The Importance of Godly Beliefs

A bit of review from previous posts… What is the activity of spiritual contemplation? To contemplate spiritually means to feel using the heart and to think using the brain. The purpose of doing spiritual contemplation is to increase God awareness in our soul, not the intelligence. So, when contemplating we use our heart or soul more than we use our brain. Doing the contemplation (in Arabic is tafakur) itself has a great value in the sight of Allah. There are many verses in the Qur'an where God asks us, human being, to contemplate, to reflect, to understand. Here are some of the verses:

"Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction." (Qur'an chapter 4: verse 82)

"Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding." (ch.3:190)

"The example of [this] worldly life is but like rain which We have sent down from the sky that the plants of the earth absorb – [those] from which men and livestock eat – until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought." (ch. 10:24)

"[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought." (ch. 16:44)

A reference used for doing contemplation is the Qur'an and hadith (sayings of the Prophet). So, if the result of contemplation is against the rules of Allah in the Qur'an, it is then wrong. No matter how logical it is, if it is not parallel with the Qur'an, it is definitely wrong. 

Human being is different with animal. All lions have the same behavior regardless the type. But, even two people of the same religion and education may have different behavior as a person's behavior and attitude is determined by what is inside his heart. If he has wrong beliefs in his heart, he will show wrong behavior or bad deeds. 

Belief is truly something powerful. That's why many people do unimaginable things because of what they believe in their hearts. That's what push or motivate them in doing the evil things. Therefore, the belief that every human being should have is Godly belief or the belief that goes along with the rules of Allah in the Qur'an.

How powerful is it the Godly belief, Qur'ani belief..? God describes the power as in chapter 13 verse 31: "If there were a Qur'an with which mountains were moved, or the earth were cloven asunder, or the dead were made to speak, (this would be the one!)"

Having Godly beliefs is important because: 

  1. they determine the behavior,
  2. they deflect the bad desire/provocation of satan, automatically making the desire/satan powerless.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "God bestows wealth differently to people", then the bad desire/satan provocation that is automatically beaten is jealousy and prejudice.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "God's decision or destiny is good", the bad desire/satan provocation that is automatically beaten in disappointment, sadness and despair.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "good deeds are for ourselves, not for people whom he helps", then the low desire/satan provocation which is automatically beaten is asking something in return for his deeds. 

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "doing evil things earns sins & increasing the chance to go to hell", the bad desire/satan provocation which is automatically beaten is cheating, getting drunk, using drugs, stealing, and other wrongdoings.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "whoever does cruelty/wrongdoings to him, then that bad person will have to be responsible in the hereafter", then the bad desire/satan provocation that is automatically beaten is having grudge and resentment.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "children is the a trust from God, his children are not actually his but God's", then the bad desire/satan provocation that is automatically beaten is "torturing" the children in anyway.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "the only role model is Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)", he will not idolize or follow other people such as celebrities.

If a person has Godly belief as follows: "the best human being is the one who obeys God the most", he will not be fooled by materialistic success.

… and there are many more Godly beliefs we find in the Qur'an.

So it is important to have as many Godly beliefsas possible because those beliefs will protect the heart from becoming dirty (sinful) with the bad desire/satan provocationHaving Godly beliefs makes it easier for human being to obey God's commands in the Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet (hadits). And it is the promise of God as stated in the Qur'an that if we always obey the rules of God, we will always be truly happy:

"We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve." (Qur'an ch.2 verse 38)

"Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve." (Qur'an ch.2 verse 112)

So, gain as many Godly beliefs as possible…!

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Knowledge Versus Godly Belief

Piety of every person is not the same. Two men graduated from the same university, studying the same subject (Islam) turn out to have different piety, points of views and behavior. Even Al Qur'an scholars have different piety and attitude. What causes the differences?

There is a true experience when an ustadz (religious teacher) of a boarding Islamic school asked ten of his students came to him. He wanted to know the result of the Islamic studying of his students. The teacher gave each of the students a pigeon. 

