As for those who disbelieve, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing, but he finds God with him, Who will pay him his due [Hell]. And God is swift in taking account. Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, darkness, one above another, if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom God has not appointed light, for him there is no light. (Qur'an: The Light, verses 39-40)
When one turns away from the darkness of disbelief towards the brightness of Islamic Enlightenment, one comes across three layers of enlightenment, as described in the Hadith of Jibreel, namely Imaan (Faith), Islaam (Practice), and Ihsaan (Islamic Renaissance).
Many people falter at the step of Imaan. Some move on to Islaam. And a lucky few achieve the stage of Ihsaan. But why would a person who was practicing Islaam bang his head against the wall?:
The tergiversations of her faith reminded me of my own, I guess. Although I’m outwardly religious, I’ve never had the intimate relationship with Allah that I see others possess- I envy those brothers. So many times I’ve wished I was more like them, and so many times I’ve wished for death. Sometimes I hope that my execution might redeem me- maybe Allah would forgive me if I suffered a painful and ignominious death. I remember praying fajr many, many times and hitting my head against the wall, and praying to Allah desperately for faith. I’ve never prayed more sincerely in my life.
So I understand where she’s coming from. A mind wracked by doubt- to the point that it’s painful. I’m pleased with Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion etc- but I’m weak.
(An anonymous comment at this page.)
Apparently this person had Imaan and was practicing Islaam, but he (or she) consistently failed to achieve that spiritual state called Ihsaan, so he banged his head against the wall.
Question: Why could he not achieve Ihsaan?
Answer: Because he was suffering from a Crisis of Faith.
We live in an age where Islam is under vicious attack from all sides and angles. We live in an age where Wahhabism and Qadyanism are making inroads. We live in an age where the Muslim community is thoroughly fragmented. We live in an age where we are surrounded by enemies from all sides, enemies who have incredible economic, military, and media power at their disposal. We live in an age where extremes of poverty and prosperity are making people lose their Imaan. We live in an age where women are being encouraged to lose their veils and the billboards are displaying pornography instead of displaying advertisements. We live in an age of excellence in science, technology, and secular knowledge, yet the Muslim countries are those who are most lagging behind in these fields. We live in an age where the mullah has done everything possible to destroy the image of Islam.
Faith enters a stage of crisis when one is living in such an Islamophobic milieu. For someone aspiring to achieve Ihsaan, it is extremely important that he should know what Faith is. Faith (Imaan) begins with the statement:
There is no deity but God
Muhammad is the Messenger of God
In fact, Faith (Imaan) is more than just a statement - it is a belief. It entails belief in not one but two personalities:
1. God (glorified He is)
2. Muhammad (peace be upon him)
In the age in which we live, people have concentrated on the first part of the Statement of Faith, but have forgotten the significance of the second part of the statement. In other words, people do realize that God is the only deity, but they have underestimated the supreme and beloved status of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). That this happened is not surprising when one observes the fall of scholarship in the Muslim lands coupled with the rise of orientalism in the non-Muslim lands.
Talking about the Prophet, saying nasheeds in his remembrance, remembering his voice, his manner of speaking, his way of walking, his way of talking, his way of smiling, his exalted character, his intelligence, his intellect, his beauty, his hair, his eyes, his fingernails - this is Islam. I remember during my college days, no one talked about Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. All they talked about was girls, girls, and girls. They had their excuses candy-coated by the enemies of God - that sexual attraction was normal, that it was okay to talk about girls (and not okay to not talk about girls), that it was also okay to have sex with them (as long as you used a condom) and blah blah blah. I yearned for someone who would talk freely and enthusiastically about Prophet Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon him.
Islam is not only about the Worship of God, it is also about the Love of Muhammad. In fact, the Islamic creed does not differentiate between the Worship of God and the Love of Muhammad. That is indeed what the Statement of Faith is: the belief that the Worship of God and the Love of Muhammad are one and the same thing.
For those wanting to know more about the Beloved, here is an interesting article about him.
I will end this rant with one of the most beautiful verses of nasheed in the whole of Urdu poetry:
شوق ترا اگر نہ ہو میری نماز کا امام
میرا قیام بھی حجاب میرا سجود بھی حجاب
If your Love is not the Imam of my Prayer
Then my standing is a veil, my prostration is a veil