Conviction is the constant believing in the principles of the religion. Such believing should conform to the reality and not be shaken by suspicions. If it does not, it is then compound ignorance.
The Islamic Sharia has taken a special notice of conviction and showered people of conviction with glorious items of praise:
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) used to say: "No one can find the true taste of faith before he believes that whatever befell him would never miss him and whatever missed him would never befall him. The real source of harm and benefit in only Allah."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Faith is preferable to being Muslim. Conviction is preferable to faith. In fact, there is nothing more powerful than conviction."
"The little permanent deed with conviction is favorable in the sight of Allah to the many deeds that are lacking conviction."
"To avoid pleasing anyone and discontenting Allah and reproaching anyone for something that Allah has not given to you—these are parts of the trueness of Muslim's conviction. The sustenance cannot be obtained through (any sort of) niggardliness and will not be ceased when someone hates it. If you escape your decided share of sustenance in the same way as you escape death, it will surely catch you in the same way as death will inevitably catch you. Out of His justice and equality, Allah has made pleasure and rest lie in conviction and content, and has made care and grief lie in suspect and dissatisfaction."
Once, Imam ar-Rida (a) was asked to identify the best of two men one of whom says only the truth, but he commits wrongdoings, consume wines, and perpetrates the grand sins, while the other is less in conviction but he does not commit such evildoings. The Imam said: "The first one is just like a man who sleeps on the right course; as soon as he is awaken, he will take it. The other is like a person who sleeps on the wrong course; when he is awaken, he cannot realize the right course to take."
Imam as-Sadiq narrated that the Prophet (s) once, noticed a young man, in the mosque just after the Fajr prayer, nodding his head with his face pale, his body thin, and his eyes sunken in his head. 'How is your morning?' the Prophet asked the young man. 'God's Messenger,' answered the man, 'I begin this morning with full conviction.'
The Prophet (s) was admired by this answer; hence, he said, 'There is a proof for every conviction. What is the proof of yours?'
The young man said, 'God's Messenger, my conviction is the reason of my grief, sleeplessness, and thirst in midday. Hence, I disdain this world along with its pleasures so completely, as if the Throne of my Lord is prepared for the judgment, all people, including I myself, are gathered there for interrogation, and as if people of Paradise are there enjoying the bliss and introducing themselves to each other and leaning on the sofas, and as if people of Hell are there tormented and lined up, and now I can hear the sound of fire in my hearings.'
The Prophet (s) said to his companions, 'Surely, Allah has illuminated the heart of this man with faith.' He (s) then asked him to keep on such faith and conviction. The young man asked the Prophet to pray to God for martyrdom, and the Prophet did.
Not before long time, that young man participated in one of the Prophet's campaigns and was martyred.
Qualities of People of Conviction
People of conviction, as they are flourished and lightened by the glittering rays of conviction, acquire various colors of mental perfection that exalt them to a lofty spiritual standing. Thus, they are characterized by high moral standards and moral conducts as they avoid vices and bad manners. The illusions of this world cannot divert them from exalting their spiritual qualifications for gaining the lofty ranks and the expected endless pleasures of the life to come. They exert all efforts for offering acts of obedience to God for sake of attaining His satisfaction. They trust in Him completely in sorrow and in joy. They neither fear nor hope for anything except God because they are convinced of His well management and wisdom. Their prayers therefore are responded and their charismata are shown. Finally, they find favor with God.
Sectarianism stands for supporting one's people, family, or homeland on bases in violation of the law, right, and justice. Islam has fought against sectarianism and warned Muslims from its vices.
The Prophet (s) said: "Whoever has the least amount of fanaticism in his heart shall be raised by Allah on the Day of Resurrection together with the pagan Arabs of the pre-Islamic times."
"By means of Islam, Allah eradicated the fanaticism of the pre-Islamic times and the taking pride in fathers. Certainly, all people belong to Adam who was created from dust. The best of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "As for him who behaves fanatically, Allah will bind him with a fire band."
Imam al-Baqir (a) narrated: Salman al-Farsi -the Persian- and Omar were among some companions who began mentioning their tribes and lineages proudly. Omar asked Salman: "What is your tribe?" Salman answered: "I am Salman the son of God's servant. I was astray, but God guided me through Mohammed. I was poor, but God made me rich through Mohammed. I was slave, but God set me free through Mohammed. This is my lineage, Omar."
As he was told of the previous discussion, the Prophet (s) commented: "People of Koreish! A man's lineage is his religion, personality is his moralities, and origin is his intellect. Allah says: People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you (49:13)."
He (s) turned to Salman and said: "Salman! No one of those is preferable to you by any means except piety. You are preferable to him whom you are more pious than he is."
The best evidence on the credibility of Islam in its denial of the confessional feud and deciding faith and piety to be the criterion of preference is the fact that Abu Lahab who was the real Arab and the uncle of the Prophet (s) was declared as disbeliever and that he would be punished and tortured in Hell because of his atheism:
"May the hands of Abu Lahab perish! May he too perish! His property and worldly gains will be of no help to him. He will suffer in a blazing fire. (111:1-4)"
Salman, on the other hand, was Persian and away from Arabism, but the Prophet (s) granted him that immortal medal of honor:
"Salman is one of us—The The Ahl ul-Bayt."
This was for nothing other than his high faith, genuine honesty, and wholehearted devotion to God and His Messenger.
Reality of Sectarianism
The dispraised sectarianism against which Islam has warned is supporting one another in fields of wrongness and taking pride in the non-Islamic values.
Conversely, there is the fanaticism for the right as well as the support of one another on achieving the public interests of Islam, such like defending the religion, guarding the Islamic homeland, and protecting Muslims' dignities, souls, and fortunes. This sort of fanaticism is praised since it results in uniting the aims and efforts and achieving dignity and poise for Muslims.
Imam as-Sejjad (a) said: "The fanaticism for which one is offended is to prefer the evil individuals of one's clan to the righteous people of another. To love one's clan is not a sort of fanaticism, which is to support one's people on evildoings."
Calamities of Sectarianism
A survey into the Islamic history, as well as the reasons of the collapse of Muslims, proves that the confessional feuds were the main reason that resulted in the disagreement, disunity, and crumbling of Muslims and their powers that led to such a gloomy destiny. Muslims were humiliated only when the disuniting tendencies of fanaticism found grounds in their mentalities and caused their handles of mutual affection to be broken and their ties of fraternity to be split up.
Hence, they became the example of retardation, separation, and humbleness after they had been the symbol of superiority, cohesion, and pride. They did not take heed of God's saying:
"All of you united hold fast to the rope of Allah, and recall how He favored you when your hostility to each other had torn you apart. He united your hearts in one faith and through His grace, you became brothers. You were on the verge of falling headlong into the abyss of fire, but Allah saved you. (3:103)"