As-Salāmu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi wa Barakātuhu, dear Salibi – sister
What is faith (in Arabic, ʾīmān)?
According to Hamiduddin Farahi, ʾīmān is:
‘The certitude which exists with humility, trust and all the conditions and corollaries of adherence to a view.’ (‘Majmū‘ah Tafāsīr’ – my emphasis).
Compare: ‘Now faith is the conviction concerning those things that are in hope, as if it were these things in action, and the revelation of those things that are unseen.’ (Hebrews 11:1 – Aramaic Bible in Plain English).
Without ʾīmān it is not possible for a person to be a Muslim.
The Qur’an is quite clear that ʾīmān must be accompanied by righteous deeds: ‘We create man in the finest state then reduce him to the lowest of the low, except those who believe and do good deeds – they will have an unfailing reward . After this, what makes you (man) deny the Judgement?’ (Al-Tin: 4-7 – my emphasis).
‘And through good works, that we do for our neighbor with love and good cheer, our faith germinates and bears fruit. Let us ask ourselves, is our faith fruitful? Does our faith produce good works? Or is it barren, and therefore more dead than alive? Am I a neighbor, or do I simply walk on by? Am I one of those who choose people according to my taste?’ (Pope Francis: Angelus, July 10, 2016 – quoted in the National Catholic Reporter – 2nd February, 2018).
As you can see, when it comes to the meaning of ʾīmān (of faith) – and the need for it to be expressed in good works – Islam and the Church are as one.