Focus on Your Heart

How many of us put emphasise on our exterior whilst totally neglecting the interior! Our hearts are full of jealousy, envy, arrogance and self amazement! The heart is a Science just like studying Fiqh, Usool, Hadith and others. Yet, how few of us study the heart in our times!

Some scholars have said that studying the heart is a lost science! Few teach it and from them, even fewer know it themselves.

Have Some Private Time with Allah

Try to spend, at least, half an hour a day reading about the next life, the heart, and beneficial topics for the heart. Some people spend more than two hours a day doing this.

This activity is extremely beneficial for our hearts, which are full of diseases like loving worldly things too much, hardness, filthy desires and arrogance.

Have some private time with Allah. the Prophet (saw) would do this too.

What You Hear from a Person’s Tongue Reflects Their Heart

When you hear a swear word come out, lewd and filthy remarks and the like, then know that this shows some deficiency in the heart. The people of Jannah are guided to the best of speech; showing their clean hearts.

The Importance of a Sound Heart

Sufyân ibn Dinâr said: I have said to Abi Bishr, tell me of the actions of those who were before us. He said: They were doing little but rewarded greatly. I said: Why so? For the purity and soundness of their hearts, he replied.

Putting More Effort on the Interior than the Exterior

Ali (ra) said, whoevers exterior is given more effort than their interior, his scales will be light on the last Day and whoevers interior is given more effort than their exterior, will have heavy scales on the Last Day.

Meaning, a person needs to clean their heart as everyone has a past and remnants of it such as arrogance, pride, showing off, boasting and so on and these are from the greatest of sins!

Different Levels of Fear

Ibn Qudaamah (Rahimahullah) mentions that the highest level of fear is to fear a barrier being placed between the slave and Allah and this is the fear of those that have knowledge.

He also mentions that there is a difference between the one that fears the Hellfire and the one that fears Allah Himself, with the latter being of a higher level!

He also mentions that the greatest fear they had was that emaan would be taken away from them before their death! And they feared that they would be tested with kufr.

One of the main reasons for a person to be tested with kufr before he dies is if he was involved in innovations when he was alive!

A Sound Heart Yields Great Reward

Sufyân ibn Dinâr said: I have said to Abi Bishr, tell me of the actions of those who were before us. He said: They were doing little but rewarded greatly. I said: Why so? For the purity and soundness of their hearts, he replied.

The Heart

Ibn Qayyim (rh) mentions that there’s an alienation in the heart, which doesn’t go except when sitting alone and pondering.

There’s also a sadness in the heart which doesn’t go until one knows Allah and loves Him.

There’s a fire of regret in the heart, which doesn’t go except by embracing His Decree with patience, His Commandments and His Prohibitions.

And if a person was given this entire world and everything in it, this would never fill the void.

Signs of an Alive Heart

From the signs that a heart is alive, as mentioned by ibn al Qayyim (rh):

  • The heart constantly nags at the person until they return to Allah
  • It flees from the dunya and to the Aakhirah
  • If it falls short in something, it hurts the heart and it feels pain, whether it was missing a prayer in the Musjid and so on.

Check your heart. Is it alive or dead?

Cultivate Your Heart

Al Nawawi (rh), quoting someone else, said that the heart needs to be cultivated for knowledge, just as the earth needs to be prepared for cultivation.

The earth is cultivated through planting, watering and being taken care of for a long period of time! So, what about the hearts!

Four Signs of an Unsuccessful Person

  1. A hard heart
  2. Eyes that don’t shed tears for the sake of Allah
  3. Lots of hope with little action
  4. Eager to attain the world

Pay Attention to Your Heart

Ibn Rajab (rh) mentioned, that which raised the people of the past wasn’t their outward actions only, rather the attention they paid to their heart. Sometimes it’s a feeling, sometimes it’s something which can’t be read and learned through books but the main thing is spending time on it and working out one’s heart.

Praising Others and Being Humble

Some people go overboard when praising others and sometimes praise them for things which they haven’t done and at times over exaggerating what they have done.

This could lead to arrogance and pride and be a means to their destruction.

This could be shown when a person stays quiet when they are praised rather than telling them to stop praising you. This also occurs when someone wants to have titles before their name and they get upset if they don’t have them. This isn’t a good sign.

Let us hide our good deeds and humble ourselves like the righteous of the past.

