Thoughts

What increases Iman?

Iman means to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in al-qadar (the divine will and decree), both good and bad.

Iman either increases or decreases. It does not stay constant. Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the faith of one of you will wear out within him, just as a shirt becomes worn out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.”

Source: al-Mustadrak ʻalá al-Ṣaḥīḥayn 5

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ الْإِيمَانَ لَيَخْلَقُ فِي جَوْفِ أَحَدِكُمْ كَمَا يَخْلَقُ الثَّوْبُ الْخَلِقُ فَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ أَنْ يُجَدِّدَ الْإِيمَانَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

5 المستدرك على الصحيحين كتاب الإيمان

1590 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح في صحيح الجامع

Attending a gathering where the teachings of the Qur’an are discussed, Heaven and Hell are described will increase Iman, and leaving these gatherings will naturally decrease Iman in the heart. Al-Sahabah (May Allah be pleased with them) were very keen to strengthen their Iman – Muadh Ibn Jabal used to say to one of his brethren: ‘Let’s have more depth in Iman for one hour.’ and they used to sit and make the remembrance of Allah and thank Him for His blessings.

WHAT TO DO?

  1. Read the Quran with understanding
  2. Surround yourself with people of knowledge, practicing Muslims, righteous and good people who remind you of Allah and the fleeting nature of this life.
  3. Do many voluntary acts of worship.
  4. Do good deeds and find opportunities – for the sake of Allah (SWT).
  5. Stay away from sin. Make conscious effort.
  6. Seeking knowledge. Seekers of knowledge have special status in the eyes of Allah (SWT)

QUR’AN INCREASES IMAN

Recite the Quran, understand it, memorize it, love it, and pray with it. Every time we do this, there’s an opportunity for us to get closer to Allah and to enhance our love for Him.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) greatly encouraged us in learning Quran and teaching it’s words and meanings to other Muslims. `Uthman Ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Prophet (PBUH) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it to others.” (Sahih-Al-Bukhari).

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ ‎

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely – Sura Anfal verse 2

الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

Those to whom people [i.e., hypocrites] said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” Sura Ali Imran 173

وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَٰذِهِ إِيمَانًا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ ‎

And whenever a sūrah is revealed, there are among them [i.e., the hypocrites] those who say, “Which of you has this increased in faith?” As for those who believed, it has increased them in faith, while they are rejoicing. Sura Tauba 124

وَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ قَالُوا هَٰذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَدَقَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ وَمَا زَادَهُمْ إِلَّا إِيمَانًا وَتَسْلِيمًا ‎

And when the believers saw the companies, they said, “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.” And it increased them only in faith and acceptance. Sura Ahzab 22

 هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَّعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا 

It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. Sura Fath verse 4

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا أَصْحَابَ النَّارِ إِلَّا مَلَائِكَةً ۙ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا عِدَّتَهُمْ إِلَّا فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيَسْتَيْقِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَيَزْدَادَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِيمَانًا ۙ وَلَا يَرْتَابَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۙ وَلِيَقُولَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ وَالْكَافِرُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَمَا هِيَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَرِ

And We have not made the keepers of the Fire except angels. And We have not made their number except as a trial for those who disbelieve – that those who were given the Scripture will be convinced and those who have believed will increase in faith and those who were given the Scripture and the believers will not doubt and that those in whose hearts is disease [i.e., hypocrisy] and the disbelievers will say, “What does Allah intend by this as an example?” Thus does Allah send astray whom He wills and guide whom He wills. And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him. And it [i.e., mention of the Fire] is not but a reminder to humanity. Sura Muddathir 31

SURROUNDING ONESELF WITH RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I heard Prophet (PBUH) saying, “Man follows his friend’s religion; you should be careful who you take for a friend.” (Riyad as-Salihin 367). If you want to know someone, look at the people he surrounds himself with. This is very important because friends affect our relationship with Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) says: “and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” (Surh Al-Kahf 28).

Abu Musa narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “The example of a good companion, in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows; from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2101).

Our companions should encourage us to do good deeds. Those who prefer and strengthen their relationship with Allah will guide us to the right path.

VOLUNTARY ACTS OF WORSHIP (NAWAFIL)

Prophet Muhammad(PBUH)   encouraged us to perform lots of voluntary acts of worship, including

  • Saying Zikr  (the remembrance of Allah)
  • Doing Nawafil (Tahajjud prayer, Taraweeh, and fasting on Mondays and Thursdays)
  • Helping the orphans and needy
  • Feeding a fasting person
  • Giving sadaqah
  • Reciting the dua’s for different times (morning, evening, when waking up from sleep, etc.)
  • Saying Istighfar

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” (Hadith 25, 40 Hadith Qudsi).

Muslims perform voluntary acts of worship to gain the promises of Allah, the great goodness from Him, and the extra rewards and blessings. The voluntary acts distinguish a Muslim from another as Allah says: “Then for this, let the competitors for Allah’s Pleasure compete!” (Al-Mutaffifun 83:26).

Also we must ask Allah (SWT) to accept our good deeds from us, as did our Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

GOOD DEEDS AND LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES

Our good deeds, and the mercy of Allah (SWT) will save us from the punishment of the grave and hellfire.

Al-Bara’ibn ‘Aazib (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet (PBUH) said about the condition in the grave: “Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’” (Saheeh by Al-Albaani).

In addition, Allah says: “And those whose scales are heavy (with good deeds), it is they who will be successful. [Sura al-Muminun, 23:102]

Therefore, Muslims who do virtuous deeds will weigh heavily in the Balance (Meezan).  

