In life, we experience something amazing that makes us feel compelled to come closer to Allah, where we feel a sense of iman-rush. But after a while, dunya gets to us and our reality check makes us feel that we cannot be spiritual consistently. Here’s a tip on how to remain consistently on the path towards the pleasure of Allah.
“I don’t feel any iman-rush right now.”
Stop that train of thought. This DOES NOT necessarily mean that your iman has crashed because it’s impossible for us to constantly feel iman-high. Hanzalah Al-Usayyidi r.a. said to Abu Bakr r.a. one day: “Hanzalah has become a hypocrite.” He said this because whenever they were in the company of Rasulallah s.a.w., they would remember the Hellfire and Jannah as if they could see them. But when they were away from Rasulallah s.a.w., and attending to family and business, most of these things slipped out of their minds. Abu Bakr r.a. said, “By Allah, I also experience the same thing.” So they went to see Rasulallah s.a.w. Thereupon, he s.a.w. said:
“By Him in Whose Hand is my life,
if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence
and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah),
the angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your roads;
time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs)
and time should be devoted (to prayer).”
He s.a.w. said this thrice.
Iman is not restricted to a ‘feeling’ but it also includes action and this is what we often fail to realize. Rasulallah s.a.w. said:
“Iman has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches –
the uppermost of which is the declaration:
‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’;
and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road,
and modesty is a branch of Iman.”
[Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]
We are taught in this hadith that the highest branch of iman is the shahadah (Tawhid) and the lowest is removing something harmful from the road – yes, this action IS part of iman! Why? Because all of the other branches of iman stem from the Tawhid / shahadah branch – meaning that without Tawhid, all other branches are meaningless. So even the lowest branch, i.e. the removal of something harmful from a road, is an expression of Tawhid because this person removes a harmful item with the conviction that Allah s.w.t. is watching him. Even though no one else sees him, or praises him, or people may even think that it as a trivial act that is not worth mentioning, he does it to gain the sole pleasure of Allah s.w.t.
That is why, Rasulallah s.a.w. said that he saw a man strolling in Jannah because he removed something harmful from the road. [Sahih Muslim] Think about it: What got him Jannah was that “trivial” action that he did out of sincerity for Allah.
Rasulallah s.a.w. said there are over 60 branches, but only 3 branches were mentioned in the hadith: the highest branch, the lowest branch, and then there’s modesty / al-haya’. This indicates that haya’ is a critical branch of iman.
Modesty / haya’ is not just about shame or women’s hijab. But to have haya’ means to have shyness in disobeying Allah, because we know that He sees everything that we do, and we are grateful for everything that He gives. Al-Haya’ comes from the same root as “Hayat” which means life. It implies that if we don’t have haya’, then it means we’re spiritually dead. If a person has no feeling of shame or modesty, then there is nothing to prevent him from doing almost anything.
“If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.”
Scholars also mentioned that actions such as the abandonment of riya’; jealousy; anger; or learning / teaching religious knowledge; refraining from evil talk; covering the awrah; showing generosity; entertaining a guest; show kindness to parents; raising children; or even saying ‘yarhamuk Allah’ when someone sneezes – ALL of these are examples of iman. So you see, iman is not restricted to just a feeling inside!
Therefore, don’t fall into the delusion of “feeling” low-iman. If you feel that way, just push yourself back up by doing good deeds for the sake of attaining the pleasure of Allah s.w.t.