The Believer’s Surrender
In order to be a true believer, one must believe in the absolute oneness of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), as the only Creator, Preserver and Nourisher of everything. However, this belief in the true attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is not the sole condition of true faith; one must also acknowledge that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is the only one who deserves to be worshipped. His commands and guidelines for how to live one’s life should always take precedence over the commands of anything He created. Indeed, He guides humanity to what is best for them in this life and the Aakhirah (Hereafter) and He is All-Knowing and All-Wise.
Having embraced this understanding about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), one should constantly have faith in Him, and should remain steadfast on the Truth. When true faith enters a person’s heart, it positively impacts their outlook and behavior.
One of the striking effects of faith is a feeling of gratitude towards Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Believers love Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and are grateful to Him for the blessings He gives them. They are aware of the fact that their good deeds will never be equal to His divine favors upon them so they are always striving to please Him. Furthermore, sincere believers in Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) accept that any hardships they face are part of the greater ‘test of life.’ They are patient through times of difficulty and turn to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) for assistance. A beautiful characteristic of the believers is that they accept everything Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) Wills and continuously remember Him in all aspects of life.
Anyone who denies the basic truth of the existence of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is considered ungrateful and a disbeliever. On many occasions in the Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) reminds humanity of the disbelievers’ clear misguidance and His complete power over everything:
أَلَا إِنَّ لِلَّـهِ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ شُرَكَاءَ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ (66)
“Listen! To Allah belong all those in the heavens and all those on the earth. And those who invoke associate-gods besides Allah do not follow a reality. They follow nothing but whims and do nothing but make conjectures.” (Younus 10:66)
اللَّـهُ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِتَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ (61) ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّـهُ رَبُّكُمْ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ (62)
“Allah is the One who made for you the night, so that you may have rest in it, and the day to let you see. Surely, Allah is most kind to people, but most of the people do not offer gratitude. This is Allah, your Lord, the Creator of everything. There is no god but He. Then, from where are you being reversed (by your selfish desires)?” (Ghaafir 40:61-62)
In the end, we must understand that our belief or disbelief in Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) does not affect Him in any way. Believing in Him, worshipping Him, and following His commands will only benefit us because we are in need of His blessings, favors and mercy. On the other hand, He does not need us because He is the Self-Sufficient Creator. However, it is never too late for a person to turn back to Him, seeking His guidance and forgiveness by submitting to Him.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ (53) وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ (54) وَاتَّبِعُوا أَحْسَنَ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ بَغْتَةً وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ (55)
“Say (on My behalf): ‘O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves! Do not despair of Allah‘s mercy. Surely, Allah will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful. Turn passionately towards your Lord, and submit to Him before the punishment comes to you, after which you will not be helped. And follow the best of what has been sent down to you from your Lord before the punishment comes to you suddenly when you do not even expect’” (Az-Zumar 39:53-55)
On may ask why Islam stands out from other religions. The reason is simply that Islam is the final and complete way of life that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) revealed to guide humanity. Previous Divine Messages (such as the ones taught by Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus) have been lost or altered throughout time. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) chose to send Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) to deliver His Final Message, which maintains the core teachings of all the previous revelations. The Book sent to Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was the Quraan, which was revealed as guidance for all of humanity. Just like the Tauraat (Torah) sent to Prophet Moosaa and the Injeel (Gospel) sent to Prophet Eesaa, the Quraan is a guidebook teaching us how to worship Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) in the purest manner and thereby achieve our purpose in life. The Quraan is unique because it has remained preserved in its exact and original form for more than 1,400 years.
Islam is not a new way of life; rather, it is the Final Message, which upholds the same essential beliefs that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) sent to humanity through all of His Messengers. Through this Message, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) calls on each individual to lead a conscientious life by drawing close to Him and to remain cognizant of their final accountability in front of the one and only Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ (16)
“Has the time not yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah and for the truth that has descended (through revelation)?” (Al-Hadeed 57:16)