Heart

SIGNS OF AN IMPURE, DISEASED AND DEAD HEART

Excerpts taken from Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’ s book Ighaathah

al-Luhfaan min Masayid al-Shaytaan, Volume 1, page 70-73

Signs of an impure, diseased, and a dead heart:

* The person does not feel any hurt or pain when he commits evil
deeds and sins.

* The person finds both pleasure in committing acts of disobedience
to Allah and a take it easy attitude after performing them.

* The person looks after the less important matters and does not care
about the more important ones.

* The person dislikes the Truth and has difficulty accepting or
submitting to it.

* The person does not find comfort in being among the righteous
people but finds a great deal of peace while among the evil and
sinful.

* The person is susceptible to be affected by misconceptions and
doubts. He is attracted to discussions, debates and arguments that
surround such misconceptions rather than trying to understand the Qur’an,
follow the Sunnah and other such beneficial acts.

This aspect can truly be seen nowadays among Muslims, especially over
the Internet. Today, a Muslim may spend hours discussing, for example
whether or not Hijaab is part of Islam or if Riba [Usury, Interest] is forbidden
and so forth. Many times, such discussions begin by quoting non-Muslim
authors, hours are wasted and no one learns any aspect of the Deen.

* The person may not be affected by any kind of admonition
whatsoever.

Some people, for example, have the capacity of listening to many
Khutbahs [Islamic lectures], but still it does not bring any change in them.
Or when someone is given repeated advices and warnings from those who are
knowledgeable in Deen, it doesn’t affect them. They arrogantly insist
upon sticking with the falsehood.

Imam Hasan al-Basree [rahimahullah] once said to a man,

* Cure your heart for Allah desires that His slaves should purify
their hearts.

* You should know that you never truly love Allah until you love
obeying Him.

(Jaami’ al-‘Uloom v.1 by Ibn Rajab)

The heart cannot become purified until a person knows Allah, loves
Him, fears Him, has hope in Him and trusts Him. This is the true
realization of the statement Laa ilaaha ill-Allah.

The heart will never be pure until it loves, deifies [worships,
exalts], fears, and submits to no one except Allah, eventually ending up of
the limbs by following and making the actions pure.

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THREE CURES FOR THE HEART
August 4, 2008 — Islamic Texts
By Shaykh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah [d.728H]

[1.2 The Qur’aan is a Cure for the Heart]

The Qur’aan is a cure for that which within the heart, and for the one who has the sickness of doubt and desire in his heart, for it contains clear proofs that distinguish the truth from falsehood, and remove the sickness of false doubts to leave certain knowledge, correct perception and understanding such that the heart sees things in accordance to their reality. It contains wisdom, goodly exhortations both encouraging good and deterring from evil, and stories which contain lessons that necessarily lead to the correction of the heart by making the heart desire what is good for it and detest what is harmful to it. Hence the heart is left desiring that which will guide it, hating that which will deviate it after it used to desire that which would deviate it and hate that which would guide it.

The Qur’aan removes all the sicknesses that invoke false desires until the heart becomes pure and therefore its desires become pure and it returns to the natural state [fitrah] that it was created in, just as the body returns to the natural state upon being treated. The heart will be nurtured with faith and the Qur’aan such that it will become strong for indeed the purification of the heart is like the growing of the body.

[1.3 Righteous Actions are a Cure for the Heart]

Zakah [purification] in the language means: growth and increase in correction, it is said, ‘something has zakah,’ when it has grown in correction. The heart is in need o being nurtured so that it may mature and increase until it becomes complete and correct just as the body is in the need of nourishment that is good for it, but along with this there is a need to prevent anything from harming it. So the body will not grow until it gains that which will benefit it and is prevented from that which will harm it, likewise the heart will not become complete with respect to its correction, until it attains that which benefits it and represses that which harms it – just as the flower will not grow without these two factors.

Sadaqah [charity], due to its extinguishing the sins as water extinguishes fire, causes the heart to be purified. Its zakah means something additional to it being merely free of sins. Allaah the Exalted said,

“Take tadaaqah from them in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.” [At-Tawbah 9:103]

[1.4 Leaving Indecent Actions are a Cure for the Heart]

Similarly abstaining from indecent actions and sins leads to purification of the heart, for those are of the same level as leprosy of the body or thorns on a flower. So when the body is freed of this leprosy be releasing the additional blood for example, the natural strength of the body emerges and it can find relief and thereby grow. Likewise when one seeks repentance from sin, the heart is released from contamination – whereby it mixed the righteous actions with evils actions, so when one repents from sins the strength of the heart emerges as does its desire to perform righteous actions and it finds relief from these false corrupt matters that it was submerged in.

So the zakah of the heart means its growing and becoming complete. Allaah the Exalted said,

“And had it not been for the Grace of Allaah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins…” [An-Nur 24:21]

“…And if you are asked to go back, then go back, for it is purer for you.” [An-Nur 24:28]

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts. That is purer for them…” [An-Nur 24:30]

“Indeed whoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and remembers the Name of his Lord and prays.” [Al-A’la 87:14-15]

“Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself, and indeed he fails who corrupts his self.” [Ash-Shams 91:9-10]

“But what could tell you that perchance he might become pure.” [‘Abasa 80:3]

“And say to him [i.e. Fir’aun]; ‘Would you purify yourself, and that I guide you to your Lord, so you should fear Him?’.” [An-Nazi’at 79:18-19]

So tazkiyyah [purification] , even if its basic meaning is growth, blessing and increase in goodness, is only attained by removing the evil, and this is why purification has come to combine both these matters [i.e., performing good and avoiding evil].

