Faith is like a vast ocean. Some days its colour is an exquisite deep ocean blue. The high, foaming waves pulling you deeper into its strong current until you are engrossed in its profound inner beauty. Other days the water seems to be more shallow, its tide crashing onto the surface, desperately stretching its belly far out onto the sand until it is too thin to crawl any further.
The ocean is constantly changing between high-tide and low-tide. Our faith, like the vast ocean current, is filled with many ups and downs. There are moments when you feel like you are so close to Allah (SWT) that you can almost picture Him before you in all of His infinite glory. Then there are other times when all you can see is the darkness, the harsh waves of life crashing over you.
This world, although perfect in its creation, was not created in its essence to be perfect. This dunya is intermingled with beauty and gloom, with rules and ambiguity. Life is filled with an abundance of tests, all contributing to the depth or shallowness of our faith. It is wholly normal to experience a shift in iman (faith) from time to time. If we didn’t have the lows we would never be able to experience the magnificence of the highs. The beauty of Ar-Raman Ar-Rahim is that Allah (SWT) is always there to pick us back up. All we need to do is call out for His Guidance and Grace.
There are times when our faith seems to be vehemently deficient for longer than we feel comfortable admitting. There are times when we just can’t seem to reach the surface and break through the heavy layers of our test. There are times when we feel we can no longer hold on to that thread of hope. When this happens it’s easy to become cemented in negligence and hopelessness. It is easy to let go, to blame Our Creator, to become engrossed in a world that offers a false sense of pleasure. We expect that if God wants our faith to be strong, He will do the work for us, after all He is the All Powerful.
But faith, my dears, does not come on a silver platter, nor does it grow on trees or present itself as a sparkling light shining down from the heavens. Faith needs to be cultivated. Just as flowers need water and sunlight to blossom, just as the human body requires calories from plants and animals to survive, so too does our faith need to be fed with healthy and nutritious food. Living things need fuel for survival. Our faith, as well, needs to be fed a particular diet to remain vibrantly alive.
You see, Allah (SWT) has done this on purpose, for He is the best of planners. He has created us solely for the purpose of worshipping Him, of remembering Him. Our ever-fluctuating faith is a means of ensuring we are doing our part to quench the thirst of our soul. When we feed our faith with the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and with the knowledge of His teachings we are keeping our faith alive, even helping it to grow. When we consume a diet of the dunya (world), of alcohol and drugs, sex and money, we are killing our faith, burying the soul in the ground.
Our iman was designed to constantly be nourished. When you don’t feed the soul, it starts to wilt. It needs to be fed a proper diet to remain healthy and strong, growing and living. You may feel you are doing everything right; you are praying, you pay zakat every year, you fast during Ramadan, yet you still feel a loss of connection. This is Allah (SWT) telling you to take your faith to the next level. Allah (SWT) loves us so much that He wants to bring us closer and closer to Him.
What can we do when we feel at such a loss? When we feel like nothing is working? Like Our Creator has left us?
We must first remember the infinite love Allah, the Most Merciful, has for us. It is a love beyond recognition and human capacity. It is a love that we can neither fathom nor live up to. Remember in the depths of your soul, the depths that are as deep as the ocean, that Allah (swt) loves you in a most unimaginable way. No matter how far or long you have strayed, if you have a pure and sound heart He will never leave your side.
When we feel a shift in iman, that’s when we need to remember Allah (SWT) the most. Form a relationship with the Qur’an. Don’t just solemnly read for the sake of reading. Read Qur’an to hear Allah (SWT) speak to your heart. Read it to have a conversation with your Rabb. Memorize surahs, practice tajweed, and listen to Qur’an whenever possible.
Seek knowledge. The Prophet (SAW) said, “One who treads a path in search of knowledge has his path to Paradise made easy by God.” (Saleheen). Learn about the prophets that you are not well-acquainted with. Learn the in-depth meaning behind Islamic prayer, fasting, and niyyah (intention).
Take time out of your day to volunteer at a local organization or even help a neighbour. Smile at others and greet your fellow Muslim with “Assalamu alaikum.” Give to yourself: engage in dhikr, the remembrance of Allah (SWT). Perform extra prayers, especially the night prayer. Make dua and believe with all your heart that Allah (swt) sees and hears all things.
We need a diverse diet or else we become bored and unsatisfied with the foods we are eating. The same goes for our faith. We need to add to it; add new acts of worship to our routines and new knowledge to the mind. Feed your soul with the most beautiful, elegant and refined dishes, and surely Allah (SWT) will reawaken your faith, in sha Allah.
Chelsea is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. She is passionate about inspiring sisters to live more healthy and natural lives for the sake of Allah. You visit her website at http://www.muslimahhealthy.com/