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October 15, 2010

Project “Recover Ramadan” – Step 6: Realise that high levels of iman and knowledge are something achieved, not gifted

by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

Many times, when I tell people about the great people I’ve seen (in terms of righteousness and Allah knows best as to their true state) and how they manage to adhere to the religion, the response is usual: “Oh, their iman (faith) is high.”

Or if I mention how some people are strong throughout their trials and that we should imitate them in this, I get: “Oh, one should have such a level of iman to withstand these trials.”

I know it might be a ridiculous thing to say but sometimes I feel that these people are blaming the good people for their higher level of iman!

The same thing happens if I mention some people who are very knowledgeable. The listeners tend to react as if these people were born with this knowledge and were lucky to be gifted it.

However, Allah says:

“And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah).” [Surah An-Nahl (16) : 78]

The above ayah (verse) shows that everyone starts with the same level of knowledge: zero.

Of course, nothing can compare to the reaction that I get when I mention the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum). These were the ones who accompanied the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam), who were praised by Allah and who were set as a standard for us. The response: “Oh, these were the Sahaabah.”

It’s almost as if people think that they were born that way (i.e. with all that righteousness)?!

Really? Was this high level of iman gifted to them or did they come from a completely un-Islamic background, learn about the religion of Allah, apply it and in doing so, achieve this high level?

Obviously, the answer is the latter. Nobody is born with knowledge and a high level of iman.

So, why am I telling you this? In order to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t use our ignorance or lack of iman as an excuse to explain away our weakness and our sins.

And we shouldn’t blame others who have knowledge and iman, because if they have both of these, it means that they achieved it and therefore they deserve it.

Rather, we should blame ourselves for not having spent our time achieving that amount of knowledge and doing the righteous deeds that lead to that high level of iman. In addition to this, we should make a firm commitment that we will take the necessary steps to gain knowledge and apply it in order to increase our level of iman, insha-Allah.

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