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The Courage of the Faithful

Harun Yahya

About the Author

Now writing under the pen-name HARUN YAHYA, he was born in Ankara in 1956. Having completed his primary and secondary education in Ankara, he studied arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, he has published many books on political, scientific, and faith-related issues. Harun Yahya is well-known as the author of important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, their invalid claims, and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and such bloody ideologies as fascism and communism.

His penname is a composite of the names Harun (Aaron) and Yahya (John), in memory of the two esteemed Prophets who fought against their people's lack of faith. TheProphet's seal on his books' covers is symbolic and is linked to their contents. It represents the Qur'an (the final scripture) and the Prophet Muhammad (saas), last of the prophets. Under the guidance of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet), the author makes it his purpose to disprove each fundamental tenet of godless ideologies and to have the "last word," so as to completely silence the objections raised against religion. He uses the seal of the final Prophet (saas), who attained ultimate wisdom and moral perfection, as a sign of his intention to offer the last word.

All of Harun Yahya's works share one single goal: To convey the Qur' an's message, encourage readers to consider basic faith-related issues such as Allah's Existence and Unity and the Hereafter; and to expose godless systems' feeble foundations and perverted ideologies.

Harun Yahya enjoys a wide readership in many countries, from India to America, England to Indonesia, Poland to Bosnia, and Spain to Brazil. Some of his books are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Urdu, Arabic, Albanian, Russian, Serbo-Croat (Bosnian), Polish, Malay, Uygur Turkish, and Indonesian.

Greatly appreciated all around the world, these works have been instrumental in many people recovering faith in Allah and gaining deeper insights into their faith. His books' wisdom and sincerity, together with a distinct style that's easy to understand, directly affect anyone who reads them. Those who seriously consider these books, can no longer advocate atheism or any other perverted ideology or materialistic philosophy, since these books are characterized by rapid effectiveness, definite results, and irrefutability. Even if they continue to do so, it will be only a sentimental insistence, since these books refute such ideologies from their very foundations. All contemporary movements of denial are now ideologically defeated, thanks to the books written by Harun Yahya.

This is no doubt a result of the Qur'an's wisdom and lucidity. Theauthor modestly intends to serve as a means in humanity's search for Allah's right path. No material gain is sought in the publication of these works.

Those who encourage others to read these books, to open their minds and hearts and guide them to become more devoted servants of Allah, render an invaluable service.

Meanwhile, it would only be a waste of time and energy to propagate other books that create confusion in people's minds, lead them into ideological chaos, and that clearly have no strong and precise effects in removing the doubts in people's hearts, as also verified from previous experience. It is impossible for books devised to emphasize the author's literary power rather than the noble goal of saving people from loss of faith, to have such a great effect. Those who doubt this can readily see that the sole aim of Harun Yahya's books is to overcome disbelief and to disseminate the Qur'an's moral values. Thesuccess and impact of this service are manifested in the readers' conviction.

One point should be kept in mind: The main reason for the continuing cruelty, conflict, and other ordeals endured by the vast majority of people is the ideological prevalence of disbelief. This can be ended only with the ideological defeat of disbelief and by conveying the wonders of creation and Qur'anic morality so that people can live by it. Considering the state of the world today, leading into a downward spiral of violence, corruption and conflict, clearly this service must be provided speedily and effectively, or it may be too late.

In this effort, the books of Harun Yahya assume a leading role. By the will of Allah, these books will be a means through which people in the twentyfirst century will attain the peace, justice, and happiness promised in the Qur'an.

Say Your Prayers Before

Prayers Are Said for You

Translated by Keith Dearn Edited by David Livingstone 2004

Published by

Publishers and Distributors of Islamic Books 6650 Autumn Wind Circle

Clarksville, Maryland 21029 USA

Phone: (410) 531-96531 800 667-7884

E-mail: info@khatoons.com

http://www.khatoons.com

All translations from the Qur'an are from the Noble Qur'an: A New Rendering of its Meaning in English by Hajj Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley, published by Bookwork, Norwich, UK. 1420 CE/1999 AH.

Abbreviations used:

(saas-sall-Allahu 'alyahi wa sallam): May Allah bless him and grant him peace (following a reference to the Prophet Muhammad) (as-'alayhi's-salam): Peace be upon him(following a referenceto the prophets or angels)

www.harunyahya.com

Khatoons Inc.

Published by Khatoons Inc.

www.khatoons.com

To the Reader

A special chapter is assigned to the collapse of the theory of evolution because this theory constitutes the basis of all anti-spiritual philosophies. Since Darwinism rejects the fact of creation—and therefore, Allah's Existence—over the last 140 years it has caused many people to abandon their faith or fall into doubt. It is therefore an imperative service, a very important duty to show everyone that this theory is a deception. Since some readers may find the chance to read only one of our book, we think it appropriate to devote a chapter to summarize this subject.

All the author's books explain faith-related issues in light of Qur'anic verses, and invite readers to learn Allah's words and to live by them. All the subjects concerning Allah's verses are explained so as to leave no doubt or room for questions in the reader's mind. Thebooks' sincere, plain, and fluent style ensure that everyone of every age and from every social group can easily understand them. Thanks to their effective, lucid narrative, they can be read at a one sitting. Even those who rigorously reject spirituality are influenced by the facts these books document and cannot refute the truthfulness of their contents.

This and all the other books by the author can be read individually, or discussed in a group. Readers eager to profit from the books will find discussion very useful, letting them relate their reflections and experiences to one another.

