Symptoms of weak faith - Part I
There are a number of symptoms of the sickness of weak faith, including the following:
Falling into sin and committing haraam deeds: there are some sinners who commit a sin and persist in it, and some who commit many kinds of sin. When a person commits many sins, sin becomes a habit which he gets used to, and then he no longer feels that it is abhorrent. He gradually reaches a stage where he commits the sin openly, and thus becomes one of those referred to in the hadeeth:
“All of my ummah will be fine except for those who commit sin openly, an example of which is a man who does something at night, and when morning comes and Allaah has concealed his sin, he says, ‘O So-and-so, I did such and such yesterday.’ His Lord had covered his sin all night, but he has uncovered what Allaah had concealed.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath 10/486).
Feeling that one’s heart is hard and rough. A man may feel that his heart has turned to stone which nothing can penetrate or reach. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness…” [al-Baqarah 2:74].
The person whose heart is hard will not be moved by reminders of death or by seeing deceased persons or funerals. He may even carry a dead person to his grave and throw earth into the grave, but when he walks between the graves it is as if he is merely walking between rocks.
Not doing acts of worship properly. His mind wanders and he fails to concentrate properly when praying, reading Qur’aan, making du’aa’, etc. He does not think about what he is saying, and he recites the words as the matter of boring habit, if he does these regularly at all. If he has the habit of praying a certain du’aa’ at certain times, according to the sunnah, he does not think about the meaning of what he is saying, and Allaah “does not accept the du’aa’ of one whose heart is heedless of Him.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 3479; al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 594).
Laziness and carelessness in performing acts of worship. If he does them at all, they are just empty movements, devoid of any real feeling. Allaah has described the hypocrites thus (interpretation of the meaning): “… and when they stand up for prayer, they stand up with laziness…” [al-Nisa’ 4:142].
This also includes neglecting to make the most of special occasions and times for worship. This indicates that a person has no interest in earning reward, so he may delay going for Hajj although he is able to do so, or fail to go for jihaad when he has the strength to do so, or fail to attend prayers in congregation, or even Salat al-Jumu’ah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“People will keep holding back from being in the first row (of congregational prayers), until Allaah throws them into the Fire.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 679; Saheeh al-Targheeb, no. 510).
This kind of person does not feel any remorse or guilt if he sleeps and misses one of the obligatory prayers, or a sunnah prayer that is strongly encouraged, or a wird [regular du’aa’ and dhikr]. He does not want to make it up later, and he deliberately omits doing anything that is sunnah or fard kifaayah (a duty which, if carried out by some of the people, is no longer obligatory on all, but if no-one does it, all are held accountable).
So he may not attend Eid prayers (although some scholars say that they are obligatory), or offer the prayers to be said at the time of lunar and solar eclipses, or attend funerals. He does not care about reward at all, which is the opposite of the ideal described by Allaah in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “… they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.” [al-Anbiya’ 21:90]
Another example of laziness in performing acts of worship is the neglect of sunnah actions which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performed regularly, and praying at night (qiyaam al-layl), setting out early to go to the mosque, and other naafil prayers, such as duhaa, never even occur to him, let alone the two-rak’ahs of tawbah (repentance) and istikhaarah.
Tightness in the chest, mood swings and depression, which weigh a man down and make him quick to complain about the slightest thing. He easily gets upset with the people around him, and no longer has any tolerance. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described faith when he said, “Eemaan is patience and tolerance” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 554, 2/86), and he described the believer as being “one who makes friends and with whom others feel comfortable. There is no goodness in one who does not make friends and with whom others do not feel comfortable.” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 427).
Not being moved by the aayaat of the Qur’aan, by its promises of Paradise or its warnings of Hell, by its commands and prohibitions, or by its descriptions of the Day of Resurrection. The one who is weak in faith gets bored when he hears the Qur’aan being recited, and cannot continue reading it. Whenever he opens the mus-haf, he soon closes it again.
Not focusing on Allaah when remembering Him (dhikr) or making du’aa’, so dhikr becomes difficult for him, and when he raises his hands to make du’aa’, he quickly lowers them again. Allaah has described the hypocrites (interpretation of the meaning): “… and they do not remember Allaah but little.” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]
Not feeling angry when the limits set by Allaah are violated, because the flame of zeal has been extinguished in his heart, so he no longer takes action to stop evil, or enjoins evildoers to do good, or denounces wrongdoing. He never gets angry for the sake of Allaah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described this heart ravaged by weakness in the saheeh hadeeth:
“The heart will be subjected to trial after trial, and there will appear a black stain on any heart that is affected, which will spread until the heart is completely black and sealed, as it were, so that it will not recognize any good deed or denounce any evil, except whatever suits its own desires.” (Reported by Muslim, no. 144).
