Feel like your faith is weak? It happens, and here are some solutions

The weakness of faith manifests itself in various forms in Muslims.

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The weakness of faith manifests itself in various forms in Muslims.

Allah (swt) says:

“Say: ‘O you mankind! Now truth (i.e. the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad), has come to you from your Lord. So whosoever receives guidance, he does so for the good of his own self; and whosoever goes astray, he does so to his own loss; and I am not (set) over you as a Wakeel (disposer of affairs to oblige you for guidance).” [10, 108]

Do you know what happens when your faith (eeman) becomes weak? You become negligent. Do you also know what happens when you become negligent? Your faith becomes weak. This is a vicious circle that births all forms of evil. This is why  eeman is the most crucial aspect of your life as a Muslim.

Faith essentially translates to having complete trust, confidence and belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. While the word ‘faith’ is used to mean eemaan, faith with no visible manifestation cannot be called eemaan or ‘aqeedah (belief). Faith is the belief in Allah (swt), His Angels, His revealed Books, His messengers, The last day and destiny, good or bad which is manifested through verbal testimony and physical actions which reflects the belief.

Umar al-Ashqar defined faith as “The ‘aqeedah (belief) which is established firmly in the heart, clings to it and never departs from it. It is verbally declared and pronounced by the believer in whose heart this ‘aqeedah takes firm roots. His belief and declaration are confirmed by the actions conforming to the dictates of that ‘aqeedah.” In so many places in the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) mentions individuals who were convinced of His signs, who knew the truth, yet pronounced them disbelievers. For example:

“And they belied them (those Ayat) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their own selves were convinced thereof…” [27, 14]

Sometimes, though you may not admit it, you feel a hardness in your heart, not caring about anything, feeling empty, without empathy and without purpose. These feelings are indeed the signs of the weakness of faith and negligence with religious obligations. We often struggle with it, trying to find actionable solutions to it, and we are hardly victorious. Others complain from time to time but do not get the right advice. ‘Perhaps it’s the recurring humdrum of life, who knows?’, one may say. As humans, we are fallible, and it is perfectly okay to feel bored with a monotonous life or feel any or a combination of the aforesaid feelings from time to time. But as a Muslim, a believer, you will only feel these things when your relationship with Allah is weak. If your faith is reified by verbal testimony and physical action, this would leave no room for negligence in performing religious duties which are, in their essence, obligatory on you.

The establishment of faith is done in the heart of the believer, a piece of flesh in the human body which as described by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) regulates the goodness and badness of the whole body:

“…Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.” [An-Nawawi, No.6]

In another narration, Prophet Muhammed gave us yet another invaluable property of the heart: “The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.” [Reported by Ahmad, 4/408; Saheeh al Jaami’, 2364] Because of this changing nature of the heart, you can not control what it does sometimes, and that is why as a Muslim, you are required to always pray to Allah to direct your heart towards His obedience and worship as narrated from the Messenger of Allah:

 Oh (Allah) who makes hearts turn away, make my heart firm in Your religion.

 The weakness of faith manifests itself in various forms in Muslims.

These forms I categorize into two: the weakness in our hearts which makes our relationship with the Almighty weak, which I call spiritual weakness, and the weaknesses in our hearts which affects our relationship with our Muslim brothers and sisters and our duties towards the Muslim community, the social weakness.

These weaknesses which affect our relationship with the Allah include:

  1. The feeling of indifference in a number of events like when one is committing a sin, reciting the Holy Qur’an, missing out on a good deed or when the tenets of the Deen are trampled. This is indeed one of the most deleterious forms of the weakness of faith. When a believer feels indifferent about the aforesaid acts, he graduates to committing the sin more often and openly, letting it become a part of his life.
  2. Being complacent in all the affairs of the Deen; which makes you feel you have enough knowledge, you are contented with the little acts of worship you indulge in without realizing how negligible they are. By Allah, this is not the ways of true believers. Listen to what Abu Dardaa said; To be certain that Allah (swt) would accept just one prayer from me would be dearer to me than the world and all that is in it, for Allah (swt) says: Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaquun (the pious). [5, 27]
  3. Lack of indulging oneself in the remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said; The likeness of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not is that of the living and the dead. [Saheeh al-Bukhari, 6407]