In addition, it will be a great service to Islam to contribute to the publication and reading of these books, written solely for the pleasure of Allah. Theauthor's books are all extremely convincing. For this reason, to communicate true religion to others, one of the most effective methods is encouraging them to read these books.

We hope the reader will look through the reviews of his other books at the back of this book. His rich source material on faith-related issues is very useful, and a pleasure to read.

In these books, unlike some other books, you will not find the author's personal views, explanations based on dubious sources, styles that are unobservant of the respect and reverence due to sacred subjects, nor hopeless, pessimistic arguments that create doubts in the mind and deviations in the heart.

Contents

Introduction

Courage According to the Qur'an

The Difference Between Courage According to the Qur'an and Courage According to Society

Satan Instructs People in an Evil Form of Courage

How Is Courage Achieved?

Examples of Courage Among the Prophets and Sincere Believers

Conclusion

The Deception of Evolution

Notes

Back Cover



Introduction

Consider the person who lives his entire life avoiding responsibility. One who thinks only of feeding himself, of only his own future, house, car and other property… That which unfolds around him, the tragedies and injustices that take place all over the world, the bloodshed, anguish and hunger suffered by others, does not concern him at all. He is indifferent to plight of those who have been unjustly attacked, or the child who can find not even a crumb to eat. He is of the corrupt mentality that suggests, "Let the snake which does not bite me live a thousand years." He thinks only of himself.

Such persons are quite common, however. There are many who think that if they can avoid thinking of these concerns, they themselves can be at peace. Though he finds himself in a cruel world, this does not trouble him or affect his conscience.

However, during such times, there are great responsibilities upon everyone. All can achieve the state of mind to dispose them to come to the rescue of those who are suffering, who have been unjustly exiled from their homes, or endured massacre. Working to save the world from these afflictions is a duty which falls on everybody with mind to think and a conscience.

Now, you may be thinking, "Yes, but what can I do?" But, think how the world would be if everyone thought that way… There would not be a single person to battle for good against the evils of the world. In fact, in every period of history, there have been those who fulfilled this duty. They came out fearlessly, trying to promote good in the world and keep it alive. Thebasic characteristics to be found among them were a fear of Allah, listening to their conscience, courage, outspokenness, and a willingness to accept responsibility.

In order to replace the cruelty and injustice which have become pervasive throughout the world with good, prosperity and justice, the first strategy is to step courageously along the path of righteousness. Perhaps, you will be wondering why it would require courage to recommend people to do good? the truth is that, courage is one of the foremost qualities necessary for those who wish to banish evil from the face of the Earth.

In order to understand how important are courage and sense of determination in instructing people to do good, and discouraging them from doing harm, we should consider the prophets, the example of their lives, and how they battled against evil in the cause of Allah.

Considering this subject will help us to recognize that throughout the centuries, every movement for the promotion of good has been opposed by some other people.

Of course, in every period of history, as well as those who struggled for virtue, beauty, morality, peace and tranquility to prevail, there have been a large numbers of those who killed others unjustly, expelled them from their homes, worked to spread moral degeneracy, oppressed the weak, all the while seeking by these means also to exalt themselves.

In the same way that the aim of Muslims is to spread moral excellence, the aim of these others is to spread their evil throughout the world. This is demonstrated by events throughout history. Attempts have been made in every period to place under pressure the prophets and the faithful who followed them in preaching superior morality and to stop them with ugly and baseless slanders and various methods of oppression.

However, there is a special secret that those who oppose good to become established in the world can neither know, or even understand. As is pointed out in the verse, "It is Our army which will be victorious." (Surat as-Saffat, 173), Muslims are always victorious over the unbelievers. This is the promise of Allah. In this world, Allah definitely brings victory over their enemies to those who follow His path with courage, and rewards them in the Hereafter for their devoted efforts by placing them in Paradise.

All who trust in Allah, and show determination in adhering to and promoting superior morality sanctioned by Him, can hope to be rewarded with His boundless blessings. Whoever shows courage and determination similar to that of the prophets and the sincere faithful, and strives forth without deviating from the right path, may hope to become among the dwellers of Paradise. In a verse, Allah promises the following:

Those who believe and migrate and strive in the Way of Allah can expect Allah's mercy. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Baqara, 218)

In this book, we will explore the subject of courage, an important part of sublime morality of Islam. We will explain the true meaning of courage, as defined in the Qur'an, and, at the same time, examine how it is often misunderstood. We will compare the type of courage outlined in the Qur'an with this misinterpreted conception. Later, we will look at examples of the evil type of courage to which Satan incites people. Finally, we will offer examples of the courage of the prophets, and of pious believers, as recounted in the Qur'an.

Courage According to the Qur'an

True courage, as outlined in the Qur'an, is showing determination in respecting all of Allah's limits, without exception, and without hesitation, fearing none other than Allah, and not deviating from this course whatever the circumstances or the condition. Essentially, courage is the virtue that arises as a result of faith, in those who fear no one but Allah, and who are deeply devoted to Him.

Those who believe in Allah show courage as an outcome of their fear of Allah and their longing for the Hereafter. Because they are sincere, they are also courageous. Forthe good pleasure of Allah, they adopt the manners taught by the Qur'an, and strive to persuade others to do the same, not remaining silent in the face of evil acts committed around them. They take on the responsibility of struggling against evil, and speaking of truth, beauty and virtue.

The very basis of the courage of the faithful is their love and fear of Allah, and their rendering sincere effort to earn His good pleasure. Forthat reason, their courage in fulfilling the requirements of morality is not dependent on specific circumstances. In all conditions, a believer retains the courage that results from trusting in Allah.