Love of good and hatred of evil have disappeared from a heart like this; all things are equal to such a person, and he has no motive to enjoin good or forbid evil. He may hear of some evil that is being done on earth, and may accept it; in this case he carries the same burden of sin as one who witnesses evil and approves of it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in the saheeh hadeeth:
“If sin is committed on earth, the one who witnesses it and hates it [one time he said, ‘denounces it’] will be like one who knew nothing of it. Whoever does not witness it but approves of it will be like one who witnesses it.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 4345; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 689). This approval, which is an action of the heart, makes him like one who witnessed the sin.
Love of fame and prominence, which may take many forms, including the following:
Desire for leadership without understanding the serious responsibility involved. This is what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us against when he said, “You will be very keen to be leaders, but you will regret it on the Day of Resurrection, for although it seems easy in the beginning, it becomes a hardship later on [literally: the breastfeeding is a luxury but weaning is miserable].” (The meaning is that at the beginning, leadership brings wealth, power and enjoyment, but later it brings the risk of being assassinated or deposed, and one will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection). (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 6729).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “If you wish, I could tell you about leadership and what it is. Firstly, it is blame; secondly, it is regret; and thirdly, it is punishment on the Day of Resurrection – except for one who is just.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 18/72; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1420).
If it were the case that a man wanted to carry out duties and responsibilities, where there is no one better for the job than him, with the intention of doing his best and being sincere and just, as Yusuf (peace be upon him) did, then we could say that this is fair enough. But in most cases it is the matter of a strong desire to lead and put oneself forward although there is a better person, denying the opportunity of leadership to those who are qualified and wanting to be the only one to issue instructions and prohibitions.
Loving to sit at the head of gatherings, to monopolize the discussion, to make others listen to one’s words, and to have power. The head of a gathering is the “slaughterhouse” about which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us when he said, “Beware of these slaughterhouses.” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi, 2/439; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 120).
Loving to have people stand up when one comes into the room, because this makes the one whose heart is diseased feel great. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever feels happy to have the slaves of Allaah stand up for him, let him occupy his house in Hellfire.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 977; see also Silsilah al-Saheeh, 357).
Once when Mu’aawiyah went out to see Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn ‘Aamir, Ibn ‘Aamir stood up whilst Ibn al-Zubayr remained sitting (according to one report: and he [Ibn al-Zubayr] was wiser and more stable in character). Mu’aawiyah said to Ibn ‘Aamir, “Sit down, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, ‘Whoever likes to have men stand up for him, let him take his place in Hellfire.’” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 5229, and by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 977; al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 357).
This kind of person will get angry if the sunnah is followed and people start from the right (and not with him, when passing out refreshments, etc.); when such a person enters a gathering, he will not be happy until someone gets up and gives him his seat, even though the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade this when he said, “No man should make another get up from his place so that he can sit in it.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 11/62).
Stinginess and miserliness. Allaah praised the Ansaar in His Book by saying (interpretation of the meaning): “… and [they] gave them [the muhaajiroon] preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that…” [al-Hashr 59:9].
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained that the successful are those who avoid miserliness, and that weakness of faith generates stinginess: “Stinginess and faith never exist together in the heart of the believer.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i, al-Mujtaba, 6/13; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2678).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also described the serious nature of stinginess and its consequences: “Beware of stinginess, for those who came before you were destroyed because of stinginess. It commanded them to be miserly, so they were miserly; it commanded them to cut family ties, so they cut them; and it commanded them to be immoral, so they were immoral.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 2/324; Saheeh al-Jaami, no. 2678).
When it comes to miserliness, the person whose faith is weak can hardly give anything for the sake of Allaah, even when there is an honest appeal and it is quite obvious that his brothers in Islam are suffering the impact of poverty and are stricken by disaster. There is no more eloquent statement on the matter of miserliness than the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):
“Behold! You are those who are called to spend in the Cause of Allaah, yet among you are some who are niggardly. And whoever is niggardly, it is only at the expense of his own self. But Allaah is Rich (Free of all wants), and you (mankind) are poor. And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allaah), He will exchange for you some other people, and they will not be your likes.” [Muhammad 47:38].
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