What are the causes?
once prophet Muhammad salla Allahou 3alayhi wa sallam was asked about Iman/faith and he said; it is what was rested in the heart and was followed by the deed.
and the Iman/faith increase and reduce as we are told in Quran (48:4); "It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith..." and the guidance increase also; "And Allāh increases those who were guided, in guidance, and the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for recourse." (19:76)
and Allah in the very first verses of Souraht el baqarah(no.2) described the ones with taqwa that they are those who believe in Ghayb/unseen. as we are not only living in this seen world but we also live in the unseen world with the angels and Jinn and devils/satan and believe in Allah the unseen by the unseen and believe in Jannah/Paradise and Jahannam/hell.
This heart is like a mirror on which the image of the things displayed in front of it appear. and it is opened on two doors; door of this world and door of the Last-world. or by another word it is between the ego/and the material body and between the spirit/and the real meanings. or by another meaning between a group of angels or a group of shaytan/devils.. and that is why we are told in haddith that the heart of the believer is between two fingers of the fingers of (Allah)Al-Rahman He rotate them as He want/will. it does not mean Allah has fingers but the work of the finger is the rotating. so our heart is rotating between this world and the last world, or between good inspiration of angels and evil whispers from devils/satans, or between the ego and its worldly request and the spirit and its request for the light of Allah.
Our main enemy is our ego until we purify it and close the doors from which satan enter. as satan is our clear enemy who enter from the doors of ego like; desire, anger, envy, arrogance, jealousy, love of this world and love of money...etc. our enmity to him will not end as long as we are still alive, he do not even take a rest, may Allah support, help and protect us from him.. may Allah depart him from us as He departed him from His mercy. another main enemy for us is this world, many people think only of the life of this world forgetting that its example is like a shadow of a tree that a traveler/us stayed under it for a while(as a supply) and then continue his trip (to Allah).
There is only one path to the truth/light while there are many other paths which leads to falsehood/darknesses. as sayidna Muhammad traced with a steak on the sand a straight line and said this is the straight path, and then traced many other lines which are path to falsehood. the straight path in the last world is described as a line under which there is jahannam and its end is the Jannah, it is finer than a hair and more sharp than a sword, and people will be passing on it depend or their light, some will be as fast as the wind or as riding horse or running or walking or scrawling and some the flames of the fire will take them from the path, may Allah save us may Allah save us.. similar to this straight path at the last world we should think of it in every moment in this world.. may Allah guide us the straight path of those that He bestowed favors upon them. because we can not do it by our power ability but by Allah's will and power.
knowledge is like light and ignorance is like darkness.. someone should always be reminded about satan and his countless ways of misguiding us.. and seek the refuge/protection and help of Allah against him and more important to clean and purify the ego from the love of this world and desire and anger and envy...etc. because if we closed the doors of our ego from which satan enter to us and fill our mind by the remembrance of Allah, then we will realize when satan whispers to us.. and then when we say "a3ouzou bellah min ashaytan errajeem" he will run away.. but if our will.intention is evil then it is like home to satan and it will not help to seek refuge in Allah from him.. to sleep few, eat few and speak few will help us because eating few will help in reducing the shahwa/desire and sleeping few will not make us lazy especially when the spirit is filled with Allah's remembrance.
knowing that the intention is very important for every thing we do.. and before the intention there are always three steps ; 1.idea or the speech of desire(come to our mind), 2. the desire or the inclination of our nature toward that idea, 3. the decision of the heart/brain by doing or not doing an action. 4.the intention or the will of doin an action. so we should always be aware of our heart and if it is carrying an intention toward something which will please Allah and work for Allah and the last day.. or is it an intention of doing something evil which will please satan and bad for our final/last day.
to always be in increasing of knowledge and light and remembrance of Allah, and so will be in increasing of guidance and Iman/faith.. fighting/resisiting/opposing our ego and worldly desires more and be aware of satan more and more and disobey him. or by another word to differ between what is an inspiration from angels and what is whispers of satan.. if it is something good for the last world then it is from angels and if it is bad for the last world then it is from shaytan. may Allah do not let satan has any authority upon us, indeed it is Allah the hearing the knowing. may Allah increases our Iman and grant us light in our hearing, seeing. heart, body and spirit may He grant us light above us and under us and in the right and left and front and back and all around us so we may see the truth and follows it and see the falsehood and avoid it. and Alhamdoulellah Rabb-el 3alameen, assalamou alaikoum
Assalam Alaiykum brother Muhammad,
May Allah subhana wa Ta’ala bless you for asking this question, for until you asked it, I never realised the importance of understanding which we need to have so as to avoid decreasing our iman or even worse, losing it altogether.
