Brillianteering is the final phase of diamond cutting. The design and precision of the brillianteering step creates a significant impact on the quality and outward appearance of diamonds. Thereby, affecting its final market value. Likewise, Muslims’ Iman (faith) is their most expensive asset – their diamond. The higher the quality, the better the price it fetches (i.e. higher ranks in Jannah). And, it is our lifelong mission to keep our Iman polished in the best way possible.
Before we delve any further, let us revisit the term itself. What exactly is Iman?
Narrated by Abu Huraira (may Allah SWT be pleased with him): The angel Jibril (AS) asked the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) what is Iman? The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) replied, “Iman is belief in Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, the Unseen, belief (in) His books, belief in the day of judgement, and belief in the good and bad of Qadar (Divine decree).” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith Number 43)
Oftentimes, we experience dips in our Iman so it is essential for us to have an arsenal of methods ready to combat such a situation when it arises. Yes, it is a matter of when and not if because all of us have those moments where our Iman isn't at its optimal best. And that is absolutely normal. Take for example this narration that we find in Sahih Hadith:
Hanzala Usayyidi, who was amongst the scribes of Allah's Messenger (SAW) reported: “I said: Allah's Messenger, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (SAW) 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 paths but, Hanzala, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the Holy Prophet SAW) said this thrice.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 50, Hadith Number 14)
When even the most righteous companions experienced dips in their Iman, then we shouldn’t guilt-trip ourselves for feeling likewise. What matters is what steps we try to take to resuscitate our Iman. So, let us explore some practical ways to improve and sustain our Iman according to the Sunnah. And yes, we should definitely not just be waiting for the blessed month of Ramadan to feel that spiritual high. Such a state can be obtained outside of Ramadan too Insha Allah (if God wills). So why wait? Here are 6 ways we can brillianteer our Iman.
1. Keep your 5 daily Salah in check
Whatever happens, no matter how you may be feeling about your prayers, do not stop praying.
Afterall, it is the success that calls us five times a day. Imagine the most important and powerful figure gave you an appointment with them. You would definitely not want to miss it. Then, how about our meeting with the Lord of The Worlds that we engage in our prayers. Would you want to miss out on such a golden opportunity?
The Prophet (SAW) said:
“The first thing which will be judged among a man’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the Prayer. If this is in good order then he will succeed and prosper but if it is defective then he will fail and will be a loser.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Book 2, Hadith Number 266)
Even when you feel like you’re going through a slump, remind yourself that you’re good and you’re just trying to get back to what you used to be. Always strive to take utmost care in safeguarding your compulsory obligations. Never let them slip away! 2. Remembrance of Allah (Zikr)
Allah SWT mentioned in the Quran:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest (Al-Qur’an, 13:28)
Zikr is remembering Allah through recitations, supplication and even pondering over the vastness of His creations.
Start small and try the simple words of remembrances of SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah), Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), La ilaha illallah (there is no true god except Allah) and Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great).
You may choose a favourite Zikr of yours to recite while going about your daily lives. For instance, instead of mindlessly scrolling through our social media feeds while waiting for the bus or train, why not better utilise that time to do some Zikr? Though light on the tongue, these simple Zikr weigh heavy on our scale of good deeds. So let us not miss out on such great rewards and use our pockets of free time more wisely.
3. Read and ponder over The Quran
The Quran is the manual for our lives and a source of both guidance and comfort. The recitation of the Quran is also a highly rewarded act.
The Prophet (SAW) said,
“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will receive one good deed as ten good deeds like it. I do not say that ‘Alif Lam Mim’ is one letter, but rather Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter, and Mim is a letter.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Book 45, Hadith Number 36)
So, just with any new habit that we are trying to develop, let us start small by trying to bring reading at least a page of the Quran into our busy schedules.
If someone you loved dearly wrote you a text message, you would definitely be eager to read it without further delay. Then, how about the Message sent to all of us, especially by The Most-Loving? We should express this same enthusiasm when it comes to reading and trying our best to understand and reflect on the message encapsulated within each golden verse of the Quran.
4. Seeking repentance (Istighfar)
Istighfar is the Arabic term which means to seek forgiveness from Allah SWT. Repentance is a highly prized act that is beloved to Allah SWT. Allah SWT says in the Quran:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوّابينَ
Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance. (Al-Qur’an, 2:222)
As we go about our daily lives, we may have knowingly or unknowingly committed some sins. But Allah SWT has granted us the simple solution to overcome our shortcomings. By engaging in Istighfar, we are essentially wiping our slates clean and refreshing our Iman.
5. Engaging in duas
Making dua is one of the most effective ways in which we can draw closer to Allah and feel a boost in our Iman. It could be any dua that pulls at your heartstrings, be it a Prophetic or Quranic supplication, or even one in your own words.
Did you know that making dua for someone else would directly benefit us too? Abu Darda' (RA) reported: Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said,
"The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: 'Ameen! May it be for you too'." (Riyad as-Salihin, Book 16, Hadith Number 31)
6. Think well about Allah SWT
It is a fundamental to foster a mindset of Husnudzon (good perception) and think positively, in order to elevate our Iman. This can dramatically reshape our perspectives to the challenges we face because we are seeing things through a different lens. In particular, we should have good thoughts about Allah SWT, The Most Forgiving and The Most Merciful.
Whenever you are feeling upset by life’s seemingly endless woes, pause for a moment and remind yourself of this Hadith Qudsi:
“I am to my servant as he expects of Me. I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his, and if he draws nearer to Me a hand’s span, I draw nearer to him an arm’s length, and if he draws nearer to Me an arm’s length, I draw nearer to him a fathom’s length, and if he comes to me walking, I rush to him at (great) speed.” (Collections of Forty, 40 Hadith Qudsi, Hadith Number 15).
Having husnudzon towards Allah SWT is a state of mind and heart. If we can strive to be in such a state in every moment then, essentially every (permissible) action we do on a daily basis would be in submission to Our Creator. Just imagine the impact of that on our Iman.