The Essential Difference between a Muslim and a Believer

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

(Al-Quran,  Al-Hujarat 49:14)

The Al-A’arab say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

Islam precedes Faith. Not vice-versa. We become Submitter (Muslim) first before we become Believer (Mukmin). A Believer (Mukmin) is necessarily a Submitter (Muslim), but a Submitter (Muslim) is not necessarily a Believer (Mukmin).

‘Hukum’ in Arabic is ‘Decree’ in English, ‘Hudud’ in Arabic is ‘Boundary or Limit’ in English, and ‘Islam’ in Arabic is ‘Submission or Compliance’ in English.

Putting all the three terms together, we shall have that Muslims are essentially those who are committed to submit and comply to God’s decree on the social behavioral boundaries (of the DOs and DON’Ts) spelt out in the Quran.

That all members of the community, irrespective of Believers and Non-Believers, are compelled to submit and comply to this universal ‘Treaty of Non-Violation and Non-Aggression’ that assures and protects  the rights of individual’s peaceful existence, peaceful living, peaceful private acquisition and possession of land and properties, peaceful assimilation and practice of individual’s faith, religion and culture. For this treaty of freedom, peace and human rights is designed for purpose of achieving peace and order in the Society.

As such, there are essentially only two groups of societal divide, the ‘Muslimuun’ (Submitters to Peace and Human Rights) and the ‘Fasiquun’ (Violaters of Peace and Transgressors against Human Rights).

Quran suggests that ‘Fasiquun’ are rebels and violators of this God’s decreed social behavioral limit. They become transgressors to individual’s rights to become enemies of peace and order, the enemies of God, and enemies of all Humankind. For the majority of Humankind desire life of peace and freedom to acquire and to exercise their basic human rights freely and peacefully.

Meanwhile, developing one from the State (Maqam) of a Submitter (Muslim) to the State (Maqam) of a Believer (Mukmin), which is essentially working within one’s own intra-personal sphere, involves subscription to Faith in God entailing spiritual and moral upbringing that calls for one’s freewill submission to a morality standard and compliance to spiritual guidelines spelt out in the Quran.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

  (Al-Quran, Al-Baqarah 2:62)

Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

This one domain God proposes but Taghut opposes deals with the question of morality, privy to individual’s right, that it becomes non-compulsive as it has no direct relevance or influence to peace and order of the society at large.  This is one private affairs and personal matters which God allows freedom of choice whether to submit and comply, or otherwise.

لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

(Al-Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:256)

Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error. Whoever rejects Taghut and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

This is one area where enforcement of societal morality standards against others is not allowed by God. God prohibits spying, exposure, raids and trials on moral offenders transacted privately in privacy of private homes and private clubs in peaceful manner, on the basis of mutual consent by two or more willing adults, unless these immoral behaviors are done in the open and exhibited in full public view.

Only under such circumstances it would becomes the purview of the public to deal with it. Otherwise, the public are compelled to leave them alone and in peace, lest the society turn to become ‘fasiquun’ (aggressors) themselves.

However, let there be a group amongst the Believers (Mukmin) be engaged on the moral duty of meeting and mingling with these lost souls to listen and to educate them, that God willing, will bring them to path of Faith out of their own consent and freewill.

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

 (Al-Quran , Ali Imran 3:110)  

You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf and forbid Al-Munkar, and you believe in Allah . And had the people of the Scripture believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Fasiq.

Indeed the World should be perceived as having only two societal divides.  One is submitter to peace, freedom and human rights ( “muslimuun”). The other is violator of peace, freedom and human rights (“fasiquun”). One is the friend of Humankind; the other is the enemy of Humankind.

Being “muslim” (submitter) is pertaining to achieving peace, freedom and happiness in the worldly physical (duniawi) life, whilst being “mukmin” (believer) pertains to achieving peace, freedom and happiness in the heavenly spiritual (ukhrawi) life.

So, one needs to be a complete and a balanced person to be both “Muslim” (Submitter) and “Mukmin” (Believer) to be blessed with the best of both the material and the spiritual worlds.


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