Meaning of Faith in Language and Terms and Levels

Meaning of Faith – According to the Islamic view, faith can mean believing and this matter about faith has been written in the Al-Quran, which is the holy book of Muslims. In some letters, such as the letter At-Taubah, Allah has explained about the faith revealed to his people.

In addition to being mentioned in the Quran, faith is also explained through various hadiths. According to one of the hadiths, faith is a binding of the heart that is done as well as spoken, until it becomes a unity.

Islamic religious scholars also gave their opinion on the definition of faith. However, before that, Reader need to know the meaning of faith in terms and language. Read to the end of the article!

Meaning of Faith in Language and Terms

Faith is a belief believed by a person related to religion, belief and trust in God, the prophet, the book and so on. In Islamic religious teachings, faith means trust, confidence in God, HIS prophets and the book, the Al-Quran and so on.

According to Islamic teachings, Muslims believe in the six pillars of faith. The six pillars of faith must be believed and trusted by Muslims. However, what is the meaning of faith according to language and terminology?

Before discussing the meaning of faith from scholars and according to the Quran and hadith. Here is the meaning of faith in language and terms.

According to the Arabic language, the word faith is rooted in the word amana – yu; minu – imana which literally or etymologically can be interpreted as believing and confident. Linguistically, faith can be interpreted as tashdiq or justify which means almost the same term.

In terms of terms, according to the book Encyclopedia of Faith written by Shaykh Abdul Majid Az-Zandani, faith can be interpreted according to its linguistic meaning, which is tashdiq or trust.

Faith in terms, maknawi or terminological is believing with confidence in the existence of God, the Angels of God, His Books, His Messengers, the afterlife, up to qadha and qadar which have been summarized in the pillars of faith according to the teachings of Islam.

The Meaning of Faith According to the Quran and Scholars

In the Al-Quran, faith is mentioned with the pronunciation yaqin or believing. As in Surat Al-Baqarah verse 4 and Surat Al-An’am verse 75. Here is a more complete explanation.

In Surah Al-Baqarah verse 4 

وَالَّذِيْنَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ انْزِلَ عَلَيْكَ وَمَا ُنْزَ مِنْ قْلِكَ ۚ وَبِلْاِٰرَةِ هُمْ ُوْقِنْنَۗ


“And those who believe in (the Qur’an) which was revealed to you (Muhammad) and (the books) which were revealed before you, and they believe in the Hereafter.”

Meanwhile, faith is also mentioned in Surah Al-Anam verse 75: 

وَكَذٰلِكَ نُرِيْٓ عِبْرهِيْمَ مَلَكُوْتَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ وَلِيَكُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُوْقِنِيْنَ


“And thus, We showed Ibrahim the power (of Us) in the heavens and the earth, and that he be among those who believe.”

From the two chapters and verses in the Qur’an, the words yaqin and tashdiq are mentioned which mean the practice of the heart. Faith can be interpreted as the speech of the heart that is in the heart and is formed through confidence in the heart.

Several other chapters in the Quran also mention the faith of a Muslim.

Surat Al-Baqarah, verse 136

QS 2:136

قُوْلُوْٓا اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰهِ وَمَآ اُنْزِلَ اِلَيْنَا وَمَآ اُنْزِلَ اِلٰٓى اِبْرٰهٖمَ وَاِسْمٰعِيْلَ وَاِسْحٰقَ وَيَعْقُوْبَ وَالْاَسْبَاطِ وَمَآ اُوْتِيَ مُوْسٰى وَعِيْسٰى وَمَآ اُوْتِيَ النَّبِيُّوْنَ مِنْ رَّبِّهِمْۚ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ اَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْۖ وَنَحْنُ لَهٗ مُسْلِمُوْنَ


Say, “We believe in Allah and in what was revealed to us, and in what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and his descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and in what was given to the prophets from their God. We do not discriminate between any of them, and we submit to Him.”

Referring to the Surah Al-Baqarah, it can be concluded that the faith believed by Muslims is a belief and conviction embedded in the heart and manifested through words and deeds. The belief refers to the belief in the five pillars of Islam.

