The essence of faith is ma‘arifah, (realization or discovery of God). When a man consciously seeks out and finds God, and thereby has access to divine realities that is what constitutes faith.
This discovery is no simple matter. God is the Creator and Owner of all things. He will award or punish all, according to their deeds; none is free from His grip. The discovery of such a God shakes to the core of the whole life of man. His thinking is revolutionized, for God becomes the centre of all His emotions.
With God as the principal focus of his attention, man becomes God’s servant in the fullest sense of the word. He becomes a man whose living and dying is all for God.
Such a faith ultimately results in all of man’s behaviour and his dealings taking on the hue of God. When the believer speaks, he is conscious of the fact that God is listening to him. When he walks, he does so with modesty so that his gait may not be displeasing to God. When he deals with people, he is always worried lest he deal unjustly and be punished by God in the next life.
The impact of this degree of faith makes the entire life of man akhirat-oriented. In all matters his eyes are focused on the Hereafter. Instead of immediate gain he makes gain in the next life his goal. Whenever there are two aspects of any matter, one pertaining to this world and the other to the next world, he always prefers the latter.
Faith, another name for the recognition of the Supreme God, becomes for the believer a fountainhead of limitless confidence in his Creator. When this recognition takes root in an individual’s heart and soul, his whole personality becomes regenerated. Knowing that in all circumstances he may depend upon God, he becomes a new man.