The Ummah.com forums are filled with little gems like the one below, short and easy to grasp and put into practice. These simple yet obvious steps serve as a little reminder to us all.
7 Steps to Increased Iman
1. Recognise and Repent
All humans commit sins no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Engaging in evil deeds decreases our Iman. Actions like lying, cheating and stealing, to name only a few, take a toll on the human heart which makes us more susceptible to being lead astray from the Path of Allah . It is important for us to reflect upon our deeds and weed out the ones that are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Qurâ€™an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad . Allah has gifted us with an innate sense of justice and the ability to reason and make sound judgements. Our fitrah (natural disposition) necessitates that we all know when we are committing a sin. And if we don’t know, we certainly have a bevy of resources to find out from!
2. Perform Salah Regularly
Completing the five daily prayers, on time and according to the Sunnah, is an excellent way to increase our Iman. Not only are we performing an obligatory deed when praying, but by doing so we have a standing audience with the Creator of this world where we can ask for help and mercy. The effect of the salah on the human soul is cooling as Muhammad once said that it cooled his eyes. The salah connects us with our Creator and, along with obedience to Allah , helps us to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qurâ€™an:
“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses -this Qurâ€™an- are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone); Who perform salah and spend out of that We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise)â€ (Al-Anfal: 2-4).
3. Qurâ€™anic Recitations
Medical studies have shown that simply listening to a recitation of the Holy Qurâ€™an has a physiological effect on our bodies. Research has also proven that the Qurâ€™an has healing qualities on the body, mind and spirit. What better way to increase your Iman than to listen to a recitation of the Holy Qurâ€™an on an audio device! Listen to the melodious rhythm of the Qurâ€™an and while doing so try to reflect upon the meanings of what you are listening to.
4. Engage in Dhikr
“â€¦Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28).
Remembering Allah much through acts of dhikr brings peace to the heart. It also gives us a sense of taqwa, a consciousness that makes us realise that Allah Almighty is ever near and that we should always strive to please Him. Some beneficial dhikr include:
Subhan’Allah – ‘Praise be to Allah’
Al-Hamdullilah – ‘Thanks be to Allah’
Allahu Akbar â€“ ‘Allah is the Greatest.’
5. Voluntary Fasting
Fasting can be thought of as a prescription for us, which cures the maladies of the human soul. There are innumerable benefits to fasting nawafil fasts. Fasting helps us be thankful to Allah for His Bounty, control unlawful desires, have compassion for the less fortunate and it weakens the effects of waswas, the insinuating whispers from the Shaytan.
6. Carry Out Good Deeds
Doing good deeds for others can be like switching on a light bulb in a darkened room. No matter how awful we are feeling there is just something about offering a helping hand to someone in need that lifts our spirits and brightens our Iman.
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qurâ€™an: “For those who believe and work righteous deeds is a reward that will never failâ€ (Fussilat: 8).
Types of good deeds that any of us can fulfill include acts of dawah, feeding a poor person or donating something of value to charity. Not only does the deed benefit another person but it also benefits our own souls by polishing up our Iman.
7. Trust in Allah
The best way to increase your Iman is to completely submit your will to Allah by following every command in the Qurâ€™an and Sunnah. Live your life according to them and you will find success around every corner. Turn to Allah in times of distress and be thankful to Allah in times of bounty. Have patience in Allah’s Decree and always remember that no matter what trials or tribulations we face in this World, one day we will be called to account for our deeds which were hopefully sent forth with much goodness and patience.