He, the Most High, said,

“And woe to the polytheists, those who do not give the zakah, and are disbelievers in the Hereafter.” [Fussilat 41:6-7]

Meaning by zakah, the tawhid and imam by which the heart is purified, for indeed tawhid includes negating any lordship besides Allaah and affirming the Lordship of Allaah in the heart, this being the reality of ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah’ [there is none worthy of worship except Allaah] and this being the basis by which the hearts are purified.

Tazkiyyah [purification] is the act of making something pure, either in and of itself, or in belief, or in reports. It is similarly said: ‘adaltuhu’ when you make it just, in and of itself, or in the belief of the people.

Allaah, the Most High, said,

“So do not ascribe purity [tuzakku] to yourself…” [An-Najm 53:32]

i.e. do not broadcast that you are pure, and this is not the same as His saying,

“Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself.” [Ash-Shams 91:9]

This is why Allaah, the Most High, said,

“He knows best who fear Allaah.” [An-Najm 53:32]

Zaynab was initially known as Burra, and it is said that she purified herself and so the Messenger of Allaah [sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] called her Zaynab. As for the saying of Allaah,

“Have you not seen those who claim purity for themselves, nay – but Allaah purifies [yuzakki] whom He pleases.” [An-Nisa 4:49]

Meaning He makes pure whomsoever He pleases and makes his purity known, just as the purifier declares to be pure only to those whose justice he can bear testimony to.

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THE FOUR POISONS OF THE HEART

From the works of Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbabli, Ibn Al-Qayyim al-Jawziyaa, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

You should know that all acts of disobedience are poison to the heart and cause its sickness and ruin. They result in its will running off course, against that of Allah, and so its sickness festers and increases. Ibn al- Mubarak said: I have seen wrong actions killing hearts, And their degradation may lead to their becoming addicted to them. Turning away from wrong actions gives life to the hearts, And opposing your self is best for it.

Whoever is concerned with the health and life of his heart, must rid it of the effects of such poisons, and then protect it by avoiding new ones. If he takes any by mistake, then he should hasten to wipe out their effect by turning in repentance and seeking forgiveness from Allah, as well as by doing good deeds that will wipe out his wrong actions.

By the four poisions we mean 1)unnecessary talking, 2) unrestrained glances, 3) too much food, and 4) keeping bad company. Of all the poisons, these are the most widespread and have the greatest effect on a heart’s well-being.

UNNECESSARY TALKING

It is reported in al-Musnad, on the authority of Anas, that the Prophet *saaws* said: “The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right, and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right.” 1 This shows that the Prophet *saaws* has made the purification of faith conditional on the purification of the heart, and the purification of the heart conditional on the purification of the tongue.

At-Tirmidhi relates in a hadith on the authority of Ibn Umar: “Do not talk excessively without remembering Allah, because such excessive talk without the mention of Allah causes the heart to harden, and the person furthest from Allah is a person with a hard heart.”

2 Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “A person who talks too much is a person who often makes mistakes, and someone who often makes mistakes, often has wrong actions. The Fire has a priority over such a freqent sinner.”

3 In a hadith related on the authority of Mu’adh, the Prophet *saaws* said, “Shall I not tell you how to control all that?” I said, “Yes do, O Messenger of Allah.” So he held his tongue between his fingers, and then he said: “Restrain this.” I said, “Oh Prophet of Allah, are we accountable for what we say?” He *saaws* said, “May your mother be bereft by your loss! Is there anything more than the harvest of the tongues that throws people on their faces (or he said ‘on their noses’) into the Fire?”

4 What is meant here by ‘the harvest of the tongues’ is the punishment for saying forbidden things. A man, through his actions and words, sows the seeds of either good or evil. On the Day of Resurrection he harvests their fruits. Those who sow the seeds of good words and deeds harvest honour and blessings; those who sow the seeds of evil words and deeds reap only regret and remorse.

A hadith related by Abu Huraira says, “What mostly causes people to be sent to the Fire are the two openings: the mouth and the private parts.”

5 Abu Huraira also related that the Messenger of Allah *saaws* said, “The servant speaks words, the consequences of which he does not realise, and for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance between the east and the west.”

6 The same hadith was transmitted by at-Tirmidhi with slight variations: “The servant says something that he thinks is harmless, and for which he will be plunged into the depths of the Fire as far as seventy autumns.”

7 Uqba ibn Amir said: “I said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is our best way of surviving?’ He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied: “Guard your tongue, make your house suffice for sheltering your privacy, and weep for your wrong actions.”

8 It has been related on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d that the Prophet *saaws* said, “Whoever can guarantee what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I guarantee him the Garden.”

9 It has also been related by Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or remain silent.”

10 Thus talking can either be good, in which case it is commendable, or bad, in which case it is haram.

The Prophet *saaws* said: “Everything the children of Adam say goes against them, except for their enjoining good and forbidding evil, and remembering Allah, Glorius and Might is He.” This was reported by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Ma’jah on the authority of Umm Habiba, may Allah be pleased with her.

11 Umar ibn al-Khattab visited Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them, and found him pulling his tongue with his fingers. Umar said “Stop! may Allah forgive you!” Abu Bakr replied; “This tongue has brought me to dangerous places.”

