The Sweetness of Iman – A Seminar by Shaykh Ahsan Hanif

By Friday, November 01, 2013 , , , , , , , ,

I am back! Alhamdulillaah, I passed the CPA Board examination and I am now a CPA. After giving my time to the worldly desire of education, I would want to start off my career with knowing more about Islam and loving it more. Inshaa Allaah, I will be posting more in here. I am currently studying Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies at Islamic Online University for the sake of my deen. Inshaa Allaah, everything will flow smoothly.

Last August 22, 2013, I attended a Seminar at AIM Building, Ayala, Makati City held by Al-Maghrib Institute. It was indeed heartwarming and humbling to be with Muslims and learning from and with them the beauty of this religion. I promised myself that I should post about the said seminar and share it to the world. Alhamdulillaah, here it is.

This will be a long post, please bear with me. Read and be indulged in the beauty of Islam. I love you for the sake of Allaah. This is why I am sharing such beautiful experience with you.

Please read till the end. I highly encourage you to do so.



Iman, when translated to English, means faith. However, this word, iman, is far deeper than faith. It is something more powerful. It is something that determines how we will be able to withstand the changes in our surroundings and the troubles that we are about to face in terms of our beliefs.

In every aspect of our daily life, we should develop an attitude of increasing our faith with everything that surrounds and within us. Iman fluctuates. Even the sahaba has this problem of iman going up and down. However, they incorporated within them the ways on how to increase their iman when they feel that it is getting low.

"When your iman is strong, it gives off fruit for every season." (Surah Ibrahim)

That means, when we have strong iman, we taste the sweetness of religion and life in every aspect and season. Iman is something we should develop innate within us. It should be strong enough to be the foundation of our beliefs. When our iman is strong, everything about Islam and its pillars will comes off as easy as a walk in the park.

There are 3 things that will define our iman. These are:

  1. Allaah SWT and the Prophet SAW are more beloved to you than anything in this world.
  2. You love your fellow brothers and sisters in Islam only for the sake of Allaah.
  3. You dislike to go back to Kufr/disbelief just as you dislike to be thrown to jahannam.

The big question now is: How do we increase our iman? 


According to Sheikh Ahsan, there are 6 major ways to increase our iman. But everything would lead us to the shahada.

photo credit: aaiil.org
I - Loving Allaah

We cannot increase our faith unless we love Allaah. We won't follow Islam unless we find ourselves loving Allaah. We cannot say we are Muslims if we don't love Allaah.

So, how do we love Allaah? Let me ask you something. Those you loved the most today, why do you love them? Did you just wake up one day and decided you love them? Actually, no. You love them because you know them. And when you know them best, they put a mark in your heart and they stay there forever. Thus, you love them.

When we want to love Allaah, we have to know Him. We have to know everything about Him, though as a human, we cannot know everything about Allaah. Only He knows everything about Him. As Sheikh said, "We find it hard to love Allaah simply because we don't know Him."

We all know that in the Qur'an, the Almighty talks often about Him. This is so to help us know Him. He focuses on Himself so that we have an idea of what He is like. The greatest surah, Al-Fatihah, and the greatest verse, Ayatul Qursi, talks about the greatness of Allaah and what He is like. Surah Ikhlas, which when read is equivalent to reading 1/3 of the Quran, talks about Allaah as well. From these alone, we get knowledge of our Creator. Inshaa Allaah, we incorporate these ayah and surahs in our hearts.

Aside from knowing Allaah, we should see His beauty. We all know that Allaah is more beautiful than what we can fathom. He also loves beauty. That's why He gave us senses to experience beauty. Knowing the 99 names of Allaah would make us appreciate His beauty even more.

We know Allaah. We see His beauty. But, we also have to be thankful of all the favours Allaah has given us. We love those who give favours. How much more when we know Allaah's favours upon us? Won't we love him the most? Imagine life without your eyes. How dark would it be? Imagine life without those you love. How lonely would it be? Imagine if you have not been given this life, in the first place. Would you be able to experience any of these? No! Our lifetime worship of Allaah does not compensate the favours given to us. Remember, one good deed is heavier than 99 of our sins. That's how much favour we are receiving from Allaah.

We have to be thankful that we are given this opportunity to enter paradise. Ameen.

II - Loving The Prophet SAW

If there is one man on earth with so many people loving him, it would be Prophet Muhammad SAW. Though Islam is the second largest religion, I say this because only Prophet Muhammad SAW receives so many prayers for his sins despite his close to perfection. Only he that people asks for forgiveness everytime his name is mentioned, may Allaah be pleased with him.

Now, imagine on the day of Judgment, when we are altogether and the Prophet leads us. Won't it be the sweetest day? Perhaps, that is the day that I can say, I would die of kilig and all the things that teenagers feel for One Direction, etc. Even upon writing this down, I feel the enthusiasm and excitement I will experience on the day I meet the Prophet. Inshaa Allaah, may Allaah bless us to meet and talk to the Prophet in Jannah one day.

