Anecdotes for Reflection: Levels of Faith

Allah, the Wise, has said:
ياَ اَيُّهاَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا آَمِنُوا بِاللهِ وَ رَسُولِهِ وِ الْكِتاَب
(O’ You who believe!  Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book, which He has revealed to His Messenger)1
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
اَلإيماَنُ عَقْدٌ بِالْقَلْبِ وَ نُطْقٌ بِالْلِساَنِ وَ عَمَلٌ بِالأرْكاَن
(Faith is (a combination of) conviction in the heart, speaking out by the tongue and deeds by the limbs.)2
Short Explanation
The believers are ranked according to their level of faith.  Faith has four pillars – tawakkul3tafweedh4ridha5 and tasleem6 – and one who possesses these pillars, acquires tranquillity and repose, and his faith attains stability and permanence. The faith of those who are weak in belief is neither stable nor permanent.
Did not Imam Sadiq (a.s.) say: (Allah grants the world to His friends and foes alike, but faith, He bestows only to the chosen ones from amongst His creations)?
Hence, those possessing true and perfect faith have always been in the minority; forbearance being their ‘minister’ and wisdom, the ‘commander of their army’.
Levels of Faith
Imam Sadiq, (a.s.) addressing a saddler, who used to serve him, said:
“Some Muslims possess one portion of faith, while there are others, who possess two or three or even seven portions of it.  It is inappropriate to burden a person, possessing one portion of faith, with acts suitable for a person possessing two portions of faith.  Similarly, it is inappropriate to burden a person who has two portions of faith with acts suitable for a person with three portions of faith.”
The Imam (a.s.) continued, “Let me present an example:
Once, there was a man whose neighbour was a Christian.  The man invited him to Islam and the Christian agreed and converted to a Muslim.
The next day at dawn, the Muslim knocked on the door of the convert’s house. When the convert answered the door, the man told him to perform wudhu, get dressed and accompany him to the mosque for prayers. The neighbour duly obliged and both men proceeded to the mosque. They offered not only morning prayers but also many other prayers until it was sunrise.
The new Muslim wished to return home, when the man asked him:
‘Where are you going?  The days are short and very soon it will be time for the Dhuhr prayers.  Let us wait until we have offered our Dhuhr prayers.’
So they waited till it was Dhuhr, when they offered their prayer. The convert prepared to leave but the man persuaded him to stay until A’sr time. They offered A’sr prayer after which the convert decided to go. The man told him that it was almost sunset and that they should not go before offering Maghrib prayer. He then persuaded his neighbour to stay for the E’sha prayer also.
Finally, they went back home.
The next dawn, the man again knocked on the door of the convert and asked him to go to the mosque with him.
The newly converted Muslim retorted, ‘For this religion of yours, seek someone who has more time on his hands than me.  I am a poor person and have a family to feed and look after!’
The Imam (a.s.) concluded, “The ignorant Muslim reverted him to his original faith of Christianity.”7
1. Holy Qur’an, ch. Al-Nisaa (4), vs. 136.
2 .Bihaar al-Anwaar vol. 69, pg. 69.
3. Relying on God. (Translator’s comments)
4. Entrusting one’s affairs to God.  (Translator’s comments)
5. Satisfaction and pleasure over Divine decree.  (Translator’s comments)
6. Submission to God.  (Translator’s comments)
7. Namunah-e-Ma’arif, vol. 2, pg. 479; Al-Kafi, ‘The chapter of Levels of Faith’, tr. 2.
Source: Excerpt taken from ‘Anecdotes for Reflection‘  by Sayyid Ali Akber Sadaaqat

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