We experience an amazing ilm seminar, or an incredible Ramadhan, or suffer a death in the family that makes us feel compelled to come closer to Allah s.w.t. We feel a sense of iman-rush, a feeling of spiritual achievement. But then dunya gets to us – work, family, etc. Our reality check makes us feel that we cannot attain spirituality consistently.
He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah (calmness and tranquillity) into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in Faith along with their (present) Faith.
What we can derive from the above ayah is that our iman increases and decreases. The ayah mentions believers who already have iman, and their iman increases whenever they return to the Qur’an. Yet at the same time, it also means that iman does fluctuate, that we can never attain perfection. So rest assured that everyone goes through it – it’s not just you. What is important is that there must be a healthy level of fluctuation, that we maintain a balanced way of life where our iman always nourishes. We’ll look at these 14 tips on how to constantly remain on the path in attaining the pleasure of our Rabb, insya Allah:
- Maintain an attainable, progressive and consistent pace
- Capitalize on ‘Wake-up Calls’
- Do consistent good deeds
- Create the ‘right wind’ for the heart
- Don’t restrict iman to ‘how I feel’
- Don’t belittle any small sin or small good deed
- Guidance comes after Faith
- Wake up for Qiyamullail
- Build a consistent relationship with the Qur’an
- Turn tests into opportunities
- Make up ibadah promptly!
- Always ask Allah to renew our iman
- Fight that laziness
- Raise our personal standards
We’ll start with the first tip 🙂
Tip #1: Maintain an Attainable, Progressive, Consistent Pace
When we feel our iman fluctuate, it’s easy to fall into the temptation to give up halfway or abandon the good deeds that we’ve done. For example, we experienced that iman-rush during Ramadhan and were able to complete the Qur’an within that month alhamdulillah. But after Eid, when we return to our normal routine, we find ourselves struggling to keep up with our previous Ramadhan pace. The abundance of good deeds that we did last Ramadhan become just too hard for us to maintain, so we start thinking “Oh what’s the use” and eventually give up. What should we do?
What happens when we keep boiling water non-stop? The water will eventually evaporate, leaving the pot completely dry and empty. When we try to do too much of everything, we will burn ourselves out. So the first step in nourishing our iman is by setting an attainable (yet progressive!) goal that we can achieve on a consistent basis. Rasulallah s.a.w. said:
“Religion is very easy
and whoever overburdens himself in his religion won’t be able to continue in that way.
So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection
and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded;
and gain strength by worshiping in the mornings, the afternoons,
and during the last hours of the nights.”
“Do good deeds properly (i.e. in accordance to the Qur’an & Sunnah),
sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon
and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course
whereby you will reach your target (Paradise).”
Ibn Mas’ud r.a. said that the sahabah would learn 10 ayat, memorize them, study them, reflect on them, practice on them, and THEN they move on to the next 10 ayat. Islam always teaches quality over quantity. So take it slow: study, internalize; then study some more and internalize some more.
When it comes to keeping up with our previous Ramadhan pace, well the reality is our ibadah, such as the Qur’an recitation, would decrease. Yes, we will fall a few steps down the ladder, but don’t allow ourselves to crash all the way back to our initial state. If we have a very busy or erratic schedule, then maintain a routine where we can recite and ponder at least one or two pages of the Qur’an everyday – consistently.
If we plan to do Qiyamullail, then for the first month start with 2-rakaats first, or recite short surahs, or wake up just 10 minutes before Fajr; then on the following month, increase it to 4-rakaats, or recite longer surahs, or increase the time spent for Qiyamullail. Do the same for the following months.
Basically: Always maintain a doable, progressive, and consistent pace. The important idea of this tip is not only to be able to set an attainable and progressive goal, but a goal that also allows us to run at a consistent pace. Our daily schedule is different from one another, so don’t be intimidated by how much more our family and friends may be doing. Remind ourselves that the development of faith is a process not a contest. So set a progressive goal that you know you can achieve on a constant basis. Even Rasulallah s.a.w. said:
“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately
and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise,
and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant
even if it were little.”