While looking through a bookstore, I came across a shiny black and turquoise bookmark with a silver piece of metal centered in the plastic covering. Engraved in the smooth metal were the following words:
Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible.
I immediately purchased the bookmark and noticed there were no duplicates of it … I felt it was meant for me. On the way home I began to ponder the definition of invisible. I wondered about the incredible, and asked myself what was considered impossible. These words all contain a prefix which negates the root word, but just because something is negated does not mean it cannot be achieved or done; it just means it may be extremely difficult.
Majority of us are deterred from extreme difficulties. This is why when words such as invisible, incredible, and impossible present themselves, our subconscious steers us in the opposite direction. We seldom attempt these “in’s” and “im’s,” for our minds are already pre-programmed, prepared to deliver an emphatic “NO!” when presented with the possibility of achieving (or even attempting) new things. Yes, they can be achieved. Yes, you are capable of achieving them.
As a practicing Muslim I believe that intermittently throughout my life there may be difficulties whether they be extreme or plateaued. This is where the Islamic tenet of iman (faith) comes into play. Iman reminds us that with difficulty comes ease. Iman is that feeling, that complete trust in the Creator that is not always easy to explain …When you know, you know. Proof is not needed. Iman is your strong conviction that the path you are on is siraat al-mustaqeem (the straight path). Iman opposes the statement that “seeing is believing.” It confirms that believing is seeing. Do we have to see the akhirah (afterlife) to believe that it exists? No, our iman tells us it is there waiting for us to attain.
So how does one know if they possess the virtue of iman? More specifically, what does one have to believe in order to be amongst the faithful?
Umar (RadiAllahu ‘Anhu) narrated: The Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘Alayhi WaSallam - May Allah send blessing and peace upon him)) said, ”Iman is to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books and Messengers, the Last Day and to believe in the Divine Preordainment of all that is good and evil.” (Sahih Muslim)
According to Muhammad bin Jamil Zeno’s book The Pillars of Islam & Iman, the pillars of iman are to believe in the following:
(1) Allah (His existence, His oneness in His attributes, His deserving to be worshiped and supplicated and His right to legislate)
(2) His angels (beings created from light for obeying Allah’s orders)
(3) His books (the Torah, the Gospel of Jesus (‘Alayhi Sallam - May peace be upon him), the Psalms of David (‘Alayhi Sallam) and the Holy Qur’an which is the best of them)
(4) His messengers (the last of them was Muhammad (SallaAllahu ‘Alayhi WaSallam), being the seal of the Prophets)
(5) The last day (the day of resurrection for the reckoning of the people according to their deeds, and their appropriate compensation (reward or punishment))
(6) And to believe in divine preordainment, Qadar (believing that all which occurs of good and evil is by the divine decree, accompanied by the employment of means to achieve desired results with satisfaction of what happens of good or bad, the sweet and the bitter, because it occurs by Allah’s Decree)
As human beings, as believers, we will be constantly tested and our iman will at times be high and at other times be low. You can feel it, this increase and decrease. We may be less willing to perform salaat (prayers), do good deeds, or make dhikr (remembrance) of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala - Glorified and Exalted)) when our iman is low. We may be inclined to perform extra acts such as voluntary salaat or sadaqa (voluntary charity) when our iman is high or we may weep during our dhikr of Allah. It is vital that we strengthen our iman when we feel that it is low. Listed after this hadith are ways to do just that.
The Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘Alayhi WaSallam) 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.” (Reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak)
Some iman increasers are:
(1) Obeying Allah. If we know we are committing a sin, we should cease immediately and strive to live by the Qur’an and Sunnah.
(2) Saying “La Ilaha Illallah wa Muhammad ar-rasulullah,” which means: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger. This is the shahaadah, our declaration and reminder of our faith.
(3) Make a sincere effort to gain knowledge about your deen (way of life). We should know the basics and we should research for ourselves as opposed to always asking someone else.
(4) Know the meanings behind Allah’s 99 names and attributes. People who have taqwa (consciousness of Allah) have strong faith.
(5) Do voluntary good deeds continuously and attend gatherings where Allah is remembered, for it is in these gatherings that we are surrounded by angels.
(6) Wake up for the fajr (morning prayer), even if you have to have a friend call you at 4:30am to make sure you are awake. Wives, wake your husbands up to pray with you and vice versa.
(7) Remember death to lessen your worldly desires. “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return” (Qur’an 2:156).
There are many, many more iman increasers, but this is just an article, not a book. Please feel free to share a few that work for you, so others may benefit. I leave you in peace as I came, with this ayat (verse) from the Holy Qur’an:
“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has iman, truly will Allah give a life that is good and pure, and will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions” (16:97).
Keep the faith. Hold on. Stay strong.
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Zaaynab-Le’Von is the multifaceted Founder & Creatress of EYESEYEcreations, an online shop and showcase of uniquely handmade and one-of-a-kind items including but not limited to crochet/knit pieces, clothing she has designed, eclectic adornments, & natural fragrance oils. In addition to that she operates a mobile hair maintenance/styling service, writes articles & poetry periodically, and is a current student of Islamic knowledge, studying Qur'an, Ahadeeth, & Islamic Law. She enjoys dating her amazing husband, the positive side of social media, & eating/cooking new foods/recipes to satisfy her eclectic palate.
You can find her on instagram, facebook, tumblr, twitter, and youtube.
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