We often talk of the ways by which we can increase iman, but it is undeniably important to know and understand the causes for not having iman or decrease of iman. This is so that we can safeguard ourselves against these negative causes, be aware of them and avoid them.
Most importantly, we must realise that if we do not maintain or work on improving our prescribed practices (obedience to Allah subhana wa ta’ala ) which lead to the increase of iman, this in itself will lead to decrease of iman.
Thus, neglecting to strengthen iman and paying no regard to it, is one reason for decrease, weakening or even loss of iman.
When we abandon obedience, iman decreases. This decrease is proportional to the significance of the particular act of obedience. The more significant the abandoned obedience, the greater the decrease in iman that results from not performing it. It maybe that iman vanishes in its entirety, like in the abandonment of prayer for example.
Allah subhana wa ta’ala says:
"Indeed, he succeeds, who purifies it (i.e., his soul). And indeed, he fails, who corrupts it." (91: 9-10)
Here, Allah subhana wa ta’ala signifies the importance of obedience, nurturing of it and its preservation as it is one of the greatest reasons for the purification of the soul . To succeed, we must purify our soul, i.e., cultivate it and elevate it by acts of obedience, righteousness, truthfulness and doing good deeds in general. The more that Allah subhana wa ta’ala is on our mind (we think of Him), the greater will our closeness to Him be.
Allah subhana wa ta’ala will not forsake us if we remember Him:
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. (2:186)
Ignorance is one of the most significant causes for the absence or decrease of iman, just as knowledge is one of the greatest causes for the increase of iman. A knowledgeable Muslim knows what constitutes his benefit, success and improvement. The ignorant person on the other hand, because of his excess ignorance and/or deficient knowledge, may succumb to and prefer the love and enactment of matters that harm him and cause him pain and misery.
Knowledge lies at the root of all good and ignorance lies at the root of all evil.
When we have knowledge of the various types of harm, we are likely to avoid them.
Allah subhana wa ta’ala provides us with this knowledge through the Glorious Qur'an and has exemplified how to conduct our lives through our beloved Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alaiyhi wa salaam.
The greatest reason for the shirk, kufr, iniquities and embarking on sins that people fall into, is ignorance of Allah, His Names, His Attributes and of His reward and punishment.
For this reason, whoever disobeys Allah and commits some form of sin is an ignorant person, as understood from the Salaf in the explanation of His saying:
"Allah only accepts the repentance of those who do evil out of ignorance and repent soon afterwards. It is they to whom Allah will forgive and Allah is ever All-Knowing, All-Wise." ( 4:17)
And in Allah’s saying:
" ... Your Lord has written Mercy for Himself, so that, if any of you does evil out of ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds, then surely, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (6:54)
"Moreover, your Lord is towards those who do evil out of ignorance and afterward repent and do righteous deeds, verily, your Lord thereafter, is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (16:119)
Thus, ignorance is a dangerous disease and it draws on the person numerous disastrous calamities and consequences.
In the noble Qur'an, we find the greatest indication that ignorance is the cause for sins and disobedience.
" ... They said, 'O Musa, Make for us a deity just as they have deities.' He said, 'Verily, you are a people who are ignorant.' " (7:138)
"And remember Lut. When he said to his people, 'Do you approach vile sins while you see (each other). Do you approach men in your lusts rather than women. Rather, you are a people who are ignorant." (27:54-55)
"Say, 'Do you order me to worship other than Allah, O you ignorant people.' "(39:64)
"And stay in your houses and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance ... " (33:33)
So, one must keep oneself beware of ignorance and the way to do this is through knowledge which is applied through practice, coming from the heart.
