Sources of Iman:
There are a number of means to increase and consolidate one’s faith, for instance, knowledge, practice, introspection and deliberation, etc.
1 – Knowledge:
A believer must strive to gain as much knowledge as he can. Knowledge increases his belief. Hadrat Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) declared:
« تَعَلَّمْنَا الإِيمَانَ قَبْلَ أَنْ نَتَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ ثُمَّ تَعَلَّمْنَا الْقُرْآنَ فَازْدَدْنَا بِهِ إِيمَانًا»
We acquired the faith, and the much knowledge of the Quran we gained the more our belief increased and got consolidated. The knowledge of the names and attributes of the Divine Being greatly contributes to an increase in our belief. Likewise, the more one gets knowledge about the conduct, the manners, the transactions and the missionary struggles and the worship of the holy Prophet the more it will contribute to increasing and strengthening one’s faith. Therefore, Allah the Almighty has declared:
قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لا يَعْلَمُونَ (9) (الزمر:9)
(Translation of meaning) “Can those who know and those who do not know become equals? Verily, only the possessors of reason can remember [me]”(AZ-Zumar: 9).
2 – Practice:
Like knowledge, practice also contributes to an increase in belief. Non-practice and wrong-doing weaken one’s faith. Hadrat Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) used to say: Come on, let’s improve our belief. Then he organized the assemblies for the invocation of Allah. It was a habit of Hadrat Abdullah Bin Rawahah (RadhiAllahu Anhu) that he took hold of any of his companions and told him let’s sit together to refresh our belief. And this way sittings for the invocation of Allah were held. According to a Hadith Qudsi (a sacred tradition), the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that Allah said:
«أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ» (متفق عليه)
(Translation of meaning) “I am with the presumption of my slave, as, he presumes about me; and I am with him when he invokes me; if he remembers me in his inner self, I also remember him in my inner self; and if he mentions me among a people, I mention him among people better than them (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).
3 – Introspection & deliberation:
One way of improving one’s belief is continuous introspection and deliberation over the creations of Allah. This is an ordinary fact, that, whenever, any skilled expert is mentioned among us and we observe the practical examples of his expertise, we come to recognize his skill and expertise. The more, he excels in his creativity the more, we become convinced of his excellence. Similarly, when a believer surveys the universe and deliberates over its creation, system and process and its regularities, he becomes convinced of the creativity, the omniscience, omnipotence and omnicompetence and the majesty and grandeur of our Lord, the supreme creator of the universe. Thus, introspection and deliberation over the nature is one of the characteristic qualities of a believer. The Divine Dictum is:
وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ(191) (آل عمران:191(
(Translation of meaning) “And they introspect over the creation of the heavens and earth”(AL-Imran:191).