"Please find a place where nobody can see you and slaughter the bird I just gave you. After that, come back to me bringing the dead pigeon," he ordered.

The ten students ran to find hidden places to slaughter the birds. After slaughtering, the students came back to the teacher and showed their work. It turned out that all students slaughtered the bird except one student. The teacher asked him why he didn't do what he was asked to do. The student answered, "I tried to find a place where nobody can see me. I couldn't find it, because wherever I go, I believe that Allah (God) sees me all the time. So, I didn't slaughter this bird."

Those ten students studied the same thing for years with the same teachers. However not all of them did the same thing. Thus, knowledge does not determine the behavior or deed. So, what drives the action or behavor? It is belief. The belief that God is always watching had prevented that one student from slaughtering the bird. Such a belief is called Godly belief.

Knowledge and belief is just like flour and bread. Eating flour doesn't make a person full but eating bread does. 

Flour <——————> Knowledge

Bread <—————–> Belief

Getting full <——————-> Behavior, attitude, action

 

However, knowledge is important because it is the raw material for obtaining belief in our heart or soul. God says in the Qur'an chapter 20 verse 114: "So high [above all] is Allah , the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur'an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase me in knowledge." Also in chapter 39 verse 9: "…Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding." 

But, if knowledge is not 'cooked' or processed further to become belief, then the knowledge that we have will not give benefit, meaning the knowledge will not lead to action or behavior. 

If a person takes Islam simply as a knowledge, that person will not behave according to the rules of God in the Qur'an. That's because Islam will be just a bunch of information that he puts in his brain. He knows but he doesn't believe. Meanwhile, if a person takes Islam as a belief or faith, he will put all the teachings in his heart or soul, resulting in parallel attitude. 

Knowing that God exists will not make a person prays five times a day and fast. But believing that God exists will make a person obeying the command of praying and fasting. Knowing that life is a test from God will not make a person patient. But believing that life is a test from God will make him patient in facing all the problems in his life. Knowing that Islam is the only religion approved by God will not make a person stay in Islam. But believing that Islam is the only religion approved by God will make a person stay in Islam forever and will not convert to other religion. Knowing that taking other things as god is unforgivable sin will not make a person stop 'worshipping' money and job position. But believing that taking other things as god is unforgivable sin will prevent a person from 'worshipping' money and job position. And knowing that doing bad things is actually booking a place in hell will not stop a person from lying, stealing, doing corruption, and cheating. But believing that doing bad things is the same as booking a place in hell will definitely stop a person from doing bad things.

Now, which one is more important? Having a great amount of knowledge or Godly belief? It is clear that piety or good behavior or good deeds is the result of having many Godly beliefs, not the result of having an abundant of knowledge. Piety, good behavior, good deeds are the result of having an abundant of Godly belief is the heart or soul, not the result of an abundant of knowledge in the brain. Therefore, our priority as a human being, as a creation of God is to gain as many Godly beliefs as possible.

Remember the saying of the Prophet, "knowledge without action is like lightning and thunder without rain." Having knowledge about Islam is not enough to produce piety or good deeds. In the sight of God, the best people are not those who are rich in knowledge but who are rich in piety or good deeds as God says in the Qur'an chapter 98 verse 7, "Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures .

 

 

 

 

Godly Beliefs

Believing is very important as it drives the action or behavior of people. Knowing does not result in behavior but belief does. Knowing (knowledge) lies on the brain while believing exists in the heart or soul. 

People behave according to what they believe, not what they know. Is it possible that two people who have the same religion have different attitude on the same problem? Is it possible that two people graduating from the same university, studying the same subjects from the same lecturers, have different opinion about the same issue? Is it possible that two religious preacher have different attitude on the same religious issue? Of course it is possible, because they have different beliefs in their hearts. Their knowledge is the same but their beliefs are different. 

