5 Types of People in the Qur'an
‘Only God can judge me!’
How many times have we heard the above statement made by people when the discussion regarding their faith or actions becomes too heated?
The problem with the ‘only God can judge me’ statement is that God has already judged people by their words and actions and told us, in His Book, where this person or that person is heading unless there is a drastic change in the actions/behaviors that will change the person’s classification.
(47:30) And if We wished, We would show them to you (the hypocrites) so you would recognize them by their looks. However, you can recognize them by their speech. And God is fully aware of your works.
(9:74) They swear by God that they did not say it, while they had said the word of rejection, and they rejected after they had submitted, and they were concerned with what they could not possess; and they could not find any fault except that God and His messenger had enriched them from His bounty. If they repent it is better for them, and if they turn away, then God will punish them severely in this world and the next. They will not have on earth any ally or supporter.
Accordingly, we find that the Scripture identifies all humans under '5 distinct categories' with a measure of a person’s words/actions determining where they would fit:
1. The Muslim (submitter to God Alone)
The first category of people are those who have willingly surrendered/submitted to God both in words (by declaring their submission) and by action (in following that which God has revealed).
The first step towards Islam (God's System; submission to God Alone) is for a person to acknowledge (in words) that he/she is submitting to God.
(27:44) It was said to her (the ruler of Sheba): "Enter the palace." So when she saw it she thought there was a pool, and she uncovered her legs. He said: "It is a palace paved with crystal." She said: "My Lord, I have wronged myself; and I submit with Solomon to God, the Lord of the worlds."
(49:14) The Nomads said: "We believe." Say: "You have not believed; but you should Say: We have submitted, for belief has not yet entered into your hearts." If you obey God and His messenger, He will not put any of your works to waste. God is Forgiver, Merciful.
(46:13) Surely, those who said: "Our Lord is God," then they lead a righteous life, there is no fear for them, nor will they grieve.
The second step for a person to reaffirm his/her faith is to walk the path of righteousness and do good at all times (the definitions of good and righteousness can be found in the Scripture for those who are interested to know).
(4:125) And who is better in the system than one who submits himself to God, and is a good doer, and he followed the creed of Abraham in monotheism? And God has taken Abraham as a friend.
(39:11-12) Say: "I have been commanded to serve God, devoting the system to Him. And I was commanded to be the first of those who submit."
(2:112) No, whosoever submits himself to God, while doing good, he will have his reward with his Lord. There will be no fear over them, nor will they grieve.
The reward for this path of simple submission and doing good is a paradise whose width is the heavens and the earth…
(42:7) And thus We have inspired to you an Arabic Qur’an, so that you may warn the capital town and all around it, and to warn about the Day of Gathering that is inevitable. A group will be in Paradise, and a group in Hell.
2. The Mumin/Faithful
The second type of people is an advanced stage of submission whereby the persons actions have gone beyond simply ‘doing good’ and have extended into the realm of striving and dedication through activism.
(49:15) Believers are those who believe in God and His messenger, then they became without doubt, and they strive with their money and their lives in the cause of God. These are the truthful ones.
(23:1-4) The believers are indeed successful. Those who are humble in their ritual prayer. And they abstain from vain talk. And they are active towards betterment.
Submission is the beginning of the journey, which may or may not end with the person being a full-fledged believer:
Initial state ----> Submission
Advanced state ----> Faithful/Believer
The reward and result of being at this advanced level is to seek the highest level of Paradise, along with the martyrs and the devotees.
(56:7-14) And you will be in three groupings. So those on the right, who will be from those on the right? And those on the left, who will be from those on the left? And those foremost, who will be from those foremost? They will be the ones who are brought near. In gardens of bliss. Many from the first generations. And a few from the later generations.
3. The Mushrik/Idolater
This is a category of people who acknowledge the existence of God, but who have set-up partners with Him (most of the time not knowing they did so).
(6:22-24) And the Day We gather them all, then We say to those who set up partners: "Where are your partners whom you used to claim?" Then, their only excuse was to Say: "By God, our Lord, we did not set up partners!" See how they lied to themselves; and that which they invented deserted them.
