Alhamdulilah; infinite thanks are due to Allah, to Whom all sovereignty belongs. May His peace and blessings be upon the best person who ever experienced sweetness of Iman, Habibi Muhammad, his household, his companions, and all those who follow his guided path, till the Day of Judgment.
The thought of sweetness of Iman has, lately, stroke my mind, several times. As a result, I started to ponder on the Hadeeths that highlight sweetness of Iman, which is commonly referred to in Arabic as, “Halawatul-Iman”, in the words of the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, in a way or the other. As I did so, I saw the necessity of sharing about “Sweetness of Iman” with the good readers of GSalam.Net, although, many have written about it.
No doubt, Iman, which is the Arabic word of ‘faith’ or ‘belief’, and which each one of us, carries within his heart, has a taste. That taste can be sweet, indeed. However, not everyone enjoys that sweet taste. Oftentimes, we taste the sweetness of Iman, without realizing those great moments in life.
A close imagination to the situation of sweetness of Iman, is when one of us gets hold to his cup of Nescafe or tea (which contain caffeine). Due to addiction, some of us (and I’m one of them, sorry) do not (or cannot) start our day, until we take the first sip of it, in the day. The good feeling we generate here can never be compared with “Halawatul-Iman”, but if you ever experienced it, you can have rough idea, on how Iman can taste.
Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Malik, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, narrated a Hadeeth, which was authenticated by Imam(s) Al-Bukhari and Muslim, that the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said:
ثَلاثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ وَجَدَ حَلاوَةَ الإِيمَانِ: أَنْ يَكُونَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا، وَأَنْ يُحِبَّ المَرْءَ لا يُحِبُّهُ إِلا لِلَّهِ، وَأَنْ يَكْرَهَ أَنْ يَعُودَ فِي الكُفْرِ كَمَا يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يُقْذَفَ فِي النَّارِ
It means, “There are three characteristics, whoever they are found in him, has attained the sweetness of Iman: When one loves Allah and His Prophet, more than he loves anyone else. An when he loves another person, for nothing but for the sake of Allah. And when he hates to return to infidelity (Kufr), as much as he dislikes to be thrown into fire.”
Preferring Allah and His Prophet over all creatures result to experiencing the examples I’m about to mention.
A simple example of situations, in which most of us, experience the sweetness of Iman, with or without realization, is when one sacrifices his lunchtime to go for Friday prayers. Going for Friday prayers requires a strong will (iman) and additional effort, more than the effort we put in, to go for the ordinary Zuhr prayers. I’m certain, that no one with Iman, will ever regret, sacrificing his lunchtime, for Friday prayers. The good news is that, this comes with excitement (sweetness). That excitement (the no-regret-feelings) is what can be referred to, as sweetness of Iman.
Another situation, in which the sweetness of Iman is tasted, is when you go against all odds, just to wake up, on time, for Fajr prayers. Being able to perform Fajr prayers on time (more so in the mosque, in congregation for males), brings lots of special feelings, to one self, throughout the day. Such excitement indicates sweetness of Iman.
One level higher than that, is when you prepare yourself, and decide; that by hook or by crook, you are going to wake up, and have special conversation with Allah, an hour, or so, before Fajr. Here, I’m referring to Qiyamullail or Tahajjud, Qur’an recitation, Zikr, or Dua’, which all can be done before Fajr prayers.
When, you experience this, it will feel as if, your inner self sings in silence, “I declare my pleasure with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, as the Prophet and Messenger of Allah.” Wow!
This is exactly, what the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said, in the Hadeeth narrated by Sayyiduna Al-‘Abbas Ibn Abdul-Muttalib, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, which was reported by Imam Muslim, when he (Al-‘Abbas) heard the Prophet saying:
ذَاقَ طَعْمَ الإِيمَانِ مَنْ رَضِىَ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ رَسُولاً
It means, “He has tasted the sweetness of Imam; the one who is pleased with Allah as a Lord, Islam as a religion, and Muhammad as a Messenger.”
By now, we all know, as Muslims, that it’s immoral and sinful to set our gaze unlawfully, at the opposite gender. But the truth is, not many of us, put in the effort to overcome their desire, with this regards. It’s also true and authentic, that anyone who gets attracted to a “very” appealing person from the opposite gender, but quickly sacrifices that (temporal) pleasure, and lowers his or her gaze will attain that spiritual excitement. We are talking about Halawatul-Iman. Tested and proven!