Why do we love the Prophet? Allaah loves him. That alone is enough reason for us to love the Prophet. We love him because he sets the perfect example of a Muslim and a believer. We love him because he has sacrificed so much for this Ummah. We love him because he has given us so much favour. We love him even though we have not met him because we are praying that one day, we will meet him.

If you love someone, you will follow him. If you love the Prophet, you will follow him.

III - True Brotherhood

As the saying goes, "No man is an island."

We cannot say that we can live without depending or without mingling with our fellow human being. This is why, friendship has a vital role in Islam. When you have good company, you will at least be good too.

How do you choose your friend? Is it because you have similar interests? Actually no. You become friends mainly because they happen to be there and you get to know them. Friendship is said to be organic. It's natural that we become friends with those around us. If we get to know them, then we create a bond that leads to your similarities.

There are three levels of friendship: acquaintance, friendship, companionship/bestfriend/khalil. If you have reached companionship, then, you can say that nothing will ever tear you apart aside from Allaah.

If we can remember, there are 4 types of people that Allaah loves. These are the ones that love, sit, visit, and strive for another for the sake of Allaah. Good companionship takes you closer to Allaah while the opposite will take you to Kufr.

How can we develop true brotherhood amongst us? We should take time to learn and study Islaam together and help one another in terms of difficulty in the deen. Inshaa Allaah.

IV - Being Better than the Best

"Muslims of today lack ambitions towards their religion," Sheikh Ahsan said. What we don't understand is that we need to develop within us an ambition that will guide this ummah to be the best ummah, as the Prophet said with confidence. We are the best of all the ummahs. Thus, we should uphold this title by being the best in every way we could. We should always try to do things with excellence, but we should not expect perfection. For perfection is only a word befitting to Allaah.

When you think that you have reached the "best", you are wrong. Don't take it as the ceiling. You should always go higher and higher. Everyday, you should do something extra. That is to achieve ihsan. Abubakr RA was promised jannah. Yet, he still manages to serve an old woman by cleaning her house, milking the goat, and baking bread for her.

If you ask for Jannah, ask for Jannatul Firdaus, the jannah next to Allaah's haven.

If you aim for excellence, you will always remember Allaah and your iman would go up.

V - Trusting Allaah

My highschool teacher once told us, "You are not a Muslim if you have problems and you are unhappy." I doubted this way back. But now, as I reflected through the trials I had in my life, it is indeed true.

We are Muslims. We believe in the Qadr (decree) of Allaah. When we reach failure, we should not be discouraged. A Muslim should never get discouraged if Allaah has decreed upon him failure in one aspect. Allaah is the best of planners. We are where we are right now for a reason.

Everything in life is borrowed. If it is borrowed, why worry in the first place? Allaah owns everything. Yet, he still gives us so much blessings. That's why we don't have to worry. Allaah will never put us in a position that we could not handle.

If you leave something for the sake of Allaah, He gives it back to you more.

Be the best you can be. After you did your job, leave everything to the rahma of Allaah. He will always be there for you.

VI - Be in this World as a Stranger

In this world, nothing is permanent. We will all say our farewell. Sometimes, we won't even be able to say goodbye. Everyone is a passer-by. That's why don't put yourself in a position that you are too stuck in this world. Know that the goal is to be in our home in Jannah.

If we live like a stranger to this world, it would be easier for us to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah. If you feel lost, keep on evaluating yourself and know where your position is as of today. We should remind ourselves constantly of the things we should do and should have done in this dunya.

This is not to say that we should not be involved in dunya. Islam is a matter of keeping in balance your dunya and your akhirat, with the akhirat having little more weight. It is knowing what Allaah wants and asks of us.

There are said to be 4 types of people. These are:

  1. Wealthy and Knowledgeable of Islam - they spend for good and they are the best type of people.
  2. Knowledgeable but Poor - if they had the money, they would have spent it for good. These are equal in reward with #1.
  3. Wealthy but no knowledge - they dispute over wealth and spend on evil. These are the worst type of people.
  4. Poor and no knowledge - if they had the money, they would spent it on evile. These are equal in evil with #3.
Now, you can choose to be who among the four you can be. If we cannot be number 1, then we can at least be number 2. Inshaa Allaah.

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Sheikh Ahsan stressed that in everything we do, we can change it into worship. Islam is not just a religion, it is our way of life. It encompasses everything in our lives.

Think back and reflect. If you have low iman, perhaps you can now start on building and developing it to be skyscraper high. In Islam, it is never too late to do good.

The worst of people is that he who thinks that Allaah will not have mercy upon him for his evil deeds. Remember, Allaah is the most merciful and most forgiving.

Alhamdulillaah for being a Muslim. I hope I have shared enough. Inshaa Allaah, I will be sharing more.


If you have read till here, then Alhamdulillaah. May we all be blessed by the Almighty Allaah. 

PS: I want to thank Kah Zarah Kathleen Alih for inviting me to the seminar and to Jasmeen who was my company for the day. May Allaah be pleased with both of you.

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