If you are praised by others, read this du’a:

What to say when a Muslim is praised: اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنِي بِمَا يَقُولُونَ، وَ اغْفِرْ لِي مَا لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ [وَ اجْعَلْنِي خَيْرًا مِمَّا يَظُنُّونَ

Allaahumma laa tu’aakhithnee bimaa yaqooloona, waghfir lee maa laa ya’lamoona [waj’alnee khayram-mimmaa yadhunnoon].

O Allah, do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine].

Al-Bukhari, Al-‘Adabul-Mufrad no. 761. See Al-Albani, Sahih Al-‘Adabul-Mufrad (no. 585). The portion between brackets is from Al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab Al-Iman 4/228, and comes another account

Work on Your Heart

It doesn’t matter if you pray Qiyaam ul Layl every night, finish the Qur’an every month and fast every week, it doesn’t mean that your heart will be free from hasad (envy).

When you hear someone’s name mentioned due to something and you feel something in your heart, or you see someone with something and feel something in your heart, know this is a sign of envy.

Internal problems are more problematic than external ones. This an epidemic in our times. Someone might have a beard or a thobe and a sister might have a niqaab or hijab and yet their hearts are full of envy.

When you feel this way, repent to Allah and make du’a for the person you felt envy towards!

What the Heart Needs

As mentioned by one of the scholars of the past, the heart is in need of:

  • That which will protect its strength and that is emaan and acts of obedience.
  • Protection from harm and evil and that is avoiding sins and that which will affect the heart.
  • And to be free from corruption and evil which have afflicted it and that is through tawbah and istighfaar.

What Does It Mean to Be Humble?

Abdullah al Tustari said that Shaytaan can’t come near the one whose heart is humble. Another scholar mentioned that humility is to restrain your eyes.

The scholars of the past agreed that humility is in the heart and not with a downcast appearance, lowered gaze and slumped shoulders.

It has also been said humility is a feebleness that enters one’s heart when one contemplates one’s Lord.

Never Judge People

What do we say / learn from the following two people?

  • A Muslim that drinks alcohol in the streets
  • A teacher who doesn’t take money.

A brother drinking alcohol is from the major sins; yet he may love Allah and perform many righteous actions as per the Sahaabi who would drink alcohol and get punished, yet we are told he loves Allah and His Messenger!

  • Alcohol might be his weakness.

Someone may not drink alcohol but may have ujb! Or jealousy! Which are far more dangerous!

The teacher not taking money doesn’t mean he is being sincere at all! There is no link! He might not take money so people say, wow, mashaa Allah tabaarkAllah, he teaches and doesn’t take money! And someone may take money to survive financially but he has a lot more sincerity!!

Never look down on others. He might have a weakness in public, but you might have dozens worse in your heart.

  • For example, a person may have a beard, yet a heart full of jealousy and love for fame and wanting to be known.

How important it is to read and learn about the heart.

How hard it is to work on sincerity. Always accuse your intentions.

What is in Our Hearts?

الا من أتى الله بقلب سليم

“Except for those who meet Allah with a clean heart.” (Qur’an 26:89)

Some of the people of the past, when commenting on this Verse, mentioned it’s for the one who meets Allah and there is no one in his heart except Allah.

This means freeing ourselves from loving ourselves, loving worldly wealth and amassing it, freeing our hearts from envy and pride and cleaning it all out and filling it with the love of Allah.

Some of them also said, to worship Allah with a mustard seed of love is more beloved to Allah than 70 years’ worship with no love.

This means doing acts of worship with a sound heart full of love of Allah and free of diseases is far superior than the one who just does actions out of habit.

Let’s clean our hearts of hatred, envy, desires, money, arrogance and the rest and fill it with the love of Allah.

Combine Between Talab and Tazkiya

A student who studies more than 10 hours a day seeking ilm (meaning a large amount), yet he is staring at the doors of fitnah due to not taking care of his heart, not doing Ibaadah and so on and this has led him to become arrogant. This is a real-life example today!

So, combine between talab and tazkiya for the nafs and both are needed to be successful!

Forgive Others to Draw Closer to Allah and Cleanse Your Heart

Before you go to bed tonight, think about all the people that have hurt you or offended you, and forgive them. This takes a lot of strength but this is a quick way to clean one’s heart!

Teach this golden point to your family too.

 

Signs That A Person’s Emaan Is Decreasing

  • Sins and doesn’t feel any guilt.
  • Commits sins which he never used to do but has now started doing them.
  • Having a hard heart and no desire to read the Qur’an.
  • Feeling too lazy to do good.
  • Neglecting the Sunnah.
  • Not feeling anything when hearing Verses from the Qur’an.
  • Finding it difficult to remember Allah and making dhikr.
  • Desiring status.
  • Being concerned with whether something is haraam or halal only; and not avoiding makrooh (not recommended) things.
  • Not feeling concerned about the situation of Muslims.
  • Likes to argue just for the sake of arguing without any proof.
  • Becoming engrossed and very involved with the dunya; worldly things.

