From time to time, the levels of our faith do tend to dwindle. This weakness of faith manifests itself in degraded quality of acts of our worship, negligence in remembering Allah, feeling indifferent to His commands and, in general, us having a doubtful heart. Experiencing any of these symptoms or others akin to them is an indication of a weakness of faith that in turn may be depriving us of peace, tranquility, and closeness to our creator and sustainer.
Weakness of Faith
This weakness or weariness of faith (Eeman), whether due to a weak understanding of truth, or the strength of external negative forces, is to be expected. Consider what the Prophet (SAWS) said in this context:
“Faith wears out in your heart as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (narrated by al-Haakim in his Mustadrak and al-Tabaraani in his Mu’jam with a saheeh isnaad).
How to Renew Ones Faith
Here are a few steps that we can take immediately to renew our faiths.
Seek Allah’s Help
As the prophet mentioned in the aforementioned hadith, we should first and foremost ask Allah to renew and reinforce the faith in our hearts. We should make this call part of our regular Duas. In doing so, we should also be mindful of why we believe in the message of truth in the first place. We believe because we can relate the message of truth revealed in the Quran to the realities of this universe and what we find within ourselves and our hearts. We believe because as humans, a deeper intellectual and spiritual introspection has caused our hearts to resonate with the message of truth. We believe because after having pondered over the messages of Quran, we comprehend them and have internalized them in our psyche. But more importantly, we believe in the truth of the Quran and Islam because of Allah’s unchallengeable, unequivocal and logical assertion as the creator, sustainer, and sole power of this universe. Thus, being convinced of His deity and majesty and the nobility of His Messenger and Prophet, we have consciously chosen to believe and live that message of truth.
Reinforce truth with knowledge
Next, let’s get clear about the meaning of truth as Islam has defined it. The clearer the message of truth in our hearts, the stronger our faith will be. Part of the renewal is therefore to actively engage in understanding the message of truth in our hearts and minds through studying Quran, studying the traditions of the Prophet (SAW) as documented in the books of hadith and poring over the knowledge of known scholars who have helped elaborate on that message. The process of renewing our faith thus requires an active and personal effort to reach out to learn the various truths defined in Islam. The more we strive for it, the more we will increase our levels of awareness and faith.
Remember, the longer you keep your heart locked up from learning more, the less you will be able to reason and comprehend the message of truth, and the more you will rely on blind faith alone to live the message of truth.
As Allah says in the Quran,
“Will they not then ponder over the Qur’an, or is it that they have their locks on (their) hearts (which bar them from reason).” [47:24]
Beware of symptoms of rejection
Finally, be wary of what in your heart could be blurring your view of the message of truth. Imaam ibn Katheer, in his famous Tafseer ibn Katheer, mentions the reasons that prevent people from believing the message of truth. If any of those reasons are seeping into your psyche and have started to blur your vision and impacting your faith as a result, you need to actively step in and cleanse yourself of those symptoms. The reasons that ibn Katheer had mentioned included:
- Kufrul-‘Inaad (Disbelief out of stubbornness)
- Kufrul-Inkaar (Disbelief out of denial)
- Kufrul-Kibr (Disbelief out of arrogance and pride)
- Kufrul-Juhood (Disbelief out of rejection)
- Kufrul-Nifaaq (Disbelief out of hypocrisy)
- Kufrul-Istihaal (Disbelief out of trying to make HARAM (illegal) into HALAL (legal)
- Kufrul-Kurh (Disbelief out of detesting any of Allah’s commands)
- Kufrul-Istihzaha (Disbelief due to mockery and derision)
- Kufrul-I’raadh (Disbelief due to avoidance)
- Kufrul-Istibdaal (Disbelief because of trying to substitute Allah’s Laws)
Living the message of truth, therefore, requires us to abandon stubbornness (an attitude when we know deep in our hearts that we are wrong), denial (blindly ignoring facts), arrogance (thinking that accepting truth will demean us), hypocrisy (pretending to be someone while concealing the truth), mockery and derision (we mock truth and the righteous to go along with others) and avoidance (for one reason or another we try to avoid the message of truth). Once we eliminate these negatives that may have stained our hearts and open our minds to the message of truth, we will be on our way to renew our faith. In that process, we will also sense Allah in our lives and we will feel the sweetness of faith.
Let’s remember the saying of the Prophet as reported by Anas (May Allah be pleased with him):
“Allah says: ‘ When a slave of Mine draws near to Me a span, I draw near to him a cubit; and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.” [Al-Bukhari].