Diseases of the Heart
‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz (ra) would have a gathering every night and talk about Hell, Paradise and the Day of Judgement and would cry all night.
In order to remove a problem, you need to know the following:
- Its causes
- Its symptoms
- Its remedy.
Sheikh ul Islam ibn Taymiyyah (rh) mentions a statement of Abu Huraira (ra) who said, the heart is the king of the limbs and the limbs are its troops. If the heart is sound then the troops will be sound. If the heart is corrupt then the troops will be corrupt.
- The heart must be worked on no matter what.
A reason for the flipping of the heart is due to not working on the heart.
This is in line with the statement of the Prophet (saw) that what comes out of an individual’s mouth reflects what is in his heart. For example, are you talking about Allah and His religion or politics and football?
- Even looking at something can shake your emaan by increasing or decreasing it. This shows a connection between limbs and the heart.
Side Point: Ibn Uthaymeen (ra) said, if a person doesn’t lower his gaze, he will be tested because he is tiring himself and his heart out. The heart can’t take it as it wants everything; houses, cars and women. The gaze is a poison arrow of the Shaytaan.
- The Salaf would pay tremendous attention to the heart.
Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) Mentions That There are Three Types of Aalims:
- Aalim of Aqeedah
- Aalim of Fiqh
- Aalim of Purification of the Soul (Tazkiyah)
- The best is the one who combines between all three.
‘Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (ra), one of the greatest to live, did in two years what it would take others 50 years to accomplish.
- He would sit after Isha prayer and talk about death and shed tears. This is what will cleanse the heart.
Reminder: Every day you need to do muhaasibah without fail. This means thinking about your sins, your own weaknesses, death. This is a very quick way to get close to Allah.
- Doing this in the last third of the night is even better.
Benefits of Studying This Topic
Allah doesn’t look at our images and bodies, rather He looks at our hearts. Another wording; Allah also looks at our actions.
Side Point: We are not belittling the Sunnah such as keeping the beard. Today, people do the opposite; they do the Sunnah but their heart is filthy.
- The actions of the heart raise the heart i.e sincerity.
- You will see someone who reads the Qur’an and so on, yet his heart is still weak because there is a problem with the heart.
Ibn Qayyim (rh) gives a famous example. Two people are praying together in the same way, same salaah and the same masjid. Here, the difference in reward is like the Heavens and the Earth. The main difference is the state of the heart. One is getting millions of rewards and the other is getting punished for the salaah.
The Heart Should be Given Greater Focus:
If a person’s heart is pure then the knowledge he gains is in a safe place.
If his heart is filthy, toxic and full of sins then knowledge can’t be stored there and it won’t settle. It will not sit in his heart.
A Large Number of People Have Problems with Their Hearts:
Hasan al Basri (rh) told someone that a sin is preventing him from waking up for Qiyaam ul Layl.
- If something is stopping you from doing something, know that it is because of a sin.
Three Types of Hearts
- Clean Heart:
But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.
If the slave meets Allah in this state, he will reach a high level of happiness. This heart is free of shirk and sins; as minimal as possible.
Side Point: When you read statements of scholars and they say that you should memorise this and that, they are doing this on the basis that you have a clean heart.
Ibn Sireen (rh) was a business man and one day some of the oil he was transporting had a rat in it. He had to spill all the oil into the sea. He said that he knows why this happened; 40 years prior he called someone poor.
- Any sin you haven’t repented from, you will see it in this life. You will see it in someone close to you.
The Prophet (saw) said, if a person pushes fitnah away from his heart, then his heart will turn white and no trials will afflict this heart, as long as the Heavens and earth are alive.
This heart is free from shirk, innovations and, as much as possible, is free from sins. This heart is full of love of Allah and fear of Allah and submission to Allah. The Prophet (saw) said in Sahih Muslim in the Hadith of Hudayfah that when fitan comes to your heart (trials) and he pushes these away, the heart becomes white and it has safa.
- Safa is a rock or stone which no filth can cling to. The Prophet (saw) said no trials or tribulations will afflict this heart.
A sign of a clean heart is that if they miss something from the religion, they feel it. This is a good sign.
2. Dead Heart:
This heart has no relationship with Allah. There is little to no hope.
This heart loves for the sake of its desires. What they hate they hate for the sake of its desires. This person keeps sinning and trials and tribulations keep afflicting him and black dots keep appearing on his heart. This individual doesn’t know good from evil and evil from good.
- A strong wave of emaan can fix this; ‘Umar (ra) hated the Muslims and then he became a Muslim.
When the Qur’an is recited this heart doesn’t shake. This shows how dark the heart is.
- Repenting and asking Allah to keep you away from makrooh things will raise someone.
Imam Ahmad (rh) said, the one who doesn’t pray Witr is the evil man.
Imam Qurtubi (rh) said, whoever doesn’t pray the 12 Sunnan is an evil man.
A black dot appears on his heart and then another black dot and his heart becomes like an upside-down cup.
