Myth: Imaan is in the heart
Do people think that they will be left (at ease) only on their saying, “We believe” and will not be put to any test? (29:2)
There are a few surahs in the Quran that have a very powerful opening. No intro, down-to-the-point-bleeding kind of opening that either makes you shudder in exponential degrees or it cuts you open– a big gash on your soul exposing all your flaws and making you come to terms with your delusions.
Surah Al-‘Ankabut is one of them. Right after Alim Laam Meem, Allah (swt) dispels all wishful thinking (khush-fehmiyaan, as you like) that you haven’t secured a direct flight to Jannah yet. You’ll be weighed and measured, tried and tested on your theoretical imaan before you can even begin to get comfortable. Arabic word fa-ta-na literally means to burn gold until its impurities fall off. The verse was revealed when the early followers of Islam underwent inhumane torture just because they believed. And our tests don’t even come close to that. This in itself speaks volumes about our little imaan that we stash away “in the heart” instead of “wearing it on the sleeve”.
It is Allah’s sunnah to try each and everyone of us. And it is true– we will never ever truly taste the sweetness of faith unless we’ve been cooked and boiled to the point of dis-figuration in our crucible. And I say dis-figuration because it apparently looks that way. You will, in fact, acknowledge it to be one of the rewarding points in life when you’re through it. Try making that difficult, momentous decision that you know is right but your folks and peers consider otherwise. And you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s always this one gigantic leap in all our lives that we hesitate to take. You evade it, sniffing out loopholes and groping for other ways around it– but you’ll probably never get there. Sometimes, that leap of faith is the only way. The one that you’re afraid to take.
If we look at our lives now, we probably haven’t gone through much. We don’t even have the capacity to survive Ramadan unscathed since there is no real resolve to change. “After Ramadan” is when we plan to do whatever it is that we cannot do in this month. Forget gold, we usually turn up like burnt biscuits.