By Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid
There are a number of symptoms of the sickness of weak faith, including the following:
Falling into sin and committing haram deeds
There are some sinners who commit a sin and persist in it, and some who commit many kinds of sins. 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 hadith: “All of my ummah (people) 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 Allah 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 Allah had concealed.” (Al-Bukhari).
Feeling that one’s heart is hard and rough
A man may feel that his heart has become like a stone which nothing can penetrate or reach. Allah says:
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 the Qur’an, making Du`aa’ (supplication), 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 Allah does not accept the Du`aa’ of one whose heart is heedless of Him.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Laziness and carelessness in performing acts of worship
If he does them at all, they are just empty movements, devoid of any real feeling. Allah has described the hypocrites saying:
And when they stand up for prayer, they stand up with laziness… (An-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 Jihad when he has the strength to do so, or fail to attend prayers in congregation, or even Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “People will keep holding back from being in the first row (of congregational prayers), until Allah throws them into the Fire.” (Abu Dawud).
This kind of person does not feel any remorse or guilt if he sleeps and misses one of the obligatory prayers, or an optional prayer that is strongly encouraged.
Tightness in the chest, mood swings and depression
A person with these matters easily gets upset with the people around him, and no longer has any tolerance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) described faith when he said, “Iman (faith) is patience and tolerance” (Authenticated by Al-Albani) He (peace be upon him) 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.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Not being affected by the verses of the Qur’an
If you feel your heart not affected by the Qur’an, its promises of Paradise or its warnings of Hell, its commands and prohibitions, or its descriptions of the Day of Resurrection, then you have a weak faith. The one who is weak in faith gets bored when he hears the Qur’an being recited, and cannot continue reading it. Whenever he opens the mus-haf (copy of the Qur’an), he soon closes it again.
Not feeling angry when the limits set by Allah are violated
This is 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 Allah. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) described this heart ravaged by weakness in the authentic hadith: “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.” (Muslim).
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 be upon him) said: “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.” (Abu Dawud) This approval, which is an action of the heart, makes him like one who witnessed the sin.
Love of fame and prominence
This state may take many forms, including the following:
- Desire for leadership without understanding the serious responsibility involved. This is what the Messenger of Allah (peace 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].” (Al-Bukhari)
- 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 be upon him) warned us when he said, “Beware of these slaughterhouses.” (Al-Bayhaqi)
- 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 be upon him) said: “Whoever feels happy to have the slaves of Allah stand up for him, let him occupy his house in Hellfire.” (Al-Bukhari)
Stinginess and miserliness
When it comes to miserliness, the person whose faith is weak can hardly give anything for the sake of Allah, 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 Allah:
Behold! You are those who are called to spend in the Cause of Allah, yet among you are some who are niggardly. And whoever is niggardly, it is only at the expense of his own self. But Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and you (mankind) are poor. And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allah), He will exchange for you some other people, and they will not be your likes. (Muhammad 47:38)
To be continued..
Source: Taken from the author’s “Weakness of Faith”