12 Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: “By Allah, besides Whom no god exists, nothing deserves a long prison sentence more than my tongue.” He also used to say: “O tongue, say good and you will profit;desist from saying evil things and you will be safe; otherwise you will find only regret.”

Abu Huraira reported that Ibn al-Abbas said: “A person will not feel greater fury or anger for any part of his body on the Day of Judgement more than what he will feel for his tongue, unless he only used it for saying or enjoining good.”

Al-Hassan said:”Whoever does not hold his tongue cannot understand his deen.”

The least harmful of a tongue’s faults is talking about whatever does not concern it. The following hadith of the Prohet *saaws* is enough to indicate the harm of this fault: “One of the merits of a person’s Islam is his abandoning what does not concer him.”

13 Abu Ubaida related that al-Hassan said: “One of the signs of Allah’s abandoning a servant is His making him preoccupied with what does not concern him.”

Sahl said, “Whoever talks about what does not concern him is deprived of truthfulness.”

As we have already mentioned above, this is the least harmful of the tongue’s faults. There are far worse things, like backbiting, gossipying, obscene and misleading talk, two-faced and hypocritical talk, showing off, quarrelling, bickering, singing, lying, mockery, derision and falsehood; and there are many more faults which can affect a servant’s tongue, ruining his heart and causing him to lose both his happiness and pleasure in this life, and his success and profit in the next life. Allah is the One to Whom we turn for assistance.

UNRESTRAINED GLANCES

The unrestrained glance results in the one who looks becoming attracted to what he sees, and in the imprinting of an image of what he sees in his heart. This can result in several kinds of corruption in the heart of the servant. The following are a number of them:::

It has been related that the Prophet *saaws* once said words to the effect: “The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the day that he meets Him.” Shaytan enters with the glance, for he travels with it, faster than the wind blowing through an empty place. He makes what is seen appear more beautiful than it really is, And transforms it into an idol for the heart to worship. Then he promises it false rewards, lights the fire of desires within it, and fuels it with the wood of forbidden actions, which the servant would not have committed had it not been for this distorted image. This distracts the heart and makes it forget its more important concerns. It stands between it and them; and so the heart loses its straight path and falls into the pit of desire and ignorance.

Allah, Mighty and Glorious is He, says: And do not obey anyone whose heart We have made forgetful in remembering Us- who follows his own desires, and whose affair has exceeded all bounds. (18:28)

The unrestrained gaze causes all three afflications.

It has been said that between the eye and the heart is an immediate connection; if the eyes are corrupted, then the heart follows. It becomes like a rubbish heap where all the dirt and filth and rottennes collect, and so there is no room for love for Allah, relating all matters to Him, awareness of being in His presence, and feeling joy at His proximity-only the opposite of these things can inhabit such a heart.

Staring and gazing without restraint is disobedience to Allah: Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and quard their modesty; that is more purifying for them. Surely Allah is aware of what they do. (24:30) Only the one who obeys Allah’s commands is content in this world, and only the servant who obeys Allah will survive in the next world. Furthermore, letting the gaze roam free cloaks the heart with darkness, just as lowering the gaze for Allah clothes it in light.

After the above ayah, Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, says in the same surah of the the Qur’an: Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth: the likeness of His light is as if there were a niche, and in the niche is a lamp, and in the lamp is a glass, and the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it. Light upon light. ‘Allah guides whomever He wants to His Light. Allah strikes metaphors for man; and Allah knows all things. (24:35). When the heart is a light, countless good comes to it from all directions. If it is dark, then clouds of evil and afflictions come from all directions to cover it up. Letting the gaze run loose also makes the heart blind to distinguishing between truth and falsehood, between the sunnah and innovation; while lowering it for Allah, the Might and Exalted, gives it a penetrating, true and distinguishing insight.

A righteous man once said: “Whoever enriches his outward behavior by following the sunnah, and makes his inward soul wealthy through contemplation, and averts his gaze away from looking at what is forbidden, and avoids anything of a doubtful nature, and feeds solely on what is halal- his inner sight will never falter.” Rewards for actions come in kind. Whoever lowers his gaze from what Allah has forbidden, Allah will give his inner sight abundant light.

TOO MUCH FOOD

***Too much Food, Keeping Bad Company, and What Gives the Heart Life and Sustence from this chapter, will be sent tommorrow by the will of Allah***

The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strength of the intellect, humility of the self, weakness of desires, and gentleness of temperament. Immoderate eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities.

Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’d Yakrib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah *saaws* say: “The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allah than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing.”

Excessive eating induces many kinds of harm. It makes the body incline towards disobedience to Allah and makes worship and obedience seem laborious-such evils are bad enough in themselves. A full stomach and excessive eating have caused many a wrong action and inhibited much worship. Whoever safeguards against the evils of overfilling his stomach has prevented great evil. It is easier for shaytan to control a person who has filled his stomach with food and drink, which is why it has often been said: “Restrict the pathways of shaytan by fasting.”

It has been reported that when a group of young men from the Tribe of Israel were worshipping, and it was time for them to break their fast, a man stood up and said: “Do not eat too much, otherwise you will drink too much, and then you will end up sleeping too much, and then you will lose too much.”