Social weaknesses include:

  1.  Lying when one talks, breaching a trust and breaking promises by a Muslim are the signs of a hypocrite, as said by the Prophet himself. You only become a hypocrite among your brothers when your faith is weak.
  2. Arrogance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: No one who has an atom’s weight of pride in his heart will enter paradise. A man said: What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good? He (saw) said: Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.
  3. Engagement in excessive arguments; The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said; No people will go astray after being guided except that they become argumentative. [Saheeh al-Jaami’,5633]

The weakness of faith is undoubtedly a sickness in the Muslim ummah that has been lurking in the hearts of Muslims since the beginning of time. Sheikh Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid was right when he said that the weakness of faith is the cause of every disaster and adversity. Therefore, the weakness of faith among Muslims is the ultimate cause of negligence in carrying out the obligations of the Deen.

Muslims today are also negligent with cleanliness and salah, which will be the bane of our religion as individuals. We seek Allah’s protection from that. The Holy Prophet says: “Purity and cleanliness is half of faith.” This points out that, half of faith is having a clean soul and the other half is having a neat and clean body. By this, one can’t as a matter of fact, purify the soul without purification of the body.

It is a sad reality that Muslims today, specifically the Muslim youth, are carried away by social and psychological distractions in the name of a civilised society. You and I no longer read the Qur’an in months, sometimes years. We no longer remember Allah (swt) except in times of crisis, in times of need. We no longer read the salah (Prayer) in its time when Allah has prescribed salah in appointed times and obligatory on us. In fact, we were created for that single reason; to worship Allah alone without ascribing partners to Him. We see the Muslim youth today lost in a failed society, a society where music is an antidepressant, a society where vulgarity and morality are just words. All these we do in the name of a perceived lifestyle which was subliminally instilled in us.

You want to change. You want to break off the pathetic life pattern of weak faith and negligence.

Yes? MashaAllah; those are the actions of a Muslim. In his famous book ‘Da’ful Eemaan’, (The Weakness of Faith) Sheikh Muhammad Salih prescribed numerous ways by which you can cure weak faith, such as pondering on the meanings of the Qur’an, trying to feel an awareness of the might of Allah (swt), seeking Islamic knowledge and much more, all of which are actionable solutions in themselves. The question is however, in our time today, how do you bring yourself to practice these suggested solutions? To cure weak faith and negligence, one needs motivation and determination. Here’s what I believe will help put you in good stead to leave the life of a negligent and weak Muslim.

  1. First, before anything else, consolidate your intention to become a better Muslim. Find the conviction to change within you, for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Actions are but by intentions and each man will have but that which he intended. [Saheeh Bukhaari, No. 1]
  2. An effort to understand the deen goes a long way. Understanding the laws and boundaries set by Allah (swt) and understanding the virtues of the deen helps you become aware of the repercussion of your actions. It is obvious a lot of Muslims today are devoid of the basic teachings and tenets of the deen, which brings us to the conclusion that a lot of us are also devoid of the knowledge of the punishment of various transgressions in Islam, which is indeed a recipe for disaster.
  3. Another important thing one needs to master is the art of time management. As time cannot be managed itself, what is meant by time management is managing our lives through time. It is obvious today that the average human being spends more time on the screen than on any other thing. You need to prioritize, set your life goals and know what is important at a moment and what is not. I am not saying you should live a contrived life – which by the way, you may do, trying to adjust and adapt the ways of your friends – rather, live conscious of the amount of time you spend on everything, aiming to reach your defined objectives.
  4. Lastly, you have to pray to Allah (swt) to see you through becoming an obedient servant. Read materials which suggest ways by which you can cure weak faith. One can start with Muhammad Salih’s Weakness of Faith and Takwiyatul Imaan (the strengthening of faith) by Shah Ismail Shaheed. And again, pray to Allah (swt) to keep you going.

by Abu Bakr Bilyamin

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