Posted by: adeepershadeofsoul | January 15, 2010

The Ups & Downs of Faith

Faith follows the same pattern as many other important aspects of life including: relationships, health and wealth; sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down.  This is not a statement of opinion, rather it is a fact that is supported by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself.  He informed us that faith goes up and down; and anyone who has made the attempt to live life as a person of faith can attest to the truthfulness of that statement.

When our faith is strong and on an upswing, we feel as if we are on a cloud floating along carefree.  Our hearts are at peace and the burdens/difficulties of life seem to feel light upon our chests.  But when our faith is weak and on a downswing, we feel as if we are trudging slowly along a murky path.  Our hearts are not at peace and the burdens/difficulties of life feel like the weight of the world is bearing down on our chests.

This is not to say that when we have strong faith, we are not tested.  Rather, the opposite is true.  The more we have faith, the more the tests of life will confront us.  However, (and this is one of the profound benefits of living life with strong faith) those tests seem lighter and not overburdening when faith is strong.  Faith has an amazing way of lightening our burdens and helps us to put things in perspective.  It allows us to see life for what it really is; merely a testing ground.

We all know the benefits of having strong faith, but the question that I want to address for the remainder of this post is: what do we do when our faith is weak or on a downturn?

I, as well as many of my friends, have experienced periods of weak faith or faith that is not as strong as it should be.  Therefore, what I will attempt to do is share the lessons that we’ve learned from our experiences in battling our own struggles in maintaining strong faith.  I will present a few key helpful hints that have served us well and helped us to get back on the right track.  As usual, I ask God to forgive me for the mistakes found in what I am about to write.  And I ask God to protect me from hypocrisy and allow me to utilize these advices whenever I feel that my faith is not where it needs to be.  Without further ado…

**Author’s note:  These are in no particular order

Go back to the practices that made us strong

In evaluating the times when my friends and I have experienced weakened faith; I have noticed that it always coincides with us having left the habits that strengthened our faith in the first place.  For example: what helped us to strengthen our faith was consistently listening to religious sermons on CD or MP3 and attending classes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  In times that our faith has been weak, we left those practices.  Another example is that during times of weakened faith, we reduced the amount of time that we spent in prayer and contemplation.  When our faith was strong, our prayers were strong.  Our prayers were more sincere, more focused and we were making a habit of praying not only the 5 obligatory prayers, but also extra prayers.

We need simply just to go back and review the habits and practices that we had when our faith was strong and attempt to re-implement them as much as possible.

Talk to God

In times of weakened faith, we forget to do one of the simplest, yet most profound practices that any human being can do…just talk to God.  Talking to God is an act that was described by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as an act that exemplified the essence of our worship.

Two of the beautiful names of God are: Al-A’leem (the All Knowing) and As-Samee’ (the All Hearing).  God knows exactly what we are going through.  He knows the problems we’re facing and the feelings that lie deep in our hearts.  He knows us better than we know ourselves!  Therefore, all we have to do is call out to Him.  He is the All Hearing and He listens to the call of those that call upon Him.

**Author’s Note: When calling to God, one should call to God alone and not to any human being or anything other than the One True God

One of the greatest feelings in the world is when we just sit alone, raise our hands and call out to God.  We should just sit there and tell him how we feel; admit that we’re struggling in our faith; admit that we have erred in our ways; and then ask Him to help us, since He alone is the One that we can always count on and turn to in any and every difficulty and need.  He alone is the One that we can put our full trust in and He alone is the One that can enlighten our hearts.

Read

The first word from the Quran that was revealed to the prophet Muhammad was “read”.  When looking back at the times in which my friends and I have experienced weakened faith, we realize that those times have always run concurrently with times of reduced reading of the Quran.  The times in our lives in which we’ve read the Quran with deep thought and reflection have always been times in which our faith felt strong.  The reading of the Quran is a cure for the illnesses and sadness of the heart.  When read with focus and reflection, seeking the guidance of God, the Quran enlightens the heart and gives life to the soul.  It is God speaking to His creation…us.

The Quran along with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) are our roadmap for how to live our lives.  All we have to do is simply go back to studying these teachings on a consistent basis.  Sometimes unfortunately, we all become arrogant and start to think that we already know enough and don’t need to necessarily learn anymore.  This feeling of satisfaction with our own knowledge should be deleted from our hard drives.  There is always more to learn and in fact, it is precisely when we stop seeking knowledge that our faith decreases and wavers.  As our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: the one who seeks a path to knowledge, God makes his path to heaven easy (this may not be an exact translation as the original quote was said in Arabic).

So when we face times in which our faith feels weak, it is incumbent upon us to re-commit ourselves to seek knowledge of our faith and re-commit ourselves to reading the book of God, the Quran, and studying the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  And it is incumbent upon us to talk to God and do whatever it is that works for us, to help us regain that strong faith that we once had and inshallah get to higher levels of faith and understanding that we’ve never reached before.

I pray that Allah (God) helps us to maintain a level of strong faith throughout our lives.

I pray that Allah (God) guides and helps everyone who is struggling in their faith.

Ameen

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Responses

  1. Great article, Jazak Allah Khair.

    Just came across this blog and honestly it is exactly the kind of blog I have been in search for.
    Reminders. Productive articles on struggles of Muslims.

    • Barakallahufeek. I pray that Allah excepts all of our good deeds and forgives us for our bad ones.

      • Ameen!


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