The Prophet *saaws* and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to go hungry quite frequently. Although this was often due to a shortage of food, Allah decreed the best and most favourable conditions for His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This is why Ibn Umar and his father before him-in spite of the abundance of food available to them- modeled their eating habits on those of the Prophet *saaws*. It has been reported that Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “From the time of their arrival in Madina up until his death *saaws*, the family of Muhammed *saaws* never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row.”

Ibrahim ibn Adham said: “Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behaviour. Disobedience towards Allah is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry.”

KEEPING BAD COMPANY

Unnecessary companionship is a chronic disease that causes much harm. How often have the wrong kind of companionship and intermixing deprived people of Allah’s generosity, planting discord in their hearts which even the passage of time-even if it were long enough for mountains to be worn away- has been unable to dispel. In keeping such company one can find the roots of loss, both in this life and in the next life.

A servant should benefit from companionship. In order to do so he should divide people into four categories, and be careful not to get them mixed up, for once one of them is mixed with another, then evil can find its way through to him:

The *FIRST* category are those people whose company is like food: it is indispensable, night or day. Once a servant has taken his need from it, he leaves it be until he requires it again, and so on. These are the people with knowledge of Allah-of His commands, of the scheming of His enemies, and of the diseases of the heart and their remedies- who wish well for Allah, His Prophet *saaws* and His servants. Associating with this type of person is an achievement in itself.

The *SECOND* category are those people whose company is like a medicine. They are only required when a disease sets in. When you are healthy, you have no need of them. However, mixing with them is sometimes necessary for your livelihood, businesses, consultation and the like. Once what you need from them has been fulfilled, mixing with them should be avoided.

The *THIRD* category are those people whose company is harmful. Mixing with this type of person is like a disease, in all its variety and degrees and strengths and weaknesses. Associating with one or some of them is like an incurable chronic disease. You will never profit either in this life or in the next life if you have them for company, and you will surely lose either one or both of your deen and your livelihood because of them. If their companionship has taken hold of you and is established, then it becomes a fatal, terrifying sickness.

Amongst such people are those who neither speak any good that might benefit you, nor listen cloesly to you so that they might benefit from you. They do not know their souls and consequently put their selves in their rightful place. If they speak, their words fall on their listeners’ hearts like the lashes of a cane, while all the while they are full of admiration for and delight in their own words.

They cause distress to those in their company, while believing that they are the sweet scent of the gathering. If they are silent, they are heavier than a massive millstone-too heavy to carry or even drag across the floor.

All in all, mixing with anyone who is bad for the soul will not last, even if it is unavoidable. It can be one of the most distressing aspects of a servant’s life that he is plagued by such person, with whom it may be necessary to associate. In such a relationship, a servant should cling to good behaviour, only presenting him with his outward appearance, while disguising his inner soul, until Allah offers him a way out of his affliction and the means of escape from this situation.

The *FOURTH* category are those people whose company is doom itself. It is like taking poision: its victim either finds an antidote or perishes. Many people belong to this category. They are the people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah *saaws* and advocate other beliefs. They call what is the sunnah a bid’a and vice-versa. A man with any intellect should not sit in their assemblies nor mix with them. The result of doing so will either be the death of his heart or, at the very best, its falling seriously ill.

What Gives the Heart Life and Sustenance

You should know that acts of obedience are essential to the well being of the servant’s heart, just in the same way that food and drink are to that of the body. All wrong actions are the same as poisonous foods, and they inevitably harm the heart.

The servant feels the need to worship his Lord, Mighty and Glorious is He, for he is naturally in constant need of His help and assistance.

In order to maintain the well being of his body, the servant carefully follows a strict diet. He habitually and constantly eats good food at regular intervals, and is quick to free his stomach of harmful elements if he happens to eat bad food by mistake.

The well being of the servant’s heart, however, is far more important than that of his body, for while the well being of his body enables him to lead a life that is free from illnesses in this world, that of the heart ensures him both a fortunate life in this world and eternal bliss in the next.

In the same way, while the death of the body cuts the servant off from this world, the death of the heart results in everlasting anguish. A righteous man once said, “How odd, that some people mourn for the one whose body has died, but never mourn for the one whose heart has died- and yet the death of the heart is far more serious!”

Thus acts of obedience are indispensable to the well being of the heart. It is worthwhile mentioning the following acts of obedience here, since they are very necessary and essential for the servant’s heart: —Dhikr of Allah ta’Ala, recitation of the Noble Qur’an, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, making du’as, invoking Allah’s blessings and peace on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and praying at night.

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OBSESSION OF THE HEART

Shaykh Ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah

In the name of Allaah the Most-Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

By way of introduction it should be pointed out, both to muslims and non-muslims alike, that this treatise was originally written in arabic to an audience consisting predominantely of men. Furthermore, it was presented to a culture which did not analyse human behaviour on the basis of “sexism”, or “feminism”, but to an environment which was free of these modern day innovations. This is, perhaps, why the discussion is referred primarily to men. It should be pointed out that whenever the shaikh (scholar) refers to “men” that the discussion can be extended to incorporate a similar, if not the same, observation for women. Although during his life the great shaikh was taught by at least eleven female scholars of religion and would often refer specifically to women in many of his essays, perhaps, on the occasion of this dissertation, he was mainly involved in the sphere of men. Nevertheless, when one is involved in understanding Islam one should never allow anything to enter into discussion which does not have a basis within the Qur’an and the Sunnah (authentic narrations).