As for the courageous acts of unbelievers, these are carried out solely for their own gain or other worldly ambitions. Therefore, those who are removed from the light of the Qur'an apply what they deem as courage to the wrong situations. In matters where true courage is required, they may actually falter. As such, the courage they usually exemplify is of little purpose, and of no benefit to themselves, with regards to the Hereafter.

Being bound by his conscience, a believer cannot fail to be courageous. Forexample, if an innocent person is accused, and he is aware of his innocence, he defends the person, for the good pleasure of Allah, even if it is in conflict with his own interests, or places him at risk. This is a true example of outstanding courage. Thesource of this courage exemplified by the faithful is their fear of Allah. Because, Allah instructs us in the Qur'an:

Do not conceal testimony. if someone does conceal it, his heart commits a crime. Allah knows what you do. (Surat al-Baqara, 283)

As told in the above verse, concealing evidence is defined by Allah as unlawful. Because they fear any shortcomings or hesitation in obeying Allah's commands, the faithful display exemplary courage in following Allah's prohibitions.

In a society that does not abide by the Qur'an, a person who listens to the voice of conscience, and defends the rights of the downtrodden, is asked questions like, "Are you his lawyer?" or "Is it your job to defend him?", in an attempt to belittle him and cause him to give up. Thetruth, however, is that what he is doing is a noble example of morality, and which deserves appreciation. if the person being criticized also fails to adhere to religious morality, he will be unable to withstand the criticism of those around him, and be inclined to his own selfish interest. But, if this person is a believer in Allah, who follows the Qur'an, he never hesitates in implementing the morality which Allah has commanded.

This person listens to his conscience and has the courage to fight for justice, even under the most difficult circumstances. When he encounters a wrong, he tries to counter it with virtue, as instructed in the verse. Forthis reason, he may be accused of being naïve, and be looked down on by those who do not follow the morality of the Qur'an. Nevertheless, he persists in his superior morality, even if those around him mock his behavior. A fine example is given in the Qur'an of not fearing the condemnation of accusers, but remaining brave and showing determination:

You who believe! if any of you renounce your religion, Allah will bring forward a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble to the believers, fierce to the disbelievers, who strive in the Way of Allah and do not fear the blame of any censurer. That is the unbounded favor of Allah which He gives to whoever He wills. Allah is Boundless, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 54)

We can explain this matter further with examples from our own lives. A person meets a poor man in the street who needs help. He wants to help, but those around him try to dissuade him. "Leave him be," they say, and, "Is it your job to help him?" mockingly to prevent him from doing so. In such a situation, the person is faced with a choice.

Some, fearing that their friends will look down on them, or that they may lose them, reject the right moral way and leave the needy person to his own devices. But, a Muslim helps the person without fearing any blame, because he knows that the needy person has been created by Allah, and put before him for a purpose. This may be a test of whether or not he will demonstrate steadfastness in being moral. A believer with insight knows right away that Allah has especially ordained this moment, and chooses the kind of behavior complying with Allah's good pleasure. if his friends mock him, it does not put him off at all. He behaves courageously in doing what he knows to be right.

From time to time, a person determined to act morally may encounter others who oppose him and who try to make him abandon his morals. When we study the verses of the Qur'an, we are led to understand such a situation as a test. As explained in the Qur'an, good people will always come across wicked people, who want to impart their wicked ways to others. Therefore, they try to interfere with those who do good. Allah tells us this truth in several verses:

Who could do greater wrong than someone who denies Allah's Signs and turns away from them? We will repay those who turn away from Our Signs with the worst kind of punishment because they turned away. (Surat al-An‘am, 157)

Have you seen him who denies the religion? He is the one who harshly rebuffs the orphan and does not urge the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who pray, and are forgetful of their prayer, those who show off and deny help to others. (Surat al-Ma‘un, 1-7)

The Qur'an draws our attention to the fact that those who resist Allah will do their utmost to prevent the spread of virtue. However, as it is a means of separating the good from the wicked, it will nevertheless be for the advantage of the believer. We are told so in the following verse of the Qur'an:

Those who disbelieve spend their wealth barring access to the Way of Allah. They will spend it; then they will regret it; then they will be overthrown. Those who disbelieve will be gathered into Hell. (It is) so that Allah can sift the bad out from the good, and pile the bad on top of one another, heaping them all together, and tip them into Hell. They are the lost. (Surat al-Anfal, 36-37)

Some commit evil acts because they are influenced by bad people. When they want to do good, their friends regard it as strange, and try to harass them by word and action. Being influenced by Satan, they present wickedness as virtuous and virtue as evil. Theweak-willed, shy and timid are affected by such people and give up performing good. They easily conform to the behavior of people of low morality.

By abandoning what they know to be right and opting for base morality, in order to conform to those around them, and earn the admiration of those who are not on the right path, they do themselves great harm. In choosing the wrong path, so as not to be blamed or rejected by others, and conforming to wicked ways, they are actually oppressing themselves. These people, who then tolerate base morality, so as not to lose friends, not knowing that their true friend is Allah, are not aware that they are lowering themselves in the sight of Allah, and will suffer for it in the Hereafter.

However, those who, at all cost, are courageous and stay determined to follow the instructions of Allah, and of those of superior character, who are compassionate, merciful, just, self-sacrificing, devoted and magnanimous, who invite others to do good, think positively and regard everything as a blessing, may be belittled and rejected by other, but it does not bother them. Because, in this world, and the Hereafter, they will be exalted by Allah, and set above those who turned their faces from what is right.

