English roots

Īmān is traditionally translated in English as ‘faith’ or ‘belief’. But who remembers what those words really mean?

In Middle English, belief only meant trust in God. To believe is literally to belove, or in Proto-Germanic *ga-laubjan (to hold dear). A sense of appreciation and gratitude for the abundance we receive in life. It’s only in the Renaissance that the word shifted to its modern sense of intellectually accepting something as factual.

Faith was your commitment to someone (because of a promise), the duty of fulfilling your responsibility and providing support. Someone you know you can count on. This traces back to the Latin fides (trust, confidence, reliance).