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah says: When a man’s heart becomes attached to a woman, even though she is lawful for him, his heart will be her captive. She controls him and manipulates him as she wills. In appearance he is her lord because he is her husband or her possessor. However, in reality, he is her captive and is possessed by her especially when she knows his need and his passion for her. Then she will control him in the same way in which a conquering, aggressive master controls an overpowered slave who cannot escape from his master. Even worse than this is the captivity of the heart; this is more severe than the captivity of the body, and enslavement of the heart is much more severe than the enslavement of the body. Verily, whoever’s body is subdued, enslaved and captivated will not care so long as his heart is reassured and is serene. In this way, it is possible for him to escape.

In the other case though, when the heart, which dominates the body; is subdued, enslaved and enthralled by love for other than Allah, then, this is indeed mere humiliation and captivity. It is the humiliating Uboodiyah (enslavement ) that has subdued the heart. The Uboodiyah of the heart and its captivity form the basis on which good reward or bad punishment will be incurred. If a muslim is captivated by a kaafir or is enslaved by a profligate and given no rights, it will not harm him so long as he can fulfil his duties to Allah Azzawajal. Whoever is lawfully subdued and fulfils the rights of Allah Azzawajal and the rights of his master will bbe rewarded twice. Even if he is forced to pronounce Kufr (disbelief), pronouncing it with his tongue but keeping Eeman (conviction, faith) in his heart, the utterance will not harm him. But the one whose heart is subdued and becomes an ‘abd (slave) for other than Allah will be harmed by that even if he is a king.

Freedom is the freedom of the heart and al-Uboodiyah (enslavement) is the Uboodiyah of the heart. Similarly, well-being is the well-being of the soul. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) said :”Well being is not how much wealth you have; but it is the well-being of the soul.”

This, by Allah, is the case when a lawful image has enslaved one’s heart. But whoever’s heart is enslaved by an unlawful image will earn a torment more severe than any known torment. These people who are obsessed by images are of the most severely punished and the least rewarded. For if one is obsessed by an image and his heart remains attached to it and subdued by it, he will be surrounded by so many kinds of evils and corruption that they cannot be counted but by the Lord of al-Ibaad (the servants) even if he were safe from committing the greatest Faahisha (obscenity i.e. az-Zina – fornication). Continuous attachment of the heart (1) without commiting al-Faahisha is more harmful for him than it is for the person who commits a sin and repents of it. Since, afer true repentance the attachment and affection vanishes from his heart. (2) These people are likened to drunk people or the insane. It has been said: “They said you were driven insane by that which you have a passion for. I replied to them that passion causes more harm than insanity.”

As for this passion, the one who is obsessed by it will never awake until the end of time. However, the insane only exhibit their madness during certain periods. Of the greatest causes of this affliction is the heart’s turning away from Allah for when the heart senses the taste of worshipping Allah and sincerity towards Him, nothing will be more tasty to it than that; and nothing will be more delightful and enjoyable than that. A human being will not leave a lover except to replace him with another lover more beloved to him than the former, or he can leave a lover fearing some harm. Verily, the heart will turn from a corrupt love to a righteous love, or from fear of imparting harm.

Allah Taaala said concerning Yusuf: Thus (did We order) that We might turn away from him evil and al-Fahshaah (illegal sexual intercourse) (3)

Thus, Allah turns away from His abd (servant) that which could be evil for him from the inclination towards images and the attachment to them. He also turns al-Fahshaah (the blatant sin) away from him when he is sincere to Allah. Hence, before he tastes the sweetness of al-Uboodiyah (Enslavement) to Allah and sincerity for Him, he will be forced by his soul to follow it’s own passion. But once he obtains the taste of sincerity and becomes strong in his heart, then his passion will submit to Him (Allah) without any effort.

Allah Ta’aala said: Verily, As-Salaat (the prayer) prevents the committing of Al-F ahshaah (the obscene, blatant sin) and al- Munkar (the evil) and the Remembrance of Allah is the greatest. (4) Indeed, in As-Salaat (the prayer) there is repulsion of harmful things, i.e. Al-Fahshaah (the obscene blatant sin) and Al-Munkar (the evil conduct) and there is attainment of a beloved thing, the remembrance of Allah. The attainment of this beloved thing is greater than the repulsion of the harmful things. Verily, the remembrance of Allah is, by itself,a worship of Allah; and the heart’s worship of Allah is sought for itself, whereas the repulsion of evil from the heart is sought for other than itself. Instead, it is needed for something else.

The heart has been created loving the truth, seeking it and striving for it; but when the will of evil confronts it, then the heart demands the repulsion of the evil will because the latter spoils the heart as a plantation is spoiled with weeds. That is why Allah Ta’aala said: Indeed he succeeds who sanctifies it (his own soul) a nd indeed he fails who corrupts it (his own soul). (5)

And He, Azzawajal, said: Indeed he shall achieve success who sanctifies himself and brings to mind the name of Allah and performs salaat (prayer). (6)

And He, Azzawajal, said: Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to protect their private parts from sin. That is more sanctifying for them… (7)

And He, Azzawajal, said: And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy upon you, not one of you would ever have been sanctified. (8)

Thus Allah Ta’aala made the lowering of the gaze and the protection of the sexual organs from Az-Zinaa (fornication) as the strongest sanctification of the soul. He also showed that avoiding blatant sins is a part of the sanctification of the soul. The sanctification of the soul comprises keeping away from all evils including blatant sins, injustice, shirk (associating partners with Allah Azzawajal) and lying. The same is true for one who is seeking leadership and dominion on earth. His heart is a slave to those who help him with his aim although he, in appearance, is their leader and the obeyed one among them. In reality he has hope in them and fears them. He would offer them wealth and countries, and would overlook what they have wrongly commited so that they would obey and help him with his aims. In appearance he is an obeyed leader while in fact he is their obedient slave.