The idolaters main reason for setting-up partners is the false belief that such partners would bring them closer to God or even save them on judgment day.
(39:3) Absolutely, to God is the true system. And those who set up allies besides Him: "We only serve them so that they may bring us closer to God." God will judge between them in what they dispute. Surely, God does not guide him who is a liar, a rejecter.
Idolatry is caused by a lack of faith in God and/or a lack of faith in judgment day (hence the idols/partners are taken as an insurance policy due to the semi-conscious belief of the idolater that God’s word alone may not be enough)
(40:12) This is because when God Alone was mentioned, you rejected, but when partners were associated with Him, you believed. Therefore, the judgment is for God, the Most High, the Greatest.
The bad news for all idolaters is that their destiny is Hell if their idolatry is maintained until death.
(4:48) God does not forgive that partners be set up with Him, and He forgives what is beside that for whom He wills. Whoever sets-up partners with God has indeed invented a great sin.
(5:72) Rejecters indeed are those who have said: "God is the Messiah son of Mary!" And the Messiah said: "O Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever sets-up partners with God, then God will forbid Paradise for him, and his destiny will be the Fire; and the wicked will have no supporters."
According to the Scripture, idolatry represents the second majority of humanity (the 1st majority being rejecters) and, whose fate is Hell.
(12:106) And most of them will not believe in God except while setting-up partners.
(9:113) It is not for the prophet and those who believe that they should seek forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they are relatives, after it has been made clear to them that they are the dwellers of Hell.
4. The Kafir/Rejecter
Unfortunately, this category of people represents the vast majority of humanity.
(12:103) And most of the people, even if you are diligent, will not believe.
The case of rejecters is a simple rejection of God, His attributes, His messengers, His books, etc..
(18:105) These are the ones who rejected the revelations of their Lord and His meeting. So their works were in vain, and We will not give them any value on the Day of Resurrection.
Also, these are people who reject the rulings of God, and stand against His system and teachings:
(5:44) …And whoever does not judge with what God has sent down, then these are the rejecters.
(5:73) Rejecters indeed are those who have said: "God is a trinity!" There is no god except One god. If they do not cease from what they are saying, then those who reject from among them will be afflicted with a painful retribution.
The rejecters are known not only to deny God or His revelations, but in their arrogance they also engage in a mocking of God’s revelations or of the faithful.
(29:47) And similarly, We have sent down to you the Book. Thus, those whom We have given the Scripture will believe in it. Also, some of your people will believe in it. The only ones who mock Our revelations are the rejecters.
As with the idolaters, the retribution for the rejecters is Hell:
(33:64) God has cursed the rejecters, and He has prepared for them Hell.
5. The Munafiq/Hypocrite
This is the most despicable group of all and is ranked even below the level of rejecters…A special painful retribution, more than any other, has been set-aside for this group.
(4:145) The hypocrites will be in the lowest level of the Fire; and you will not find for them a victor.
The Hypocrites are primarily rejecters who act/pretend to be submitters/believers so as to gain intelligence or so as to corrupt the camp of the believers from within.
(4:88-89) What is the matter with you that you are divided into two groups over the hypocrites, while God has regressed them for what they have earned? Do you want to guide those whom God misguides? Whoever God causes to be misguided, you will never find for him a way. They hope that you would reject as they rejected, then you would be the same. Do not take any of them as allies until they emigrate in the cause of God. If they turn away, then take them and kill them where you find them; and do not take from them any ally or supporter.
A trait of the hypocrites is that their words eventually give away their real position as they have been known to state words which are veiled challenges to God’s own words as a subtle ‘mocking’ of His system.
(63:1-2) When the hypocrites come to you they Say: "We bear witness that you are the messenger of God." And God knows that you are His messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are liars. They have chosen their oath as a deceit, thus they repel from the path of God. Miserable indeed is what they do.
The above is being said by the hypocrites as a subtle challenge to God’s claim that He suffices as a witness:
(4:79) Any good that befalls you is from God, and any bad that befalls you is from yourself. We have sent you as a messenger to the people and God is enough as a witness.