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How Can I Strengthen My Belief in the Unseen?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I am a new Muslim who grew up in a strongly secular environment. I struggle with the issue of al-ghayb: the unseen, the unknowable, hidden realities.

 

For example, I know that Allah said in the Quran that certain Bedouins didn’t have iman, but only have islam. (49:14) And I know that Moses wanted to see Allah but was knocked unconscious (7:143).

 

There are days when I find it difficult to take Allah, angels, jannah, and jahannam seriously, because I cannot see them. I believe in them in theory and principle, but without having any direct experience of them, they still feel unreal or imaginary on some level. Can you offer any advice to help me strengthen and secure my iman in that regard?

 

What practical advice can you give?

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

The basis of our belief in the unseen (ghayb) is that Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) informed us thereof. Once we have firm conviction and absolute certainty in Allah and in the messengership of our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), it only follows that we have certainty in everything they inform us of as well.

We were not meant to see angels, heaven or hell. Rather, our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) received revelation about those things, and he in fact saw them as well. He was fully truthful and trustworthy, both before and after prophethood, and so our complete conviction is in all that he brought. As the Companion Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) said when told of the Prophet’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and back, “If he said it, it is undoubtedly true.”

Important Related Answers

As for general advice on strengthening one’s faith, please see the following related answers, as much of their content addresses your personal situation. Also, there are some important reading lists in these answers that could prove very helpful for you.

The Truth of Islam, the Qur’an, & the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)

What Role Should the Intellect Play When Seeking God?

Is Islam Based on Early Sumerian Culture, and Was the Universe Created in Six Days?

I would especially advise you to study the life of our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and read books on his qualities, character and miracles (see above links for reading lists).

Important Related Courses

Also, there are many courses here at Seekersguidance that might prove helpful, particularly those on Islamic spirituality, such as:

Excellence in Faith & Action (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)

Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence

Principles of Islamic Spirituality

The Marvels of the Heart

I would also encourage you to read “Sea Without Shore” by Sheikh Nuh Keller.

Gratitude: Seeing the Miracles in Our Lives

Lastly, I want to highlight the virtue of gratitude as a specific means of seeing ‘miracles’ in one’s personal life. The great sage Ibn Ata’illah said, “Whoever does not realize the value of blessings when possessing them, will surely come to realize their value upon losing them.” We have countless blessings in our spiritual ‘blind spot’, out of our mental gaze and hence not appreciated. Yet the moment we lose a blessing, its worth becomes magnified a hundred fold. How many a person with full eyesight failed to appreciate it, yet upon becoming blind could think of nothing else? How many a person with normal speech took it for granted, yet after a brain tumor that caused muteness came to see speech as the greatest blessing one could possess?

The blind and mute see people with eyesight and speech as kings, drowning in unimaginable blessings. And if they ever regain those blessings, they become completely bewildered with them, in utter awe and marvel of what they so longed for. For those of us who are being inundated and flooded by these gifts, we should marvel over them now before they are God forbid lost. Doing so will let us see the tsunami of miracles we experience at every moment of our existence, sent down by the Divine Himself.

“And He unleashes upon you His blessings, both manifest and hidden” (Qur’an 31:20). Realizing our blessings allows us to see the Bestower of those blessings. And Allah knows best.

wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Dealing with Devilish Insinuations Regarding the Existence of God

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Shaitan is making me doubt the existence of Allah and putting wrong things about Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in my mind. How to deal with it?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states. The following are some short pieces of advice that can help deal with your problem inshaAllah:

(1) Ignore the devil. There is no doubt that you believe in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad. You hold the Beloved Messenger in high regard, and you believe in his sincerity, truthfulness, gracious character and prophethood. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and all prophets.

You are a believer, and the fact that you are concerned and disturbed by these whisperings is a proof of your faith. You are disgusted by such notions, and only a believer hates the devil.

Turn to Allah with love and gratitude. This is the most potent weapon against the devil, who hates the servant who is sincere and grateful. Our sincerity to Allah renders the devil’s insinuations utterly weak and useless.

(2) Stay busy and preoccupy yourself with beneficial things. Participate in activities that enrich yourself and others, and find projects of service to those in need. As the English idiom goes, “Idle time is the devil’s playground,” as well as “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

This is a reality, and we should take heed of it. If a person is exhausted at the end of the day — from work, from studying, from serving others, from taking care of their family, or from any other righteous action — then such a person has no energy to entertain foolishness. The devil leaves such people alone, as he knows his baseless whisperings will have no effect on them.

(3) Keep good company, people who motivate you and elevate your spiritual state. Too many of our young folk get caught up in bad virtual company, and doors of satanic whisperings and doubt become opened. Indeed, garbage and filth only attract fleas.

Allah Most High states, “O you who believe! Fear Allah, and be with the sincere and truthful.” (9:119)

When you are around beauty, you will not think of ugliness; and when you are around light, darkness dissipates.

(4) Be a person of prayer and remembrance of Allah.