Courage, according to the Qur'an, requires fearing nothing and no one other than Allah; not hesitating to act in the way which conforms the nearest to Allah's good pleasure, and showing determination. Amongst the most important characteristics of the faithful are that they do not give up when faced with difficulty, and fear nothing and no one but Allah. They know that there is no power other than He. This fosters courage in them, to overcome any kind of fear. Anexample of such exemplary behavior is given in the Qur'an:

(Prophets are) those who conveyed Allah's Message and feared Him, fearing no one except Allah. Allah suffices as a Reckoner. (Surat al-Ahzab, 39)

To defeat the evil alliances that are established by those who enjoy wickedness, and want others to be like them, requires one to be as brave as the prophets, and the pious faithful who strove at their sides for good to prevail. Thebasis of this courage is a sincere faith purged of idolatry.

Those who do good, and urge others to do the same, will draw the attention of the wicked conspirators, and efforts will be made to divert them from virtue. This truth has been demonstrated a thousands times over. Efforts have been made throughout history to prevent every Muslim from living according to the superior morality and inviting others to it.

For example, in a society where the morality of the Qur'an is not adhered to, when a person begins to perform his daily prayers, attempts will surely be made to stop him, by saying things as, "You're still young. Never mind now, you can perform your prayers in the future," or "I take the responsibility of your sins." However, worship is something which must not be impeded but encouraged. Allah has this to say in the Qur'an about those who prevent others from fulfilling their acts of worship:

Have you seen him who prevents a servant when he goes to pray? Do you think he is rightly guided or commands fear of Allah? or do you see how he has denied and turned away? Does he not know that Allah sees? No indeed! if he does not desist, We will grab him by the forelock, a lying, sinful forelock. Let him call his attendants; We will call the Guards of Hell! No indeed! Do not obey him, but prostrate and draw near. (Surat al-‘Alaq, 9-19)

Satan does not want even a single person to emerge with the truth, who lives according to the morality of the Qur'an, and directs his thoughts towards the Hereafter. Forthis reason he sends his cohorts to assault those who scrupulously adhere to the Qur'an, and tries to wear them down, frighten them and influence them negatively. Satan carries out this activity directly with blandishments and stratagems, but also through those who have come under his influence and made him their friend. Allah informs us that this method of Satan's can have no effect on the faithful:

That was only Satan who intimidated his adherents. But do not fear them—fear Me if you are believers. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 175)

In the following verses, the courage and determination in religious matters of those who fear Allah, and the fine reward they will receive from Him are described:

(Believers are) those to whom people said, "The people have gathered against you, so fear them." but that merely increased their faith and they said, "Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians." So they returned with blessings and bounty from Allah and no evil touched them. They pursued the pleasure of Allah. Allah's favor is indeed immense. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 173-174)

One who behaves bravely, listens to his conscience and, recognizing what is right, proceeds along the correct path without fearing anyone, will achieve salvation. He will be blessed with the mercy, pleasure and bounty of Allah in Paradise. As for the one who lends an ear to the blandishments of Satan, he is driven to the depths of Hell, where he will be forced to remain eternally.

The duty of a believer, as Allah has commanded, is to urge others to accept the virtuous and the correct. This is the main duty of the faithful. However, it must also be realized that in carrying out this task a person may meet various difficulties, or more correctly, trials. Efforts will be made to impede and oppress him, and he will suffer from various forms of slander and punishments, because this is a promise Allah informs us of in the Qur'an:

Or did you suppose that you would enter the Garden without facing the same as those who came before you? Poverty and illness afflicted them and they were shaken to the point that the Messenger and those who believed with him said, "When is Allah's help coming?" Be assured that Allah's help is very near. (Surat al-Baqara, 214)

As Allah vows in the above verse, every believer who hopes to enter Paradise will endure trials like those experienced by the faithful in the past. At this point, they will devote themselves to Allah, trust in Him, remain determined and courageous, knowing that all trials are a part of life.

If, under such circumstances, a person compromises his religion in any way whatsoever, it is truly dishonorable for him. if the person is sincere, there is nothing to fear. In fact, in the verses of the Qur'an, Allah informs us of the good news that for every difficulty there is relief, and that He will not burden anyone beyond their ability to cope with it:

For truly with hardship comes ease; truly with hardship comes ease. (Surat al-Inshirah, 5-6)

As for those who believe and do right actions—We impose on no self any more than it can bear—they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever.

We will strip away any rancor in their hearts. Rivers will flow under them and they will say, "Praise be to Allah Who has guided us to this! We would not have been guided, had Allah not guided us. Themessengers of our Lord came with the Truth." It will be proclaimed to them: "This is your Garden which you have inherited for what you did." (Surat al-A‘raf, 42-43)

The Difference Between Courage According to the Qur'an and Courage According to Society

Like many false notions, courage is one of those concepts which is perceived and experienced differently from that in the Qur'an in a society that does not adhere to religious morality. Of course, people may be able to propound many different things on the subject of courage, but as in all matters, the best definition we are given is the one in the Qur'an.

Everybody has moments of courage but the matters concerning which people are brave, the purposes for which they achieve courage and the limits of the courage they demonstrate may be very different from those described in the Qur'an.

