Reflections: Strengthening Your Iman

Last week we wrote about how sometimes we suffer from weak and low iman. This week let’s talk about how to strengthen your iman. There are many signs of weak iman and it gets to the point where your heart feels numb. In this dunya, it’s easy to become captivated by worldly things that don’t actually matter. There are a million distractions in this dunya but we need to strive to not take them so seriously. So how can we put worldly things aside and work on our iman?

  • Admit when you do something wrong and repent/make it right
  • Push yourself to pray as soon as you hear the adhan
  • Take 15 minutes out of your day and read two pages of Quran and if you don’t speak Arabic take it upon yourself to read a translation of what you just read
  • Increase good deeds, be kind to people
  • Remember death and the hereafter
  • Gaining knowledge, push yourself to learn new things about Islam and Islamic history
  • Constantly make dua
  • Have and practice Tawakkul; put your trust in Allah (SWT) and know that He is the best of planners
  • Surround yourself with friends who remind you of Allah (SWT)

 

Repenting

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A sign that your iman is low is that you do not feel guilty after sinning. You know what you are doing or have done is wrong, but you do not feel remorse. So a step in the right direction for this situation would be admitting your mistake, repenting for it, and working on not doing that again. Don’t let the shaytaan convince you that it’s too late to turn back to Allah (SWT). Pour your heart out to Allah (SWT) and let Him look after your heart. Don’t put up a shield where it doesn’t even bother you that you don’t classify yourself as religious. Learn more about Allah (SWT). Even just studying His 99 Names could bring you closer to Him. When you start to know more about who our Creator is, you will inevitably feel closer to Him. He is Al-Ghafir, The Forgiver and Al-Tawwab, the Acceptor of Repentance.

Praying

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This is a common problem and at one point or another most people have gone through this struggle. Often times, we feel the dunya demanding our time and attention. Sometimes when we become too immersed in worldly affairs, we don’t feel as if praying the five obligatory prayers is of importance or need. A lot of times, it becomes hard to take out those 10 minutes out of your day to pray. You must remember that Islam is never meant to be a burden in your life. Just try your best, push yourself to get into the habit of not only praying five times a day, but to understand what you are praying and the reason why you are doing it. Just by reviewing surah Al-Fatiha, which is the crux of the prayer, can help you whenever you feel like you’ve lost your motivation. Know that each time you say “Allahu Akbar” in your salah, you are acknowledging that Allah is Greater than anything else that is trying to distract you from Him. Knowledge and understanding will truly pull you through anything you find difficult or confusing about Islam. Download the adhan app and make it a habit to be immediately responsive whenever you hear it go off. Even if you don’t feel up to it, never miss your salah. Push yourself to pray the five daily prayers. Believe in your ability to learn and become closer to Allah (SWT). As you start to pray more and bring yourself closer to Allah (SWT) you will start to feel tranquility and relief. This is an on-going process and you won’t be able to pray times a day right off the bat, it takes time. You should always strive to pray all five salah but if you’re struggling, start with one and work your way up. Force yourself to get up and make wudu and remind yourself that Allah (SWT) is washing away your sins. After you pray sit there and do your zikr, read ayatul kursi, and most importantly talk to Allah (SWT). He knows what is in your heart but he is waiting for you to take a step towards Him. The shaytaan will try to sway you and tell you that you’re so weak in your iman or that you’ve sinned so much there’s no point in even trying but that’s not true. Don’t feel hopeless, as long as you’re breathing you have time to turn to Allah (SWT) and strengthen your relationship with Him.

Reading

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There are 24 hours in the day and we barely spend any of it for the sake of Allah (SWT). We’re so engrossed in our routines that we rarely ever break away from it but that’s not to say you can’t add things into your day. Take some time out of your day and read the Quran; even if it’s two pages or half a page or even just two lines. Read the translation for what you just read and try to understand what it means. Even if you’re on the go, we are so fortunate to live in an age where even the Quran is accessible to us wherever we go, on our mobile devices. Practice patience when you read. Take it in, and if you don’t understand it, read until you do. Always ask Allah (SWT) for understanding and guidance and He will grant it to you insha’Allah. Slowly gaining Islamic knowledge will bring you closer to your deen.

