In many people’s minds, the word iman has a strong spiritual connotation and points directly to the strength of one’s faith. This is definitely an acceptable basic definition of iman, but there are many more layers to the term that delves deeper into the essence of psychological and emotional wellbeing.
Another word that effectively depicts the Quran’s implementation of Iman, is conviction. Conviction based on reason and knowledge. This is important, as it further reiterates the emphasis of such qualities in Islam.
Islam is a religion that revolves strongly around reason and knowledge. These are tools that lead to a deeper understanding of the world and life as we know it, along with the life that comes after.
By this logic, we can only achieve conviction in its truest form when we arrive confidently to conclusions about certain aspects of our life.
In times of hardship, our minds are plagued with an ensemble of negative thoughts and emotions. Naturally, this void has no end if we don’t stop ourselves from falling further and further down.
Thus, using religion as a guide towards knowledge and reason, the strengthening of iman is essentially an integral part of recovery from such a state.
Here are a few simple yet potentially effective ways that we can reinforce our iman during times of crisis.
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: “Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts” (Mustadrak al-Haakim).
1) Identifying symptoms of weakness
The first step is to be aware of the symptoms relating to weak iman.
Our iman isn’t always as sound or strong as we’d like it to be, as it varies with our circumstances. Iman can be weakened for a variety of reasons, including flaws in our prayers or seductive murmurs from the Shaytan.
Whatever the reason, it is critical for all of us to keep an eye on our iman and, if we notice it slipping in any way, to take steps to restore it. It is our obligation to understand which things weaken our iman and how to avoid them, as well as which things strengthen it and how to embrace them.
The signs of a weakened iman can manifest in various ways, a few of them include: No emotion when hearing verses from the Quran such as when Allah warns us of retribution and promises us good news, committing sins while feeling no remorse, feeling too lethargic to conduct good things, such as missing salat, disregarding the Sunnah, or feeling no remorse when things are done in violation of Shariah.
2) Do not forget to perform your salah
Whatever happens, do not stop praying, especially salatul Fajr and Isha, even if your attention is shaky. According to Abu Hurairah rayAllhu ‘anhu (may Allah be pleased with him), Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), said:
“No prayer is more burdensome to the hypocrites than the Fajr (dawn) prayer and the ‘Isha’ (night) prayer; and if they knew their merits, they would come to them even if they had to crawl to do so.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Nobody wants to be associated with hypocrites. Remember, you’re good, and all you’re trying to do is get back to where you were. It’s fine to take a vacation from other productive tasks now and again to rekindle your excitement, but keep your obligations in mind. Never let them get away.
Also, hustling should not be used to replace possibilities for Barakah.
3) Speak with someone who is religious and knowledgable
Allah subnahu wa ta’la (may He be honoured and exalted) said:
“Say: “If the sea were ink for [writing] the words of my Lord, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like of it as a supplement”.” [Qur’an: Chapter 18, Verse 109]
As Allah subnahu wa ta’la (glorified and exalted be He) has explained in this example, if the water of the seas were ink for Allah subnahu wa ta’la (glorified and exalted be Hewords, )’s the seas would be depleted before the words of Allah subnahu wa ta’la (glorified and exalted be Hewords )’s ended.
Sometimes in our life, we yearn to find that one piece of instruction in the Quran or Sunnah that will help us improve our iman, but we can’t since we’re still young or don’t know enough.
Speaking with a pious, informed person and seeking his or her assistance can work as a shortcut to something that would otherwise take us a long time to achieve. It will undoubtedly assist you in determining exactly what you need to accomplish in order to restore your spirits.
4) Practice repentance
The nature of this life is that it is impossible to achieve perfection in any shape ore form. This also means that as humans we will commit sins and make mistakes despite our best intentions.
This truth is an integral part of what living is all about, because then our iman is compromised and we end up at a crossroads; repent and improve or remain in arrogance.
This cycle represents the weight of our decisions, and also our capacity to make good choices in times of turmoil.
5) Fast for a day and focus on goodwill
What’s more, the act of deprivation alone actually has a host of benefits to health and mental fortitude, which in turn leads to the gradual strengthening of iman. Try to do good things on this fasting day by helping others, reconnecting with your faith in isolation or performing prayers at the mosque.
6) Focus on the thought of death
This may sound rather dark and may not be a strategy that’s for everyone, but the pondering of one’s own demise might be a good way to put things into perspective.
We live our lives on a daily basis, and this can lead to an auto-pilot rhythm of doing routine duties without thinking deeply about why or what we are doing.
Life becomes monotonous at best, or filled only with empty, momentary pleasures without the thought of it all coming to an abrupt end one day.
By thinking about death occasionally, we can strengthen our iman by refocusing our energy towards a more spiritual path.
7) Conduct or listen to regular recitations
Medical research has indicated that simply listening to the Holy Quran recited has a physiological effect on our bodies. According to studies, the Quran has healing properties for the body, mind, and soul. What better way to strengthen our iman than to listen to the Holy Quran recited on an audio device?
Listen to the Quran’s melodic cadence and attempt to meditate on the significance of what you’re hearing. We should always endeavour to read as much of the Quran as possible, as doing so will considerably strengthen our iman and elevate us in this world and the next!
8) Perform Dhikr
Dhikr – the act of remembering Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) usually refers to the repetitive process of saying certain words, such as Subhan’Allah- ‘Praise be to Allah’, Al-Hamdullilah- ‘Thanks be to Allah’ or Allahu Akbar – ‘Allah is the Greatest.’
The idea is that Dhikr triggers an emotional or mental state of remembrance, because the words that are uttered are in relation to the major ideologies and conditions of Islam.
Abu haraira(ra) Narrates: Prophet(saw) said: Whoever says: Subhanallahi Wa Bihamdihi – (I deem Allah free of any resemblances to anything whatever in any repeat, and I glorify his praises) one hundred times a day will have his sins forgiven even though they may be as much as the foam of the sea – (Bukhari,b73:c19)
9) Attain knowledge
As mentioned earlier, the acquisition of knowledge can propagate reasoning in the minds of practising Muslims. This is a very crucial aspect to reevaluating and developing the iman of the individual in a way that is in line with Islam and practical in its measure.
This religion teaches you to educate yourself in the ways of all wholesome and useful things, and a bit of this has to do with the strengthening of the iman.
10) Practice Sabr (patience)
Patience and prayer are two commonly overlooked stress relievers. Sabr is sometimes interpreted as patience, but it has a deeper meaning.
Self-control, tenacity, endurance, and a focused effort to attain one’s goal are all part of it. Unlike patience, which indicates resignation, the concept of Sabr contains a responsibility to stick to your aims no matter what.
In circumstances where we think we have little or no control, being patient provides us control. Many modern-day self-help books and other life philosophies such as Stoicism preach that “we cannot control what occurs to us, but we can control our reaction to our circumstances.” Patience allows us to keep our minds and attitudes about our problems in check.