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Summary of question
What are the means for strengthening Shiite beliefs?
question
What are the means for strengthening Shiite beliefs?
Concise answer

In order for us to strengthen Shiite beliefs, it is necessary that we substantiate these beliefs scientifically separating them from superstitions and illusions. We must also provide appropriate answers for all the spurious and specious arguments and doubts cast by those who are antagonistic to Shia. In the practical realm also, performance of religious rites and acts of worship carries special importance because good deeds help strengthen and consolidate beliefs whereas bad deeds weaken and undermine them. When it comes to emotional aspect, we must strengthen our emotions and love on the basis of understanding because from the perspective of religious doctrines, religion has been considered as being practically the same as to love. These three realms have to be promoted and strengthened in parallel with each other so that it may result in fortification of the pillars of faith.

Detailed Answer

Man is naturally in search of perfection; he endeavors constantly to move on from deficiency to perfection to attain excellence in all aspects. Although he might err and derail in his efforts to gain perfection, seeking perfection is a natural tendency with all human beings.

Faith or belief is one of the indicators of perfection and also the most important of them. It is relative and can differ from person to person. However, every believer should endeavor to enhance his belief and conviction.

In order for a person to strengthen his belief, he must struggle in three scientific, practical and emotional arenas.

1 – Scientific arena:

All Shiite jurisprudents have said that it is not permissible to follow another person in the fundamentals of faith. It is necessary that he should conduct a research and believe in the principles of Islam with his own insight and understanding.  Therefore, every Shiite individual should substantiate his beliefs using strong scientific arguments; he should make it a daily habit to conduct research and investigation into religious issues. He must expand his religious information on daily basis so that he may be able to distinguish between genuine beliefs and superstitions which are created and presented in the name of religion by malicious and uninformed people. If a person believes in something with concrete proofs, he will stand firm and steadfast. Nothing can make him flinch at all. All the recommendations of Islam and the Quran towards seeking knowledge and contemplation are in line with the same purpose.

Every Shiite individual studying Shiite beliefs becomes aware and convinced about the superiority of these beliefs to those of other religions. His faith is strengthened once he comes to realize the superiority of his beliefs.[1]

A Shiite individual must know who he has taken his religion from and whom he is following as a model. Shia is proud of following people whom Allah has purified of all impurities and made them the sources of knowledge and virtue.[2]

Also, it is necessary to be highly sensitive towards the doubts which are likely to come to our minds. If there is a question, it is necessary that a precise and convincing answer be prepared for it because a doubt is like a contagious disease which, if not treated properly and quickly, might cause difficulty for the afflicted person and also spread to other people. If religious misgivings and doubts are not dealt with properly and logically, they will gradually affect and destroy the beliefs of both the individual and society.

2 – Practical arena:

Self-purification which, in our religious sources, is termed as ‘jihad akbar’ (greater holy war) is the most important means for strengthening the pillars of faith. As well, performing religious rites and acts of worship as prescribed by Shari’ah will leave a positive influence on one’s beliefs making them further strong. According to the Quran, a person’s deeds play a very effective role in either strengthening or weakening his religious beliefs. The Holy Quran says:

“And serve your Lord until there comes to you that which is certain.”[3]

On the other hand, an evil or a sinful action weakens the faith and even leads to disbelief. The Holy Quran says:

“In the long run evil in the extreme will be the End of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah, and held them up to ridicule.”[4]

3 – Emotional aspect:

One of the important aspects of human personality is the emotional aspect which has so effective a role in one’s religious beliefs that in some religious traditions the religion has been interpreted as being equal to love. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Religion is nothing but love.”[5] Real love makes a person obedient to his beloved; the lover does what the beloved wants him to do. That is why Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, recites the following verse after he says the above:

Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."[6]

For this reason, strengthening the emotions on the basis of accurate knowledge and understanding is another means for promoting Shiite beliefs.

 

 


[1] - For further information in this regard, refer to the following indexes: index “Reasons for superiority of Shia” No, 4942 (site: en9686); “Superiority of Shi’ism to other Religions”, No. 998 (site: en1066).

[2] - Imam Khomeini wrote in his Last Will and Testament: “We are proud to be followers of a religion whose founder has been designated by divine commandment and in which Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), this servant of God, free of all bonds and shackles of servitude and serfdom, has been appointed to deliver mankind from all the chains of slavery and thralldom. We are proud to have had as our leaders the Infallible Imams ...(22), from Ali (AS) down to Hazrat Mahdi (AS) ...(23) who, by the grace of God, lives in occultation, and watches our doings. We are honoured to have had as our fifth Infallible Imam, Baqer-ul Uloom (AS) ...(32) (profound knowledge, a title given to the fifth Imam), this superlative world personality whose true station can be appreciated by none save Allah, His Prophet (pbuh) and the Infallible Imams (pbut).” Imam Khomeini, A thematic attitude to Last Will and Testament of Imam Khomeini (r.a), pg. 6, 8th edition, Institute for Preparation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, Tehran, 1383 (2004).

[3] - Al-Hijr, 99.

[4] - Al-Room, 10.

[5] - Shaykh Saduq, Al-Khesal, pg. 21, Jama’at al-Mudarresin fi al-Hawzah al-Ilmiyah, Qom, 1362 (1983).

[6] - Aal-e Imran, 31.

 

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