In the next surah, Surah AlBaqarah, Allah expounds on the different types of people, namely the believers, the disbelievers, the hypocrites, and the faasiqeen. To obtain guidance, we have to inculcate taqwa (god-fearingness) and this is why Allah goes to great lengths in describing those who have taqwa of the believers; the Mutaaqeen.
They are described as those who believe in the unseen (Allah, Angels, Books, Messsenger, Day of Judgment and Predestination) with certainty. It’s important that we believe with certainty because this is what will align a man’s private behavior with his public behavior. When man is certain that he will eventually meet Allah and be accountable for his actions, he will put forth effort to rectify his wrong doings and be mindful of his every deed. May we attain that level. Ameen.
Plus, without certainty, how can we receive guidance? We would then be asking for guidance from something we have no certainty in.
The characteristics of people who have received guidance is that their actions portray their faith in their hearts. Some people say, “I believe and I have faith in my heart and that is enough.” It unfortunately is not enough, for true faith should eventually carry out through one’s limbs in his actions. Iman is the spiritual food for our soul just like water is the food for a tree. When our soul is nourished with iman, our limbs and the rest of our body will be affected, just like a tree starts budding new leaves and extends its branches towards the sky, as if reaching for Paradise.
A muttaqeen is also steadfast in his prayer, and establishes it. It was mentioned that establishing something means to make it firm, just like when you are establishing a company, you are trying to make it stable. That is how we should treat our salat, our prayers, by giving everything related to it its due rights, from wudhu to the actions involved in prayers.
A muttaqeen also spends out of what has been bestowed on him, be it tangible or intangible things. It doesn’t necessarily mean we give zakah, but it encompasses everything from us spending our time and energy to help a fellow human being, or teach someone, or spend out of our wealth to help others and so on. It requires us to give from what has been given to us.
A muttaqeen also believe in what has been revealed to Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, not distinguishing between the Quran and the sunnah, but rather accepting both.
The second category of people Allah describes is the Kaafireen, the: disbelievers
I find it interesting that it only took two ayah to describe this group of people whereas it took several ayah(verses) to describe the other categories. I thought about asking why, but never got it. Allah describes them as those who are arrogant such that they refuse to hear the truth, and that it is all the same whether you warn them or you don’t warn them, they will not listen. Thus Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because they are too stubborn and arrogant to use their faculties to accept the truth. Arrogance and evil deeds have settled comfortable in their hearts and they are responsible for their own ruin. They are endowed with talents but they use it only for this fleeting world, thus they are worthy of punishment.
The third category is the hypocrites. A lot is said about the hypocrites and in Light of Guidance, we learned that a hypocrite is like a jerboa, a desert animal who burrows into the ground in one hole and exits through another that is dug to deceive its predator. Subhanallah, the description of a hypocrite is that a person says one thing but does another.
There are two types of hypocrites: one who doesn’t believe in Allah but says he does, and one who believes in Allah, but is very weak. The latter, when Islam is easy for him he follows it, but when it goes against his desirem he ceases to follow it.
Allah describes this group in a special way in Ayah 20
The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things. (Surah Al Baqarah 2:20)
When things are easy, they follow, (they’d walk therein) and when things go against their desires, they stand still, and this is when they are covered in darkness. And truly if Allah had willed Allah could have stripped them of the blessing of Islam.
After Allah described the hypocrites, Allah addresses the whole of mankind and tells us that through worshipping Allah we can get to Paradise. It calls upon the disbelievers to stop worshipping created things, and commands sinning Muslims to change their ways and encourages good Muslims to be steadfast in their worship and obedience to Allah.
Which group are we in?