith is
optional, unlike knowledge which is often obtained without any choice – like a
mirror always reflects. It must be sought after, with sincerity and humility by
the wayfarer to God. And God guides whomsoever He wills!
اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
Guide us to the right path.
The path of those upon whom thou has
bestowed favours, Not of those who thou has cursed once nor of those who have
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URL of Part Four: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/understanding-tawhid--the-perfection-of-knowledge---part-four/d/110517