With Submission to God alone being the essence of the one message delivered to mankind through all of God's messengers and scriptures (21:25, 16:36), Submission stands to be the only religion authorized by God (3:19, 3:85). Therefore, Quran is clear in identifying who a submitter is in the following verse:
[2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
The first element to spell out the above definition of a submitter is the belief in God. Most people define the belief in God in a very limited way. Usually, it is thought of as the mental and verbal acknowledgment of God's existence. Does this encompass the true meaning of "belief " or "iman" in Arabic ? The truth of the matter is that the meaning of the word belief in both Arabic and English languages is more complex than what most of us think.
To believe is to have confidence in something , or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so. It is the unshakable conviction that something exists whether it is physical or mental, seen or unseen, agreed upon by others or not.
Depending on the entity we believe in, the word, belief / Iman, could also be intricate in both languages that it carries many other values and rich emotions such as absolute love, trust, passion, and extreme care for whoever is believed in. When the word is truly meant, this complex of deep meanings, feelings and values just evolves and shines and many implications automatically follow.. Belief in God is not only acknowledging whether He exists or He is real, but is also the display of that complicated mix of meanings and feelings of love, passion, and trust.
This complex structure of believing in God is illustrated and expressed through the divine, perfect word of God in His infallible, Arabic Quran. Quran teaches us that those who truly believe in God offer much more than flat acknowledgment of God's existence. They demonstrate, fully, what it takes and how it feels to be a Believer/Mu'men in God:
[49:15] Mu'mens (believers) are those who believe in GOD and His messenger, then attain the status of having no doubt whatsoever, and strive with their money and their lives in the cause of GOD. These are the truthful ones.
[10:84] Moses said, "O my people, if you have really believed in GOD, then put your trust in Him, if you are really submitters."
[2:165] Yet, some people set up idols to rival GOD, and love them as if they are GOD. Those who believe love GOD the most. If only the transgressors could see themselves when they see the retribution! They will realize then that all power belongs to GOD alone, and that GOD's retribution is awesome.
[8:2] The true believers are those whose hearts tremble when GOD is mentioned, and when His revelations are recited to them, their faith is strengthened, and they trust in their Lord.
[9:124] When a sura was revealed, some of them would say, "Did this sura strengthen the faith of anyone among you?" Indeed, it did strengthen the faith of those who believed, and they rejoice in any revelation.
[13:28] They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering GOD. Absolutely, by remembering GOD, the hearts rejoice.
[5:83] When they hear what was revealed to the messenger, you see their eyes flooding with tears as they recognize the truth therein, and they say, "Our Lord, we have believed, so count us among the witnesses.
[6:162] Say, "My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.
A true believer in God speaks with a heart full of love, passion, obsession, and unshakable trust in God and His divine words. Trusting Him implies having no doubts or hesitance in carrying out ANY of His commands without the slightest compromise. It also implies the certainty about all of His attributes. Loving Him and being passionate about Him, implies doing the very best to unconditionally please Him alone, obey Him and reverence Him:
[3:146] Many a prophet had godly people fight along with him, without ever wavering under pressure in the cause of GOD, nor did they hesitate or become discouraged. GOD loves the steadfast.
[5:35] O you who believe, you shall reverence GOD and seek the ways and means to Him, and strive in His cause, that you may succeed.
[16:50] They reverence their Lord, high above them, and they do what they are commanded to do.
[3:31] Proclaim: "If you love GOD, you should follow me." GOD will then love you, and forgive your sins. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[32:16] Their sides readily forsake their beds, in order to worship their Lord, out of reverence and hope, and from our provisions to them, they give.
[21:49] The ones who reverence their Lord, even when alone in their privacy, and they worry about the Hour.
[30:38] Therefore, you shall give the relatives their rightful share (of charity), as well as the poor, and the traveling alien. This is better for those who sincerely seek GOD's pleasure; they are the winners.
[2:265] The example of those who give their money seeking GOD's pleasure, out of sincere conviction, is that of a garden on high fertile soil; when heavy rain falls, it gives twice as much crop. If heavy rain is not available, a drizzle will suffice. GOD is Seer of everything you do.
[24:51] The only utterance of the believers, whenever invited to GOD and His messenger to judge in their affairs, is to say, "We hear and we obey." These are the winners.
Per the clear teachings of Quran, the majority of humans on earth and the majority of those who practice the lip service of belief in God, offer their love, trust, appreciation, and extreme passion and care to worthless entities (12:103,106). They fear others while they should only fear God. They please others while they should only please God. They reverence others while they should only reverence God. The following are some powerful reminders about idolatry for the believers to heed the guidance:
[31:13] Recall that Luqmaan said to his son, as he enlightened him, "O my son, do not set up any idols beside GOD; idolatry is a gross injustice."*
[16:51] GOD has proclaimed: "Do not worship two gods; there is only one god. You shall reverence Me alone."
[2:165] Yet, some people set up idols to rival GOD, and love them as if they are GOD. Those who believe love GOD the most.....
[10:34] Say, "Can any of your idols initiate creation, then repeat it?" Say, "GOD initiates the creation, then repeats it. How could you deviate?".
[10:35] Say, "Does any of your idols guide to the truth?" Say, "GOD guides to the truth. Is one who guides to the truth more worthy of being followed, or one who does not guide, and needs guidance for himself? What is wrong with your judgment?"
[41:9] Say, "You disbelieve in the One who created the earth in two days,* and you set up idols to rank with Him, though He is Lord of the universe."
[22:71] Yet, they idolize beside GOD idols wherein He placed no power, and they know nothing about them. The transgressors have no helper.
[5:76] Say, "Would you worship beside GOD powerless idols who can neither harm you, nor benefit you? GOD is Hearer, Omniscient."
[40:20] GOD judges equitably, while the idols they implore beside Him cannot judge anything. GOD is the One who is the Hearer, the Seer.
[7:194] The idols you invoke besides GOD are creatures like you. Go ahead and call upon them; let them respond to you, if you are right.
Based on the above, it is evident that true belief in God implies avoiding idolatry. One could acknowledge God and admit He is the Creator, but still fails to fulfill the elements of belief in Him. This only means that his/her actions and choices are not conforming with the complex of Belief/Iman ; paying all the love, trust, and care to others by choice. Satan is a good example. He acknowledged God but he chose to challenge Him and to offer his passion and trust to his ego. He teaches the same lesson to his allies (7:12, 38:82-83, 29:61, 29:63).
In conclusion, true belief in God is the foremost of all beliefs as it guards against idolatry. It involves a complex of meanings, emotions and values. The fulfillment of believing in God besides the acknowledgment of His existence would only mean a heart that is full of love reserved exclusively for Him, utmost care and passion, unshakable trust, and unconditional attention devoted to Him alone. This implies a heart that truly values God the way it should be and acts based on that ; pleasing Him, obeying Him, and reverencing Him. This is how complex "belief in God" is. Most of us do not think of this broad and deep definition when we utter the word of belief / iman in God. It's truly the highest and the ultimate blessings of all to be in love and full of trust and passion towards the Most Gracious. May God continue to fill our hearts with abundant love for Him and support us to ally with ONLY TRUE BELIEVERS.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.