Besides according to the Al-Quran, some scholars also gave their opinion on the definition of faith. Some famous scholars such as Imam Syafii, Imam Ahmad to Imam Bukhari also expressed their opinion.

According to Imam Syafii , the faith of a Muslim includes his words and actions. faith can increase or decrease. The increase in one’s faith is caused by obedience to God, while the decrease in one’s faith is caused by disobedience.

Imam Ahmad has an opinion that is not far different from Imam Syafii, Imam Ahmad stated that faith can increase and decrease, increase because a person performs certain practices and decreases because the person abandons the practice.

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Then, Imam Bukhari also added from the two scholars, Imam Bukhari said that after meeting many scholars from various parts of the country, he saw that the scholars’ presentation of faith is words and deeds that can increase and decrease.

Other scholars such as Imam Malik, Ash Syafi’i, Al Auza’i and Ishaq Bin Rahawai have the same opinion about the meaning of faith. Faith is justification done with the heart, confession verbally, and practiced with the limbs. According to the scholars, charity is one of the elements of faith.

Companions of the Prophet such as Ali bin Abi Talib believed that faith is speech spoken with the tongue and belief that is believed to be true with the heart and done with the body parts. Like Ali, Aisyah also has the same opinion about the meaning of faith.

The Meaning of Faith According to Indonesian Scholars

Scholars in Indonesia such as Ustadz Khalid Basalamah to Ustadz Adi Hidayat also expressed their opinions on the meaning of faith. Here is the meaning of faith according to scholars in Indonesia.

Ustadz Khalid Basalamah

According to Ustadz Khalid Basalamah, faith is vowing something with the mind, then saying it verbally and believing it in the heart and applying it using the body parts.

Ustadz Adi Hidayat

Ustadz Adi Hidayat explained that the word faith comes from the word Al-Amnu which means safe, calm and peaceful. According to Ustadz Adi Hidayat, faith has a relationship with the word peace and calm. These two words can then be interpreted as if a Muslim believes in God, then he will have peace of mind and a sense of security from the restlessness of the world as well as threats in the afterlife.

Levels of Faith in Islam According to Sheikh M, Nawawi

In Islam, faith has levels. This level also differentiates the faith of each person. According to a scholar from Banten, namely Sheikh M, Nawawi, a person’s level of faith can be divided into five levels. Here is the explanation.

a. Iman Taqlid

The first level of faith is iman taqlid. Iman taqlid is a faith based on the speech of others, generally from scholars, but without understanding the evidence. According to Sheikh M. Nawawi, this first level of faith is valid, even without looking for evidence for the problem.

b. Iman Ilmu or Ilmul Yaqin 

The second level of faith is the faith of knowledge. Faith in knowledge is the faith possessed by a servant in solving a problem with evidence and knowledge possessed.

c. Iman Iyana knows Ainul Yaqin

At the third level of faith is iman iyana. Faith is the faith possessed by a servant who believes that God is a real being, even though his existence cannot be seen. When a person is at the third level of faith, he believes that God is not unseen and is always present in his heart.

d. Iman Haq or Haqqul Yaqin

At the fourth level of faith is true faith. Iman haq is the faith possessed by a Muslim with the view that Allah is always in his heart. Scholars also say that a person with a high level of faith is said to be a wise person. This is because God is always present in his heart, the person only looks at God and not at the worldly.

e. True Faith

The last level is real faith. Real faith is the faith possessed by a servant by only doing everything that brings him closer to God. Therefore, people with true faith can be seen as a slave who has drowned in the sea and does not see the shore.

From the five levels of faith, the first two categories of faith can be cultivated by humans. Therefore, Sheikh M. Nawawi also explained that every human being is obliged to deepen his level of faith by looking for arguments about faith.

Whereas faith at the next level, is a gift given by God to humans and cannot be cultivated by humans. Because it can only be obtained according to God’s will.

