AlhamduliLLah, after months of MIA being closed to the public due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Centre has again opened to receive visitors. I find this very exciting because we can now attend lectures and programmes in person- while practising social distancing of course! One never appreciates the gift of seeing and interacting with such wonderful people in person until such tests as COVID-19 occur!
Sister Calisha started the session by taking introductions from sisters. While commending those who had taken time out to attend on a Monday morning despite their various schedules, she said it was important to be able to take action even when we don’t feel like it.
According to her, it is important to be able to self-identify/ self-diagnose that one’s eeman is shaking. She said Allah loves proactive believers who regularly work on their faith. We should acknowledge that just like a rollercoaster or the heart rate, it is normal for our eeman to fluctuate- to go up at times and come down at other times. However, we want to avoid it going too high, crashing too low or being on a flat line which would mean it has ceased.
She gave us a moment to deeply reflect on the levels of faith we are on now and why we want to boost our eeman. What do we seek?
She mentioned that whatever activity we engage in is because we seek something. We should give this a thought and think about ourselves and our Aakhirah. We should tap into things that help to lift us and make an effort to attain this lifting.
Sister Calisha went on to mention some Companions and their actions regarding eeman:
- Umar Al-Khattab (RA) would say: “Come on so that we may increase our eeman.”
- Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (RA) used to supplicate: “O Allah, increase me in eeman, certainty and understanding.”
- Abdullah Ibn Rawahah (RA) would urge some companions to join him to increase their eeman.
- Abu Dardaa Al-Ansari (RA) used to say: “It is from the intelligence of the servant to know whether he is increasing or decreasing, and indeed, it is from the intelligence of the servant to know how, where and when the whispers of Shaytaan appear to him.”
- Umayr Ibn Habib Al-Khatmi (RA) used to say: “Eeman increases and decreases.” Someone asked: “What increases it and what decreases it?” He replied: “If we remember Allah, praise HIM and declare HIS perfection; that is what increases it. If we are heedless, squander and forget; that is what decreases it.”
- Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Amr Al-Awza’i (RA) was asked about eeman: “Does it increase?” He replied, “Yes, until it becomes like mountains.” He was then asked, “Does it decrease?” He answered, “Yes, up until there is nothing left of it.”
Stressing the need to always remember Allah and incorporate this in our gatherings, she mentioned a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH):
“No people sit in an assembly without mentioning Allah and without asking Allah for blessings on their Prophet except that it will be a cause of grief to them. Thus, if Allah wishes, He will punish them and if HE wishes, HE will forgive them.”
We learnt that eeman manifests in our speech and actions; it is what we say and do. In the words of Ibn As-Sa’di (RA),
“The servant, Muslim, who has been granted the tawfiq, does not cease from working towards two things: The first, fulfilling eeman and its subsidiaries, and establishing it in speech, action and state. The second, striving to repel the apparent and hidden forms of fitan(trials), which negate, invalidate or decrease eeman. The Muslim employs sincere repentance as a remedy for the short comings he has in the first matter as well as for that (i.e. the fitan) which he boldly embarked upon in the second matter in addition to taking steps to make amends before it is too late.”
–At-Tawdih wa’l-Bayan li Shajarah al-Imana, page 38.
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Faith wears out in the heart of anyone of you, just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your heart.”
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Sister Calisha said Allah gives us what we desire and urged us to always ask him for strong eeman.
SIGNS OF WEAKNESS OF EEMAN
- Delaying salah.
- Hardship lows- being unable to deal with calamities.
- Laziness to do good deeds.
- Committing sins without guilt.
- Lack of effort.
- Hard hearts.
- Loss of purpose-Feeling unworthy of goodness.
- Mood swings.
- Neglecting the sunnah.
- Difficulty in remembering Allah and making dhikr.
- Being disconnected when we hear of punishment in the verses of the Quran.
- Not feeling bad when things are done against the shariah.
- Desiring status and excessive wealth.
- Feeling pleased when things are not progressing well for others.
- Being concerned only with the haram and halaal and not the makrooh (disliked).
- Not feeling the responsibility to promote Islam.
- Arguing for the sake of arguing without any proof.
- Becoming engrossed and obsessed with ourselves.
CAUSES OF DECREASE IN EEMAN.