Thus, we ask Allah subhana wa ta’ala to aid our hearts with knowledge and iman and that He protect us from ignorance and transgression.
In addition, heedlessness, aversion and forgetfulness are three other matters which constitute immense cause for the decrease of iman.
Concerning heedlessness, Allah has condemned it in His Book and He mentioned that it is a reprehensible mannerism, which is from the code and conduct of the disbelievers and hypocrites. Allah also warns against it very severely.
"And surely, We have created for Hell, many (a people) from the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they understand not, they have eyes with which they see not and they have ears with which they hear not: they are like cattle. Rather, they are even more astray. They indeed, are the heedless ones." (7:179)
"Verily, those who hope not for their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present world and those who are heedless of our signs; those, their abode will be the Fire because of what they used to earn." (10:7-8)
" ... and verily, many among mankind are heedless of our signs." (10:92)
"They know only the outside appearance of the life of this world whilst they are heedless of the Hereafter." (30:7)
Allah also says to His Messenger:
"And remember your Lord (by your tongue and) within yourself, humbly and with fear without loudness in words in the mornings and in the afternoons and be not of those who are heedless." (7:205)
If we are heedless in the remembrance and worship of Allah we will be occupied with matters of distraction, which distance us from the remembrance of Allah.
As for aversion, Allah mentions in the Noble Qur'an that it has many ill effects and destructive results and consequences. Of these, Allah has described the one who turns away as being the most oppressive and that he is amongst the criminals, as Allah subhana wa ta'ala says:
"And who is more oppressive than one who is reminded of the signs of His Lord, then he turns away from them? Verily, We shall extract retribution from the criminals." (32:22)
Allah also informs that He has set a veil and locks upon the heart of the one who turns away, so he does not comprehend or come upon the right path, ever, as in Allah's statement:
"And who is more oppressive than one who is reminded of the signs of His Lord, but turns away from them forgetting what (deeds) his hands have sent forth. Truly, We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand it (i.e., the Qur'an), and in their ears, deafness. And if you call them to guidance, even then they will never be guided." (18:57)
This aversion on the person's part also causes a life of hardship and constriction in this world and the Hereafter. Allah says:
"But whoever turns away from My reminder, verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection." (20:124)
As for forgetfulness, this occurs because of the weakness of the heart, or as a result of negligence on one’s behalf or out of deliberate intention until any trace of it is removed from the heart. This has a profound effect upon iman. It is a cause for its weakness; its presence decreases acts of obedience and increases acts of disobedience.
The forgetfulness mentioned in the Qur'an is of two types. The first type is one that a person is not excused for. This is in reference to the type that occurs deliberately, as in Allah’s saying:
"And do not be like those who forget Allah, thereupon Allah caused them to forget their own selves." (59:19)
The second type is one in which the person is excused. This is in reference to when the reason for the forgetfulness is not intentional, as in the saying of Allah:
" ... Our Lord, do not hold us to account if we forget or commit mistakes … " (2:286)
In addition, committing disobedience and embarking upon sinful deeds cause great harm and bad effects upon iman. Thus iman, as stated by more than one of the Salaf, "increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience".
However, sins vary greatly with respect to their rank, the evils they entail and the intensity of their harm.
Ibn al-Qayyim has mentioned: "Without doubt, kufr; fusuq and disobedience are of levels just as iman and righteous actions are of levels.
Allah subhana wa ta'ala says:
They are in varying grades before Allah and Allah is All-Seer of what they do. (3:163) For all there will be degrees, according to that which they did. And your Lord is not unaware of what they do. (6:132)
The postponing (of a sacred month) is indeed an addition to kufr ... (9:37)
... As for those who believe, it has increased their iman and they rejoice. But as for those whose hearts is a disease, it will add rijs101 to their rijs. (9:124-125)
Statements of this kind are many in the Qur'an.
