Saturday, February 20, 2016

Why isn't my iman constant?

Our health, wealth, fortunes, and destiny, all rise and fall according to the will of Allah. And just like all of those things, our iman is no exception. Iman is not
exempt from rising and falling with the tides of our lives. It rises and falls according to Allah's will, and according to our deeds, which may aid it in rising, or
speed up it's detrimental fall. This, like all that resides in Allah's hands, is in His wisdom. Because if our iman was constant, like the one who has a constant
flow of wealth without having to lift a finger and work for it, we would not have to work, and strive, and pray for Allah's guidance. We would not be as grateful for Allah's blessing in bestowing Iman upon us, and we would not fear committing sins which will diminish the Iman in our hearts.

The nature of the Dunya is such that nothing is ever constant. It takes you up, down, and around, throws you back on the ground. Nothing remains, everything fades, and what you once thought was lasting will soon turn to dust.
We know our bodies will decay, our bones turned to fine powder, but we know what remains: Our souls. So how can we live IN this Dunya, without letting the forces of the Dunya penetrate our hearts, minds, and souls? How can we, in this ever changing world, find consistency and find constant Iman, that is not afflicted to the roller-coaster ups and downs that comes with everything in this life?

Anything accelerating at a constant rate will eventually have to stop. When you reach the top of the hill, you have to go back down. We know from the law of gravity that anything that goes up must also come back down.
Is this also true in terms of Iman? Why does Iman not stay constant? Why does it fluctuate with constant highs and lows? How can I get off this roller coaster of disappointment and keep going uphill?
Is Iman, like the apple that falls out of the tree, destined to eventually fall to the ground?
That’s where we’re wrong. Iman is not the apple, but the TREE. The tree is able to grow upwards tall and reach the sky, it doesn’t fall down, because it’s roots are deep.
Strong iman requires constant upkeep. You can plant a beautiful garden, but the garden will quickly wither and the plants die if you don’t constantly water and care for them, and pull out the weeds. 

When I fall, this reminds me of my own lowness, my own humility and it reminds me that I am nothing if it were not for the guidance and mercy of Allah. It reminds me that my journey will never reach completion and one can easily fall backwards if we’re not careful to always keep our feet on the gas pedal.

The Prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: By Allah other than whom there is no God, one of you acts like the people of Paradise until he is but an arm’s length from it, and what is written overtakes him so he acts like the people of Hellfire and he enters it. Verily, one of you acts like the people of Hellfire until he is but an arm’s length from it, and what is written overtakes him so he acts like the people of Paradise and he enters it.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
 فَوَالَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ غَيْرُهُ إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إِلَّا ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا وَإِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إِلَّا ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The faith of a servant is not upright until his heart is upright, and his heart is not upright until his tongue is upright. A man will not enter Paradise if his neighbor is not secure from his evil.
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يَسْتَقِيمُ إِيمَانُ عَبْدٍ حَتَّى يَسْتَقِيمَ قَلْبُهُ وَلَا يَسْتَقِيمُ قَلْبُهُ حَتَّى يَسْتَقِيمَ لِسَانُهُ وَلَا يَدْخُلُ رَجُلٌ الْجَنَّةَ لَا يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَائِقَهُ
The heart  “qalb” takes its name from it’s constant changes “taqallub” the likeness of the heart is that of a feather, being turned over and over by the wind. 
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah the Exalted said to the soul: Go forth! It replied: I will not go except reluctantly.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى لِلنَّفَسِ‏ اخْرُجِي قَالَتْ‏ لاَ أَخْرُجُ إِلاَّ كَارِهَةً
So the heart, though it may be strong in Iman one moment and hating sin one moment, may change quickly if we are not vigilant in protecting it from Shaytan, the dunya, and the Nafs. The minute we lose focus and stop questioning our own actions and intentions, (whether they are for the sake of Allah or not?) is the minute these forces may overcome us.  
Remember that we have all been guided by none other than the mercy of Allah, and the thought of losing that guidance is truely terrifying.

وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
" were at the brink of the fiery pit and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His revelations clear to you, so that you may be rightly guided." (3:103)
وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ
"Did He not find you lost and gave you guidance?" (93:7)

We know that however firm we feel in our iman now, there is no consistency except for those who constantly fear Allah in all of their actions and constantly try to purify their hearts and become better believers every day
Righteousness is not a destination. When you have a destination, you have a set start and finish line. We have no finish line, because we are always seeking and striving to be better. Righteousness is a continuous journey, every day you wake up for Fajr and the process starts again.
In the spiritual world, the heart is either growing in Iman or decaying.
Purification of the soul is not a state, it is an ongoing process. Everyday. Cannot become passive habits and actions.
Once you start a fire, you can’t leave it to burn on its own, you need to keep tending to it or the flame will go out.
Spiritual progress must be continuous! For an airplane to fly it has to keep moving forward, the minute it stops, it drops!
We need to realize that the “spiritual high” doesn’t last. You need constant effort and work on the days when motivation doesn’t come. If you think you’ve reached your spiritual peak, think again. 
We don’t reach the top until we reach Jannah, it is a constant uphill journey. If you stop moving, you’ll roll backwards. 
Iman, left alone, will not be constant. Nothing in this life is constant. It requires effort. So the key to making sure our iman isn't falling is to ensure that it is growing by the day. 
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ الْإِيمَانَ لَيَخْلَقُ فِي جَوْفِ أَحَدِكُمْ كَمَا يَخْلَقُ الثَّوْبُ الْخَلِقُ فَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ أَنْ يُجَدِّدَ الْإِيمَانَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ
 The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the faith of one of you will diminish just as a shirt becomes worn out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.

As the soul becomes purified and develops an aversion for sin, the space which was once filled with evil desires empties and has an earnest desire to be filled with love and worship of Allah. The more we clean our heart and avert from sin, the stronger that desire becomes.
The more we purify our heart of sins, the more we make evil hated to us and free the space it took in our hearts, the more space needs to be filled with love for Allah
Therefore with every passing day as we free ourselves from sin, we should be increasing in our worship and improving our deen. 
You will never reach your full spiritual potential if we are not constantly striving to grow in iman.
Can the adult be fed the same amount as the baby and live?
No, because as we are growing, the needs of our bodies are growing also; they need more to sustain them or they will die. Thus the more we grow in our iman, the more food we should provide to nourish our hearts.
An athlete who wants to gain muscle can’t keep lifting the same weight and expect to see improvement, the body will adjust and will stop gaining muscle. Unless he constantly increases the resistance, increases the weight he is lifting he won’t see any change. 
If you have not improved on your worship in one year, our even one month, know that you are not taking the necessary steps to keep your iman constant, the mu'min should always be seeking improvement in all aspects our his worship. 
Worship (Ibaadah) is a collective term for everything which Allah loves and is pleased with from among the sayings and inward and outward actions.

Iman is affected not only by our level of worship but also by our knowledge of Allah (knowledge of deen), our characters, our hidden thoughts and actions, our treatment of others. So increasing iman is not simply synonymous with increasing our worship, we must search and rectify anything which may be displeasing to Allah. 
A man will continue to increase in faith until he becomes assured of himself that he has attained faith. As soon as he becomes assured of himself, that is when his faith has begun to wither. He becomes self-satisfied with his own actions and doesn't feel the need to improve. In order to protect ourselves from this we must constantly remind ourselves:
1) That we have many weaknesses we must improve on.
2) No matter how much we worship, it will never reach the amount of worship Allah deserves from us as His servants (therefore, we should try to do more every day)
3) Our heart is constantly changing, so we must never stop praying to Allah to make our faith firm
4) Without growth, our iman will decay.

Those that work and struggle and try to be firm; Allah will increase them in faith.
Remember that Islam is a state of becoming not a state of being. It's not about being perfect, but it's about striving to become obedient in all that Allah decrees: We will never be obedient in all things, this is impossible because we all sin daily, but it is in striving, and trying that we find our salvation and mercy from Allah.

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ إِنَّكَ كَادِحٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ كَدْحًا فَمُلَاقِيهِ
O thou man! Verily thou art ever toiling on towards thy Lord- painfully toiling,- but thou shalt meet Him.(84:6)

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