10 Steps to Increasing our Iman (Faith)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts”(Mustadrak al-Haakim).
Our Iman is not always as sound and strong as we want it to be as it often fluctuates according to life circumstances. There are several causes for weakening Iman such as deficiencies in our prayers or the insinuating whispers from the Shaytan. Regardless of the cause, it is crucial for all of us to keep a check on our Iman and if we feel it is faltering in any way then we should take measures to restore it. It is our responsibility to know which things decrease our Iman and how to avoid them and those that increase our Iman and how to embrace them
What are signs of a weak imaan?
Signs of weak imaan:
- Committing sins and not feeling any guilt.
- Having a hard heart and no desire to read the Quran.
- Feeling too lazy to do good deeds, e.g. being late for salat
- Neglecting the Sunnah.
- Having mood swings, for instance being upset about petty things and bothered and irritated most of the time.
- Not feeling anything when hearing verses from the Quran, for example when Allah warns us of punishments and His promise of glad tidings.
- Finding difficulty in remembering Allah and making dhikr.
- Not feeling bad when things are done against the Shariah.
- Desiring status and wealth.
- Being mean and miserly, i.e. not wanting to part with wealth.
- Ordering others to do good deeds when not practising them ourselves.
- Feeling pleased when things are not progressing for others.
- Being concerned with whether something is haram or halal only; and not avoiding makroo (not recommended) things.
- Making fun of people who do simple good deeds, like cleaning the mosque.
- Not feeling concerned about the situation of Muslims.
- Not feeling the responsibility to do something to promote Islam.
- Being unable to deal with calamities, for instance crying and yelling in funerals.
- Liking to argue just for the sake of arguing without any proof.
- Becoming engrossed and very involved with dunya, worldly things, i.e. feeling bad only when losing something in terms of material wealth.
- Becoming engrossed and obsessive about ourselves.
Here are 10 ways that we can brighten up our Iman starting from today!
1. Recognise and Repent
As humans we all commit sins no matter how hard we try to avoid them because were created to be imperfect. Engaging in evil deeds decreases our Iman. Actions like lying, cheating and stealing, to name only a few, take a toll on the human heart and soul which makes us more susceptible to being lead astray from the Path of Allah. It is important for us to reflect upon our deeds and weed out the ones that are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah has gifted us with an innate sense of justice and the ability to reason and make sound judgements. Our fitrah (natural disposition) necessitates that we all know when we are committing a sin. And if we don’t know, we certainly have a bevy of resources to find out from!
Conditions for the acceptance of repentance
The word tauba which is rendered as repentance in English, is not a simple term as most people believe. It is very rich in meaning and implication, and is not simply a word of mouth after which the sinner continues in his sins. Says Allah, Glorified be He: “Seek forgiveness of your Lord and then turn to Him in repentance.” (Hud: 3). Do you notice how turning to the Lord in repentance has been added to the search for His forgiveness?
It is quite in keeping with its importance, therefore, that repentance should have, as the scholars have stated, conditions attached to it for its acceptance. They are as follows:
Â· First: Giving up of the sin itself.
Â· Second: Remorse over what has been committed.
Â· Third: A resolve not to repeat it, and, Fourth: Compensating those who have been wronged or obtaining their forgiveness.
2. Perform Salah Regularly
Completing the five daily prayers, on time and according to the Sunnah, is an excellent way to increase our Iman. Not only are we performing an obligatory deed when praying, but by doing so we have a standing audience with the Creator of this world where we can ask for help and mercy. The effect of the salah on the human soul is cooling as Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that it cooled his eyes. The salah connects us with our Creator and, along with obedience to Allah, helps us to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses -this Qur’an- are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone); Who perform salah and spend out of that We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise)”(Al-Anfal: 2-4).
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah (RAA) Rasulullah (peace be upon him) said:
The similitude of five prayers is like an overflowing river passing by the gate of one of you in which he washes five times daily. Hasan said: No filthiness can remain on him. (Sahih Muslim Book 4, Hadith # 1411)
Narrated Abu Hurairah (RAA) Rasualullah (peace be upon him) said, “Martyrs are those who die because of drowning, plague, an abdominal disease, or of being buried alive by a falling building.” And then he added, “If the people knew the Reward for the Zuhr prayer in its early time, they would race for it. If they knew the reward for the ‘Isha’ and the Fajr prayers in congregation, they would join them even if they had to crawl. If they knew the reward for the first row, they would draw lots for it .” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 11, Hadith # 688)
For the people who don’t pray:
Informing us about the inhabitants of Hell, Allaah (SWT) says
“(The people in Hell will be asked What has caused you to enter Hell? They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer their SalÃ¢t (prayers). Nor did we feed the poor. And we used to talk falsehood (all that which Allaah hated) with vain-talkers. And we used to belie thc Day of Recompense. Until there came to us that which is certain (i.e., death). So no Intercession of intercessors will benefit them.