-Being in bad company
– Not building our Islamic mindset for calamities
– Lack of effort/ being heedless
From her experience in close proximity with converts, Sister Calisha highlighted the struggle of reverts with Islam. She said reverts often face a lot of bullying and lack of attention from fellow Muslims. Sometimes, they are not really given a sense of belonging and they sometimes struggle with a loss of identity. This is because they often give up their past identities, habits and in some cases family and friends when they become Muslim. It is our duty as brethren to show them love and give them the needed support.
Whenever we go through hardship, we should remember that ‘the greatest discovery for any human being is to find Allah (SWT).’ A strong believer processes hardship in an accepting way. We should not return the negativity of people.
While it is important for us to hold ourselves highly accountable, moderation is necessary. Being faithful and sincere believers makes us worthy of Allah’s mercy and love because actions are judged by intentions. We could never do enough to earn paradise but out of Allah’s Mercy, He grants us paradise. We should always do our best because there is no end point to the struggle for goodness in this life.
10 WAYS TO BOOST OUR EEMAN
- Recognise and repent from whatever you have done to fall into that state. Reflect on your daily deeds. We should not just make the right choice but the better choice. According to Sister Calisha, from the moment we wake up to when we sleep at night, we make up to 30,000 choices each day! That is amazing!
“Seek the forgiveness of your Lord and turn to HIM in repentance. Surely my Lord is Ever Merciful, Most Loving.”
-Surah Al-Hud (11):90
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
“Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I live in the thought of My servant and I am with him as he remembers Me. (The Holy Prophet) further said: By Allah, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than what one of you would do on finding the lost camel in the waterless desert. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand. I draw near him by the length of a cubit and when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit. I draw near him by the length of a fathom and when he draws near Me walking, I draw close to him hurriedly.”
- Perform salah regularly: Salah is the huge boost in our faith which we need to keep surviving through life spiritually. When we pray, we acknowledge first that Allah is the greatest; greater than whatever or whoever bothers us.
‘Abdullah bin Buraidah narrated that his father said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is prayer; so, whoever leaves it, he has committed Kufr.’”
-Sunan Ibn Majah.
Abu Huraira reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state).
3. Recite the Quran regularly: It is our life coach, road map and instruction book in life.
The Quran is an active living recitation.
- Engage in dhikr: Eeman comes from the heart so we should give it the soul food(dhikr).
Allah (SWT) says:
“Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!”
-Surah Ar-Ra’d (13):28
- Voluntary fasting: Fasting trains the believer in sincerity. It is an act of obedience, love and submission to Allah and has physical and spiritual benefits.
- Increase good deeds: Be a good deed hunter! Never look down on any deed however small.
- Remembering death and the hereafter: Allah (SWT) says:
“Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So, he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained (his desire). And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.”
-Surah Al-Imran (3):185
We should never forget that death is always around the corner.
- Gaining knowledge. Allah (SWT) says:
“And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colours similarly. Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving.
-Surah Al-Fathir (35):28
9. Make du’a (supplication): Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported:
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no Muslim who calls upon Allah, without sin or cutting family ties, but that Allah will give him one of three answers: He will quickly fulfill his supplication, He will store it for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an evil from him similar to it.” They said, “In that case we will ask for more.” The Prophet said, “Allah has even more.”
-Musnad Ahmad 10749
10. Put your trust in Allah and fear HIM.
“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely.”
-Suraah Anfaal (8):2
When trying to increase our eeman, we should remember the vastness of Allah’s mercy, compassion and love. He will never reject us when we turn to him. Allah (SWT) says:
“If Allah helps you none can overcome you: if He forsakes you who is there after that that can help you? In Allah then let believers put their trust.”
-Surah Al-Imran (3):160
As the session drew to an end, Sister Calisha asked sisters present what they would take away from the session. Here are some excerpts from the lovely sisters:
- When we feel our eeman is low, we should not feel too guilty about it but to take action to increase it.
- Reverts may sometimes be tempted with how easy it is to return to their old lives rather than face the trials on the Deen. However, by making one choice at a time and trusting in Allah, the Shaytan can be beaten and temptations overcome.
- It is up to us to decide what we want for our Aakhirah. It’s our life, our journey and our choice(s) to make!
- It can be scary to feel or know that we do not know enough about the Deen, but it is also exciting because there is so much to learn.
- It is important to take responsibility for our eeman.
May Allah reward Sister Calisha Bennett for yet another invigorating session, Allahuma baarik. It was an absolute pleasure to have attended!
Wa salaamu alaykum warahmatuLLahi wabarakatuh.