Lifelong Iman Rush – Intro & Tip #1 Maintain an Attainable, Progressive, Consistent Pace

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Have you ever experienced an amazing ilm seminar, or an incredible Ramadhan, or suffer a death in the family that made you feel compelled to come closer to Allah s.w.t. ?During those moments, we feel a sense of iman-rush – a feeling of spiritual achievement. But then dunya gets to us – work, family, etc – or the normal mundane lifestyle kicks back in again. This reality check makes us feel as though we cannot attain spirituality consistently.

But wait! Consider this ayah, where Allah s.w.t. says:

He (Allah) 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.
[Al-Fath 48:4]

What we can derive from the above ayah is that our iman increases AND decreases. The ayah mentions believers who already have iman, and this iman increases whenever they return to the Qur’an. Yet at the same time, it also means that iman does fluctuate, that we as human being can never truly 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, meaning we must maintain a balanced way of life where our iman can always nourish.

To achieve that goal, let’s look at these 14 tips on how to constantly remain on the path in attaining the pleasure of our Rabb, insya Allah:

  1. Maintain an attainable, progressive and consistent pace
  2. Capitalize on ‘Wake-up Calls’
  3. Do consistent good deeds
  4. Create the ‘right wind’ for the heart
  5. Don’t restrict iman to ‘How I feel’
  6. Don’t belittle any small sin or small good deed
  7. Guidance comes after Faith
  8. Wake up for Qiyamulail
  9. Build a consistent relationship with the Qur’an
  10. Turn tests into opportunities
  11. Make up missed ibadah promptly
  12. Always ask Allah to renew your iman
  13. Fight that laziness
  14. Raise your personal standards

We’ll start with the first tip 🙂

Tip #1: Maintain an Attainable, Progressive, Consistent Pace

When we feel our iman decreases or fluctuates, it’s easy to fall into the temptation to give up halfway, or to abandon the good deeds that we’ve managed to accomplish previously before the iman-dip. For example, most of us experienced that iman-rush during Ramadhan, where we were able to complete the Qur’an within that month alhamdulillah. But when Eid comes, or 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 managed to do last Ramadhan have become just too hard for us to maintain after Ramadhan. So we start thinking, “Oh what’s the use” and give up. What should we do?

Let me first ask you a question: What happens when we keep boiling water non-stop? The water will eventually evaporate, leaving the pot completely dry and empty. Similarly, when we try to do too much of everything – even though they’re good deeds – we will definitely 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.”

[Sahih Bukhari]

“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).”

[Sahih Bukhari]

Ibn Mas’ud r.a. said that the sahabah would learn 10 ayat of the Qur’an, memorize them, study them, reflect on them, internalize them, practice on them, and THEN they move on to the next 10 ayat. Our beautiful Deen always teaches quality over quantity!

So when it comes to keeping up with our previous Ramadhan pace, well the reality is our good deeds, such as Qur’an recitation and tadabbur, 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 page of the Qur’an everyday – consistently.

Or if we plan to do Qiyamulail, then for the first month:
Start with 2-rakaats first,
or recite short suwar (plural for surah),
or wake up just 10 minutes before Fajr.

Then on the following month:
Increase it to 4-rakaats,
or recite longer suwar,
or increase the time spent for Qiyamulail.
Do the same for the following months as well. This way, the goal is not only doable and consistent, but it also progresses as time goes by.

Basically this tip is all about always maintaining 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. It’s important to realize that our daily schedules are different from one another, so don’t be intimidated by how much more our family and friends may be doing. 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. How beautiful is the teaching of Rasulallah s.a.w. when he 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.

[Sahih Bukhari]

May Allah s.w.t. help us in achieving our goals towards becoming a better slave, lillahi ta’ala. Allahumma ameen.