(Sura Al-Muddaththir, ayah 42-48)
Rasulullah (peace be upon him) said “The covenant between us and them is prayer,so if anyone abandons it he has become a disbeliever. “ (Agreed upon by Ahmad, Tirmidhee and Nasaa’ee to be authentic)
In an other Hadith of Rasulullah (peace be upon him) said “What lies between a man and disbelief is the abandonment of prayer.” ( Agreed upon by Muslim, Abu Dawood and Nasaa’ee as sahih authentic)
3. Qur’anic Recitations
Medical studies have shown that simply listening to a recitation of the Holy Qur’an has a physiological effect on our bodies. Research has also proven that the Qur’an has healing qualities on the body, mind and spirit. What better way to increase our Iman than to listen to the recitation of the Holy Qur’an on an audio device! Listen to the melodious rhythm of the Qur’an and while doing so try to reflect upon the meanings of what you are listening to.We should always strive to read as much of the Qur’an as possible as reading the word of allah especially with the meanings will significantly increase our imaan and elevate us in this world and the next!
Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud radhiyallahu anhu narrates that The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Whoever reads one letter of the Quran receives the reward of one good deed. And one good deed is multiplied ten times.”
Hazrat Abu Huraira radhiyallahu anhu reports that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Whoever listens to one verse of the Book of Allah, a good deed that multiplies continuously is recorded. And one who reads a verse of the Quran, that verse will be a Noor for him on the Day of Judgement.”
Hazrat Anas radhiyallahu anhu reports that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Whoever reads the Quran, Allah grants that person ten good deeds for every letter. And for one who hears the Quran being recited, Allah grants a good deed for every letter, and such a person will be resurrected among those who will recite and ascend the stages of Jannat.”
Hazrat Ibni Abbas radhiyallahu anhu narrates that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “He who listens to one letter of the Quran, ten good deeds are recorded for him, ten sins are forgiven, and his status is elevated by ten stages.”
4. Engage in Dhikr
“â€¦Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28)
Remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue. (29:46).
O ye who believe let not your wealth and your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. (63:10)
O ye who believe, remember Allah much. And glorify Him morning and evening (33:42-43)
When the signs of the Gracious Allah are recited unto them, they fall down, prostrating themselves before Allah , weeping. (19:59)
According to these verses the attitude of those who truly remember Allah is the following:
1. Their hearts are filled with the fear of Allah because they are reminded of the status and the Glory of their God.
2. Their skins creep, i.e., the hair on their bodies rise due to their state of fear.
3. Their bodies are softened, their hearts become tender.
4. They prostrate, i.e., they start worshiping Allah .
5. They cry or weep.
Remembering Allah much through acts of dhikr brings much peace and tranquility to the heart. It also gives us a sense of taqwa(fear of allah), a consciousness that makes us realise that Allah Almighty is ever near and that we should always strive to please Him. Some beneficial dhikr include:
Subhan’Allah– ‘Praise be to Allah’
Al-Hamdullilah- ‘Thanks be to Allah’
Allahu Akbar â€“ ‘Allah is the Greatest.’
La ila ha illallah– There is no worthy of worship except allah
Abu haraira(ra) Narrates: Prophet(peace be upon him) said: whoever says: Subhanallahi Wa Bihamdihi â€“ (I deem Allah free of any resemblances to anything whatever in any repeat, and I glorify his praises) one hundred times a day will have his sins forgiven even though they may be as much as the foam of the sea â€“ Bukhari,b73: c19
Read much of this zikr:
Subhaan-Allahi walhamdu-lillaahi, wa laa ilaa-ha illa-la ill-lal-lahu wallahu Akbar, walaa haula wala quoow-wata illa billa hil-Aliyyil- azeem.
“Glory is for Allaah and all Praise is due to Allah. There is none worthy of worship except Allaah. Allaah is the greatest. There is no power and no strength except with Allaah the Most High, the Great.”
5. Voluntary Fasting
Fasting can be thought of as a prescription for us, which cures the maladies of the human soul. There are innumerable benefits to fasting nawafil fasts. Fasting helps us be thankful to Allah for His Bounty, control unlawful desires, have compassion for the less fortunate and it weakens the effects of waswas, the insinuating whispers from the Shaytan.
Here is an explanation of the spiritual meaning of the Islamic Fasting:
- It teaches man the principle of sincere Love: because when he observes Fasting he does it out of deep love for God. And the man who loves God truly is a man who really knows what love is.
- It equips man with a creative sense of hope and an optimistic outlook on life; because when he fasts he is hoping to please God and is seeking His Grace.
- It imbues in man the genuine virtue of effective devotion, honest dedication and closeness to God; because when he fasts he does so for God and for His sake alone.
- It cultivates in man a vigilant and sound conscience; because the fasting person keeps his fast in secret as well as in public. In fasting, especially, there is no mundane authority to check man’s behavior or compel him to observe fasting. He keeps it to please God and satisfy his own conscience by being faithful in secret and in public. There is no better way to cultivate a sound conscience in man.
- It indoctrinates man in patience and selflessness, as through fasting, he feels the pains of deprivation but he endures them patiently.
- It is an effective lesson in applied moderation and willpower.
- Fasting also provides man with a transparent soul, a clear mind and a light body.
- It shows man a new way of wise savings and sound budgeting.
- It enables man to master the art of Mature Adaptability. We can easily understand the point once we realize that fasting makes man change the entire course of his daily life.
- It grounds man in discipline and healthy survival.
- It originates in man the real spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood, of equality before God as well as before the law.
- It is a Godly prescription for self-reassurance and self-control.