Good Deeds

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Helping other people is a big part of Islam; so big that giving charity to the poor is one of the main pillars. You can do good deeds in a number of ways. Volunteering for any cause that helps people, giving charity to deserving people, being kind to people, sharing knowledge with people, and even smiling is considered charity. Charity is not just exclusive to giving to the needy, although that is a very honorable act to practice. Charity is having a kind heart and patience with others. Just by changing your attitude and not acting upon negative feelings can lead you to a better lifestyle and stronger iman.

Remembering the Hereafter

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So everyone is going to die, we all already know this there’s no reason to be uncool about it. Keep in mind how short life is. There is a saying that the adhan given in your ear at birth is the adhan for your janazah. We are here temporarily and what we do in this world sets the tone for our hereafter. Reflect upon your actions and your outlook on situations. Constantly be in a state of reflection and self-awareness. Understand that you are here to please Allah (SWT) alone. It can be hard sometimes; even Allah (SWT) has told us that mankind has been created weak; weak in our desires and affinity towards this worldly life. Those weaknesses can often times blind us into only trying to attain temporary happiness. We must always be aware of our weakness, and of course we will always make mistakes, but don’t lose sight of your akhirah. Don’t lose site of what Allah (SWT) is most pleased with. Don’t give up your Jannah for this dunya.

Gaining Knowledge

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A big way to get back in touch with your deen and strengthen your iman is by gaining knowledge. Learn about Islam, Islamic history, important people in Islam, learn about how they lived their lives and learn what they gave up for their iman. Even learning more about the miracle that is the Quran can give you a different perspective on Islam. When you begin to learn the meaning behind each ayah in the Quran and see how it is linguistically perfection, there is a sense of humility that manifests within your heart. Learning about the Prophet Muhammad’s life is also such a helpful way to boost your iman and help you get through hardships the way he did. We are continuously encouraged to seek knowledge in Islam, there is always something new to learn.

Dua

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Making dua can make you into a more humble person. It reminds you that things are out of your control and you have to depend on Allah (SWT) for everything. It reminds us that Allah (SWT) is always listening and ever present within our lives. Dua is so beautiful and special. Islam has given us this wonderful gift of being able to be in direct contact with Allah (SWT) anytime and anywhere. He is listening, even if you have nothing to say, He Knows what is in your heart. It’s all just a matter of continuing to acknowledge Him and His ever-present Love.

Tawakkul

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By definition, it means Islamic concept of reliance on God or “trusting in God’s plan,” it’s truly believing that Allah (SWT) will help you in all matter of your life if you put your trust in Him. We must actively understand that everything is under Allah (SWT)’s Kingdom, everything is under His control. He has an ultimate plan for everyone and everything. When we begin to accept that we do not know everything and we cannot possibly know everything, we will have this sense of comfort. Allah (SWT) is the best of planners, and we must never doubt Him in that or anything else.

Friends

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Friends can make or break you; the people you decide to surround yourself eventually become the people that you’re most like. If you surround yourself with people who like to backbite, mock others, and keep a respectable distance from Islam, then eventually you will become the same. So choose to surround yourself with people who remind you of Allah (SWT) and slowly your iman will be at a higher point.

We all struggle with the highs and lows in our iman. Never get discouraged with yourself. If you feel that you’ve lost all hope in strengthening your iman, just remember Allah (SWT). Just think of Him. Look at nature, you will find Allah (SWT)’s Greatness evident in it all. Even if you feel like your heart isn’t in it, continuing to ask Him for help in whatever it is you are struggling with. You can do it and Allah (SWT) is always here.

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