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Muslim seeking the pleasure and mercy of Allah, Most High... Sunnah style!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Increasing Iman

Bismillahi Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem. Verily, all praise and thanks are for Allah. As such, we praise Him, seek His aid and His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and the evil consequences of our actions. Whomever Allah guides, none can misguide, and whoever Allah leaves astray, none can guide. I bare witness there is none worthy of worship except Allah, without any partner or intercessor, and I bare witness that Muhammad is His servant and final Messenger.

As-salaamu 'alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakathu,

I felt compelled to post at least one blog before this month soon expires. Particularly, revolving about a topic I've been contemplating to touch on since the month began. It's quite imperative that we, as Muslims, strive in using every opportunity and circumstance we can to increase in faith. Even in the event of trials, as Allah, azza wa jall, says what means:

"Does mankind think they will be left alone on saying, "we believe", and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false." -Holy Qur'an 29:2

It is here we understand the purpose of trials, much like gold being placed into the furnace to separate the impurities from the solid gold, to expose those true in faith and those who are false or hypocrite. Most importantly, they serve as opportunities for those weak in faith to increase in it. Even the rewarding moments in our life are trials from which we should use to boost our iman (faith).

There are countless methods one can engage to increase in iman. I will, in'sha'Allah, discuss the very conditions of our faith itself, which I believe, encompasses all these methods without having to illustrate them.

La ilaha ill Allah,
there is no god (none worthy of worship) but Allah, is unquestionably the perfection and pinnacle of faith in God. It is the statement which enters one into Islam. Only through the allegiance and implementation of "la ilaha ill Allah" does one excel in the ranks of iman. This statement is the essence of tawheed. Tawheed is the confirmation of the absolute and unique oneness of God. God is a title given to anything deserving worship, the most beautiful name of our Rabb (Lord, Cherisher, Sustainer...) is Allah. Allah, translated "The God" or linguistically, "the only one deserving worship", affirms tawheed.

The Qur'an itself, as the mission of every prophet and messenger appointed by Allah, is but an invitation to tawheed. The conditions of tawheed, our Kalima, are ultimately what must be tended to in order to increase in iman. These conditions, summarize into these 7 points:

1. Knowledge (of tawheed, our purpose, our deen, Qur'an, the dunya or world, etc.)
2. Certainty (assurance that tawheed, the message of Islam, is the truth)
3. Acceptance (accepting or embracing the truth)
4. Submission (submitting to the truth, i.e. Allah's Will)
5. Truthfulness (being true to our allegiance to tawheed, remembering Allah, etc.)
6. Sincerity (being sincere in our devotion, our allegiance to "la ilaha ill Allah")
7. Love (for the deen of Allah, Islam, brothers and sisters in faith, etc.)

Each of these conditions consist of levels and the more one increases in either of these conditions the more they raise in iman and their allegiance to "la ilaha ill Allah". Similarly, the more one decreases in any one of these conditions, the more they weaken in iman and their commitment to "la ilaha ill Allah". Muhammad, salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam, had responded in the affirmative that "la ilaha ill Allah" is the key to Paradise, but went on to mention that every key has ridges. The aforementioned conditions are those ridges which we must perfect.

If we are to examine our ibad'ah (worship), we acknowledge there are conditions to be met with this as well. Conditions to be met in ibad'ah:

1. Ikhlas (sincerity)
-Worship of Allah alone (iyyaka na'budu)

2. Mutaba'ah
(in accordance with the Sunnah or prophet's example)
-Major acts of worship must be based on the way of Allah's last messenger. Any act not found

in the Qur'an or Sunnah, an act one has perhaps thought up, is bid'ah (an innovation) and will not
be accepted of them (by Allah).

Also, our motivation to worship Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, basically comes down to three factors. Factors which we find circumscribed in the first three ayat (verses) of the first surah of Allah's Kalaam (word), that we (hopefully) recite daily in our salah (prayers). These motivational factors of ibad'ah are:

1. Love (for Allah and everything Allah Loves)
-Alhamdulillahi rabbil ala'meen (all praise belongs to Allah, Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of

the worlds)

2. Hope (for Allah's Grace, Mercy and Blessings)
-Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem (Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

3. Fear (of Allah's punishment, evil consequences of our deeds)
-Maliki yawmid deen (Master of the Day of Judgement)

If only one of these three factors would be the motivation behind one's worship, for example, only out of fear of Allah's wrath, their faith is then incomplete. The combination of these factors must simultaneously motivate us for our faith to be complete and sincere.

None of what I discussed here is expected to be known by the common Muslim nor is it (necessarily) required they know. However, these are all principles occurring naturally in our worship whether acknowledged or not. And by constantly nurturing these principles, conditions and so forth will we constantly increase in our iman.

All this may possibly go without saying, but by actually laying out these basic details, it both purifies and elevates our understanding. We instill, with a deeper understanding, a deeper compassion to move forward; treading the path of truth and righteousness with assurance, heart and gladness.

It is my prayer that this benefits the believers as I feel it has truly benefited myself. Any truth contained herein, I bare witness is from Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. And should there be any mistakes, any errors, it is from my own self, from which I say "audu billah" that we might seek refuge from them and I ask that Allah forgive me for them.

"For, Believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His Signs rehearsed, find their faith strengthened, and put all their trust in their Lord." -Holy Qur'an 8:2