What is the source of faith in Allah for a human being? Does it come from mental faculties (mind) or some other place? I have absolute faith (imaan) in Allah but cannot figure out the originating point of this faith.

  • Keeping in mind the basics of biology, where could it come from besides your brain?
    – lemon
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 23:23
  • @lemon "Soul" as a theist philosopher would argue!
    – infatuated
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 4:45

4 Answers 4


Faith has been referred to in different ways in Quran. Imaan, (belief) was referred to be more of a heart act. Sura 22:46 tells you that sight is related to the heart. Sura 67:23 and Sura 16:78 tells you that Hearts are the vehicle to reflect, ponder, and thank. Sura 47:24 tells you that sealed hearts is what prevents understanding Quran. Sura 5:13 hardened hearts is a curse, that prevents you from abiding by Allah's commandments. Sura 2:74 tells you the same.. Sura 49:14 highlights an important fact between being a Muslim and being a believer, As if Islam is what you accept and agree to, while Iman is what settles in the heart.

Prophet PBUH stated when he was asked about Iman, that Iman is what settles in the heart, and is met by the deeds of a person, so If you believe in something your deeds must meet what you believe in, otherwise, this is symptom of hypocrisy.

And Allah knows best.


To give an comprehensive answer to this question, one must distinguish between several terms, such as Reason (Aql), Soul (Nafs), faith (imaan) , etc . Therefore let's commence with some introductory explanations:

Humanbeing is a creature with varieties of tendencies, wills, and capabilities. Sometimes, its behavior originates from instinct, such as eating and sleeping, etc, sometimes from mental impressions like fear and panic, and in some occasions it comes from great human desires like searching for the truth, perfectionism and tendency towards moral virtues, and sometimes human treats are originated from senses and emotions which can be either positive like affection and kindness or can be negative like envy and grudge. The Holy Quran and ahadith consider origination of these tendencies as Nafs (self). Nafs, regarding to different situations that encounters, and different actions that does and consequences which happen, is categorised to inciting-nafs, self-accusing nafs and sometimes nafs-at-peace.

Optional actions of human are originating from two sources within his soul (nafs):

  1. insights and knowledges,

  2. tendencies and wills.

One of them clarifies things and its result is discovering facts. The latter is an encouraging/stimulating force and encourages humans to do work.

At the other hand, "Reason" is a power laid down in human Nafs and it's not a type of tendency.

Reason is a lightening torch and is a inspector who measures things; Reason inspect human actions to measure its effect over human future, destiny and his/her hereafter. Some of Nafs's tendencies are authenticated by power of reason and others try to be satisfied by any means though they are not permitted by orders of Reason. Thus, utilising reason has two outcomes: in one part, it judges between existence and non-existence (theoretical reason) and at the other hand, it decides on do's and don'ts (practical reason). Theoretical reason defines the frontier of imagination and fancy in scientific issues in order to prevent false reasoning and practical reason has responsibility to balance and adjust moral qualities.

Martyr Motahhari says about this: Mankind has capabilities in two ways which other living creatures have been deprived of having them:

1- There is a series of spiritual tendencies and appeals like moral senses, sense of curiosity, sense of beauty, friendship and worship which other creatures don't possess them. These attractions of mankind give ability to broaden human's horizons from materialistic level to supreme horizons of spirituality.

2- Humankind is equipped with power of reason and will. Reason distinguishes and willpower fulfills. Man has ability to scrutinize and investigate between two attractions: preferring tendencies or accept a work which has no tendency to do and merely is suggested by foresight. Human can take his fate and doesn't give it to others, and also can free himself from attractions of external powers and owns himself. Therefore one achieves spiritual freedom and rules all of his tendencies and inclinations.

Ayatollah Motahhari says in another speech: Enjoyment is recognised by nature and instinct; and Expediency and interest is identified by reason (Aql). Enjoyment is encouraged by tendency while expediency stimulate willpower. Man carries out his plan-based tasks with power of reason and will, whilst entertainments (enjoying tasks) are ordered by senses and tendencies. This means reason power sees goodness, perfection and enjoyment in the distance and discover way to reach them, which probably is difficult and plans how to get there. And "accomplishing plan-based works with the power of will" means, there is a power in man related to power of reason and its role is to carrying out reason approvals and maybe in spite of all natural tendencies and attractions, brings reason orders into action. consider a sick person, who detest drugs and suffers from drinking bitter medicament, but drinks bad-tasted drugs according to orders of reason and based upon power of will which rules over tendencies.

So, if plan-based activities cover entertaining actions, and enjoyments become parts of general method of living, nature will match with reason and tendency will opt willpower.

At the other hand, in order to achieve his goals, man requires plan, method and choosing means to fulfill his plan-based actions; This is because these actions revolve around a series of ends and goals at distance. These actions must not be in contrast to great humanistic tendencies, otherwise will be more dangerous than animal desires of man.

Also, at the other hand, obviously reason can not design comprehensive plans in broad areas which can not afford complete felicity of humankind, because it does not cover all life expediencies.

This necessitates need for ideology and school. Revelation defines main lines of felicity. Therefore the task of reason and knowledge is to move through these main lines. Joining to ideology becomes a reality when comes in form of faith. Effective ideology must have two characteristics: It must relies to a kind of ideology which can satisfies reason and thought and on the other hand, it must has ability to logically derive appealing and attractive goals from its world-view. According to this, "love" and "persuasion" (satisfaction), which are two main elements of faith, go hand in hand and creates world.

Therefore, definition of faith (imaan) can be stated as: "confirmation and acknowledgement of heart which is a kind of sensual adjective and state in relation to an affair, and it differs from mere cognition and knowledge". Nafs or heart is the place in which faith is realised. Even though faith has lingual and practical effects, its realisation is not restricted in speech and practice. Hence, relation between Islam and imaan (faith) is something like the relativity of general thing to a specific thing. This implies that every believer (mo'men; faithful) is Muslim, but it may be someone who apparently is Muslim but is not a truly faithful.

This answer is mostly based on the teachings of Islamic scholars such as martyr Motahhari, grand Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi and others and can be found at following resources:

  1. Introduction to Islamic world-view, Grand Ayatollah Martyr Murtada Motahhari
  2. Ethics in the Quran, Grand Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi

The closest answer I think you're going to get is Fitra. It's an Islamic concept of the human's predisposition of faith. All humans have this tendency or leaning towards believing in Allah.

Now the location of this, wether it's the soul or the physical body or both - I don't recall a specific location being mentioned. Most likely, you'll find the scholars mentioning the soul.

And Allah knows best.


Its like a taste of art, where you have an idea of good constant feelings, about something you would necessarily not have to understand, or otherwise it might taste bitter or rather ugly.

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