Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
An incident in my life has made me question my faith. Since I have tried everything (prayers, youtube lectures…) to regain it but to no avail.
How can I recover my faith?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for writing in. May Allah bring you ease in your affairs and bring the strength of faith back to your heart.
There is no simple answer to how to get back into religion, as the reasons why people begin losing faith are very personal and can stem from a range of causes and issues. Certainly, it is a test from Allah, and like all trials, we have to ride the storm with patience and hope. However, there are steps we must take to work our way out of the problem and move forward.
Possible causes for the decrease in faith
When things start to go wrong in life, particularly in matters of the religion, we need to step back and inspect what was happening in our lives before the downward spiral. We must ask ourselves questions, such as:
1. Was I neglecting my obligations to Allah?
2. Was I committing any major or minor sins, including sins of the heart, such as backbiting, pride etc.?
3. Was any part of my income and food from unlawful sources?
4. Was I neglecting anyone’s rights or abusing any rights?
5. Was I doing too much religious devotion to the neglect of other aspects of life, or too little religious devotion?
If you find any of the above, then the first step is to rectify these.
Whether your inspection finds anything or not, it is a good idea to pray the prayer of repentance for any missteps that may have been made unknowingly. Pray two cycles of prayer, followed by earnest, heartfelt supplication to Allah to forgive you and bring back the faith in your heart. You may repeat this each night, or whenever possible.
Ways to revive one’s faith
Depending on the person and the causes, there are numerous steps one can take to get back to reigniting one’s faith. Try to do what applies to you.
1. Knowledge: It is important to seek knowledge from real living people. Online YouTube videos and general Islamic talks may have their place and benefit, but they are not a substitute for real learning, where subjects are studied systematically and one’s understanding and faith is built upon incrementally and on solid foundations. If you cannot find local scholars, structured online course can be a good substitute.
2. Relax: If you have been learning as suggested above, then perhaps the key is seeking an alternate route to reawakening faith. When too much religious learning or devotion is the case, taking a break can be the answer. Take some time to relax in good company, be with nature, reflect on and enjoy the nature and the world around you. Allah Most High can be found everywhere we look if we are open to it, and this in itself is a form of worship and a means to strengthening faith.
3. Community: Be involved in the community, especially in the service of others. There is a secret in this that is linked with one’s own faith and practice. If you cannot physically do this, give some regular charity to those in need, even if a little.
4. Praying at the mosque: It’s important for men to pray in congregation, preferably at the mosque when possible. The communal prayer has spiritual and worldly benefits and keeps doubts and misgivings at bay.
5. Worship: Timetable religious devotions and learning so that a little is done regularly and continuously. This should consist of reading the Quran, dhikr, and reflection. Even 5 minutes of each, every day, is a good starting point. The rest of your time, get on with your day and try to remember Allah with your tongue whenever able.
6. Internet: Restrict internet usage, social media and chats, and even too many Islamic audio lectures and nashids. They all have their uses and benefits, but equally, they should all be limited, as excessive entertainment and digital distractions deadens the heart.
7. Supplication: Don’t spend every moment of your day supplicating. After each obligatory prayer, and ideally at Tahajjud time, make sincere dua for Allah to bring back your faith, for in the end it is only Allah who can guide our hearts. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Verily, the hearts of the children of Adam, all of them, are between the two fingers of the Most Merciful as one heart. He directs them wherever he wills’ [Muslim].
Recite these supplications particularly:
أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم آمَنْتُ بِاللهِ وَرُسُلِهِ هُوَ الأَوَّلُ وَالآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيءٍ عَلِيْمٌ
I seek refuge in Allah. I have believed in Allah and His Messenger. He is The First and The Last, The Manifest and The Hidden, and He knows well all things. [Abu Dawud]
اللهم يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك
O Allah, The One who changes hearts, make my heart firm on your deen [al Tirmidhi]
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
O our Lord, do not make our hearts go astray after you had guided us [3:8]
I pray that Allah brings you faith stronger than what you had before, and increases you in it each day. Be patient and keep striving, and insha’Allah you’ll come out of all of this a stronger believer than you were before. May Allah protect us all and grant us a good ending in life.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.