- What kind of a cup can hold a drink if it is upside down?
This is the same with an upside-down heart; no good can stay in it. All the good will all come out.
Signs of a Dead Heart: This individual doesn’t know good when they see it. Good is made evil and evil is made good.
- You may hear people saying that they don’t sin.
It is very difficult for him to shed tears. Not general tears but sincere tears from your heart.
3. A Heart That Has a lot of Diseases:
This heart has some life but also some sicknesses. Sometimes the diseases overpower the heart and vice versa.
One of the greatest dangers of this heart is that Shaytaan beautifies haraam.
They will drink alcohol, listen to music and many other things.
This heart is usually sick and sometimes when Shaytaan beautifies something he pushes him further into it. For example, when a person is upset, Shaytaan takes advantage of him. When a person is alone, Shaytaan attacks him and so the Prophet (saw) said, stick to the jamaa’.
Shaytaan might whisper to do things. Something as small as overeating. When you feel sad or are going through a hard time in life, they might go to drugs or girls.
The people of the past would say that the greatest calamity is a heart that is hard. A heart that doesn’t shed tears for the sake of Allah, a heart that doesn’t move when you speak about Allah.
Causes of a Hard Heart
- Speaking a lot Without Remembering Allah:
Even permissible speech. If a person really likes something they can talk about it for many hours. This can cause a hard heart.
3 Types of Speech:
- Quran, dhikr, saying things of happiness, enjoining the good and forbidding evil:
A person may utter a word and this might be pleasing to Allah and Allah will raise his status due to this. Saying something nice to make a Muslim smile.
- Haraam speech:
Foul speech, backbiting, lying, gossiping and so on.
- Permissible Speech:
Ibn Qayyim (rh): Those who engage in too much permissible speech will get a hard heart. Constantly talking about TV, work, movies and so on.
If you’re someone who hangs around with lots of brothers, be careful of permissible speech. This also relates to the spouse.
- Breaking a Pact with Allah:
Making an oath and then breaking it.
So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard.
- Laughing Excessively:
The Prophet (saw) would laugh where you wouldn’t be able to see his molar teeth. There aren’t many narrations about this.
Hadith: The Prophet (saw) saw the Sahaabah laughing and told them that if you knew what I knew you would laugh a little and cry a lot.
Excessive laughing is heedlessness.
- Excessive Eating:
This also includes permissible food. Imam Ahmad (rh) was asked, can a person who eats to his full achieve a soft heart? He said no, I can’t see this happening.
- Excessive Sleep:
Ibn Rajab (rh) said, a person will look back at his life and see that he has been sleeping half of it.
Ali (ra) was in his 80s and was the leader of the Muslims; fasting, leading the army during the day and praying qiyaam at night. He said the journey in the Hereafter is long and I am shortening it by standing in the night.
Imam Nawawi (rh) didn’t touch a bed for 2 years and would sleep at the place of his study area. He is an example of sincerity. For example, there are many other 40 Hadith books but his was raised due to sincerity.
- Ibn Qayyim (rh) said 6 hours of sleep is good.
- Sheikh bin Baaz (rh) would sleep 4 hours a night.
Do what is right for your body but don’t do it excessively.
It wasn’t a practice of the Prophet (saw) to stay awake all night.
If one is able to fulfil everyone’s rights then they can stay up all night. However, making it a habit and not fulfilling rights can become problematic.
- Not Lowering the Gaze:
Even something as small as looking at someone who doesn’t want you to look at them.
- From the opposite gender. Regulate your gaze. The Prophet (saw) was polite and friendly.
- Not looking at cars, houses and so on.
- Someone’s reading a book and you try to peep over to see what they are reading. Leave people to it and don’t annoy them.
- Mixing with People Too Much:
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rh) said that there are four types of mixing:
- Those that help your heart: They give you reminders, talk about religion.They are righteous and pious. This helps a lot.
- Those that you need to deal with: Only when you need to deal with them. Dunya dealings.
- Those who don’t help you in your deen or your dunya: These are the ones that will make your heart hard. Some ulema say these are people who are a waste of space on this earth. Ibn Qayyim (rh) said that they are worse than those who are proactive in haraam. People who do haraam are known. People in this group, you don’t know what they are doing.
- Those who are on innovation and misguidance.
Side Point: The Prophet (saw) mentions a believer who mixes with people and bears their harm is more beloved to Allah. The Prophet (saw) would always mix with the people. You can’t be someone who is isolated from people. This is a way to leave a great legacy. A leader has to mix with people.
The more he sins the harder his heart becomes.
Abdullah ibn Mubarak (rh) said, the one who does excessive sins destroys his heart as it is covered in black dots.
- When a person’s heart is dead it is very hard to cry for the sake of Allah.
For example, the Salaf would almost lose their eyesight from perpetual crying. Doctors would say that if you stop crying for a few days your eyesight will improve. They said no, what good are eyes if they don’t shed tears for the sake of Allah.