The disease of an ailing Iman has many symptoms, which include:
(1) Committing Sins:
Some people insist on committing the same sins over and over again. As a
result, repugnance of sins is slowly withdrawn from their heart to the point
that they commit these sins openly as described in this hadith: "All my
followers will be forgiven except those who commit sins openly. Such is the case
of a man who commits a sin at night and Allah had his sin concealed till the
morning comes. But he says openly' 'O so and so, I did such an such yesterday,'
Allah had covered his sin, but he uncovered the veil of Allah from it"
(Related by Al- Bukhari)
(2) Hardening of the Heart:
The person reaches a stage where he feels that his heart has turned into a
solid rock that is not affected by anything. Allah says: "And yet, after
this, your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder, (Al-Baqarah,
2:74). A hardened heart is not affected by anything- even seeing people die and
attending funerals would not move it. The person with a hardened heart may even
carry a corpse and bury it, yet he walks in the graveyard as if he were
strolling between pine trees!
(3) Performing Acts of Worship Poorly:
Such a person remains absent- minded during prayers and while reciting the
Qur'an. He also does not contemplate upon the meaning of the supplications he is
making. As a result, he recites them in a monotonous tone void off any
reflections. He does not think for a moment about the value of these
supplications. He forgets that: "Allah does not accept the supplications
from an inattentive, heedless heart" (Related by Al- Tirmidhi). His acts of
worship are reduced to hollow movements with no spirit behind them. Allah
describes the hypocrites: "And they do not remember Allah but little"
(Al- Nisa 4:142).
A hard hearted person remains indifferent when he does not perform some good
deeds and misses those times of worship that have more reward in them. His lack
of interest to earn rewards is obvious. Delaying Hajj when he is capable of
performing it, missing congregational prayers in the Musjid, and Jumuah prayer
are a few examples of this. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhe Wasallam said:
"people will continue to withdraw to rows behind the first one until Allah
puts them in a back place in hell" (Related by Abu Dawud).
Furthermore, he does not feel remorse if he misses obligatory duties and does
not try to perform the different Sunnah prayers or invocations. He ignores them,
convincing himself that they are only Sunnah!
(4) Lack of Tranquility:
His breast get tightened, his mood changes, he feels as if he is carrying a
heavy load, and he becomes annoyed quickly because of minor things. He gets
pestered by the behavior of people around him and he does not forgive them
easily. He harbors malice toward fellow Muslims over insignificant issues. The
Prophet (S.A.W) has described Iman to forgiveness: "Iman is patience and
forgiveness" (Related by Al- Tirmidhi). In another Hadith, the Prophet (S.A.W.)
described the believer in the following manner. He makes friends and is
befriended and there is no goodness in (one who) does not make friends or is not
befriended (Related by Al- Tirmidhi).
(5) Verses of Qur'an has no affect upon him:
The promises, warnings, commands, prohibitions, and descriptions of the Day
of Judgement do not make his eyes flood with tears, or his heart quiver, or his
soul shiver. Consequently he gets bored and tired when listens to the recital of
(6) He is negligent in remembering Allah:
This simple act of devotion becomes heavy upon him to the point that when he
raises his hands in supplication, he hastens to fold them up quickly to conclude
it. He is not eager to repent to Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, and to make
invocations to Him for his needs. Allah describes the hypocrites: " And
when they stand up to pray, they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and
they do not remember Allah but little", (Al-Nisa, 4:12).
(7) He does not get angry when the commandments of Allah are violated:
This is because the glowing light of honor in his heart has been extinguished
and as a result his limbs have become numb to repudiate evil. So he does not
bother to enjoin good or forbid evil. This is due to a weak heart as indicated
by the Prophet (S.A.W.): "Temptations are presented to the heart, one by
one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but that any
heart that rejects will be left with a mark of purity, until the hearts become
one of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and becomes like a
overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for
as long as the earth and the heavens exist" (Related by Muslim).
So the desire of enjoining good and forbidding evil disappears from a sick
heart. Good and evil are same to it. Rather, the person may even be happy to
hear about the corruption that is being committed on earth. His unfortunate
souls forgets that the sin upon him is the same as the sin upon the person who
witnessed the evil and approved of it, as the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "When
a sin is committed on earth, the one who witnessed it and hates it is like the
one who was absent from it, and the one who was absent from it but was pleased
with it (after he found out about it), it is like he witnessed it" (Related
by Abu Dawud).