Realize that the devil is a creation of Allah, and that Allah alone is in full control. So seek refuge in Allah, the only One with power, by saying, ‘A’udhu bi Llahi min ash-shaytani r-rajim.’ [Bukhari, Muslim]

Recite Ayat al-Kursi, as well as the last three surahs (Ikhlas, Falaq, Nas), every morning and evening. [Tabarani, Mu’jam Kabir]

Be consistent in the remembrance of Allah (dhikr), especially by sending salutations upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Maintain a strong relationship with the Qur’an, reading some portion daily, however little.

Make sure you pray all five prayers on time, and try to attend the mosque for as many of the five as you can. Again, when a person is busy with good, there is no time or energy for its opposite.

Make supplication (dua) to Allah to help you deal with these thoughts. Be keen to observe the various etiquettes of dua, such as eating lawful and wholesome food, praying with sincerity and focus, and being certain that Allah will answer your dua.

I pray that these whisperings cease, and that you come out of this trial with strengthened faith and conviction in Allah Almighty.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Increase My Iman and My Sincerity By Doing Things For the Sake of Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Assalam Alaikum.

 

Hello I am a teenage girl and my iman is at an all time low. I worry about this, yet I still can’t get up to pray. I feel myself falling more and more into the darkness. I also made a promise to Allah that I would read Quran for 45 minutes a day. But now it is so hard to do that.  Must I fulfill my promise?  Also, please help me find some way to do things just for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of others.  I think I have done good actions in the past, but a  lot of them were because people were around me.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

Wa alaikum assalam Sister-in-Islam,

Thank you for your question.  If we could see the love and mercy of Allah Most High surrounding us and carrying us through each moment, even when we are at the lowest point in faith, we would never lose hope that Allah wants good for us.

Even when outwardly, things seem to be going wrong, yet inside, you are filled with regret, and inspired to nothing more than longing for change in yourself, then know that Allah is trying to bring you closer to Him by making you realize your neediness to Him.  He’s showing you how to come to Him, so seek refuge in His mercy from your mistakes, admit your dependency on Him, ask Him for His aid- and then take baby steps towards Him.

Do not despair of Allah’s mercy.  Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “Oh My servants who have transgressed upon their own souls!  Do not despair of the Mercy of Allah!  Indeed Allah forgives all sins.   Truly, He is the Oft-Forgiving and Compassionate.” [Qur’an 39:53]

Despair is how Shaytan tricks good believers into thinking they can’t come up.  Although making a promise and breaking it is wrong, you’re intention was to improve.  Return to Allah in repentance sincerely, but do not focus on “things” and “acts” to do.  Focus on the state of your heart with Allah in fulfilling your basic duties such as prayer first.  Take on small extra worships as you feel grounded, and if you falter, don’t lose hope.  Reflect on Allah’s love for you, and make remembrance of Him in gratitude.

Shaytan will also say that you only did good things in the past to show-off, so your acts are all nullified.  Don’t listen to this, rather commit yourself to sincerity from today.  Try to do things in private if you can, and do not increase or decrease your regular worship whether people see it or not.  If good company encourages you to seek Allah more, this is not shirk or hypocrisy, rather the blessings of community, so seek out practicing, believing sisters to be around.  Seek knowledge to promote your inner growth.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Strengthen My Iman When It Hits Rock Bottom?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: My Iman has really hit rock bottom. I pray 5 times a day only because its fard, not out of desire of passion. Before  I used to passionately wake up for tahajjud and Fajr, now even waking up for Fajr is difficult.  Before I used to make all the sunnahs, fards and nawafil. Now I just want to make the fard and run off. Also, there are serious domestic violations in my household.  I completely dislike my father, and I absolutely detest to even look at him. I realize this is wrong and I fear that perhaps Allah has turned his back on me because of how I turned by back on my father.  Could you tell me what I can do to elevate my iman to how it once upon a time used to be?

Answer: Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum.

I pray this message finds you and your family well.

Thank you for your question.

Our iman can ebb and flow, often based on what is happening around us.

Even the strongest people need a good support system and a shoulder to cry on when things become difficult.

I feel that your situation may be a result of the violence in your household. If your father is abusing you or your family members, then you need to seek help from the proper authorities.

While it is true that in some cases it is better to exercise sabr (patience) with a family member, it is never okay to be abused or tolerate others to be abused.

Keep on praying but don’t try to make your day so regimented that you feel compelled to write down every act of worship. Let the recording angels do this for you. Perform your dua, dhikr, and nawafil because it is the right thing to do and gives solace to your heart.

And please try to seek help for your household.

May Allah Ta’ala give you ease.

Regards,

Zaynab Ansari

Related answers:

Losing faith

How to Increase Iman

Strengthening of faith: when slipping into spiritual sickness

Having Doubts About Allah

Studying Literature and the Ways of Strengthening Religious Practice

On How to Advise those Not Practicing

Family members are non-practicing, married to non-Muslims…

None practicing in the family