If a definition of courage is required, the definition of one who does not know the morality of the Qur'an, and the kind of courage Allah recommends, will certainly be different from the definition of a Muslim. While a Muslim determines what is courage according to the Qur'an, a great many will describe some hero-figure constructed from their imagination through the influence of the action films. Forinstance, they would describe driving in the wrong direction on an expressway heavy with traffic, something often seen in films, as an example of great courage.

The concept of courage for high school students is very different. A student who argues with the teacher may be regarded by his friends as very brave. Likewise, one who behaves rebelliously and breaks the rules is thought of as brave. Forexample, in a school that requires navy blue pants, a person who shows up with green pants has great courage, according to the other students. Cheating on exams is also an example of courage in a society ignorant of the morality of the Qur'an.

For a businessman, in a society plagued with ignorance, courage means being able to take certain financial risks. Forexample, putting a large sum of money into the stock market is an example of courage for such people. Or, we can say that investing in a brand-new start up is for only the bravest people.

In short, in societies not adhering to religious morality, each will interpret courage according to his own experience or the environment he comes from. Because the criteria for them is not the Qur'an, but their own principles and habits, what each individual understands as courage differs. Forexample, for those living in slums, courage is understood in a way specific to their circumstances, while the definition of courage offered by the upper-classes will differ accordingly. What a housewife understands by courage is different from a politician's idea of it.

It is possible to multiply examples of this type relative to the number of different classes of society. But, the common point among them all is their perception that courage resides in a variety of extreme acts outside the norm, that is, is perceived as going beyond the limits otherwise set by society.

In a society whose culture does not hold the Qur'an supreme, this deviated notion knows no limits. A thief may regard himself as courageous, and claim that his business is one which requires a great deal of audacity. Each evaluates situations differently. Because everybody is sure that his opinion is correct, conflicts inevitably arise between those who admire their own opinions and their own value judgments.

On the other hand, when people act according to the Qur'an, they are adhering to the noblest and most correct model of morality. True courage, according to the Qur'an, bears no relationship whatsoever to the notions listed above. According to the Qur'an, courage is a soundness of character, which springs from trusting in and relying on Allah, and devoting one's life to Him at all times. As we will explain in later chapters, the best examples of this soundness of character can be seen in the lives of our prophets (saas) sent by Allah.

What we learn from their examples mentioned in the Qur'an is that courage must be rational. Allah calls on us to use our intelligence, and in a verse refers to those who do not as such:

No self can believe except with Allah's permission. He places a blight on those who do not use their intellect. (Surah Yunus, 100)

Rational courage will be successful. According to what society recognizes, courage is a "blind spirit of adventure". Those motivated by such spirit of adventure, and who are reckless, are greatly admired by the rest of society. Forexample, one who goes into a burning home and tries to remove his valuables may be regarded as very brave. However, this person is doing something extremely dangerous and unintelligent. Instead of being encouraged, he should be prevented. A person's life is more important than material goods of any type.

Wisdom is the most important element of courage according to the Qur'an. Being wise is a result of living in fear of Allah. Allah confers on those who fear Him as He ought to be feared a sense of understanding to be able to distinguish right from wrong. This sense of understanding, which issues from fear of Allah, enables one to find the correct option in every situation. TheQur'an informs us of this truth:

You who believe! if you fear Allah, He will give you discrimination and erase your bad actions from you and forgive you. Allah's favor is indeed immense. (Surat al-Anfal, 29)

Wisdom is emphasized in the Qur'an as an important quality. This wisdom, which can be discerned at all times in the behavior of the faithful, will make itself known in their acts of bravery. Thecourage shown by the faithful is not blind or emotional. They may at times place themselves at risk, but never on an impulse. As in all behavior of the faithful, wisdom is its source. Thefaithful do not engage in acts of courage blindly or recklessly.

As in all matters, fear of Allah is essential. One who has no fear of Allah may easily engage in behavior which will harm others, tramping on their rights for his own advantage. Such a person's conception of courage is diametrically opposed to the true courage of which the Qur'an informs us.

They regard obtaining money by doing what is forbidden,obtaining advantages by disregarding the rights of others, and ignoring the risk of being caught by the authorities while doing so, as courage. They believe that being able to commit several crimes simultaneously and becoming rich without being caught is courage. They perceive involving themselves fearlessly in such immorality, not hesitating to trample on others for the sake of their own gain, and recognizing no authority whatsoever as a mark of their superiority over others. In fact, fomenting conflict, oppressing others, trampling on other people's rights, and other acts of a similar nature, all represent wicked behavior which is forbidden by Allah in the verses of the Qur'an, and for which they will be unable to answer for in the Hereafter. Courage only has real meaning when it is combined with superior morality. Courage demonstrated against society's rules is an ugly form of courage, and cannot be reconciled with the superior morality and the Muslim model of which Allah informs us in the Qur'an.

Courage is behavior which is adopted in order to earn Allah's good pleasure. Thefaithful sacrifice their lives and their goods for the purpose of obtaining Allah's goodwill. At bottom, this is not a decision taken at some late stage by people of faith. Believers take this decision the moment they say, "I believe":

Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth in return for the Garden. They fight in the Way of Allah and they kill and are killed. It is a promise binding on Him in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur'an and who is truer to his contract than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba, 111)

For those who make this decision from the outset, all that remains afterwards is for an opportunity to come to carry out what it requires. In truth, this courage shown by the faithful is merely that which Allah has ordered. Forthat reason, the faithful perform their greatest feats of bravery with composure. Because, when it is a matter of earning the goodwill of Allah, there is nothing that he is not willing to give up.