The danger of your emaan decreasing is that if you are only completing your fard obligations and your emaan takes a big hit, this could lead you to kufr.

What The Heart Needs

The heart is in need of:

  • That which will protect its strength and that is emaan and acts of obedience.
  • Protection from harm and evil and that is avoiding sins and that which will affect the heart.
  • To be free from corruption and evil which have afflicted it and that is through tawbah and istighfaar.

This is mentioned by one of the scholars of the past.

Never Judge and Always Work on Your Heart

Do we judge a Muslim who drinks alcohol?

A brother drinking alcohol is from the major sins; yet he may love Allah and perform many righteous actions as per the Sahaabi who would drink and get punished. Yet we are told this person loves Allah and His Messenger! Drinking alcohol might be his weakness.

Someone may not drink alcohol but he may have ujb (self amazement) or jealousy which are far more dangerous!

What about a teacher who takes money for passing on knowledge?

The teacher not taking money doesn’t mean he is being sincere at all! There is no link! He might be teaching so people say “Wow, Mashaa Allah tabaarkAllah, he teaches and doesn’t take money!” However, someone may take money to survive financially but he has a lot more sincerity!!

Never look down on others. A brother might have a weakness in public but you might have dozens of weaknesses far worse in your heart. For example, a person may have a beard yet he has a heart full of jealousy and love for fame and wanting to be known.

How important it is to read and learn about the heart.

We are not belittling sins and we still hate those sins but rather we need people to start looking at things from different angles.

How hard it is to work on sincerity.

Always accuse your intentions.

Condition Your Hearts

Ibn Rajab (rh) said a person who conditions their heart, this will accelerate their relationship with Allah far more than a lot of optional acts of worship.

Conditioning the hearts can be done by sitting everyday and thinking of your sins, and try to cry. Remember the next life and the long journey to come! Do this in seclusion when you’re alone.

A Soft Heart

A little Ilm and a very soft heart is far better than a hard heart and a mountain of Ilm. A scholar of the past said, what was the fire created for except to burn and melt the hard hearts!

Work On Your Hearts

A scholar of the past mentions in the musannaf from the signs of a person’s humility is starting with the greeting.

SubhanAllah, how many times we have waited for the other to start or think, why didn’t he greet me! This could be arrogance!

Work on your hearts because if they are not clean it doesn’t matter how many books you study or what you’ve memorised, neither will it settle nor will you benefit, rather you will become more arrogant!

Importance of Cleansing The Heart

It’s enough to know Umar Bin Abdul Aziz (ra) would meet the fuqaha and they would give reminders about the Hereafter.

A scholar of the past’s book, Maadrijal Salikeen, is all about the heart and cleansing it.

The point is if a person’s heart isn’t clean neither will they get far in seeking knowledge nor will they benefit as a good Muslim as their heart will be full of diseases like jealousy, illegitimate desires, conceit, pride, arrogance and so on!

Their heart will also become a rock and they will be unable to shed tears for the sake of Allah!

And as we know, the da’wah started not just with Tawheed but rather with Jannah and Jahannum to soften the hearts!

Reading Islamic Literature For The Heart

Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading something, and it would be better for it to be something related to softening the heart because when you seek knowledge, if you aren’t softening your heart, the heart can become hard.

As for reading about what’s happening in the Muslim world, that’s important but what’s more important is what a person does after that; making du’a in the last third of the night and so on.

Cleansing Your Heart

One of the most powerful ways to cleanse one’s heart is isolation even for 5 minutes a day, as the Prophet (saw) would go to Mount Hira and sit and contemplate for hours and days at end and this was when he was married with 6 children!

Sit alone and think of all the sins you have done and repent and cry and do this regularly. A scholar of the past would say it’s good to repent even from the makruh actions and actions which are recommended but you left for some reason. SubhanAllah! So what about the big sins we commit!!

State of the Heart

With many things it’s to do with mindset. For example, a person may pray salaah physically according to the Sunnah and this is praiseworthy. However, the main part of the salaah is the state of the heart.

If a person’s mind isn’t right and he isn’t firm outside of salaah, how will it be inside salaah?

A powerful principle to remember:

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).”

So if you genuinely strive hard then Allah will take care of your affairs and as a person from the past said, knowledge cannot be attained through relaxation of the body.