Faith — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

 “Allah has caused faith to be dear to you and has made it beautiful within your hearts.” (Qur’an 49:7-8)

Allah says: “Take one step towards Me and I will take ten steps towards you; walk towards Me and I will run towards you.” (Hadith)

Faith can be likened to a seed that Allah has planted deep within the heart of each and every one of us. We cannot create Faith, only Allah can create it.  Faith, like a seed, can only grow in fertile soil.  If the soil of our heart is not fertile, the seed will remain dormant until conditions improve.  We have the power to fertilize or purify the soil of our heart, which we do through spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, reading and studying sacred scriptures, and compassionately examining our actions and intentions.  

Once the seed of faith sprouts forth, it grows stronger, little by little.  At first it is weak, and must be tended gently and regularly.  It is our job to tend the fledgling faith by surrounding ourselves with people who love the truth, people who remind us of God, and inspire us to be our best self. Difficult conditions may arise.  The heavy rains may come, or a long period of drought.  We may be unwittingly or even purposefully trampled upon. This stage of faith requires great patience and perseverance.  We are asked to avoid those who do may discourage us, or lead us astray.  The Qur’an says, “Remain, then, patient in adversity: verily, the promise of God is true indeed.  So let not those who are devoid of all inner certainty disquiet thy mind!”  (Qur’an 30:60)  

As our fledgling sprout of faith begins to strengthen and grow, we begin to appreciate the beauty it creates in our lives.  We become grateful, courageous, and confident.  This is when our righteous deeds have a deepening effect on our lives and the lives of others. Beauty begins within and radiates outward to everyone it touches.  Faith does not have to convince anyone of its existence or importance.  Over the course of our lives, with Allah’s Grace, we may be permitted to experience Faith as a mighty Oak or Cedar tree, towering over our own life and the lives of everyone we come in contact with.  It protects us from adversity, guides us in times of uncertainty, nourishes us in times of need, and strengthens us with patience and courage.  Faith, even when it comes to maturity, continues to need nourishment. The reciprocal relationship between our faith and our nafs (soul) allows us to nourish and be nourished, to give and receive love, to be grateful and hopeful that we will soon be at one with our Creator and Cherisher.  All of our questions will be answered and all of life’s contradictions will be resolved.  “Oh you who have attained to faith!  Seek help through steadfast patience and prayer.  Indeed, Allah is with those who patiently persevere.”  (2:153) 

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