The fact of the matter is that both of them manifest worship for each other and both of them have gone away from the actual worship of Allah. Moreover, if their mutual help is for an unjust dominion on earth, then they are on the level of those who mutually help each other to commit al-Faahishah (the blatant sins) or to cut off the way. Hence, each one of them, who originally was a slave and obsessed by his passion, becomes subdued by the other.

The same is the case of the one who strives for wealth; this wealth can obsess and subdue him. However, wealth is of two types: one type is that for which al-‘Abd (the servant) has a need, such as food, drink, shelter and marital life. This type should be asked for from Allah and should be sought for His pleasure. Thus, this wealth, which a person uses for his needs, is of the same level as his donkey which he rides, or his mat, on which he sits. Furthermore, it should be regarded on the same level as a water closet in which he satisfies his need without becoming subdued or dismayed by it. Allah Ta’ aala said: Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him and niggardly when good touches him. (9)

The other type of wealth is that which al-Abd (the servant) does not need for his necessities. He should not attach his heart to this type of wealth. For if he does attach his heart to it, he becomes subdued by it. Furthermore, he might begin relying upon other than Allah. Then, nothing of the actual worship which is due to Allah nor of the true reliance upon Allah will remain with him. Instead, he will be pursuing a branch of worship of other than Allah and a branch of reliance upon other than Allah. This person is the most deserving of the saying of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam): “May the worshipper of ad-Dirham be wretched. May the worshipper of ad-Dinar be wretched. May the worshipper of velvet cloth be wretched. May the worshipper of silk cloth be wretched.” (10)

This person is indeed a slave of these objects. For if he asks Allah for these objects and if Allah grants him what he has requested, then he is pleased. But if Allah denies him what he has asked for, he is upset. However, the true ‘abd (servant) of Allah is the one who is pleased with what Allah and his Messenger love and hates what is hated by Allah and his Messenger and will make allegiance with the Awliyaa Allah (those near to Allah) and take for enemies the enemies of Allah.

This is the person who has completed his Eeman (faith, conviction) as narrated in the hadeeth: “Whoever loves for Allah, hates for Allah, and gives for Allah and denies for Allah has indeed completed Eeman.” (11) and he said: “The most strong of al-Eeman’s (Faith’s) ties is loving for the sake of Allah and hating for the sake of Allah.” (12)

Notes

1. That is when the person is not mindful of Allah and not even striving to remove it (the image) from his own soul so that his Uboodiyah becomes purely since rely for his Lord. Thus in this case it cannot be considered an absolute evil and, hence, it cannot be more harmful than that which was mentioned about he other case. (Al-Albaanee).

2. That is because the continuous attachment of the heart to the image, according to the above detail, must force the person to disobey the Shareeah even in an aspect which is not directly related to the greatest Faahisha (blatant sin) s uch as neglecting some of his own personal obligations or those of whom he supports. (Al-Albaanee).

3. Surah Yusuf 12:24

4. Surah Ankabut 29:45

5. Sur ah Shams 91:10

6. Surah Ala 87:14-15

7. Surah Nur 24:30

8. S urah Nur 24:21

9. Surah Maaarij 70:20-21

10. Reported by [Bukhari & Ibn Majah] from Abu Hurairah.

11. Reported by [Abu Dawud] and it has good isnad (chain of narration).

12. Reported by [Ahmed & at-Tabarani] and it is Hasan.

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THE HEART’S CAPTIVATION AND IMPRISONMENT BY SIN

By Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim

From Al-Jawab al-Kafi[1]

He (rahimahullaah) said: And among its effects is that the disobedient (sinner) is constantly in the shackles of his Shaytaan and the prison of his shahwa (desires) and the chains/fetters of his hawaa (whims). So he is a captive, one who is imprisoned and who is tied up.

There is no captive in a worse state than the one who is captivated by his worst enemy and there is no prison which is tighter than the prison of hawa and there is no bond/fetter more strong than the bond of desire.

How, then, will a heart which is captivated, imprisoned and fettered travel unto Allaah and the Home of the Hereafter. How will a person take a single step forward when the heart is bound and harmful things approach it from every direction. The harmful things approach it to the extent that it is tied up [i.e. imprisoned by its desires and whims..].

The example of the heart is like the example of a bird. Every time is ascends it becomes distant from the harmful things and every time it descends the harmful things hurt it. In a hadeeth there occurs that Shaytaan is like a wolf to people. Just as when a sheep has no Protector and is in between many wolves, they are quick in causing damage and injury; likewise the servant who does not have guardianship from Allaah, then his wolf [i.e. his desires, whims etc.] is to him a predatory animal.

[Thus] there is no escape for the servant from having protection from Allaah. Taqwaa is a safeguarding for him and a strong shield between himself and the punishment of this world and the Hereafter.