In fact, the Prophet, salla Allahu’alaihi wasallam, said in a Hadeeth reported by Imam Ahmad:
إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَدَعَ شَيْئاً لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلا بَدَّلَكَ اللَّهُ بِهِ مَا هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِنْهُ
It means, “You will not abandon something for the Sake of Allah, unless Allah replaces it with something, that is better than that, for you.”
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Sayyiduna Yusuf, alaihi al-Salam, turned his back (in fear of Allah) to the very wealthy and fascinating wife of the King of Egypt, who harassed him sexually. In return of the “20 minutes pleasure” which he turned down, Allah pleased him and gave him power and a lawful wife. In addition to that, He Bestowed His Love and Pleasure upon Sayyidina Yusuf, alaihi al-Salam.
Have you ever felt angry, bored, frustrated, and when you heard, or listened to some verses from the Qur’an or Hadeeths of the Prophet, you suddenly calmed down, and out of sudden such verses sounded, as if they were descended for the first time? That’s exactly one of the instances the believer experiences sweetness of Iman.
If you ever experienced that, then Congratulations! You are mentioned in the Qur’an. In Surah Al-Anfal, 8:2, Allah, subhanahu wata’alaa, describes the true believers (and you are one of them) as:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ * الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ * أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا لَّهُمْ دَرَجَاتٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ
It means, “true believers are those whose hearts tremble with amazement at the mention of Allah, and whose faith grows stronger as they listen to His revelations. They are those who put their trust in their Lord, who pray regularly and give in alms out of what We have provided for them. Such are the true believers. They have a high standing with their Lord, His forgiveness and an honourable provision made for them.”
No doubt, when one’s heart shivers out of respect and love (or calmness and tranquility) as Allah is mentioned, and when his faith grows stronger as he listens to the Qur’anic verses or the Prophetic sayings, there’s no way, he will find it difficult to observe his prayers or to give out the obligatory zakat. As a result, he deserves to be called by Allah Himself as “The True Believer”, and on top of that, he secures himself, a high standing with Allah, Forgiveness, and Honourable provisions prepared for him.
Did you ever meet somebody, and fell in love with him, for the sake of Allah? Sweetness of Iman in action! Loving someone, for no sinful reason or objective, is certainly an indication of purity in your heart. That’s why you were mentioned in the Hadeeth above, when the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said what means:
“There are three characteristics, whoever they are found in him, will experience the sweetness of Iman; that he loves Allah and His Prophet, more than he loves anyone else, and that he loves another person, not for anything, but for the sake of Allah, and that he hates to return to infidelity, like he dislikes to be thrown into fire.”
That was the good news. The bad news is that, in today’s reality, many people establish networking, never for the sake of Allah. They rather do so, for future investments or interests. That’s in contrary with what Islam teaches us. We should establish our networking, for Allah’s Sake, whether or not, it brings material benefits, to us, unexpectedly.
“Indeed, man’s very soul incites him to evil, unless my Lord bestows His mercy.” [Surah Yusuf, 12:53].
With exception of angels by nature, Facebookers are challenged occasionally (if not always), with some inappropriate pictures and videos on their walls or feeds. For that reason, I know some friends, who have decided, either to leave (unlike) some Facebook pages, leave some Facebook groups, unfriend/block some unethical Facebook friends, or quit the whole Facebook thing, for good.
If you ever left a page or group, unfriended or blocked unethical/immoral friends or even left the whole Facebook (and the likes) for Allah’s Sake, due to the kind of materials they post, you’ve certainly achieved Halawatul-Iman, by doing so.
There are lots of encounters, in which we, Muslims, experience ‘Halawatul-Iman’. Muslims carry out all acts with intention (niyyah) and Iman. Such situations include:
When you achieve happiness while making others happy, at the time that you have Allah’s Pleasure in mind.
When you console yourself, and become contented with the Bestowals of Allah upon you.
When you accomplish an obligatory deed, decreed by Allah.
When you make a sudden decision to carry out righteous deeds, such as praying two raka’aahs, charity, for the sake of Allah.
When you have and feel great pleasure for meeting righteous people.
When you bring smile to the face of the less fortunate.
When you get disappointed for missing Solat.
When you get disappointed for missing the opportunity to carry out a righteous deed or charity.
When you truly (genuinely) regret for committing a sin.
Let’s take a look at what some great Muslims have said, after they had experienced the sweet taste of Iman.
Sayyiduna Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, once said:
وَاللَّهِ لَوْ طَهُرَتْ قُلُوبُنَا، مَا شَبِعَتْ مِنْ كَلامِ رَبِّنَا
It means, “By Allah, had our hearts being pure, it would have never felt satisfied from the word of our Lord (Al-Qur’an).”