It is Allah Who gives life and property. Just as He confers these on whom He wishes, so, too, it is in Allah's power to take them back, whenever and however He likes. It should also not be forgotten that nothing happens by coincidence. When living according to the morality of the Qur'an, one who acts with courage and determination for the sake of Allah, will experience nothing that is not written for him according to his fate. Nevertheless, these circumstances are but of the greatest good for him in this world and the Afterlife. That is, when a person behaves courageously through difficulty, when he tries to overcome that problem, no matter what he may come up against, the outcome will be beneficial for him. Because, in the Qur'an, Allah informs us that He will surely conclude the affairs of His faithful believers to their advantage.

From the Qur'an, which provides us with the best definition of true courage, we may recognize from the examples provided of the lives of the prophets, and the faithful who followed them, that courage exhibited for the approval of Allah is an exalted virtue.

As discussed to this point, the most important element which distinguishes the type of courage outlined in the Qur'an from the mistaken notions of society is purpose. When we examine the Qur'an, we can see that, according to it, true courage comprises of very different purposes from those commonly recognized. Theaim of courage, according to the Qur'an, is neither to gain the praise and admiration of others, nor to satisfy one's own ego. Theaim is solely to earn Allah's good pleasure.

Of course, this is the reason for the substantial differences between the courage of the Qur'an and society's conception of it. As explained earlier, according to the notion of courage prevalent in society, there are worldly aims; that is, when demonstrating courage in any matter, the person does not have in mind a purpose of achieving the Hereafter, but striving for worldly goals. Maybe he is doing something noble and good, like, for example, rescuing a child who has run onto the road from being run over, but the aim here is to ease his own conscience. Or, perhaps, he is defending the rights of someone who has suffered injustice. His behavior is good, but his aim is to win the praise of those around him. Really, he should perform these actions to earn Allah's good pleasure, because in the sight of Allah that is what matters.

Muslims, never losing sight of this truth, do not show courage for the sake of worldly advantages or benefits. They never harbor desires such as wanting to be praised for their courage, or to be called brave, or to attract other people's attention. It is enough for them that Allah knows about the courage they have demonstrated for His sake.



Satan Instructs People in an Evil Form of Courage

Satan's purpose is to keep people away from the religion of Allah, and to mislead them into Hell. Forthis reason, he uses various stratagems against them in order to deceive and ensnare them. He deceives the majority with these ruses, and misguides them to evil. Because he wants to distance people from the true faith, and coerce them into his own perverse system, he confuses ideas, and tries to present superior morals as despicable, and base morality as desirable. In this way, he ensures that people have an incorrect perception of all aspects of superior morals. This behavior of Satan's and those who follow him is described in a verse of the Qur'an:

Shall I tell you upon whom the satans descend? They descend on every evil liar. They give them a hearing and most of them are liars. (Surat ash-Shu‘ara', 221-223)

For example, though patience is an excellent moral virtue, Satan presents it to people incorrectly. People are almost completely ignorant of the finer aspects of patience. Forthe most part, they believe it to be a difficult, troublesome and oppressive duty. Their understanding of the meaning of patience is mentioned as forbearance, a period of undesired waiting for something. However, patience means determined and persistent commitment to a task of which Allah approves, not abandoning it, or becoming wearied, but carrying resolutely it to a conclusion. Forexample, the ability to remain tolerant despite adverse circumstances, to restrain anger and respond with kindness, in circumstances where rage might otherwise be vented, and to be determined to do so, at whatever cost, and not to feel overburdened, is a true example of patience.

Similarly, patience means waiting contently in expectance of the positive outcome promised by Allah. This is not, as Satan tries to portray it, something difficult or burdensome. On the contrary, it increases the motivation of the faithful. Forexample, all believers long for the Afterlife. They passionately desire to be united in Paradise, waiting patiently for this end. A believer who is patient for the good pleasure of Allah, in any matter, enjoys the contentment and peace of mind of knowing that he will surely receive from Allah his due reward.

When a believer is treated badly, he deals with it patiently. That is, he does not become angry or despair, but maintains the composed behavior commanded in the Qur'an.

Another idea which, like patience, Satan tries to distort, is the subject of this book: Courage. if people do not conform to Allah's commands, they will fall under Satan's influence, so that, instead of learning the meaning of the message of the Qur'an, they learn the suggestions of Satan. Satan guides people towards false courage. False courage is the audacity to commit evil without fear, and to reject our Lord, Who created the entire universe, without shame, without a troubled conscience, and without consideration for the outcome. TheQur'an relates the following with regard to those who demonstrate false courage:

They say, "The All-Merciful has a son."They have devised a monstrous thing.The heavens are all but rent apart and the Earth split open and the mountains brought crashing down, at their ascription of a son to the All-Merciful!.It is not fitting for the All-Merciful to have a son.There is no one in the heavens and Earth who will not come to the All-Merciful as a servant.He has counted them and numbered them precisely.Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Resurrection all alone. (Surah Maryam, 88-95)

A believer fears Allah and carefully resists falling into any form of immorality, or failing to praise the boundless power of Allah. He bears in mind that Allah will call on him to render account in the Hereafter, and that, if he is in any way immoral, or fails to praise Allah adequately, he will be called to account for it. Those who do not fear Allah show false courage, it being an example of the base morality of Satan's influence.

There are many duped by the notion of false courage. Those who have no fear of Allah, and who do not live in accordance with the morality of the Qur'an, are devoid of feelings of respect towards others, as of mercy, compassion and humanity, and are prone to evil tendencies. Examples of this sort of evil is recognizable in every class of society, from businessmen to street kids, and diverse cultural backgrounds. Though they comprise different segments of the society, if they do not fear Allah, they will be prone to the evil morality of Satan.

