The Capacity of Emaan
by Aishah Iqbal
When things are tough, it can feel like the days are suffocating you. To wake up in the morning and get yourself out of bed can feel like a mission in and within itself. Life events can cause us to carry a dark and heavy load upon our chest that can literally make us question all aspects of life. Sadly, within these moments of weakness, we may question our ability to practise this faith. We may feel there are aspects that we do not have the strength for.
Allah says in Surah Baqarah:
“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” (2:286)
It is agreed that this verse is referring to aspects of religion. This verse is powerful in arming the believer with firm strength that they are able to accomplish the commandments of this faith.
Ibn Kathir mentions in his tafsir of this verse: This only demonstrates Allah's kindness, compassion and generosity towards His creation.
Al Qurtabi states in his tafsir: He has not imposed on His slaves any kind of worship demanded of the hearts or the limbs which is not within the capacity of the one on whom it is imposed. Through this verse, anxiety was removed from the Muslims in the matter regarding their thoughts.
Nothing within Islam is outside of the capacity of each soul. We often look around and think “So and so has such Emaan, why can’t I be like that?!” There are a number of problems with this thought. Firstly, each individual has their own personal challenges. One may find it easy to adorn hijab yet struggles with their anger towards their parents. Likewise, someone may pray their daily Salah on time yet struggle to stay away from excessive interactions with the opposite gender. Secondly, and importantly, with this chain of thought we are questioning our ability and the likelihood of attaining such level of faith.
“Why can’t I” - who says you can’t? Emaan is a matter between yourself and your Lord. Allah clearly describes to us in the Qur’an that we all have the capacity to fulfil the faith. The only person doubting that is yourself. Our thoughts alone push us to lose confidence in our abilities and dissect our self-esteem. This happens to so many of us: we question ourselves too often and waste the energy we should be using on improving ourselves on worry. So, what can we do to get us out of this cycle of worry and lack of confidence?
- 1)Turn to Allah
Allah is All-Knowing and All- Hearing. Any difficulty we have, be it matters of faith or worldly life, can be solved by putting our trust in our creator. Like previously mentioned, your emaan is a factor between you and Him. Ask Him to help you improve yourself in all capacities; ask Him to give you the strength to continue upon the straight path. Often, we can feel embarrassed or apprehensive about sitting and making dua’a, especially if it seems like an alien or foreign concept. Always remember Allah hears and knows all so whether you say it in Arabic or in your own language, He is aware of the situation you feel you are in. Have faith in Him.
Praying the five prayers is one of the pillars of faith; it is the part of faith that differentiates a believer from a non-believer. When first coming to Islaam or taking the steps to practise, this can be daunting and difficult to learn. Failing to grasp this practise can play a part in your confidence plummeting, especially when those around you seem to have the routine sorted. Try to find someone who is able to help your learn, perhaps through masjids or even youtube videos or apps. Take it step at a time, learning each verse and movement. Take time to turn to Allah after each prayer, asking Him to make this easier for you. If you struggle to remember, download apps on to your phone with prayer times and even set a reminder on your calendar. Insha’Allah, as time goes on you will develop this habit and the calm feeling attained from prayer will be in your hear.
- 3)Good company
Having friends around you who are inspirational and hold similar values to you is important in helping to develop your Emaan. That being said, it is not easy to always find people especially in areas where Muslims are few in number. What is as important as having good company is to try and limit contact with people who influence you to do things that affect your Emaan. Look for masjids close to you that hold sisters circles or events being held that you may be able to attend.
- 4)Read the Seerah
And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. [21:107]
The life of The Prophet (ﷺ) is an example to the whole of mankind. Reading about the struggles in his life can revolutionise how we look at our life. Remember, this was a man who came with a message and was rejected by his family simply because the message opposed aspects of their beliefs. He endured the worst losses a person can in this world: the death of his father figure, his wife, his companions, his children. By contemplating on how much he sacrificed in order for the truth to reach our time gives you the motivation you need to work on yourself when you feel you do not have the ability to do so. Some good biographies include:
“The Sealed Nectar” and “When the moon Split: a biography of the Prophet Muhammed”, both by Safiur-Rahman Mubarakpuri
- 5)List your goals
Finally, this point is important in helping you find direction and be aware of what you need to work on. One a weekly basis, sit down and think about what you want to tackle for the week to come. Do you want to learn the meanings of the verses we recite in salah? Do you want to join an Arabic class? Do you want to read a chapter of the biography of the prophet? Having a plan for the week with the intention of improving your emaan will give you proof that you ARE doing something active to attain the emaan that you so deeply want. This life is a journey towards the ultimate destination of Jannah. In a journey, you can either stop and be sad about everything that has passed and the distance you are yet to cover or you can continue to look forward, using your past experiences to help yourself improve with hope that one day you will attain what you are looking for insha’Allah.
There is no doubt that life can be a rollercoaster that leaves your stomach churning and a feeling of uncertainty. Always remember that Allah knows exactly what you are going through. You are never alone because He is always listening, even if the people around you seem distant. Equally remember whilst other people’s lives seem “perfect”, everybody has their own individual struggles. May Allah make this life on the dunya one that is of ease, allowing us to focus on the sole purpose of our existence: To worship Him. Insha’Allah.