We talk about iman. We talk about taqwa. But do we feel it?
I just want to share something I've noticed within myself that makes me wonder if it could be a collective experience that I share with all of humanity.
Work with me for a second, and put your science and reason aside; focus on feeling.
Have you ever had days or moments where you've felt your inner being to be lightweight, transcendent and luminous? Did you feel content, gratified and at ease? Did that moment arise from a personal epiphany, prayer or sincere dua? Did you exhibit a calm behavior and found yourself thinking before you spoke or acted? Did you find that the feeling remained until you got distracted and accumulated sins?
In the time you seek to recover back to that state, you are less sensitive to the world around you. Other people's suffering seems distant. Your own concerns and goals about yourself are prioritized. And you are less inclined to do acts of charity or sacrifice. And this is the time Shaitan does his best work. He will do whatever it takes to convince you that you have strayed forever and that Allah can never forgive and give you back that feeling. And that you've lost touch with Him. But we all know well that Shaitan never asks us to do what is good for us, he only wants our demise. By telling us that we are far from our past, he is making his job easier and guaranteeing that he won't need to put in much effort next time at guiding you away.
Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.[Albaqara:7]
When we are engulfed in our own self, we are essentially lying to ourselves about our existence and pretending as though we are not in need of Allah. It is not only a recipe for our own failure in the dunya and akhira, but it is also arrogance in the face of our Creator:
In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.[albaqara:10]
Allah states that when a heart is hard, it is similar to a rock, or even harder. One of the most beautiful ayas in my opinion is the one which reminds us of the arrogance of the human existence as compared to Allah's other beings and creation:
Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah . And Allah is not unaware of what you do.[albaqara:74]
Those of us with hard hearts are insensitive to the minor signs of Allah's existence in the universe. This patriarchy might lead some to demand that Allah proves himself through science or other direct ways. But Allah states that the signs are easily detected by those who are certain of their faith and who have trust in Allah. He also states that those who have hard hearts also share them with others of the same nature, and they only bring each other down:
Those who do not know say, "Why does Allah not speak to us or there come to us a sign?" Thus spoke those before them like their words. Their hearts resemble each other. We have shown clearly the signs to a people who are certain [in faith].
But like I said, feeling an iman-low is no reason to give up on yourself and your deen. So what can we do to regain these feelings of connection with Allah (subhanahu wa ta'laa)? Well, if you thought deeply about this question, then you would surely come to the conclusion that any physical act of worship without true sincerity and spirituality is unlikely to get you feeling taqwa again. My humble suggestion would be to focus on direct communication through dua that is transparent and honest. It might also be of help to check your heart every few minutes and do an evaluation of your energy or your noor. One way to regain noor into your life is through wudu and salat, but also through, what in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful duas that the prophet used to say before fajr. It is a dua that gives the one who recites it a full 360 degree engulfment of noor, from one's heart to their surroundings:
"Oh Allah, make there be light in my heart, and light in my grave, and light in my hearing, and light in my sight, and light in my hair, and light in my skin, and light in the flesh of my body, and light in my blood, and light in my bones, and light from between my palms, and light from behind, and light from my right and left, and light from above and below me. Oh Allah, increase me in noor, give me noor, and make me noor."