One who follows Satan is capable of every kind of evil imaginable. Because, Satan incites him to false courage, deceives him with his coaxing, and encourages him to do evil without remorse. He shares his same corruption. Allah invited him to prostrate to Adam (as). Yet, out of pride, he showed false courage, refusing to comply, and so became perverse. This perversion of his, which serves as a warning for humanity, is described in the Qur'an as follows:

We created you and then formed you and then We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam," and they prostrated—except for Iblis. He was not among those who prostrated.He said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to?" He replied, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and You created him from clay."He said, "Descend from Heaven. It is not for you to be arrogant in it. So get out! You are one of the abased."He said, "Grant me a reprieve until the day they are raised up."He said, "You are one of the reprieved."He said, "By Your misguidance of me, I will lie in ambush for them on your straight path.Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful."He said, "Get out of it, reviled and driven out. As for those of them who follow you, I will fill up Hell with every one of you." (Surat al-A‘raf, 12-18)

The fact that he knew he had committed a great wrong, he was aware that he would be sentenced to Hell for having been bold enough to show such insolence. This demonstrates the depths of Satan's depravity. Therefore, Satan tries to bring people under his influence, to debase them to the same level of depravity and false courage. Allah warns people about falling under Satan's influence in a number of verses:

You who believe! Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. Anyone who follows in Satan's footsteps should know that he commands indecency and wrongdoing. Were it not for Allah's favor to you and His mercy, not one of you would ever have been purified. But Allah purifies whoever He wills. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surat an-Nur, 21)

O humanity! Eat what is good and lawful on the Earth. And do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He truly is an outright enemy to you.He only commands you to do evil and indecent acts and to say about Allah what you do not know. (Surat al-Baqara, 168-169)

One of the primary causes of Satan's depravity is his conceit. Satan tries to make people conceited too, to pervert them so that they can be like him. Basically, false courage is the result of a person's having fallen victim to pride.

This conceit may take many different forms. Like Satan, among those who follow him, there are those who are aware of the existence of Allah, but do not abide by religious morality. Others may reject the existence of Allah, in spite of the myriad of evidence around them. Or, if they do not reject Him, they may ignore certain truths. Forexample, although every square inch of the Earth holds signs of Allah's creative power, some, who are prone to false courage, may claim that they all came into being by accident. They may claim that all living creatures, as well as the earth, the sky, the world, the stars, the solar system came into existence by chance. Even if they can see this is impossible, knowing so in their hearts, they will reject the magnificence of Allah's creation. All such tendencies are marks of their failure to submit to Allah, out of false courage and pride. Though you would show them countless proofs, if you were to explain to them over and over again what is true and what is good, it will be of no use.

In fact, those who have become consumed with self-pride, and tend to false courage, doubt the Resurrection, which they do not hesitate to express openly. In the Qur'an, Allah informs us of the lack of wisdom and understanding of such people:

Does not man see that We created him from a drop yet there he is, an open antagonist!He makes likenesses of Us and forgets his own creation, saying, "Who will give life to bones when they are decayed?"Say "He Who made them in the first place will bring them back to life. He has total knowledge of each created thing;He Who produces fire for you from green trees so that you use them to light your fires."Does He Who created the heavens and Earth not have the power to create the same again? Yes indeed! He is the Creator, the All-Knowing.His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, "Be!" and it is.Glory be to Him Who has the Dominion of all things in His Hand. To Him you will be returned. (Surah Ya Sin, 77-83)

When they are warned to reform themselves, they refuse to obey. They can ignore that which happens for them to derive lessons. Forexample, those of base morality, who foment discord in the world, who try to repress those of superior morality, who, in short, tend towards all manner of evil, will regard themselves as good people. When those nations who in the past committed the same wrong, denouncing the prophets, thus deserving the punishment of Allah, they fail to recognize the warnings in these events. In short, if they are warned to do what is right, they disobey, and resign themselves to the eternal torment of Hell. In the Qur'an, Allah informs us of the condition of such people

Just ask their opinion: Is it they who are stronger in structure or other things We have created? We created them from sticky clay. No wonder you are surprised as they laugh with scorn! When they are reminded they do not pay heed. When they see a Sign they only laugh with scorn. They say, "This is just downright magic. When we are dead and turned to dust and bones will we then be raised up again alive? and our earlier ancestors as well?" Say: "Yes, and you will be in a despicable state." (Surat as-Saffat, 11-18)

In subsequent verses, Allah describes the painful end awaiting those who tend to show false courage, and who follow the path set out by Satan:

There will be but one Great Blast and then their eyes will open. They will say, "Alas for us! This is the Day of Reckoning!" This is the Day of Decision you used to deny. Assemble those who did wrong together with their associates and what they worshipped besides Allah, and guide them to the Path of the Blazing Fire! and call them to a halt. They will be asked: "Why are you not helping one another?" No, today they come in absolute submission. (Surat as-Saffat, 19-26)

False Courage Alienates People From Their Conscience

False courage is something contrary to one's conscience. Harassing people, committing crimes without remorse, heedlessly trouncing human rights, oppressing, stealing that which they have accumulated with great effort, and leaving the needy to their own devices, are all vices which result from it. While people recognize these things to be wrong according to their conscience, those who fall prey to a false sense of superiority deny the voice of their own conscience to commit these wrongs. Thecalm and cold-blooded behavior of these people is a characteristic that arises from the false self confidence and false courage inspired in them by Satan.

