For every sane human, identity is essential. The belief system is critical in identity formation, as it sets criteria for rights and wrongs in all matters. Human beings are created with innate strength (Personality), and their belief system is a crucial motivator of that strength. The belief system is the lens through which they view and assess things.
Islam is a complete code that covers the spiritual, social, economic and political aspects of our lives. Muslims are blessed with a criterion; the Quran, which is meant to differentiate between right and wrong and more importantly to serve as a tool for solving all human problems.
With Islam being a complete way of life, it is important to note the true nature of humans which include:
- Their uniqueness in creation and being distinct from The Creator.
- They are created on earth for a purpose, which is to worship Allah.
- They have a very significant role in the world as successors on earth, and all resources have been made subservient to them.
- They are blessed with valuable capabilities to match their positions. The intent to will, ability to understand, to follow guidance and repent after committing an error.
- They have weaknesses, such as lowly desires, laziness and forgetfulness, that may lead them astray.
- They have potentials to elevate themselves by submitting to guidance from Allah, or debase themselves by becoming heedless of that guidance and befriending Shaytan, the accursed.
- Their key to salvation and happiness is in believing and following the guidance that comes from Allah. This will determine their value in this life and their status in the hereafter.
Several verses in the Qur’an feature the honor and blessings that Allah has bestowed upon human beings. He has given us the innate ability to strengthen and purify ourselves. Eeman is the solid indicator of faith in our hearts, and it is important that it should be well nurtured in order to succeed in this world that is full of trials, since part of Allah’s plan is to test His slaves with tribulations and blessings. Allah says in one verse;
“Do the people think that they will be left to say, we believe and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars” (Ankabuut 29:2-3)
Allah tests humans with both calamities and blessings to determine who are patient and thankful. It is quite unfortunate that in the world we live today, many people fail this test or they attempt to avoid the test as much as possible, and this tells in their self-worth.
The strength of Eeman plays a vital role in personality, perspectives and priority. An individual’s worth should be based on his piety and actions, as this will create a great difference between self-esteem and thinking. Islam teaches values, such as altruism, empathy, peace, charity and justice, that are essential in living a tranquil life, despite the uncertainties of life. The self-esteem of a Muslim depends on his/her spiritual consciousness. Our lives evolve around the strength of our Eeman, as the lack or the weakness of Eeman is the cause of brutality we see in the world today.
As Muslims, it is important to understand the concept of Taqwah, the fearful awareness of Allah, to be consciously aware of His Knowledge in our dealings. This pious dedication and carefulness is essential to our values and drives of actions.
Prophet Muhammad said:
“Eeman has more than seventy parts: the highest is the confession that there is none worthy of worship other than Allah, and the lowest is removing a harmful object from the road” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Our Solat, Zakat, Fasting and Hajj are all pillars of Eeman, and it is also said that virtues such as modesty, honesty, truthfulness, and sincerity constitute its branches. What more builds an individual’s self-worth other than these qualities! How blessed are the Muslims to not only practise these to be successful in this life, but in the hereafter.
Ibn al-Qayyim wrote that Eeman is composed of the following components:
- Having knowledge of what the Prophet taught.
- Having complete and firm belief in what the Prophet brought,
- Verbally professing one’s belief in what he brought,
- Submitting to what he brought out of love and humility, and
- Acting in accord with what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) brought, both inwardly and outwardly, implementing it and calling others to the path.
Many scholars classified Eeman to three essential components such as having belief in the heart, profession by tongue (statements), and performance of deed by the body (actions). As the heart is the core abode of Eeman, it is important that every individual strive as much as possible to nurture and purify it to help build their worth in both lives. The effect of lack or weak Eeman breeds atrocities such as killing, jealousy, backbiting, slandering, prostitution, lack of humanity, and many more that we see so rampant, even among Muslims. Individuals find themselves doing most of these atrocities due to their level of self-worth.
It should be understood that the level of Eeman will determine how hypocritical people can be, it defines who we are within ourselves when nobody is around us, and that defines our level of integrity, and most importantly, our relationship with Allah, our sincerity, and intentions, and all these reflect in our behavior.
Eeman is the strength within. As it has been observed in our society today that resilience is important to thrive, and this can only be attainable with a nurtured Eeman. Eeman implements Tawheed!
How to Strengthen our Eeman
- Belief in Allah with pure Tawheed and avoid partners with Him
- Kindness, respect and obedience towards parents
- Fear of Allah and awareness of His all-encompassing presence.
- Establishment of prayer, on time and in the correct manner.
- Enjoining what is right and forbidding wrongs.
- Bearing life with patience.
- Humility and meekness.
- Moderation and avoidance of extremes.
- Attachment to Quran and authentic hadiths
- Love of Allah, His Messenger and His book sincerely.
- Understanding of all things from the Islamic perspectives.
- Islamic personality, value, and identity.
- Equity and justice in dealing with others.
- Pride in being a Muslim and be thankful.
With all these put in consideration, we would Inshaa Allah build a self-confident and positive self-esteem; be motivated, persistent and hard-working, responsible, capable and skillful individuals, living a content, honest and courageous life, as seen examples from our predecessors (Companions of the Prophet) and then we would be able to lead as Pioneers.
Keeping in mind that TRUE success will be achieved in this life and hereafter by living a life of Islam, Eeman and Ihsan, and hope on Allah for BARAKAH.
To have a worthy self-esteem, we need to strengthen our Eeman. And this will help build abundant wisdom to transverse on this transient journey. In Shaa Allah!