By Shalisha Smith
Remember that feeling you felt when you first acknowledged your belief in Islam, uttering the words, Laa Illaha ill Allah, Muhammad ar’rasulAllah?
That feeling of excitement about the new life you were about to embark upon?
I remember. If I close my eyes I can almost feel the exhilaration from discovering the truth, devouring every book on Islam I could find. Watching endless youTube videos on how to make wudoo and wrap my hijab just right. My khushoo ( focus) in prayer was on point! I would focus intently on remembering the new and foreign Arabic words of Al-Faatihah.
It’s been almost 10 years from then until now. As time has passed, I find there are times when I am complacent; that aspects of the deen that seemed brand new to me have now become second nature. I make wudoo without even thinking about the great reward of my minor sins being forgiven. I say “Alhamdulillaah” and “Subhan Allaah” in conversation without even reflecting how light on the tongue yet heavy on the scales their utterances are. I become lax in the little things that I know I shouldn’t do, forgetting that little sins can turn into mountains.
If you are reading this, nodding your head and thinking “Yep, I know the feeling,” then this is for you. Below I will give you 4 ways that aid me in strengthening my belief in Islam when I am slacking.
- Ask yourself: do I really believe In Allah and the last day?
An old saying from my childhood was “Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.” The first step to tackling the problem is to admit to yourself that you are going off track. Ask yourself, do I really believe in Allah and the last day? if your answer is yes, then ask yourself, are my current actions aligning with what I say I believe? If the answer is no, then take the advice of our beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) who said:
“Indeed, faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.” (Muslim)
Turn to Allah, ask for forgiveness for your short comings- those you know of and those you do not; ask Him to renew and strengthen the faith in your heart.
- Take It Back To Basics
As we become comfortable in our belief, we can often begin to practice our deen on auto pilot. We give very little thought to the actions that have now become a part of our daily lives. We pray 5 times a day, but our khushoo is absent; we read the Qur’an, but it is devoid of contemplation – that’s if we pick it up at all. If you want to re-establish the zeal you had when you first took Shahadah, you could try implementing the following actions:
- Make it a daily goal to read and ponder the Quran / Tafsir (explanation) for even just 10 minutes after praying fajr, paying special attention to the ayahs where Allah says “O you who believe…”
- Set yourself a goal to memorise a new surah of the Quran along with its meaning- this will help you focus on what you are reciting during the prayer and increase your khushoo’.
- Listen to lectures on death and the last day, as a reminder of what your purpose in life is, and to redirect your attention from the dunyah ( this world) to the Hereafter.
- Be Around Those Who Remind You Of Allah
As a revert who works in a non-Muslim environment and who is extremely close to my non-Muslim family, I find days can go by – at times even weeks -where I do not have any face-to-face interaction with other Muslims. This can be detrimental to our eemaan ( faith ), as it is easy to be influenced by those frequently around us without even realising it. If you want to consciously surround yourself with Muslims who share your values and belief systems, you could:
- Find out what free classes / seminars are being held at your local masjid(s) and aim to attend at least 1, once a week or once a month. Alternatively sign up for Tajweed or Arabic classes at an Islamic institute. The fact that these are paid classes means that you are forced to commit, and not flake out or find excuses not to attend!
- Contact sisters and arrange a fun sister’s night in, or out. There are always other sisters who will be in the same boat or going through their own struggle
- Listen To Podcasts / Lectures
We can all get caught up in binge watching our favourite Netflix series, or find ourselves slipping back into listening to music. Although this may not influence us when done occasionally – guaranteed, over time we will find that our emaan begins to decrease. We may become lazy in doing the things that will benefit us here, as well as in the Hereafter.
To create a balance of what you are listening to and watching, you could subscribe to new Islamic podcasts or look up new lectures that have been uploaded to YouTube. These can be downloaded onto your phone and you can listen to them on your commute to work, as you are preparing dinner or completing household chores.
We all have setbacks in what we say we believe and what we do. The true test is how we bounce back and not the setback itself. Let’s not wallow or make excuses, and instead set our intentions to do better – then get to work! Once you put forth the effort Allah will facilitate the rest!
The Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said that Allah (Subhanahu wata’ala) said:
“…If he draws near to me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he comes to me walking, I will go to him at speed” (Bukhari).
About the author:
Shalisha Smith was born and raised in South London. She’s a self proclaimed Bibliophile, with a passion for learning and sharing life experiences.