It is inhuman and impossible to retain a high level of spirituality, imaan and awareness of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and these things will naturally fluctuate in a person. The reason the heart is called ‘qalb‘ in Arabic is because qalb means ‘to flip and change’ and the condition of the heart is constantly flipping and changing. Even the Companions felt like this on occasions as is illustrated by an incident reported by Imam Muslim. Once Sayyiduna Hanzalah رضى الله عنه was in the company of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم, but when he left and returned home he became preoccupied with his family. He thought he had become a hypocrite so he went to complain of his condition to Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم. On the way he was shouting ”Hanzalah has become a munafiq (hypocrite), Hanzalah has become a munafiq.” He met Sayyiduna Abu Bakr رضى الله عنه to whom he related that when he was with Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم it was as though Jannat and Jahannam were before him, but the moment he returned home he became preoccupied with his family, thus he feared hypocrisy for himself. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr رضى الله عنه replied that he also felt the same way so they both approached Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم who comforted and informed them that such levels of imaan and spirituality are momentary and they do not last and that if they were to last the angels would have descended from the heavens and met them.
This incident illustrates that imaan constantly fluctuates in a person. When a low level of imaan is experienced or one feels an attack on one’s spirituality and faith by shaytaan and other influences a person shouldn’t withdraw, but rather seek the remedy by adopting good company or entering into a pious environment where mention is made of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and His Rasul صلى الله عليه وسلم. Even if this is not possible one can listen to a talk at home. As a consequence, due to the blessings, one’s heart and faith will be strengthened, insha’Allah. Even Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم would constantly pray, “O Transformer of the hearts,make my heart steadfast upon Your deen” [Reported by Tirmidhi].
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers’ majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 18th April 1998]