The Art of Faith

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“Faith is the art of holding onto things inspite of your changing moods and circumstances.” ~ C. S. Lewis

 There are times we have an extremely high level of faith. So we are enthusiastically doing our night prayers, daily charity, dawah work – you name it. But then there come times when the level just simply drops down, sometimes it pretty much hits rock bottom.

We all experience these faith-level-swings all the time and tell you what, they are actually normal. Yes entirely NORMAL.

We are humans and naturally our enthusiasm is not the same through out the year. Sometimes we are down, sometimes we sin, sometimes we are occupied and busy or simply ill. In such situations, many of our virtuous deeds suffer a setback. And that should not worry us too much. What should worry us is our connection with Allah.

No matter how many good deeds we are doing, no matter what situation we are in, our connection with Allah should remain constant. Well, pretty much anyway. It should never hit rock bottom. Even if we are busy or sick, we should try to keep up some sort of nearness to Allah. If you can’t do the night prayers for some time, at least carry on with the dua. It’s a bad idea to drop off the connection completely. Because it really takes a lot of time and effort to start all over again.

Ustadh Abu Eesa Niamatuallah gives a profound example from Surah Yusuf. He says:

Having the stamina to do good *continuously* is the sign of true excellence.

“The most beloved of deeds to Allaah are those which are continuous, even if they are little.” (Muslim)

But the real challenge is when your conditions change. And thus the true righteous ones are those who maintain that standard.

إِنَّا نَرَاكَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“We can see that you are a righteous man.” (12:36 and 12:78)

This statement was repeated twice to Prophet Yūsuf (‘alayhis-salām).

The first time, he was in prison: poor, powerless.

The second time, he was one of the leaders of Egypt: rich, powerful.

The two scenarios couldn’t possibly be more different, but he maintained his excellence and that’s why he deserves all the accolades he gets as one of the close friends and Prophets of Allah. It doesn’t need to be a huge action, it just needs to be sincere and continuous.

 So the bottom line is: starting some good deed does not take much! You get uplifted and encouraged in some religious talk and take up that deed – easy! The real thing is when you carry on doing it for years, for the rest of your life.

Similarly, it does not take much to be good to those who are already kind to us. The real test of character comes in being good to those who are actually pretty rude to us.

Real faith reflects in not giving up totally but trying to keep up the faith throughout the year, even after Ramadan, after every hurricane life throws at us. Even if not 100% then at least 60%. Going completely down the ladder makes things very difficult.

Also, ponder upon what Hasan al-Basri said:

“They were no longer of any significance to Allaah, so they committed sin. If they had mattered to Him, He would have protected them.”

So whatever good you start, just keep on going. At least to some level anyway. Stay strong!

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