Level of Faith in General

In addition to the level of faith, according to the views of Sheikh M. Nawawi, the level of faith in general can be categorized into five, namely Muslim, believer, muhsin, mukhlis and muttaqin. Here is the explanation.

a. Muslims 

Muslim is the level of faith when someone professes to be Muslim, this first level of faith includes the lowest level of faith. This is because it is only limited to the acknowledgment that Allah is the god he believes in as the One and Only God. For this reason, a servant is considered to have no difference with the devil, because the devil also believes that God is the One God.

b. Believer

A believer is a servant who has faith by studying Islamic religious law. With the study of the Sharia, it has an increase in insight about the Islamic religion.

c. Muhsin

Muhsin is a servant who has a level of faith that can improve all his actions to be better.

d. Mukhlis

Mukhlis is a servant of people who have sincerity in worship. At this level, a servant does everything he does only for God.

e. Muttaqin 

The last and highest level of faith is muttaqin. Muttaqin is a servant who always fears God and avoids God’s prohibitions..

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Those are the five levels of faith in Islam according to scholars and in general. The next discussion is about the pillars of faith in Islam.

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Pillars of Faith in Islam 

In Islamic teachings there are six pillars of faith, as one of the foundations of faith itself. The pillars of faith can also be used as a benchmark for the understanding of faith in terms of meaning or terms. Here is a further explanation.

The pillar of faith is a view in Islamic religious teachings that believes that the Prophet and Messenger are messengers from God and are ordered to deliver good news and deliver threats to humans living on earth.

The meaning of this pillar of faith is also summarized in a hadith from Muslim that reads:

“… Rasulullah SAW said, ‘You believe in Allah, in His angels, in His messengers, in the Day of Resurrection and in good and bad destiny.’ This person (Jibril), then said, ‘You are right’.”

The hadith is the narration of Umar bin Khattab, when he heard that the angel Gabriel changed his form into a man and asked the Prophet Muhammad.

Here are the six pillars of faith in Islam.

1. Faith in God

The first pillar of faith is to believe in Allah as the One and Only God and the Lord of the Universe. A person can be said to believe in God, if he believes in the following four things.

  1. Believing in the existence of God or believing in the existence of God.
  2. Believing in the Rububiyyah of Allah, that is believing and confident that no one controls, creates, and regulates the entire universe except Allah.
  3. Believing in the Uluhiyyah of Allah, believing that there is no one entitled and worthy of worship other than Allah and denying all worship other than Allah.
  4. Believing in the name and attributes of God or Asmaul Husna that has been set for God and set by the prophet for God. Then stay away from attitudes that can remove the meaning, turn away, and question God.

2. Faith in God’s Angels

Faith in the angels of God includes believing in the practices and tasks given by God to the angels. Faith in angels can be done by believing that no one knows for sure the number of angels. Meanwhile, there are 10 angels that Muslims must believe in and believe that angels are created from light.

There are 10 angels that Muslims must believe in, namely angel Gabriel, angel Mikail, angel Rakib, angel Atid, angel Munkar, angel Nakir, angel Maut, angel Israfil, angel Malik, and angel Ridwan.

3. Faith in the Books of God

Believing in the books of God including in kalam or speech. There are four books of God that must be believed by a Muslim. Among them are the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms and the holy book Al-Quran.

4. Faith in the Messengers of God

Believing in the messengers of God means believing and trusting with all your heart that the messengers of God exist. Believing in the messengers of God means believing that the messengers were created by God to bring the truth and teachings of God to people on earth.

The messengers who were created and sent by God can receive revelation through intermediaries, namely angels. It should be known that God sent down many prophets to the earth, but there are only 25 prophets and messengers that Muslims must know, starting from Prophet Adam to Prophet Muhammad.

5. Faith in the Last Day

Believing in the last day or doomsday means believing and trusting that the last day or doomsday will definitely come and no one knows for sure when the doomsday will come.

On the last day, the universe and all its contents will be destroyed and man will be raised from the grave to be gathered and held accountable for what he did while still alive in the world.

6. Faith in Qada and Qadar

The last pillar of faith is faith in fate, namely qada and qadar. Believing in destiny qada and qadar means to believe and believe wholeheartedly that destiny, good and bad, comes from God, and that all destiny that happens to humans has been decreed by God.

Qada is a ruling that has been written since before humans were born in the world, from fate, death to sustenance. While qadar is a provision or certainty that has been determined by God and will definitely happen, has happened or is happening.

That is the meaning of faith according to terms and language accompanied by an explanation of the levels of faith and the pillars of faith in Islam.

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