Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
My faith has been low for some time. I’m supplicating to Allah and everything, but there’s something from my nafs (base desires) holding me back. How can I increase my faith?
In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Especially Merciful. May He send the choicest peace, blessing, and salutations upon our exemplar and leader, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Thank you for this vital and inspiring question. May Allah increase the faith of all His servants and grant us all control over our base desires. Amin.
This excellent question could be approached from several angles. Here we explore some ways of increasing faith as mentioned explicitly in the Quran.
Trusting Allah in the Face of Adversity
Allah says: “Those to whom 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.” [Quran, 3:173]
Allah says: “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.” [Quran, 33:22]
The above verses teach that when we face adversity, take whatever lawful means we can, but place our trust and reliance on Allah, our faith increases.
Remembering Allah and Listening to the Quran
Allah says: “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.” [Quran, 8:2]
Engaging in the remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and reciting or listening to the Quran will increase one’s faith. The above verse is general, though many of the pious scholars in traditional Islamic Spirituality have their preferred litanies that they have experienced to be especially effective in increasing faith.
Ask Allah to Increase Your Faith
Allah says: “It is He who sent down tranquillity 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.” [Quran 48:4]
As Allah refers to in this verse, an increase in faith can come directly from the Source, even through divine intervention. We can thus pray to Allah to increase our faith, but Allah’s usual system is that we do our best while supplicating to Him, and Allah will increase our faith.
Reflect on the Unseen – Heaven and Hell
Allah says: “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 hypocrisy and the disbelievers will say, “What does Allah intend by this as an example?” Thus does Allah leave astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him. And mention of the Fire is not but a reminder to humanity.” [Quran 74:31]
The above verse indicates that believers will increase in faith through matters of the hereafter, like reflecting about the realities of Heaven and Hell.
You might also find an increase in iman through learning more about the religion. A good starting point would be this series:
Why Islam Is True E01: What Is Islam?
You might also benefit from the following answers:
How Can I Overcome My Fear of Falling Out of the Fold of Islam?
How Do I Deal with Doubts in My Faith?
How Do I Deal With Feelings of Hypocrisy, Hardness of Heart
How to Have Spiritual Openings and See With the Light of Faith
I pray that this is beneficial and that Allah increases us all in faith,
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.