In other words, purifying our hearts entitles us for greater feelings of sweetness of Iman. Remember the “True Believers” and how they react, to the mention of Allah’s Name and His Revelations.
Sayyiduna Bilal Ibn Rabah, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, was tortured under the burning sun, on the hot sands (desert), in the sunny days of Makkah. All that happened to force him revert from his new religion; Islam. He bore all that and survived. He bravely refused to revert back to idolism. When he was asked on how he managed to bear all that, he said:
مَزَجْتُ مَرَارَةَ العَذَابِ بِحَلاوَةِ الإِيمَانِ، فَطَغَتْ حَلاوَةُ الإِيمَانِ
It means, “I mixed the bitterness of the torture with the sweetness of Iman, and the sweetness of Iman conquered.”
Al-Hasan Al-Basri, from his experience, also said:
تَفَقَّدُوا الحَلاوَةَ فِي ثَلاثَةِ أَشْيَاء: فِي الصَّلاةِ، وَفِي الذِّكْرِ، وَفِي تِلاوَةِ القُرْآنِ. فَإِنْ وَجَدْتُمْ؛ وَإِلا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ البَابَ مُغْلَقٌ
It means, “Beseech sweetness in three things: in solat, in remembrance (Zikr) and in reciting the Qur’an. If you achieve it, that is it. But you don’t, know that the door is closed.”
Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taimiyah once said:
إِنَّ فِي الدُّنْيَا جَنَّةً، مَنْ لَمْ يَدْخُلْهَا لَمْ يَدْخُلْ جَنَّةَ الآخِرَةِ
It means, “There is a Paradise in this world, whoever fails to enter it, will not enter the Paradise of the Hereafter.”
In order to attain sweetness of Iman, with or without consciousness, there are some secrets, which, I believe, you should know. Such secrets lie in the Hadeeth Al-Qudsi, which was reported by Sayyidina Abu Hurairah, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, and compiled by Imam Al-Bukhari, in which Rasulullah, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَالَ: مَنْ عَادَى لِى وَلِيًّا فَقَدْ آذَنْتُهُ بِالْحَرْبِ، وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ عَبْدِي بِشَيْءٍ أَحَبَّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطُشُ بِهَا، وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَإِنْ سَأَلَنِي لَأُعْطِيَنَّهُ، وَلَئِنِ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لَأُعِيذَنَّهُ، وَمَا تَرَدَّدْتُ فِي شَيْءٍ أَنَا فَاعِلُهُ تَرَدُّدِي عَنْ نَفْسِ المُؤْمِنِ، يَكْرَهُ المَوْتَ وَأَنَا أَكْرَهُ مَسَاءَتَهُ
It means, “Verily, Allah said: Whosoever shows enmity to a loved one of Mine, then I have declared war against him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.”
We can learn from the above Hadeeth, a few lessons that can guide us to the deeds, through which we achieve sweetness of Iman. Such deeds can be categorized into two main categories:
Observing obligatory deed (Faraidh) s; and
Observing lots of supererogatory deeds (Sunan / Nawafil).
Observing the obligatory deeds (Faraidh) starts with the five times daily prayers, caring for our parents, developing the greatest love for Allah and for the Prophet, and prioritizing the Pleasure of Allah and the Prophet above all pleasures.
Observing supererogatory deeds (Sunan / Nawafil) include reciting the Qur’an, pondering upon the meanings of the verses of the Qur’an, observing Qiyamullail, observing Sunnah fasting, giving and doing charity, loving righteous people and many more.
I find it important to emphasize on a fact. That is, we start with observing obligatory deeds, and once they become habit (done intentionally), in our lives, we can look into upgrading to higher level, by adopting the Nawafil. We don’t start with Nawfil up to Faraidh.
Every one of us has in a way or another experienced Halawatul-Iman, consciously or unconsciously. Now, the most important thing is whether we invest that great moments, for prolonged greater moments.
The taste of Iman is not like the taste of fruits, which some (fruits) can be sweet; some can be sour while some are bitter. I guess some fruits are tasteless. However, Iman has a taste, and we should thrive for the sweet taste it posses. If we fail to taste the sweet taste of Iman, I’m afraid we may taste the tasteless taste, or the sour taste, or worst; the bitter taste.
What are some of the incidents, in which you consciously experienced Halawatul-Iman? Kindly share that experiences with us, in the comments area below. Other comments on this article are also welcome.
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Allah knows best.