By Dr. Abdullatif Aljibury

The three categories of people in the Quran

The three categories of people in the Quran have been described in the beginning of Chapter two (Al-Baqaah) in total of 19 verses which is the characteristic number that recurs in the architecture of the chapters and verses of the Quran. ( See “ Islam Pure and Simple” by the Author.)

God has categorized His human creations into three main Categories:

  1. those who are conscious of Him;
  2. the non believers; and
  3. the hypocrites.

In His infinite wisdom, Allah has described The God Conscious in four verses (Chapter2 verses 2-5), The unbelievers in two verses (Chapter 2 verses 6-7) and the hypocrites in thirteen verses (Chapter2 verses 8- 20.) This makes the number of verses that He used in the description of the three categories of the Human beings a total of 19 verses.
To come to an understanding of the three categories, let us consider the verses that describe each of them.

1- The first category, the God-Conscious, are described in four verses. It will be of benefit to delve into these verses in some detail so that we can understand the general tenants and of the chosen, God conscious people.
First and foremost Verse 2:2 states that “This Divine Writ, let there be no doubt about it, is meant to be a guidance to all who are God-conscious.” God has deemed that the Quran to be a guidance to those who are conscious of Him so that He has bestowed upon them exemplary qualities both spiritual and worldly that can only be envied by those who aspire to be in this group. The guidance of the Quran aims at molding the character of these individuals so that they qualify to be the doers of good deeds and the repellants and abhorrent of evil traits. They are , so to speak, the role model so as to inspire others to do good deeds through actions that are of benefit to the human society whether it be for the betterment of human kind, the environment or the world as a whole/.
The qualities that God has endowed and ascribed to the God conscious are detailed in the following verses:

Verse 2:3, “Who believe in the existence of that which is beyond human perception and are constant in prayers and spend on others out of what we provide for them as sustenance.”

The God-conscious possesses an unshaken belief in the unseen and that which is beyond human perception. They have unshaken belief in the matters the existence of which cannot be proven by scientific methods or by deductive analysis, such as the Angels, life after death, the existence and interaction of spiritual forces and the Ultimate Reality.

They are constant in their prayers which is the daily drive to elevate their spirits and minds to aspire for the higher grounds with their creator. It is, so to speak, the daily attempt of the ascension of their souls towards their Heavenly Creator.

They give of what they possess, be it material or otherwise to those in need, without expecting anything in return. The individual can be in possession of not only material wealth, but also knowledge, wisdom, compassion, and understanding that he or she can give others who are in need of these qualities and attributes that they possess be it material or other qualities which they possess, (intellectual, material and any thing which is for the betterment and wellbeing of the society that they are part of).

They are the ones who spend from their possessions and out of their out own freewill to give to the needy or to charities or others for the pleasure to please God alone and no other. They are the ones who will be repaid in full and who will not be wronged and who shall attain their full reward from Almighty God.

It is they, as verse 2:4 amplifies, “And who believe in that which has been revealed from high upon you and that which has been revealed upon others before you. For it is they who are certain in their innermost of the life to come.” The gradual revelation of the writ (the Quran) in stages and over a period of time is significant and is implied by the wording of “Unzilah” and also as in verse 2:23 where both meaning and the grammatical form which implies that the revelation is over a period of time.

It is they, the God conscious ,who believe in the message that has been revealed to you, prophet Muhammad, and they also believe in the messages that were revealed by God on to the previous messengers. As such the message of the Quran and the religion of Islam is but a continuation of the same message embodied in the previous monotheistic religions where the central theme is the submission to the Will of God and in being conscious of Him. It is this fundamental doctrine that is amply repeated and emphasized throughout the Quran, that the previous monotheistic religions are fundamentally the same in origin and as such the previous messengers were all called Muslims. See verses 2:128,2:132,2:133, 2:136.

The God conscious are then complimented in Verse 2:5: “It is they who follow the guidance from their Sustainer and it is they who shall attain to a happy state.” It is they who seek guidance in all their daily activities whether spiritual, intellectual, practical, mundane or otherwise and in all aspects of their daily life they look to God for guidance. It is they who indeed will be rewarded with the ultimate reward of a happy state and success in this life and the life to come.

The second category of people are the unbelievers who are in fact the deniers of the truth, are succinctly described in just two verses:

2,6 (Behold, as for those who denied the truth, it is all one to them, whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.)

2,7 (God has sealed their hearts and their hearing and over their eyes and awesome suffering awaits them.)

It is noticeable that the root word in Arabic of “kafara” is a reference to someone who is hiding or covering something or is bent on denying the truth. They are the ones who have resolved on their” kufr” or on denying the truth. Such people have hearts that fail to grasp the truth, eyes with which they fail to see and ears with which they fail to hear. The persistence of these people on falsehood and their refusal to listen to the voices of reason make them lose their ability to comprehend and perceive the truth. Their determined adherence to denying the truth, have consequently chosen to qualify for severe punishment and suffering in the life to come.

The third category of people are the hypocrites who outwardly profess their adherence to the message of Islam, but who in actual fact remain inwardly unconvinced of the truth of the message. In so doing, they deceive God and those who have truly attained to faith and, unknowingly, do in fact deceive themselves.

The hypocrites  are sick in their hearts and their sickness is made worse by God’s intent to increase their sickness and increase their suffering as a result of their consistent lying. Their hypocrisy is all the more obvious as to when they are told not to spread corruption on earth, they respond by saying that, on the contrary, they are improving things which they pretend as a result of their confused thinking that they are addressing and are improving things in the real world.

They would oftentimes argue that they work to separate the intrusion of religious considerations from the real world, as if the realm of religion is separate from the realm of real world. When the hypocrites are told to believe as other people believe, they respond by saying that they do not want to believe like those who are weak minded, little do they know that they are the ones who are truly weak and sick in the mind.

To further demonstrate their hypocrisy, when they encounter the faithful, they would claim that they have attained to faith just as the faithful have attained to faith. However, when they are among themselves and their Satans and their evil impulses, they would say “we are with you, we are only mocking.” Little do they know that God is, in fact, mocking them. He continues to let them stumble in their arrogance.

God likens the hypocrites, in stunning parables, to someone who after lighting a fire so that he can see around him, God will obliterate the fire and leave the hypocrite in total darkness, confused and utterly lost, speechless, dumfounded and blind. Or, blown out by the earth shaking tremors of thunderstorm that fills the sky above them with total darkness and accompanied with thunder and lightening that leaves them dump and fearful of dying from the shock.

The hypocrites remain tightly encompassed by the Will of God Almighty, who can strike and leave them dump and confounded in utter loss and can easily take away their sight leaving them blind and helpless.

The implication to the hypocrites (who may insist on taking erroneous paths rather than following the guidance of God) are always given the chance to correct their practices and opt to the right path.

Do not we see the examples of the hypocrites in our daily encounters! It is those who think that they know the answer to everything without recourse to the guidance and protection of the Creator. They always claim that they are all knowing of the laws of the Universe and, therefore, have answers to the natural events ignoring the fact that the natural laws are instituted by God almighty and that natural events are but signs of the Creator. Despite their arrogance (and temptations of being on the right path of knowledge), they are always given the chance to correct their attitudes and beliefs to be in line with those who are conscious of God and who seek guidance from their Creator, who are destined to great rewards. from the Almighty. It is those who are truly guided who can claim righteousness in deeds, intellect and knowledge of the Universe. Such is the elevated status of the true believers to which all God conscious humans can look up to and aspire to attain.

May we ask God Almighty for His Guidance.