Understanding Islam – Abul Al\’a Maududi
Now let us study effects which the belief in La ilaha illallah brings forth upon the life of a man and see why he should always be a success in life, here and in the hereafter.
A believer in this Kalima can never be narrow-minded or shriveled in outlook. He believes in a God who is Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Master of the East and the West and Sustainer of the entire universe. After this belief he does not regard anything in the world as a stranger to himself. He looks upon everything in the universe as belonging to the same Lord whom he himself belongs to. He is not partisan in his thinking and behavior. His sympathy, love, and service do not remain confined to any particular sphere or group. His vision is enlarged, his intellectual horizon widens, and his outlook become liberal and as boundless as is the Kingdom of God. How can this width of vision and breadth of mind be achieved by an atheist, a polytheist, or one who believes in a deity supposed to possess limited and defective powers like a man?
This belief produces in man the highest degree of self-respect and self-esteem. The believer knows that Allah alone is the possessor of all power, and that none besides Him can benefit or harm a person, or provide for his need, or give and take away life, or wield authority or influence. This conviction makes him indifferent to, and independent and fearless of, all powers other than those of God. He never bows his head in homage to any of God’s creatures, nor does he stretch his hand before anyone else. He is not overawed by anybody’s greatness. This quality or attitude of mind cannot be produced by any other belief. For it is necessary that those who associate other beings with God, or who deny God, should bow in homage to some creatures, regard them able to benefit or harm them, and repose all their hopes in them.
Along with self-respect this belief also generates in man a sense of modesty and humbleness. It makes him unostentatious and unpretending and unpretending. A believer never becomes proud, haughty, or arrogant. The boisterous pride of power, wealth and worth can have no room in his heart, because he knows that whatever he possesses has been given to him by God and can take away just as He can give. In contrast to this, an unbeliever, when he achieves some worldly merit, becomes proud and conceited because he believes that his merit is due to his own worth. In the same way pride and self-concept are a necessary outcome and concomitant of shirk (association of others with God in His divinity), because a mushrik believes that he has a particular relation with the deities which does exist between them and other people.
This belief makes man virtuous and upright. He has the conviction that theirs is no other means of success and salvation for him except purity of soul and righteousness of behavior. He has perfect faith in God who is above all need, is related to none, is absolutely just, and none has any hand or influence in the exercise of His divine powers. This belief creates in him the consciousness that, unless he lives rightly and acts justly, he cannot succeed. No influence or underhand activity can save him from ruin. As against this, the kafirs and the mushriks always live on false hopes. Some of them believe that God’s son has atoned for their sins; some think that they are God’s favorites, and will not be punished, others believe that their saints will intercede with God on their believe that their deities and believe that by so bribing the deities they have acquired a license for all frivolities and ill-deeds s and depending upon their deities, they do not live pure and good lives. As to the atheists, they do not believe that there is any Being having power over them, to whom they would be responsible for their good or bad action; therefore, they consider themselves altogether independent to act in whatever way they like in this world. Their own fancies become their gods and they live like slaves of their wishes and desires.
The believer does not become despondent and broken-hearted under any circumstances. He has firm faith in God who is the Master of all the treasures of the earth and the heavens, whose grace and bounty have no limit and whose powers are infinite. This faith imparts to his heart extraordinary consolation, fills it with satisfaction and keeps it filled with hope. In this world he might meet with rejection from all doors, nothing therein might serve his ends, all means might, one after another, desert him; but faith in and dependence on God never leave him; and upon their strength he goes on struggling. Such a profound confidence can result from no other belief than belief in one God. Mushriks, kafirs, and atheists have small hearts; they depend upon limited powers; therefore, in hours of trouble they are soon overwhelmed by despair and, frequently, they commit suicide.
This belief produces in man a very strong degree of determination, patient perseverance, and trust in God. When he makes up his mind and devotes his resources to fulfil the Divine Commands in order to secure God’s pleasure, he is sure he has the support and backing of the Lord of the universe, this certainty makes him firm and strong like a mountain, and no amount of difficulties, impediments, and hostile opposition can make him give up his resolution. Shirk, Kufr, and atheism have no such effect.
On account of man\’s interference and interpolation, many things have been inserted in those books, which are against reality, revolting to reason, and affronting to every instinct of justice. There are things which are cruel and unjust and vitiate man\’s beliefs and action. Furthermore, unfortunately, things have been inserted that are obscene, indecent, potently immoral. The Qur\’an is free from all such rubbish. It contains nothing against reason, and nothing that can be proved wrong. None of its injunctions is unjust; nothing in it is misleading. Of indecency and immorality not a trace can be found in it. From the beginning to the end the whole Book is full of wisdom and truth. It contains the best of philosophy and the choicest of law for human civilization. It points out the right path and guides man to success and salvation. It is on account of these special features of the Qur\’an that all the peoples of the world have been direct to have faith in it, to give up all other Books, and to follow it alone, because it contains all that is essential for living in accordance with God\’s pleasure, and after it there remains absolutely no need for any other divine Book.
The study of the difference between the Qur\’an and other divine Books makes one easily understand that the nature of faith in the Qur\’an and that of belief in the former Books is not similar.
Faith in the former divine Books should be limited to the confirmation that they were all from God, were true, and had been sent down to fulfil, in their time, the same purpose for which the Qur\’an has been sent. On the other hand, belief in the Qur\’an should be of the nature that it is purely and absolutely God\’s own words, that it is perfectly true, that every word of it is preserved, that everything mentioned therein is right, that it is the bounden duty of man to carry out in his life each and every command of it; and that whatever be against it must be rejected.