Friday, 15 June 2012

The Litmus Test (Lift Me Up)

I was listening to a friend who was telling me about some of the difficulties and trials she’s going through at the moment. As she spoke about her experiences, she mentioned how she knew it was a test from Allāh, but in the past, due to a dip in her emān and the way she’d been practicing, she’d felt like she’d failed. It was amazing how soon and instinctively a response came from my mouth. “But you haven’t failed; you’re still Muslim!”

Source: Jalopnic
And that was it. The answer to a lot of the internal conflict I’d been going through again and again and again over the past few months; perhaps even longer. An answer that brought reassurance and calmness to my heart was just that simple; and it had come from my own mouth!

When you’re going through a difficult period in your life, or sometimes one of ease and comfort, you often become so focussed on that issue that you lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s all you think about, it’s all you make du’āh for, it’s all you talk about, and you feel your emān getting weaker and weaker and weaker. As a Muslim you understand that you’re being tested but when you look at how it’s affected you, you can’t help but be disappointed in yourself and your exam performance. Perhaps you’ve started to delay your prayers for longer than usual or don’t read Qur’ān as often. Maybe you aren’t reminded of Allāh as much in your daily life or spend more time entertaining yourself to give your mind a rest. Whatever it is that gives you the warning sign that your emān is dropping, becomes a source of remorse and a tool for Shayṭān to use against you.

“Allāh is testing you and you’re failing,” he whispers into your ear. “You can’t even get rewarded for your hardship because you started slipping as soon as the test started! You’re failing miserably at the first hurdle and it’s just a matter of time before you go down and down and down...” You do anything to block the whisper out right there because the rest is too distressing to process. You feel guilty and sad and worthless and you cry to Allāh not be unhappy with you.

That is a dangerous thought to ever have going through your mind. Shayṭān makes you focus on the dip and then makes you feel that it’s due to a flaw in yourself which will only continue to get worse. It’s the classic ‘depressive’ thought; internal (“it’s me!”), stable (“it’s going to carry on like this forever!”) and global (“it’s going to affect every other aspect of my life too!”). The depressive thought takes you down, and keeps you there. And that’s just where your enemy likes you; feeling sad, hopeless and desperate, with little energy or motivation to get yourself back up.

Want to know the honest truth? It’s not just you. Everyone experiences dips in emān. They’re a part of the human experience; just like the highs. We’re not angels and we’re not prophets. We’re people who make mistakes. Even the saābah used to worry about their level of emān dropping. It’s reported in Muslim that Handhala and Abu Bakr (RA) went to the Messenger (SAW) because they were concerned that their emān didn’t stay at the same level when they spent time with their families. The Prophet (SAW) replied “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allāh), the Angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths but, Handhala, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation).” It’s unrealistic to think your level of emān will always be constant. Don’t expect perfection from yourself because Allāh does not expect perfection from you.
“I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, if you were a people who did not commit sin, Allāh would take you away and replace you with a people who would sin and then seek Allāh’s forgiveness so He could forgive them.” [Muslim]

Just because you feel yourself going down, doesn’t mean you won’t see the top again. Ask yourself this; who put emān in your heart in the first place? Understanding that is the key to finding peace. Your faith was a gift to you from your Creator. Take a moment to remember your actions before you eventually decided to turn to Allāh. Did you really deserve guidance? However misguided, sinful, and godless you might feel right now, can it really compare to your life before living Islam? Then surely if Allāh gave you a step up in that state, He can show you the same mercy now. You might be the one who falls but it is Allāh who lifts you back up again; you just have to make the effort. Have hope in Him. To let yourself be convinced that you’re failing is admitting defeat to ever receiving Allāh’s mercy. That is a sorry state Shayṭān’s got you in.

Obviously that doesn’t mean we can just let ourselves slip. We have an obligation to follow the Qur’ān and Sunnah to the best of our ability. So, how do you know you haven’t slipped too far? It’s time for the litmus test. After the trial, the fall and the despair, are you still Muslim?

As unrealistically high as you may set your own standards, I suspect you haven’t quite reached the depths that you think. Take a look at yourself. Do you feel guilty for not being close to Allāh? Do you make du’āh to Him to get out of the rut? Do you carry on going to classes, praying or listening to Qur’ān to increase your good deeds? If you are distressed at the thought of disappointing Allāh with your lack of faith, you already have faith. The only thing stopping you from increasing it is you.
“Try your best; that’s all that’s required.” – Sh. Navaid Aziz
Source: David Gould (Getty Images)


  1. Just saw you put this up; lovely mashaAllah :)

  2. btw love the new layout - doesn't the nice thing at the top look really quentin blakey?
    (Incidentally, was reading [/looking at pics] of one of his books called Clown with my neice recently, which is absolutely lovely and well worth a look at [even for adults!]. I couldn't remember the title and it was really annoying me [kept thinking Teddy] so just rung my sis to ask her [after I'd spoken to her about 20 mins ago so couldn't even pretend to ask how she was and slip it into conversation] and now she thinks I'm a complete wierdo. Oh well - such is Wonderland!)

    1. Jazaki Allahu khaira for your lovely comments! Rather chuffed you likened my work to Quentin Blake!

  3. Love this, may read it out at my study circle, inshaAllah - Referencing the blog, of course ;)

    1. That would be amazing, you're more than welcome to! Jazaki Allahu khairan for your comment!