Every time the sheep is close to its shepherd it is more safe from the wolf and every time it becomes distant from its shepherd it is closer to destruction. So its sanctuary is when it is close to its shepherd because the wolf takes the lonely one from the flock and this is the one which is the furthest one of the flock from the shepherd. The basis of all of this is is that every time the heart is distant from Allaah the harmful things are quick in approaching it and every time it is close to Allaah the harmful things become distant from it.

Remoteness from Allaah has levels/degrees, some of which are more severe than others. Heedlesness distances the servant from Allaah and some acts of disobedience are greater than some acts of heedlesness. Some innovations are greater than some acts of disobedience and some things from Hypocrisy and Shirk are greater than all of what has preceded.

Footnotes:

[1] Translated by Abu Iyaad

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STATION OF TOMA’ANEENAH

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Toma’aneenah is tranquillity. Allah says, “Those who believe and whose hearts find toma’aneenah in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find toma’aneenah.” [13:28]

“O you the one with toma’aneenah! Come back to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter you, then among My honored slaves, and enter My Paradise.” [89:27-30]

Toma’aneenah is the satisfaction of the heart with circumstances without any sense of anxiety or restlessness. It was mentioned in one narration that: “Truthfulness is a cause of toma’aneenah and lying is a cause of suspicion and doubt.” This suggests that one who hears the truth will have toma’aneenah and satisfaction within his heart as a result, whereas lying causes disturbance and doubt within the heart. This meaning is also seen in the hadeeth which states: “Righteousness is what the heart has toma’aneenah with.” This shows that the heart feels satisfied with truth and has no anxiety or sense of unease because of it.

There are two opinions regarding the meaning of remembrance of Allah in the (aforementioned) verse. The first opinion holds that the remembrance is of the servant to his Lord. This remembrance causes toma’aneenah to settle within the heart. Should the heart become anxious or disturbed, then the servant will have no means for attaining toma’aneenah except through the remembrance of Allah. The second opinion holds that the meaning of this remembrance is the Qur’an, and this is the more sound. It is His Remembrance that He revealed to His Messenger. The hearts of the believers will have toma’aneenah as a result of it. For the heart will not have trust or toma’aneenah except by faith and certainty. There are no means of attaining faith and certainty except through the Qur’an. The toma’aneenah of the heart is due to its firm faith. The heart’s anxiety and disturbance are a result of its doubts and uncertainty. The Qur’an is the means to attain certainty and firmness in faith, and to remove doubts. That is why the hearts of the believers cannot have tranquillity except through the Qur’an. It is impossible for anyone who doesn’t study the Qur’an, or deeply understand it, to have a benefit from it and its guidance. The benefit from the Qur’an, will not be sound unless one’s heart perceives the reflections of His Lord’s Names and Attributes, in His Laws within himself and in everything around him within this universe. The same two opinions are also applied to the meaning for the remembrance of Allah, as stated in the following verse, “And whosoever turns away from the remembrance of Ar-Rahmaan (Allah), We appoint for him a shaytaan(devil) to be an intimate companion to him.” [43:36]

Again, the sound opinion here is that Allah’s Remembrance is that which He sent to His Messenger, i.e., His Book. Whoever turns away from this, Allah will appoint a shaytaan for him, who will misguide and deter him from the straight path although the person may think that he is righteously guided. The two opinions are also prevalent with the verse: “But whosoever turns away from My Remembrance, verily for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” [20:124]

The sound opinion is that Allah’s Remembrance is His Book that He sent to His Messenger. This is why the one that turns away from it will say, “O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind while I had sight before?” [20:125] And Allah will respond by saying, “Like this, Our Aayat came unto you but you disregarded them, and so this Day you will be neglected.” [20:126]

Allah deposits toma’aneenah in the hearts and souls of the believers. He will then grant the joy, delight and good news of admission into Paradise to those with toma’aneenah. As a result, for these people there is great happiness and a beautiful place for the final return. The verse “O you with toma’aneenah! Come back to your Lord . . ,” indicates that the soul will not return to Allah unless it is characterized by toma’aneenah. Then it will return to Him, be from among His honored slaves and be allowed to enter His Paradise.

Toma’aneenah’s final product is tranquillity. At that final stage the heart will have tranquillity with a sense of sound security. There is a difference between a sense of sound security and a deceitful sense of security. It is possible that the heart may have a feeling of satisfaction caused by a deceitful sense of security, but this satisfaction and peace do not endure. Besides the sound security because of the tranquillity produced by toma’aneenah, there is an atmosphere of joy and attachment.

Toma’aneenah is something more than tranquillity. It includes knowledge, faith and the attainment of what is known. The example of this is the toma’aneenah the hearts find with the Qur’an. When hearts believe in it and attain knowledge of its guidance, it is sufficient for them. Their total loyalty is to the Qur’an. They rule their lives with it and go to it when they have a dispute.

Toma’aneenah is extremely beneficial for those overwhelmed by obligations and responsibilities, especially for those who call others to Allah and struggle against Allah’s enemies. These people face and bear much more than others. They are faced by many circumstances that may weaken their patience. So if Allah wishes to relieve them of the heaviness of their obligations, He will have tranquillity descend upon them and toma’aneenah with His Commands and Decrees. If the servant has toma’aneenah with Allah’s Commands, then he knows that Allah’s religion is the truth and that Allah will certainly support him and be sufficient for him and his family. If the servant has toma’aneenah with Allah’s Decrees then he knows that nothing will reach him except for what Allah has written for him. This servant knows that whatever Allah wishes will be and whatever Allah doesn’t wish will not be. Therefore there is no reason for worries or concerns, unless there is weak faith. Nothing will happen unless it is written and if it is written, nothing can stop it. Therefore, there should be no fear or concern for those with faith. If an adversity occurs and the believer can do something, then he should do so. However, if he cannot, then he should not be annoyed or dismayed.

