Preserving our faith in Allah is a fundamental aspect of Islamic belief and practice. This was frequently highlighted by our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who identified the core beliefs of Iman or faith in the hadith:
"Iman is that you affirm your faith in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and that you affirm your faith in the Resurrection Hereafter."
However, in today's world, where materialism and distractions are prevalent, it can become challenging to maintain our faith as we may easily tempted by worldly pleasures or face doubts and uncertainties in the wake of world events, sufferings, and atrocities.
Despite these challenges, reflection on the verses of the Quran can help to maintain our faith in Allah. The depth, significance, and relevance of the Quranic verses in our daily lives can allow us to realize that attachment to worldly things is a temporary source of joy, and that true liberation - from the time of our birth till we die - comes only through submission to the will of Allah.
In addition, the Sunnah of our beloved Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, highlights some other determinants of faith that can also be attributed to the profound names of Allah. By reflecting on these determinants and incorporating them into our lives, we can become better equipped to navigate the challenges and trials that come our way and fulfill our duties as Muslims, God willing.
1. Love Allah.
Allah, Al-Malik, The King and Owner of Dominion; Al-Muhaymin, The Guardian, the Overseer; and Al-Haseeb, The Sufficient, created us and brought us into this world for a purpose. And, He did not leave us astray. In fact, there are signs all around us that allow us to feel His presence. In nature, in relationships, in our neediness, and so on.
One can truly feel Allah's compassion when we live aligned with His will, and not try to supersede it by gaining control over things. It is only then that there comes a sense of contentment within us that Allah is sufficient and nothing else matters. Not money, not relations. Thus establishing the fact that we need Allah more than He needs us! Allah mentions in the Quran: (Reference to Surah Ikhlas)
“Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent."
(Surah Al- Ikhlas, 112:1-4)
2. Exhibit good character.
Allah, Al-Mu'izz, The Honourer and Bestower, loves those who honor their relationships for His sake and demonstrates goodness and kindness through their character. For example, being patient in times of distress, trustworthy in terms of dealings, honest in all affairs, and gentle and understanding towards humanity.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.”
And he also said:
"The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one from whom the people's lives and wealth are safe."
3. Excel in doing good.
Allah, Ar-Rahman, The most Gracious; and Ar-Raheem, The Most Merciful, loves His believers to the extent that He has not only created an eternal safe haven for them in the afterlife but He also promises to safeguard their interests and bless them in unimaginable ways in this world. Hence, we must not let go off any opportunity to enjoin in acts of goodness, be it in worship, giving charity, or in kindness.
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, addressed some people in a gathering after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and told them as he wept that:
"The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, stood last year in this place where I am standing and said: ‘You must adhere to the truth, for with it comes righteousness and they both lead to Paradise. And you must beware of lying for with it comes immorality and they both lead to Hell. Ask Allah to keep you safe and sound, for no one is given anything, after certain faith (yaqeen) that is better than being kept safe and sound.’ Then he said: ‘Do not sever ties with one another, do not turn your backs on one another, do not bear grudges against one another, do not envy one another, and be, O slaves of Allah, brothers.’”
4. Be modest.
Allah, Al-Raqeeb, The Watchful, knows us in and out. The Quran testifies to this:
"Surely We have created man, and We know the promptings of his heart, and We are nearer to him than even his jugular vein."
(Surah Qaf, 50:16)
Heeding on this verse, when a believer adorns the cloak of modesty in its literal aspect as well as spiritual nature, i.e. being humble and grounded in all affairs, it is because he truly believes that it is best for his own interest owing to the reward that Allah has promised in exchange for it.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, demonstrated modesty in the best manner and said:
"Faith has seventy-odd branches, the most virtuous of which is La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and the least of which is removing something harmful from the road. And modesty (Al-Haya') is a branch of faith."