So, people who have the same background, education, and experience turn out to behave differently upon the same issue. Again, that's because their beliefs are different. 

Furthermore, many people do outrageous, unbelievable things that we can't imagine. For example, many people steal, corrupt, abuse the people around them, kill other people simply because of the skin color & race, ruin the environment for gaining lots of profit. Many people are addicted to drugs, alcohol, fornication...and many more… What drives them to do that..? It's their beliefs, not their knowledge. Surely they know that killing, abusing, stealing, corrupting etc are wrongdoings but they still do that. They only 'know' that it is wrong but they don't believe it is wrong.

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Belief in someone's heart or soul will determine his behavior, attitude, and action. Morale values that a person has depends on the belief in his heart. The differences in attitude, behavior, morale value, and action are due to differences in people's beliefs in their hearts.

However, why African tiger has the same behavior with Sumatran tiger? Why elephants all over the world have the same behavior? Of course it's the same… Animals don't have heart or soul!

A person needs the right beliefs so that his attitude is right as well. But what sort of belief that a person must have in his heart? What is the criteria for the right, flawless belief? Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "I leave you two thing in which if you hold on tight on them, you will never get lost. Those two things are Kitabullah (Al Qur'an) and my sunnah (Prophet's way of life and sayings)."

So, what a person needs is beliefs that are in accordance with the Qur'an and the Prophet's sayings and his way of life. Those beliefs are called Godly beliefs. The more Godly beliefs a person has, the stronger,healthier, and cleaner soul he has. Having the right beliefs in our soul will lead to noble behavior. Having the wrong beliefs in our soul will lead to sinful behavior. 

Some examples of Godly beliefs as contained in the Qur'an are:

  • The prosperity of every person is different. God doesn't give the same prosperity to people around us. If a person has this belief, he will not be jealous of other people's fortune. Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 4 verse 32: "And in no wise covet those things in which God hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others…"
  • There is only one God worthy of worship. If a person has this belief in his heart, he will not worship other than God (Allah) alone. God says: “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him…” (ch.4:36)

  • Being kind is God's command. If a person believes it he will stay away from cruelty. God says: "…and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” (ch. 4:36)

  • Ruining the environment is against God's will. If a person has this belief, he will take care of the environment. God says: "And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation." (ch. 7:56)

  • Convert to other religion equals hell. If a person has this belief, he will not desire to change his own religion and he will not allow his family members to convert. God says: "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good)." (ch. 3:85)
  • God's decision is always good. If a person has this belief, he will not complain, he will not be sad, and he won't be disappointed if bad things happen to him. God says in chapter 41 verse 46: "…nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants." Furthermore, chapter 2 verse 216: "…But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not."
  • Whoever holds his anger, heaven is the reward. If a person has this belief, he will never be angry at all and he has no problem in not getting angry. God says: "And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the heaven." (ch. 79:40-41)
  • Backbiting & negative assumptions are sinful. If a person believe it, he will not gossip and avoid prejudice. God says: "O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful." (ch. 49:12)

…and there are many more of Godly beliefs. The Qur'an consists of 6,236 verses. It is equal to 6,236 Godly beliefs.

So, it is clear that having Godly beliefs, as many as possible, is very important as such beliefs can calm down the lower desires of human being and can deflect the provocation of satan. If a person has wrong beliefs in his heart, then his attitude and behavior will also be wrong and that's very dangerous. If a person has wrong knowledge, to some extent, it is still tolerable as knowledge doesn't determine behavior/attitude/action. It is the belief that forms the behavior. 

Gaining knowledge is important… But gaining Godly beliefs is more important…!

 

Faith without knowledge is like light in the hands of a baby… knowledge without faith is like light in the hands of a thief…

​Knowledge without action is like lightning and thunder without rain (saying of Prophet Muhammad)

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Spiritual Contemplation

for life and spiritual contemplation… To contemplate means to think deeply, to ponder. But what sort of contemplation that a person should do? When he contemplates about life and spiritual matters, does he simply use his brain?

