There is a Difference between a Believer and a Muslim

throughbitsnpcs-the-believers-are-the-ones-who-have-believed

Allah chastises the bedouins who, when they embraced Islam, claimed for themselves the grade of faithful believers. However, Faith had not yet firmly entered their hearts,

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

The bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You do not believe, but say, ‘We have submitted,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts…”

This honorable Ayah provides proof that Faith is a higher grade than Islam, according to the scholars of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. This is also demonstrated in the Hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, when he questioned the Prophet about Islam, then Iman then Ihsan. Thus moving the general matter to one more specific, then even more specific. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir bin Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, “The Messenger of Allah gave (something to) some men and did not give one of them. Sa`d said, `O Allah’s Messenger, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so. However, you gave nothing to so-and-so, even though he is a believer.’ The Prophet said,

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir bin Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, “The Messenger of Allah gave (something to) some men and did not give one of them. Sa`d said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so. However, you gave nothing to so-and-so, even though he is a believer.’ The Prophet said, ‘Or say, a Muslim.’ Sa`d repeated his statement thrice each time the Prophet answered, ‘Or say, a Muslim.’ The Prophet then said, ‘I might give some men and give nothing to others, even though the latter are dearer to me than the former. I do not give them things for fear that they might be thrown on their faces in the Fire.'” This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.

Therefore, the Prophet made a distinction between the grade of a believer and the grade of a Muslim, indicating that Iman is a more exclusive grade than Islam.

So this proves that the bedouins whom the Ayah mentioned were not hypocrites, rather they were Muslims in whose hearts Faith was not yet firmly established. They claimed a higher grade for themselves than the grade that they earned, and they were taught a lesson as a consequence. This meaning agrees with the meaning given by Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Qatadah and that preferred by Ibn Jarir. These bedouins were taught a lesson:

قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

Say: “You do not believe, but say ‘We are Muslims,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts…”

This means, ‘you have not yet achieved the reality of Faith.’

Allah the Exalted said,

وَإِن تُطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لاَ يَلِتْكُمْ مِّنْ أَعْمَـلِكُمْ شَيْئاً

But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds…

This means, ‘He will not decrease any of your rewards,’ as Allah said; “We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.” (52:21)

Allah said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

…for those who repent and return to Him.

Allah’s statement,

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah . It is those who are the truthful.

The believers did not have doubts and their Faith was not shaken. Rather, their Faith remained on conviction. They gladly gave away their life and the most precious of their wealth in obedience to Allah as a means of seeking His pleasure.

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