The literary meaning of Faith is confidence, peace of mind and absence of doubt and terminologically it means tranquility in the existence of the creator of the world and His oneness and certainty in the existence of resurrection and life after death and sincere testimony (acceptance) of prophethood of the Prophet of Islam.

Raghib has written in this regard: Faith means acceptance of truth and testifying to it and this matter is fulfilled when three factors come together: confession by the heart, acceptance by tongue and acting according to that.[70]

The root of Faith is the same belief and confidence of the mind, but fulfillment of religious duties is its necessary requirement. It is not possible for a person to have faith in something and to act in opposition to that. If his act is not in accordance to his claim, his Faith is not true.


The Holy Quran says:

لَا تَجِدُ قَوْماً يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَآدُّونَ مَنْ حَآدَّ اللَّهَ وَ رَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُواْ آبَآءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَ انَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَ رَضُواْ عَنْهُ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ‏

You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Apostle, even though they were their (own) fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk; these are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and whom He has strengthened with an inspiration from Him: and He will cause them to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him; these are Allah’s party: now surely the party of Allah are the successful ones.” (58:22)


Muhammad bin Muslim says: I asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) about Faith and he said: Testifying to the oneness of God, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and that which he has brought is from Almighty Allah. Testimony to these matters from the depth of the heart constitutes faith. Muhammad bin Muslim asked: Is testimony not itself an act? He replied: Yes, there can be no faith without deeds. Deed is a part of faith. Without that faith is not proved.[71]

Three conditions are necessary for Faith:

1. Sincere confidence in the oneness of Allah, certainty on resurrection and life after death and confession to the rightfulness of the prophethood of the Prophet of Islam.

2. Verbal testimony of these same points:

3. Performance of the duties of religion, which is the necessary condition for faith and sincere certainty.

On the basis of this, Faith is superior to Islam, because Islam can be fulfilled by testimony to three points even if sincere certainty is not there. But in faith, in addition to verbal testimony, certainty and sincere confidence is also required. Thus, every believer is a Muslim, but every Muslim is not a believer.

Sama’a says: I asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a): Is there a difference between faith and Islam? He replied: Faith includes Islam, but Islam does not include faith. I asked: Then describe faith and Islam. He replied:

Islam means testifying to the oneness of God and prophethood of the Prophet of Islam. With these testimonies, a person becomes a Muslim, his life becomes secure and it makes him eligible to marry and inherit. Islam of Muslims is according to this outward form.

But faith is guidance, sincere certainty and action according to that. Faith is a rank above Islam; although it is included in Islam, its apparent form, but in it is not so in its inner part.[72]


Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran:

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُواْ وَلَكِن قُولُواْ أَسْلَمْنَا وَ لَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِى قُلُوبِكُمْ

The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts…” (49:14)


Jamil bin Darraj says: I asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) about the interpretation of the verse: “The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts…” (49:14) He said: Do you not know that faith is other than Islam?[73]

Humran bin Ayyin has narrated that Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) said: Faith is something, which enters the heart and which propels him to God. Obedience and submission to the commands of Almighty Allah also testify true faith. But Islam is the same apparent word and deed and it is the same, which people follow. This Islam becomes makes ones life secure and is a justification for marriage and inheritance.

Muslims have consensus on prayer, Zakat, Fast and Hajj and in this way they have come out of disbelief and have been related to faith. Faith is not included in Islam, but Islam is common with faith. Faith and Islam have come together in words and deeds just as Kaaba is inside Masjidul Haraam, but the Masjid is not inside the Kaaba. In the same way, Islam is included in faith, but faith is not included with it. Almighty Allah says in Quran:

“The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts…” (49:14)[74]

Thus the statement of Almighty Allah is the truest of all.

However, it must be said that faith is having ranks and stages. All believers are not in the same stage from the aspect of confidence of the heart; on the contrary they have different ranks, because faith of individuals is capable of perfection and development.


Almighty Allah says:

 إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَناً وَعَلَى‏ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ‏

Those only are believers whose hearts become full of fear when Allah is mentioned, and when His communications are recited to them they increase them in faith, and in their Lord do they trust.” (8:2)


Abdul Aziz says: Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) said to me: O Abdul Aziz, faith is having ten stages: like one climbs a ladder taking one step after another. Thus one who stands at the second rung should not tell the one who is on the first that you are worthless; in the same you must not humiliate those who stand below your level, otherwise the one who is above you would degrade you. When you find someone below your level, you must try to bring him upto your level in a congenial manner and do not make him carry that which he cannot lift; for in that case his faith would be ruined and one who ruins the faith of a believer is supposed to make amends for it.[75]

Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) writes in this regard: The fact is that faith is susceptible to increase and decrease, because we consider deeds to be a part of faith, or its condition or its effect, because as much strong the faith is, its effects are more on the limbs and physical parts. Thus, increase or decrease of deeds proves the intensity or weakness of faith. Every stage of faith is followed by its appropriate deeds; when the believer performs that deed, his faith also becomes stronger.

On the other hand, when the believer commits a greater sin, his faith is harmed to the limit that it is possible for him to lose the essence of faith. One, who has faith in Allah and resurrection; how is it possible for him to commit a sin, which would make him liable to be sent to Hell? Thus, committing of sins is not, but due to the weakness of certainty.[76]

[70] Al-Mufradat, Pg. 26
[71] Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 38
[72] Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 25
[73] Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 24
[74] Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 26
[75] Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 45
[76] Biharul Anwar, Vol. 69, Pg. 210