The sweetness of Islamic faith

Adil Salahi | Arab News

Anas ibn Malik quotes the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: "Any person 
who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) 
that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his 
love of others is purely for God's sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into 
disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire." (Related by 

The first thing to note in this Hadith is that certain qualities are necessary 
before a person experiences the sweetness of faith. This suggests that a person 
may look at the message of Islam and find it reasonable and logical. He 
declares himself a believer and expresses his unhesitating belief in God's 
oneness and in Prophet Muhammad's message. Such a person is a Muslim, no doubt. 
He earns the reward of believers. However, he needs to do more in order to 
experience what the Prophet describes as "the sweetness of faith."

Such sweetness is like the fruit of a tree. Thus, when one is convinced of the 
truth of faith, that person has planted a shoot, which one needs to nurture and 
look after so that it grows into a tree and produces its fruits. Nurturing the 
tree of faith is by fulfilling God's orders, doing what He wants us to do and 
refraining from what He has forbidden us. Indeed when a believer begins to do 
that, committing himself to do what God has bidden, he will soon find the 
effects of such commitment within himself and in his life generally because God 
only orders us to do what is good for us, and He forbids us only what is evil 
and harmful to us or others. Thus, such committed person will realize that his 
commitment brings him increasing benefits in this present life, in addition to 
what he hopes to receive of God's reward. He would then love his commitment and 
do it more than willingly.

Islam forbids all intoxicating drinks, putting extra emphasis on even tasting 
an alcoholic drink. Take the case of a young Muslim studying in Europe or 
America. He may find himself among a group of friends who are all drinking. 
They try to persuade him to have a small glass of wine, concentrating on its 
benefits and saying that drinking in moderation causes no harm. He may feel 
tempted to join, but then he looks at one of his friends on whom the effects of 
alcohol are beginning to tell and realizes how that person is starting to lose 
control of himself. Our Muslim friend will then step back, finding extra 
strength to resist the temptation. The more he reflects on the effects of 
drinking the greater is his love of the Islamic way that forbids all alcoholic 
drinks, even in the smallest measure. His commitment to do God's bidding grows 
always stronger. It is such strong commitment that is the mark of his love of 
God and His messenger. 

The two other qualities develop in consequence of the first. A Muslim's 
commitment to obey God in all that He bids us to do or refrain from will begin 
to influence his social life. His relations with other people will put much 
importance on their attitude to Islam and Islamic life. He will love those who 
do what He does of obeying God and following the Prophet's guidance. His 
relationship with them will be based on the fact that they share a commitment 
and a method of living that places obedience to God as paramount. They will all 
feel a bond uniting them in a cause that brings only goodness in human life. 
Such bond generates a sort of happiness that envelops them all, a happiness 
that can transform every human society and bring the best out of it.

Experiencing all this, a true believer is always increasingly happy with his 
faith and way of life. He will not barter it for anything on earth. He realizes 
that this happy life will also bring him far superior happiness in the life to 
come. He cannot imagine himself going back to disbelief. Indeed, to him the 
very thought is so repugnant that he would prefer to be thrown in the fire 
rather than be an unbeliever.

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