Examples of some Sahabah and Al-tabi’in who were very competitive in doing good deeds:

  1. Abu Bakr: Gave all his money to charity (Sadaqa) and didn’t leave anything for his family.
  2. `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab: Applied justice and equality among people.
  3. Bilal: Prayed after every ablution as much as Allah wrote for him.
  4. Abdullah  Ibn `Umar: Prayed Tahajjud to be a better Muslim.
  5. Juwaireya Bint Al-Harith: Remembrance of Allah from the morning till the mid-morning (Duha).
  6. `Uthman Ibn Affan: Showed modesty and even Angels showed modesty to him.
  7. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud: Read the Quran and acquired knowledge from the mouth of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was considered the most learned companion in reciting the Quran and narrating Hadith.
  8. `Umar Ibn Abd Al-Aziz: Ordered the first collection of Hadith.
  9. Hishām Ibn Abd Al-Malik: Enhanced translation, as he recommended translators to translate many literary and scientific masterworks into Arabic.
  10. Hafsa Bint Sirin: Narrated many Hadiths about the Prophet (PBUH) from her brother Yehia and others narrated from her.
  11. Abdullah bin Rawahah: Whenever he intended to leave his house, he would perform two units of prayer. And whenever he would enter his house, he would perform two units of prayer. This is a practice that he never abandoned.

Doing good deeds seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT) has a strong impact on the individual. Helping others makes the heart and warmer and the person feels blessed by Allah (SWT). Eventually, Iman goes up and so does the desire to do more good deeds.

STAYING AWAY FROM SINS

“Be very wary of the consequences of sins, and be very hasty in seeking to erase them by returning to God, because sins have evil and ugly consequences, whether they come quickly, or whether they accumulate and befall you all at once.” Ibn al-Jawzi

Making mistakes and committing sins is part of our human nature. Therefore, our Prophet (PBUH) asked us to do Tawba and said: “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.” And Allah says: “Truly, Allah loves those who repent, and He loves those who cleanse themselves.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:222]

“Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.” [Muslim].

A Muslim should pray Salat Al-Tawba after every sinful act to ask Allah for His forgiveness because sins decrease Iman.

“There is no one who commits a sin then purifies himself well (does wudoo’/ablution) and stands and prays two rak’ahs (two units of prayer), then asks Allah for forgiveness, but Allah will forgive him.” Then he recited this verse: ‘And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know’ (Qur’an 3:135).” [Sunan Abi Dawood]

Satan also deludes us to continue our sins – and also makes us believe they are too much and cannot be forgiven. Allah (SWT) says: “Announce, (O Muhammad) to My worshipers that verily I am the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Surah al-Hijr: 49]

Allah (SWT) says: “Allah will change their evil deeds to good deeds. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful”. (Surah Al-Furqan 70). Every time we repent to Allah, our good deeds go up as well as our faith. Allah (SWT) is the Merciful.

SEEKING KNOWLEDGE

Islam is based on knowledge and urges seeking learning and education. In fact, all prophets asked Allah to increase their knowledge. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (Al-Tirmidhi 74).

Knowledge enables Muslims to distinguish between right and wrong and those who do not have proper knowledge can easily get misguided. Abu Umamah reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said: “The virtue of the scholar over the worshiper is like my virtue over the least of you. Verily, Allah, his angels, the inhabitants of the heavens and earth, even the ant in his hole and the fish, send blessings upon the one who teaches people what is good.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi/Sahih). 

In brief, the first word asked from our prophet Mohammad was ‘Iqra’ meaning ‘To Read’. Gaining knowledge should be the priority for every Muslim. The learned Muslims not only have strong faith but can also guide others to the right path. Allah raises in degrees due to knowledge as mentioned in the Qur’an, “O you who have believed, when you are told, “Space yourselves” in assemblies, then make space; Allah will make space for you. And when you are told, “Arise,” then arise; Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” Sura Mujadala ayah 11

DUA (SUPPLICATION)

Dua is a way of invocation to Allah (SWT) and asking Him to fulfill our needs. Allah says: “Or, Who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and Who relieves its suffering?” (Surah Al-Naml 62).

Prophet (PBUH) would supplicate Allah (SWT) in every step and in all situations and he used to guide his Sahaba to do so. Allah (SWT) is the one and only who is capable of hearing our supplication and  has the power to forgive us and grant us whatever we need. Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: one of the Dua of the Messenger of Allah was: (O Allah! I beg You for that which incites Your Mercy and the means of Your forgiveness, safety from every sin, the benefit from every good deed, success in attaining Jannah and deliverance from Fire).” (Riyad as-Salihin 1493).

Asking Allah (SWT) is also an expression of love, something which brings us closer to Him and increases our Iman. Dua makes our heart connected to Allah and strengthens the relationship with Him. Allah says: “Those who believe are stauncher in their love for Allah”. (Al-Baqarah 165).

Iman is like the oxygen to the body. To survive and rescue ourselves from the Hellfire, we need to supply our heart and soul with Iman and ask Allah (SWT) to revive it before it wears out. Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Verily, the faith of one of you will wear out within him, just as a shirt becomes worn out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.” (Sahih according to Al-Albaani).

Rifa’ah ibn Rafi’ reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “O Allah, make faith beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make unbelief, wickedness, and disobedience hateful to us, and make us among the rightly-guided. O Allah, let us pass away as Muslims, live as Muslims, and let us be joined with the righteous.” Source: al-Adab al-Mufrad 699

And Allah knows best.

*Additional contribution by Asma’a Mraish

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