Since being pleased with the sin is a deed of his heart, it makes the sin upon
him equal to the sin of the one who witnessed it.
(8) He loves to be in Gatherings and be Engrossed in Talking:
He tries to impose his views on others and likes the discussion to center
around him. Gatherings in which idle talk takes prominence are considered like
slaughter houses from which the Prophet (S.A.W.) warned us when he said:
"Watch out for the slaughter houses (meaning ) gatherings" (Related by
(9) He is Arrogant:
He likes people to stand up for him when he enters to meet them because
feeling great gratifies his diseased soul. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: The one
who is pleased that the slaves of Allah stand up for him, then let him be
assured of his place in the fire (Related by Al- Bukhari in Al-Adab Al- Mufrad).
Mu'awaiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan entered upon two companions of the Prophet, Ibn 'Amir'
stood up and Ibn Zubayr sat down. Seeing this, Mu'awiyah said to Ibn 'Amir'
"Sit down, because I heard the Messenger of Allah say: "The one who
loves that another man stand up for him, then let him rest assured of his
sitting place in the Fire" (Related by Abu Dawud).
(10) Stinginess and Greed:
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has praised those who spend their wealth for good
causes and at the same time blamed those who are miserly. In the Qur'an Allah
has praised the Ansars for the way they gave preference to the Muhjarin (Muslims
who migrated from Makkah) over themselves: "but they (Ansars give them
preference over themselves even though they were in need of that (the booty).
And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the
successful" (Al- Hashr, 59:9). Allah has clarified that the successful ones
are those who protect themselves against stinginess. With out doubt, weakness of
Iman is born from stinginess as the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Iman and
Covetousness can never come together in the heart of a slave" (Related by
Considering the danger of stinginess and its effects upon one's soul, the
Prophet (S.A.W.) explained it to be: "Beware of covetousness, because the
ones before you perished because of covetousness. It induces them to be miserly
so they become misers and it induced them to break the ties (of kinship) so they
broke it and they induced them to sins so they committed sins" (Related by
A greedy person also has a weak Iman. He scarcely spends anything for the sake
of Allah even if he is called to donate in charity when his Muslim brothers are
hungry and afflicted by hardships. There is nothing clearer in this matter than
the Book of Allah: "Behold! It is you who are called to spend freely in
Allah's cause: but even among you are such as turn out to be niggardly! And yet,
he who acts niggardly in Allah's cause is but niggardly towards himself: for
Allah is Rich, and you are poor. And if you turn away from Him, He will cause
other people to take your place, and they will not be likes of you"
(Muhammad, 47: 38).
(11) He falls into Doubtful Matters:
When he performs an action, he does not ask if it is an act of righteousness,
but rather will it earn him any sin or not. This is exactly what the Prophet (S.A.W.)
informed us of: "But he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that
which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all about
grazing therein. Truly, every king has a sanctuary, and Allah's sanctuary is His
prohibitions" (Related by Muslim).
When such people ask for a fatwah (Islamic ruling) about something, and finds
out that it is forbidden, they do not give up. They want to know how severe the
prohibition is? How many sins does he earn if he commits it? He is not concerned
to stay away from evil and sinful deeds, rather he is inclined to take the first
step towards haram things by belittling the burning effects of sins, which run
him the risk of committing haram, and remove the screen between him and the sin.
This is why the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: " Know that some people from my
Ummah will come on the Day of Judgement with good deeds like the white mountains
of Tihama, but Allah will make them scattered dust" Thawban said," O
Messenger of Allah, describe them to us, clarify them to us, so that we may not
be one of them without knowing it!" He said" They will be your
brothers, and from your people, and they will take from the night as you do
(meaning prayers, etc.) but they are a people who, when they were alone with the
prohibitions of Allah, violated them", (Related by Ibn Majah).
