I stood between the cold, steel lockers and the soda machine with the door to the locker room closed.
I bent down in ruku’, staring at the dirty floor I would have to prostrate on, hoping that no one would walk in.
Thoughts of how much I needed this job popped into my mind. I started to wonder how much easier it would be if I didn’t have to pray.
Whispers entered my mind: “You already look like a fool wearing hijab, long-sleeves under your scrubs, and a skirt instead of the normal scrub pants everyone else wears to work.”
Hearing a group of my co-workers walk down the hall, chattering, made my heart race and my concentration in prayer vanished completely.
The worry about being caught in prayer and the embarrassment of actually being caught suddenly turned to anger. “I shouldn’t have to hide to pray. And if I do pray, why is it a joke?” I thought. Then my anger turned to pity. I pitied those women who thought worshiping God was something to be laughed at or gossiped about.
And I felt sorry for my co-workers who had never tasted the sweetness of real faith. I remembered a time in my life when I didn’t have the solace of salah. And I felt so grateful that Allah chose to guide me to Islam.
Being reminded of all that I had gained when I came to Islam made my faith instantly soar. I never hid to pray again. I was proud to worship my Creator. From that day on, I refused to hide in the locker room to pray.
Becoming preoccupied by the day to day bills, work, kids; living in the West among a majority of non-Muslims where sin is abundant and openly practiced; being distracted by our own desires; can all wear down even the strongest of believers, much less a new Muslim.
This is because the human being was created weak and forgetful. Because of our forgetfulness, our iman or faith will fluctuate. This is a normal feeling and can be fixed easily with remembrance of Allah. Many people experience highs and lows in faith:
Yusuf ibn Horace remembers Allah’s forgiveness to return the strength of iman.
“I converted to Islam when I was 16 years old. In high school, I had a couple of Muslim friends and was able to keep up with my prayers and go to the masjid a lot to learn. But when I graduated and joined the military, my faith took a nosedive.
I didn’t have any Muslims around and eventually I stopped praying. When I got out of the Navy, I was so depressed from the lack of faith that I started drinking and doing drugs just to ignore the horrible guilt I felt from being far from Allah and Islam.
Then something switched in my brain, and I knew I had to stop doing this haram stuff. I had to get back to Islam and become closer to Allah. I repented and tried to pray here and there. But things kept happening in my life to get me off track. My non-Muslim friends kept pulling me back to the drugs and other haram things.
I felt so terrible, but I kept repenting to Allah. And I never gave up on Allah’s mercy. I never gave up trying to repent. So I finally made a resolution to make hijrah to a place far away from the bad influences of my friends in hopes to get back on track.
About half way from my old home to my new home, I felt a darkness leave me. I reached my new home and began to pray on time every prayer, read the Quran, and learn Arabic.
My faith skyrocketed. And peace finally came back into my heart. In the 15 years since that hijrah, I have never missed a prayer and I have never done drugs or alcohol again.
Now, anytime I feel my faith dropping, I remember Allah’s mercy.”
Aishah Schwartz invites others to make du’a for her when her iman is running low
“One of my favorite things about Islam is the teaching, “moderation in everything”. That concept sets the record straight, right up-front; Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (Almighty) knows better than we ever could ourselves, that we are bound to mistakes and fluctuating iman.
Keeping this in mind helps me in times of low faith, because I know I don’t have to guilt-trip myself over something that is bound to happen to anyone.
I spend a lot of time alone, being a second wife, and being separated from my family now since eight years; the loneliness associated with my life can sometimes become overwhelming.
But do you know what I do?
Of course, I pray, but social media lets me know I’m not praying alone.
So much of the time revert Muslims are brow-beaten by other Muslims with all the don’t do this, don’t say that business – but I’m not buying that I have to suffer in silence.
Of course we should cry to Allah Almighty, but I’m also a firm believer in inviting my friends to pray along with me; and subhana’Allah, they do.
Periodically, I will post a request for du’a support and subhan’Allah, right on time, I will find a message from someone writing just to let me know they are in Makkah or Madinah remembering me in du’a.
Now, that’s some extra heavy-duty power of prayer; the kind I’m talking about! Nothing lifts you out of an iman slump like reading an inbox message like that. Al-hamdulillah for the power of prayer; and social media.”
Stephanie Siam remembers Allah’s knowledge & mercy when her faith needs recharging
“When I came home this summer, it was nearly the beginning of Ramadan. Due to traveling and health issues, I was unable to fast.
I felt disconnected from my faith already because my daughter and I are the only Muslims in my side of the family. But being unable to fast the entire month left me feeling guilty and out-of-touch with Allah.
Then I thought about how Allah doesn’t give us more than we can handle. He also grants us pardon from observing certain religious obligations when we are burdened. I was having to endure the stress of traveling and not being at my home for two months, as well as assisting in the care of my sick mother.
All of this was while I was sick with an infection that ultimately landed me in the hospital. I remembered my greatest fear before traveling was having to keep my fast while under all the stress I expected to face.
I decided Allah set a specific turn of events in my path because He knew I would be under a lot of stress and unable to focus on fasting. It was then that my faith improved, as I felt a reverence for Allah’s might and His superior knowledge.
God truly knows what we do not. And while we may question and worry about the future, He is the one planning our way through it. Alhamdulillah.”
(This article is from Discovering Islam’s archive)