Do you feel like you are losing communication with your creator and getting too attached to worldly life? Do you feel like God is no longer answering your prayers, and you are all messed up in the head, trying to do good things but finding it easier to do the bad? Well, you are most likely suffering from the ailment of weak faith (iman). Iman is more than just believing that Allah is One, and that Prophet Muhammed (SAW) is His Messenger, or that there is life after death and so on. Iman entails gaining a level of consciousness of Allah. It is what makes you feel a fear in your heart when you sin. It is what stps you from telling a lie. It is what makes you focus on your salaat. So how do you know when you are short of Iman? Here are the signs and symptoms:
The person reaches a stage where he feels that his heart has turned into a solid rock that is he becomes totally insensitive or lack remorse people or his things around him. Allah (SWT) says: “And yet, after this, your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:74).
A hardened heart is not affected by anything – even seeing people die and attending funerals would not move it. He walks in the graveyard as if he were strolling between pine trees neither does he feel any different for babies.
Commit Sin Without Regret
Like the way the body gets used to certain activities, some people insist on committing the same sins over and over again. As a result, the fear and regret of sins is slowly withdrawn from their heart to the point that they commit these sins openly as described in this Hadith:
“All of my followers will be forgiven except those who commit sins openly. Such is the case of a man commits a sin at night and Allah had his sin concealed till the morning comes. But, he says openly: ‘O so and so, I did such and such yesterday.’ Allah had covered his sin, but he uncovered the veil of Allah from it.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Lack of Tranquility
His breast gets tightened, his mood changes, he feels restless and he get irritated quickly by minor things. He gets pestered by the behavior of the people around him and he does not forgive simple offences. He harbors malice towards fellow Muslims over insignificant issues. The prophet (SAW), in a hadith described iman as ‘forgiveness and patience’.
A person with a sick heart does not react to the needs of Muslims by making supplications, giving charity, or offering assistance. He does not care if his brothers are afflicted by a hardship in any part of the world such as being overwhelmed by the enemy, being persecuted, or being stricken by disasters. It is enough for him that his condition is good! This is the opposite of a true believer as described by Prophet Muhammad (SAW): “A believer feels pain for the believers, just as the body feels distress over what is troubling the head.” (Related by Ahmad).
Negligence in Remembering Allah
The simple act of devotion becomes heavy upon him to the point that when he raises his hands in supplication, he hastens to fold them up quickly to conclude it. Such a person remains absent-minded during prayers and while reciting the Qur’an. He also does not contemplate upon the meaning of the supplications he is making. As a result, he recites them in a monotonous tone void of any reflections. The promises, warnings, commands, prohibitions, and descriptions of the Day of Judgment do not make his eyes flood with tears, or his heart quiver, or his soul shiver. He is not eager to repent to Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, and to make invocations to Him for his needs. Allah describes the hypocrites: “And when they stand up to pray, they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” (Al-Nisa’, 4:142).
He likes people to stand up for him when he enters to meet them because feeling great gratify his diseased soul. The Prophet (saw) said: “The one who is pleased that the slaves of Allah stand up for him, then let him be assured of his place in the Fire.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)
A similar example is that he will get angry at a person who applies the Sunnah and starts shaking hands with people on his right hand side. Also, when he enters a gathering, he is not satisfied unless someone else, already sitting, gets up so that he may sit in his place despite the fact that he is forbidden to do so by the Prophet.
Attached to worldly life
He is so materialistic that he feels anguish when something of this life, like wealth, honor, status, etc, is taken away from him. He grows in stinginess and greed every day. He feels as if he has been injured badly because he did not get what others did. His feeling of injury becomes stronger and he feels rejected on seeing his Muslim brother get something of this world which did not reach him. Envy takes root in his heart so he wishes that this bounty be taken away from his brother. This is what the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam warned us against: “Never can Iman and envy come together in the heart of a slave.” (Related by Al- Nasa’i).
The significance of iman to a Muslim can never be over emphasized as it lays the foundation for righteousness. It is only meaningful in this life, in which we have choice, for when we die and the veil is removed, it will be too late. May Allah (SWT) guide and strengthen our iman. Amin!