5. Be just.
Allah, Al-Hakam, The Giver of Justice, expects His creations to behave justly. Otherwise, consequentially the balance that He has created is shifted and disrupted, causing conflict and chaos. This is why, as believers, we are encouraged to fulfill our rights and duties towards other creations of Allah, as a testimony of our faith in Him.
Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri narrated:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil and changes it with his hand, then he has done his duty. Whoever is unable to do that, but changes it with his tongue, then he has done his duty. Whoever is unable to do that, but changes it with his heart, then he has done his duty, and that is the weakest of Faith."
6. Be persistent in acts of worship.
Allah, Ar-Raheem, The Most Compassionate, did not prescribe Islam upon us so we could over-burden ourselves with worship. In fact, he has made it very simple and straightforward. He does not expect us to pray day and night or not work for a living. He is aware of our intentions and efforts and the challenges that we face, but wants us to have faith in Him for providing for us. And when it comes to worship, it is more of the consistency and genuity of acts that He values.
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated:
“Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, entered upon her and there was a woman with her. He said: ‘Who is this?’ She said: So-and-so; she does not sleep. She mentioned her excessive praying. Upon hearing this, the Prophet replied: ‘Keep quiet. You should do what you are able to, for by Allah, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, does not get tired. The most beloved religion to Him is that in which a person persists.’"
Oftentimes, those among us who had weaker faith and then turn towards Allah, worry about all those opportunities missed to please our Lord, doubting that Allah is the most merciful and ever-watchful.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
''If a person accepts Islam, such that his Islam is good, Allah will decree reward for every good deed that he did before, and every bad deed that he did before will be erased. Then after that will come the reckoning; each good deed will be rewarded ten times up to seven hundred times. And each bad deed will be recorded as it is, unless Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, forgives it."
7. Have faith in His Decree.
Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, used to seek Allah's Counsel in all matters, and he encouraged his people to do the same, for it only helps bring forth whatever is best and simultaneously helps to strengthen and preserve our faith in Allah.
The dua for istikhara or seeking guidance from Allah is based on the virtue of having faith in Allah's decree and putting our trust in Him. And it translates as:
"O Allah, I seek the counsel of Your Knowledge, and I seek the help of Your Omnipotence, and I beseech You for Your Magnificent Grace. Surely, You are Capable and I am not. You know and I know not, and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, - [or in this life and the afterlife] - then ordain it for me and make it easy for me, then bless me in it. And if You know that this matter is bad for me in my religion and in my life and for my welfare in the life to come, - [in this life and the afterlife] - then distance it from me, and distance me from it, and ordain for me what is good wherever it may be, and help me to be content with it." Whoever seeks the counsel of the Creator will not regret it and whoever seeks the advice of the believers will feel confident about his decisions, for Allah has said in the Qur'an: "And consult them in the affair. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah."
(Al-Bukhari and Surah Al-'Imran, 3:159)
A Final Word
It is only natural, that as believers, we experience highs and lows in our level of Iman. There are times when we feel spiritually elevated, but then there are also times when we feel that our faith is dipping low. This could be because we may not be able to achieve all those things which we once were able to, or it could be because of a significant incident in our lives. Nonetheless, Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, likened this natural state of a believer's heart to that of a fading garment. And, he said:
"Faith wears out in your hearts the way that your garments would wear out."
By this, he did not imply that it is a bad thing, but rather, one that is natural and which can be rectified by turning towards The Most Merciful and asking Him to renew our faith in Him.
Allah, Al-Kareem, The Most Generous, mentions in the Quran:
"Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, 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 at speed."
So let us not despair when we feel our hearts sinking, and instead make it a habit to consciously turn towards Allah and seek His help.
“Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.”
(Surah Al-Imran, 3:173)
Umm Ahmed is an early childhood educator and mother of three boys. Always on the quest to learn, she is passionate about seeking knowledge and passing it on to others. A writer in the making, she draws inspiration through deep conversations, laws of nature, and her own children. She and her family are currently living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.