However, there are moments when we feel low and struggle to feel connected to Allah. Either we begin to get lazy to perform the obligated acts of worship or we perform them but, do not feel the peace and tranquility we should feel. Thereby, we get sad. Don’t be too sad because Iman goes up and down. The Hadith of Hanzala and Abu Bakr (RA) illustrates this.They felt their state of Iman was not at its best as they were in a different state with the Prophet and different when away from him. They reported to the Prophet (SAW) and he responded: ‘By Him in Whose Hand is my life if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah), the angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your roads; but Hanzala, time should be devoted to the worldly affairs and time should be devoted to prayer. [Muslim] click to read Hadith.
This implies that Iman fluctuates and we should strive to do things that will keep us spiritually high. With regards to Iman the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Verily, the faith of one of you will wear out within him, just as a shirt becomes worn out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.’ [Al-Albani]
- Seek for forgiveness and make Dua- We commit sins without realizing, we even sin knowingly but we take it too lightly and this can have an adverse effect on our connection/relationship with Allah. Therefore, a black spot is placed in our heart, with more sins the spot enlarges and our heart gets black which sometimes makes us unable to distinguish what is right from what is wrong and we lose our connection with Allah. The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Verily, when the servant commits a sin, a black mark appears upon his heart. If he abandons the sin, seeks forgiveness, and repents, then his heart will be punished. If he returns to the sin, the blackness will be increased until it overcomes his heart.’ [Tirmidhi]
- Seek Knowledge – “Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created.” (Qur’an 96:1). The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘ [ Ibn Mājah]. A lot of us are ignorant about so many things and it is only by seeking knowledge that we can realize that we are wrong. Seeking knowledge helps us avoid sinning, because it is only when we are knowledgeable that we will realize that some of our acts are wrong, and when we are knowledgeable we will be closer to Allah. Seek knowledge by reading and understanding the Qur’an, study the Seerah, read beneficial books. We should not be detached from the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). Seek knowledge and avoid ignorance. The issue is that people sin but don’t realize that they are sinning, it is when we seek knowledge that we will realize that what we are doing is wrong and seek for forgiveness. Also we shouldn’t be careless with regard to the prohibitions Allah has set. Seeking knowledge prevents us from being careless such as not taking prohibitions lightly.
- Improve performance with regard to the pillars of Islam. This can’t be overemphasized! We should ensure that the Fard (obligation) Allah (SWT) has made on us is not compromised, by believing in Allah, Praying all our Salah at the right time, (seek knowledge regarding the prayer, know how to fulfill it by studying its pillars. If we fulfilling our Salah in the best way we would be close to the Prophet who finds comfort in Salah.) Fasting during the month of Ramadan, Paying Zakat if we are eligible to pay it, and going for Hajj once in a lifetime if we have the means.
- Surround yourself with good company – Who are your companions? The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘A person is upon the religion of his close friend, so beware whom you befriend.’ [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi] The Hadith of Hanzala (RA) above illustrates this. We see that when they were in the company of the Prophet (SAW) their Iman was at its peak. We should have friends who remind us of Allah. Have a core circle of friends that you benefit one another. Take account of people who you spend your time with. Nevertheless, surrounding yourself with righteous company is not all effective because either you are benefiting from your friends or they are benefiting from you. We have to do more to benefit ourselves to be spiritually high. Have good company in real life interaction and social media. If we surround ourselves with good people (In Sha Allah) we won’t have regret on the Day of Judgement saying: “Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as an intimate friend!” (Qur’an 25:28)
- Have secret good deeds and engage in voluntary worship- This ensures that we are sincere as nobody except Allah knows of it.
- Reflect over your life- Check your connection with Allah. How often do we talk to Him to show gratitude? We should check the way we perform our Ibadah. Identify what changed, whether you have changed your company or that you have picked up a bad habit or that youare committing sins. Click to access my article on why we need to engage in Self-reflection
- Set a benchmark- Have things that you must do in a day. ‘The most beloved actions to Allah are those done consistently, even if they are little.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]. Don’t overburden yourself because you will wear out. Remember change is gradual. Do deeds such as reading the Qur’an, doing daily (morning and evening) Adkhar, reading/listening/watching Islamic lectures and or books, Dhikr etc. make sure there is no compromise with regard to these things.