Sincere in Islam
As Muslims, Allah expects us to be sincere in following His religion. Allah has perfected His way for us and made religion simple to follow:
"Allah does not wish to place any hardship on you: He only wishes to cleanse you and perfect His blessing on you, so that you may be thankful." (Qur'an 5:6)
This means Allah has made the entire religion so that all of its teachings and values can be fully upheld without hardship on the follower.
"Today I have perfected your religion for you and chosen surrender [to your Lord]: Islam as your religion." [Qur'an 5:3]
For the reason that Allah's religion does not involve hardship, being a true believer means following all the teachings of the religion Allah communicates to us. If we correctly implement all the teachings of the Qur'an within us, and unite together as those who abide by the Quranic values, then Allah makes the believers strong and provides them with dignity in the world. Being the ideal believer is possible for a human being as Allah has made the religion He communicates through the Qur'an, such that it is possible to be the ideal believer. Allah states this as follows:
"Believers, enter fully into surrender to Allah." (Qur'an 2:208)
Many "Muslims" intentionally do not adhere to religion fully. They perform some parts of their duty, such as performing five daily prayers, and deliberately neglect some others which they say they should be doing. One major reason behind their behaviour is that some of their beliefs on what is required of a true believer are highly impractical and superficial and are not based on the true religion to begin with. What this means is that, Allah did not require them to do such and such, yet they impose it upon themselves and then do not perform it. With regard to these failures, they say, "it is better to, but not compulsory" hence do not make the effort or strive to implement them. There are many examples of such practices, couple of which are:
* wearing an Arab dress - these Muslims wear their own style of dress such as the western style, yet suggest that it is "better to" dress in a manner which Arabs do - i.e. they should really be dressed in a different manner to which they are dressed if they are to please Allah most (according to them).
* heavy clothing on women - many such women say it would be better to wear another level of clothing, but do not try to implement this, probably due to an understanding inside that such heavy concealment is both needless and impractical - yet they verbally say it would be "better to" dress in that way while being satisfied with their current way of dressing.
Such attitudes, where one can neglect the "better" aspects (even though not at all endorsed by the true religion i.e. is not from the Qur'an) indicates a lack of full faith and wisdom. This is because a full grasp and understanding of the Hereafter compels a true believer to implement all the aspects which would be 'better' for the Hereafter.
Though none of these practices are endorsed as desirable by the Qur'an by the least, the fact that such people can satisfy themselves with their belief indicates that they do not regard their Hereafter important enough to implement those 'desirable' teachings.
All this is actually a vicious cycle where a faulty understanding of religion keeps them in the loop of feeling that they can never be true believers (as those of the past whom they revere as the best Muslims) and thus it becomes a factor which helps to prevent them from fully submitting to Allah in the manner required by the Qur'an.
A believer who understand that his or her duty is to uphold all the teachings of the Qur'an is on a refined path. None of the teachings of the Qur'an imposes impracticality or beyond reasonable obligations as stated in a verse we mentioned earlier. For example, a believer may dress according to his or her culture and tradition, though modestly and this is absolutely fine. He or she will not claim that another way of dressing such as the Arab style is better while dressing differently, since it is not from the Qur'an. There is no element of his or her faith which is not implemented at any moment. As stated, this is because the Qur'an is a guide which can be fully implemented easily.
There are no commands in the Qur'an which the true believer will dismiss with dismissing remarks such as "it is better" and take up a self-satisfied attitude while not implementing them. This is why he is not a hypocrite in that he implements everything he says he should be doing or would be 'better to' as he has taken the Qur'an as a guide. Unlike the rest, he or she is fully loyal to religion, to every single advice of Allah. In many respects, this person has an easier lifestyle than the aforementioned types of people. Yet, this person is more sincere and loyal in Allah's sight because he or she is aware of what is really required from them by the Qur'an and is implementing all its teachings. This is contrary to the one who follows a muddled religion with impractical burdens not ordered by Allah.
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