Spiritually, to contemplate means to 'read', not with physical eyes but with mind and heart. The mind or reason is used to observe and analyze while the heart is used to feel. So, spiritual contemplation is the integration of brain (mind) and heart. The result of the activity of spiritual contemplation is Godly awareness or Godly belief that grows in the soul (heart). The Godly belief will make people easier to obey God's rules and commands. 

Let's contemplate… why planets in the universe don't crash each other? Why we receive sunlight during the day but see the stars at night? How come the elements in the universe can work in harmony? That's because they obey God's rules and commands! Human being can also be in harmony just like the universe. The harmony that human being want in this life is peace, serenity, no worries, no anxiety, no sadness and always be truly happy. Can a person be like that all the time? YES, he can, as long as he obeys God's rules and commands. Remember Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 2 verse 38: "…whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."

What sort of things that should be contemplated so that Godly beliefs grow in our soul? 

  • Contemplation of the signs of Allah's Greatness which will make human being humble. He realizes that how small a person is in front of The Creator.
  • Contemplation of all the things that Allah (God) has given which will make a person loves God and always be grateful to God.
  • Contemplation of God's promises as written in the Qur'an which will make a person willing to do good deeds. 
  • Contemplation of God's punishments as written in the Qur'an which will make a person afraid to make sin. 

Another important thing for us to contemplate about the journey of human being. It is informed in the Qur'an that every person experiences the following journey: 

soul world —-> mother's womb world —-> this world —-> grave world —-> hereafter (heaven and hell)

If we look and contemplate the journey of a man, it can be concluded that actually what a man does in this world is simply traveling. He is a traveler. For a traveler, the real joy is when he arrives at the destination. So, it is a great loss when the traveler arrives at a horrible destination, instead of a good one. Having awareness that there is heaven and hell at the end of the journey, will make a person be careful and be conscious in what he does. He will not be engrossed in the materialistic world. He will always try to obey God's rules and commands so that he can arrive at the destination he wants. He will not do evil things while living in this world.

Spiritual contemplation plays important role in reaching the goal of mankind, that is being happy in this world and in the hereafter. That's because by doing the contemplation, Godly beliefs will be generated which will make it easier to obey God and to follow His messenger (Prophet Muhammad). And as God promises in the Qur'an, whoever obeys Him, there will be no sadness, no worries, no anxiety.

spiritual contemplation —> Godly beliefs —> obeying God —> happy in this world and in the hereafter

However, not so many people want to do spiritual contemplation due to imbalance of the soul. The imbalance is simply caused by the inclination towards worldly pleasure or fun so that there is only a tiny space in the heart or soul for spiritual matters. The inclination for worldly life is due to the existence of human's desire. This desire will make it difficult for a person to obey God's rules and commands in the Qur'an, leading to unhappiness in this world and in the hereafter. 

If a person is willing to have spiritual awareness, then he must make the effort by himself, which means the willingness to do that genuinely comes from within himself. That's because such awareness can't be transferred by even the most pious person. Unlike a wood or a stone that must be carved by someone else to be a beautiful statue, a person must 'carve' himself to become 'beautiful'. He 'carves' himself by struggling to obtain Godly beliefs. 

What happens when a person stops doing contemplation? Automatically, his spiritual awareness will diminish and it will be difficult for him to obey God and finally he will not be happy in this world and in the hereafter.


The following is the road map to achieve an everlasting happiness in this world and in the hereafter:

spiritual contemplation —> Godly beliefs —> |human desire = difficulty| —> obedience —> The Qur'an —> happiness in this world and in the hereafter

Explanation: The ultimate goal of all human being is to be happy in this world and in the hereafter. That can only be achieved by obeying the rules of God as written in the Qur'an. But, being obedient towards the Qur'an is not easy as there is desire. However, the desire can be calmed by having Godly beliefs and those beliefs can only be achieved by doing spiritual contemplation.