During our lives, our faith increases and decreases at different times. We are blessed in that we know what affects this increase and decrease – our actions.
If we commit bad deeds and disobey Allah, our faith will decrease and we will feel distant from Allah. On the other hand, if we increase our good deeds and acts of obedience, our faith will increase and we will feel closer to Allah. Ramadan is therefore a time to increase our faith, or imaan, through obedience to Allah and doing good deeds.
Fasting is one of the most righteous deeds that brings about closeness to Allah. It makes us feel closer to Him, because we are fasting for His sake only, and we remember Him often. By Allah’s infinite mercy, it also keeps us away from disobedience and distances us from the Hellfire.
The standing in Ramadan entails closeness, love and obedience to Allah and a desire to rid oneself of hypocrisy. If we want to increase our faith we should perform the congregational prayer with reverence, humility, reflection and attentiveness. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, tells us in the Qur’an:
“Recite (O Muhammad) what was revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’an) and perform As-Salat (the prayer). Verily As-Salat prevents from Al-Fahsha (great sins of every kind) and Al-Munkar, and the remembering (praising) of Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed, And Allah knows what you do.”
Reading Qur’an, reflecting on its verses and putting what it teaches into practice all increase our faith. Allah tells us:
“(This is) a Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its ayaat, and that men of understanding may remember.”
Constant remembrance of Allah with the heart, tongue and limbs all help to increase our faith. If we remember Him, He will remember us. If we call upon Him in the early hours of the morning, seeking His forgiveness, He, all praises and glory be to Him, promises to forgive us. Attending the sittings of remembrance also increases our faith, as does the seeking of knowledge.
Contemplating the signs of Allah in our universe increases our faith.
“Those who remember Allah standing, siting and lying down on their sides, and they think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth.”
The Qur’an confirms that even in the succession of the day and the night are signs for those who contemplate.
We should remember, that just as faith can increase it can also suffer ill health and die. Faith decreases when we abandon the Qur’an and Sunnah and seek satisfaction in the passing delights of this world. It vanishes when we become obsessed with the mental produce of weak and helpless creatures. Amusement, play and association with people of falsehood similarly decrease our faith. If we adopt this course, Satan will surely overwhelm us. Allah warns us:
“And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of this world; and obey not those whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, and who follows his own lusts, and whose affairs have been lost”
We should therefore ask ourselves whether our actions this Ramadan have increased or decreased our faith? Did our convictions become stronger or weaker? Only when we can understand this will be able to distinguish between progress and regression and gain and loss. O Allah! Increase us in our faith and conviction. Aameen!