So you will find him engulfed in forbidden things without any protection o
shielding, and this is more evil than the one who commits them but with some
reluctance. These people commit sins with ease as a result of ailing Iman and do
not see their act to be an evil one. This is how Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud radiallahu
anhu described the way a believer and a hypocrite perceive sins: "A
believer see his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain, fearing it might
fall upon him, while a sinner sees his sins as a fly passing over his nose, so
he gets rid of it with his hand" (Related by Al- Bukhari).
(12) Belittling Good Deeds:
There is lack of concern on the part of the sick at heart to perform small
deeds of righteousness contrary to what the Prophet (S.A.W.) has taught us when
he said: " Do not belittle any small acts of kindness even if it is to pour
water from your bucket into the vessel of the one who asks for it or to talk to
your brother with a cheerful face" (Related by Ahmed). So, acts that appear
to be minor should not be underestimated. Hence, meeting a fellow Muslim with a
smiling face and removing trash and dirt from the Musjid- even as a little as a
straw- entails great rewards. It may be that a small deed becomes a reason for
the forgiveness of major sins. Allah thanks his slave for these small deeds and
forgives him. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: " Once a man saw the branch of a
tree in the middle of a road, so he said, "By Allah, I will remove this
from the path of the Muslims so they may not be hurt", For this action, he
was put in paradise" (Related by Muslim).
Mu'adh Ibn Jabal was once walking with someone. He removed a pebble from the
way. The man asked Mu'adh why he did that, Mu'adh answered him: "I heard
the Messenger of Allah say: "one who removes a stone from the way has a
good deed written for him, and one whom a good deed is written shall enter
Paradise" (Related by Al- Tabarani).
(13) Not Caring About the Affairs of Muslims:
A person with a sick heart does not react to the needs of Muslims by making
supplication, giving charity, or offering assistance. He does not care if his
brothers are afflicted by a hardship in any part of the world such as being
overwhelmed by the enemy, being persecuted, or being stricken by disasters. It
is enough for him that his conditions are good! This is because of his ailing
Iman. A believer is the opposite of that as described by the Prophet (S.A.W.)
"A believer feels pain for the believers, just as the body feel distress
over what is troubling the head" (Related by Ahmed).
(14) He is Deprived of the Friendship of Brothers:
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Two person who become friends for the sake
of Allah do not separate except because of a sin committed by one of them"
(Related by Al-Bukhari in Al- Adab Al- Mufrad).
This is a proof of the evil effects of sins: it breaks the ties of brotherhood.
This alienation that a person finds between himself and his brothers is
sometimes the result of a decline in Iman which results from committing sins. So
the love others have for him dwindles.
(15) Showing Grief and Fear when Afflicted by a Hardship or when in
Such a person is often found to be shaky in offering obligatory duties,
unbalanced, absent minded, lost, and fidgety. He is not able to face reality
with unwavering limbs and a firm heart. All of this is due to ailing Iman. If
the Iman were strong, he would have been firm and faced the greatest of
hardships with strength and steadfastness.
(16) Disputing and Arguing Unnecessarily:
Much engagement in these habits hardens the heart as the Prophet (S.A.W.)
said:" A person never went astray after being upon guidance except through
distress" (Related by Ahmed).
So, argumentation without proof and proper intention takes one away from the
straight path. These days, most people argue falsely and without knowledge or
guidance. It is enough for them to leave this bad habit after knowing what the
Prophet (S.A.W.) said:" I guarantee a house in the outskirts of Paradise to
the one who gives up arguing even if he were on the right side" (Related by
(17) Attachment to Worldly Life:
He is so materialistic that he feels anguish when something of this life,
like wealth, honor, status, etc. are taken away from him. He feels as if he has
been injured badly because he did not get what others did. His feeling of injury
becomes stronger and he feels rejected on seeing his Muslim brother get
something of this world which did not reach him. Envy takes root in his heart so
that he wishes that this bounty be taken away from his brother. This is what the
Prophet (S.A.W.) warned us against:" Never can Iman and envy come together
in the heart of a slave" (Related by Al- Nisa'i).
(18) His Speech is Void of the Etiquette of the Qur'an or Sunnah:
The signs of Iman are absent from him . You will barely find in this person's
speech quotations from the Qur'an or Sunnah or the sayings of the early
generations of the Muslims.
These are some of the symptoms of a weak faith. By becoming aware of the
symptoms, one has made the first step towards the remedy.