The Qur'an and Sunnah show that sins are of major and minor types. Allah says:
"And if you avoid the major of the sins that you are forbidden from, We shall remit for you your (minor) sins and admit you to a noble entrance." ( 4:31)
In addition, there are the souls that greatly command evil. This is a condemned soul, which is inside an individual who is drawn to every evil, all perils and attracted to every vulgarity. This is its nature and its trait by choice, except for the soul that Allah grants tawfiq and which He makes firm and assists. None has been saved from the evil of his soul except by the tawfiq of Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
" ... And had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure ... " (24:21)
"And had We not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little." (17:74)
There are external causes or influences, which bear effect upon the iman by decreasing it. These are in reference to when the cause of the effect traces back to other then the person himself. Such causes can be generalized into three factors:
It is for this reason that Allah has warned us of Shaytan in the sternest sense and He has clarified his dangers, the detrimental consequences of following him as well as the fact that he is an enemy to the believers.
"O you who believe! Do not follow the footsteps of Shaytan, and whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytan, then, verily he (i.e., Shaytan) commands Fahsha' (i.e., to commit indecency and lewdness, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, shirk, to do evil and wicked deeds, to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islam, etc.) ... " (24:21)
"Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire." (35:6)
The World and its Allurements
This is the second external factor, which bears effect on a person's iman by decreasing it. Hence, one of the causes of the decrease and weakness of iman is to be engrossed with the transient things of this temporary worldly life; to occupy one's time with it; be devoted to seeking it and to race after its pleasures, temptations and seductions.
Accordingly, Allah, the Wise the All-Aware, censured the world in His Book and made clear its vileness and wretchedness in many ayat in the Noble Qur'an, Allah says:
"Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, just like the vegetation after rain, which pleases the tillers; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter there is a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and there is forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment." ( 57:20)
They are the most harmful people to a person's iman, behavior and manners. Mixing with them and accompanying them is a great cause that decreases and weakens iman. The Prophet said:
"A man is upon the deen (i.e., way of life) of his khalil (i.e., close companion), so each one of you should look to see whom he takes as a khalil." At Tarmidhi
In concusion dear brother, we all must be aware of all the negative causes which take away our iman and follow the ways of our Prophet and the Noble Qur’an. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala guide us along the straight path. Ameen.
Loss of iman, is true in both statements above. It is a task that most Muslims these days find hard to do or keep up, is to keep firm their beleifs and the strength of their iman.
In todays society, the pressure of life and its commitments can easily take over. Also the forgetfulness and the lack of knowledge play a huge part.
What most Muslims like, and non Muslims, is an easy life and things done now, rather sooner than later. A true Muslim with strong Iman will know that to never delay things, As time is always of the essence and death is always just round the corner. But for the ones lacking in Iman, or are weak, will think that things can wait, or go to the extreme and what things right now.
When a Muslims makes dua, they will want the answers to come quickly. This is not always the case. Answers usually take time, and only if they are warranted by Allah, be given when the time is right. This can lead to people losing hope and worrying, losing their iman by this very act. Their trust then becomes impaired. Lose of trust is a big issue, when we feel discontented with our lives, or are bombarded with trials and tests, illnesses, loss of wealth, etc. And in these times, this is where Allah tests us the most. This entails trust in Allah, patience , perseverance, and sheer contentment for our lives. And this is a time when a lot of people lose their iman, or their iman becomes very weak.
Shatan is a very big cause of losing or weakening of iman. Allah has provided us with many protective remedies , via Quran, duas, foods and acts of Hijamah. Many of our troubles and test can be attributed to shatan, and knowing all the protective measures should be a daily task, part of your routine. Many muslims forget about this and even do not believe that shatan can effect us so easily. It is only the weak iman and the unprotected that are affected by shatan. So we must all take up that little extra effort to prevent before becoming inflicted.
Anger, great fear, involved in extreme pleasure, and being heedless of Allah, bring about lose of iman and the easy entry of the shatan.
A mention on the reasons why some people experience unanswered duas. Apart from the impatience, there are real reasons, causes that can hinder and block the recival and acceptance of duas. .....eating haram foods, drinking haram, taking pills, tablets and drugs, consuming riba, wearing haram cloths,and the nourishment being haram,( not saying Bismillah)
We must learn the virtues of piety, a sound heart, and a contented soul. To be patient, persevering, to have trust, faith, and complete reliance in Allah. These things bring about a strong iman. Not to have these qualities will undoubtedly leave to a weak iman.