The Nature of Iman
“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky?
“It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded.
“And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.
“Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.” [Surat Ibrahim 24-27]
The notion of “leap of faith” is not applicable in Islam. The notion that faith is not based on evidence but is just a sentiment in the heart that leads one to believe in God despite all the appearances to the contrary is not Islamic.
Allah gives a beautiful image of faith for us in the Quran. The Quranic exegetes have remarked that the “word” referred to in the verse is the shahada, i.e., the testification of faith. To testify or to bear witness to something means that you have confidence, in essence you attest to something with the conviction of “seeing it with your own eyes.” In other words, our tree has roots and is firmly grounded in the Truth.
But what if we don’t have that confidence? We should not despair if we have doubts about Islam. The parable of a tree is instructive here because all trees start out as seeds and saplings and they will grow if we nourish them, making sure they get plenty of water and sunlight. In this way, faith is not a binary, i.e., you either have it or you don’t. Rather you have to work at it and be patient by following the straight path and being consistent with your practice of Islam.
Also Allah mentions the branches of the tree and there are branches of iman, as the ulama have described. Well some of our branches may not be as strong. Maybe some of the branches are not as high or are not bearing fruit at this time. Does that mean we have to cut down the whole tree?
Don’t be tricked into losing your faith because of one-off doubts. Every doubt you have has an answer and a resolution. Every single one. That is a promise from Allah when He says He will keep firm those who believe. Those who take care of their tree, Allah will help them and show them the Truth.
May Allah guide us and keep us firm on the Truth.