None of such actions conform to the morality of the Qur'an. They display a type of courage so lacking in intelligence that they are prone to levels of wickedness that harm even themselves. Theuse of narcotics, joining criminal gangs, fighting, troublemaking and rioting, are all examples of false courage. In ignorant societies, people of this sort will find fame as "men of courage", or "desperadoes", and, being consumed with pride, will persist in their evil ways.

Those who do not live by religious morality have a specific name for this type of behavior. Examples of this ugly behavior, known as being "crazy", are quite common. Because people of this sort are lacking in qualities such as love, respect for others, compassion, kindness, and common sense, that results from faith, they are spiritually corrupt and show various behavioral defects.

False courage is regarded by those who follow Satan as very admirable. When one of them performs an act of false courage, he is immediately praised by others. In school, one who behaves badly towards teachers or other students, mocks them, makes derisive jokes about them, that is, accosts them, is praised and encouraged to go on. Those who share his immorality continually praise him, talking about how brave he is.

The same tendencies take place in the high society which exhibits a bad moral model. People say, "How brave he is!" of someone who speaks against religion, uses expressions so disrespectful and hateful that no one else would dare to use them, acts disrespectfully, belittling people and brazenly harms them. Thewearing of indecent or outlandish clothing is referred to as "courage and generosity". Though, such people are not courageous at all, but are merely shameless. Even so, Satan, who distorts the meanings of things, to those not intelligent enough to avoid him, convinces them that their behavior is courageous, and misleads them along with himself to eternal torment.

The only ones not affected by the efforts of Satan, and the debauchery he promotes, nor deceived by his stratagems and deceits, are the faithful. In many verses of the Qur'an, Allah gives us the good news that Satan has no influence on His sincere followers, and cannot mislead them from the true path, no matter what he may try:

If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge in Allah. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.

If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge in Allah. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who fear Allah, when they are bothered by visitors from Satan, they remember and immediately see clearly. (Surat al-A‘raf, 200-201)

He (Satan) has no authority over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. He (Satan) only has authority over those who take him as a friend and associate others with Allah. (Surat an-Nahl, 99-100)

Satan Directs People Towards Cowardice

Allah's instructions to the faithful are to wage war ideologically against those who reject faith, to instruct others in virtue, to protect them from evil, and inspire in them the fear of Allah, by reminding them of the torment of the Hereafter. Our Prophet (saas) also said, "Fear Allah wherever you are." (Abdul Wadoud, Forty Hadith An-Nawawis, translated by Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies, Third Edition, 1985), stressing the importance of having fear of Allah in guarding against Satan. In this regard, being timid, not behaving courageously or adamant in teaching others about Allah's commandments, but sitting by and leaving others do it, saying, "Never mind someone else will do it," is a bad act which Allah dislikes and which He has forbidden the faithful.

A believer is one whose peace of mind and determination increase still further when he is confronted with a problem, or when he is the brunt of accusations from others, because he knows it to be a test from Allah. As pointed out earlier, Allah has promised that difficulties similar to the ones which afflicted those who lived in the past will be visited on the sincere faithful, and that in this way He will test them. Also, a fact that should not be forgotten is that those of base morality never condemn those they regard as their own, because such people know that they are their needed allies in their deviance. They try to intimidate those who invite them to follow the path of Allah.

Most hold back from pointing out what is wrong. They cannot find the courage to fight for what they know to be right. Those who behave conscientiously, however, are the faithful who fear Allah. And, because of this, they never run from any responsibility. Although they know that they will suffer slanders from the unbelievers who oppose them, and be subjected to persecution, they continue to inform others of Allah's existence, His unity and the morality which He has commanded, and persist in their struggle with enthusiasm and determination.

Throughout history, one of the most salient characteristics of the faithful who opposed unbelievers was their acceptance of the great responsibility of propagating religious morality, a task which they fulfilled courageously. That the faithful persist in conveying good morals, even when threatened, astonishes the unbelievers. What encouraged both the prophets and those who followed them to remain steadfast and be courageous was their faith in Allah. They were certain of the fact that Allah was watching over them, of the truth of the Hereafter, and that they would be called to account for their actions in this world.

To fully appreciate the courage of the faithful, it is first necessary to understand its source: The morality taught in the Qur'an. A person must fear Allah, understand His verses, and the importance of the behavior He encourages. Clearly, one who sits idly by, watching the tyrannical alliance of the wicked, fails to carry out the duty expected of him. However, if we consider that the great majority of the Earth's inhabitants do not follow the path of Allah, then clearly such effort requires great courage. Because, the slightest disruption of the comfort the wicked enjoy riles them into action. They may become oppressive, conspire, slander or resort even to physical violence. It is then that the difference between those who show true courage and those who do not, can be determined.

Most just close their eyes to the immorality of their friends and relatives, so as not to be rejected or harassed by them. They do not fulfill their duty of warning them otherwise. In societies where the morality of the Qur'an is not adhered to, most may stand idly by, and ignore the prevailing injustices, even though it bothers their conscience. In their hearts they may reject that cruelty, and may want to eradicate it, but they cannot find the courage to struggle against it. Without drive or determination there can be no courage. Where there is no drive and determination, one does not think of preventing the evils he encounters, nor finds solutions to do so. It must not be forgotten that simply being bothered by cruelty, while observing evil that abounds, and merely complaining about it, is not a sufficient way of dealing with it. Rather, it requires sincere effort. But, to do so requires courage.


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