Toma’aneenah is also beneficial for those who are subjected to trials and hardship. There is no doubt when a person is suffering and has strong faith in the reward for his patience, then his heart will be content. He will have tranquillity and toma’aneenah. The adversity may become stronger against him and he may not see the reward. Seeing the reward may become so powerful that there may be a sense of joy felt from the adversity and be considered a gift. This is not surprising. Many wise persons upon seeing the results of distasteful medication may begin to like the taste of the medicine. Observing its benefit makes one not pay attention to the taste.

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THE DELIGHT OF THE HEART

Imam Sa’ud bin Ibrahim ash-Shuraim

Delivered in al-Masjid al-Haram during Ramadan

Translated by Yahya Adel Ibrahim

Praise is for Allah, the Guide to goodness. He Watches over His creation, knowing what is hidden from sight and that which they conceal in their breasts. I praise Him, the praise of a true slave who is afraid of His punishment, yet in hope of His forgiveness. I thank Him; the thanking that is obligated on a slave to his Master. I bear witness that there is no god or deity worthy of any worship except Allah alone. I bear witness that Muhammed is His slave and final Messenger.

Amma Ba’du: I advise you and I to have Taqwa Allah; it is the provision that will be most beneficial on the final Day.

Allah (swt) says Ordering his Prophet (saws): “Recite (O Muhammed) what has been revealed to you of the Book (Quran), and perform as-Salah. Verily, as-Salah (prayer) prevents from al-Fahsha’ (great sins of every kind) and al-Munkar (disbelief, and every wicked deed). And the Remembering (praising) of (you by) Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising) Allah in prayers]. And Allah knows what you do.” — Al-‘Ankabut 29:45

He (saws) also said: “I (Muhammed) have been commanded only to worship the Lord of this city (Makkah), Him Who has sanctified it and His is everything. And I am commanded to be from among the Muslims (those who submit to Allah in Islam). And to recite the Quran.” — An-Naml 27:91,92

Allah (swt) said: “Nay, but they, the clear Ayat [the description and the qualities of Prophet Muhammed (saaw) written like verses in the Torah and the Gospel] are preserved in the breasts of those who are have been given knowledge (from the people of the Scriptures). And none but the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) deny Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons and signs).” — Al-‘Ankabut 29:49

He (swt) also said: “And we have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and be remembered, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)!?” — Al-Qamar 54:17

‘Ibad Allah!

The month of Ramadan is known as the month of sacrifice and fasting. It is also known and recognized and known as the month of the Quran. Allah (SW) says: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” — Al-Baqarah 2:185

Allah (swt) says: “Verily! We have sent it down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree).” — Al-Qadr 97:1

He (swt) also says: “We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed night [night of Qadr in the 9th month (Ramadan) of the Islamic calendar]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night is decreed every matter of ordainments.” — Ad-Dukhan 44:3

Allah revealed the Quran, a beacon of light that cannot be extinguished. A methodology and way of life that is perfect in all respect. In it is strength that cannot be equaled or repelled. It is the foundation of Iman and the spring of knowledge. Allah Willed that the Quran be what quenches the thirst for knowledge. It is the delight of the people of wisdom. The Quran is the greatest cure for all ailments. The Quran is Allah’s Rope that cannot be severed. It is the Wise reminder and the truly straight path. In the Quran are the parables of those who were before us, a prophesy of that which will be after us and a criterion to judge between us. It is Truth with certainty that was revealed to us. The one who lives according to its dictation will be rewarded. The one who judges according to it will be just. The one who calls to it is on the straight path. Allah raises and lowers people with it. The Quran, on the Day of Judgment, will intercede on behalf of those who recited it.

Rasool ul Allah (saws) said: “The one who reads a single letter from the Book of Allah will be rewarded with one Hasana (good deed). (Know that) A good deed is multiplied ten times over. I do not say Alif Lam Meem is one letter. Verily, Alif is on letter, Lam is one letter, Meem is one letter.” — Reported by at-Tirmithi and it is Sahih.

O Muslims!

The Book of Allah to mankind’s guidance, is like the soul in relation to the body. Therefore, he who abandons its recitation and does not act in accordance to its laws is in a state of spiritual death. Allah (swt) says: “Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by Knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out?” — Al-An’am 6:122

A person without Quran is like a person without water, air and medicine. Allah (swt) says: “And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.” — Al-Isra’ 17:82

Allah (swt) also says: “And if We had sent this as a Quran in a foreign language other that Arabic, they would have said: ‘Why are not its Verses explained in detail (in our language)? What! (A Book) not in Arabic and (the Messenger) an Arab? Say: ‘It is for those who believe, a guide and healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Quran) is blindness for them.” — Fussilat 41:44

The Quran is a healing for the body and soul. Whenever life becomes hard and complicated the Light of the Quran will always brighten the way. It will be a source of solace and tranquility. It will be a defender to you when you are powerless and in need. Allah (swt) says: “And when you (Muhammed) recite the Quran, We put between you and those who believe not in the Hereafter, an invisible veil (or screen their hearts, so they hear or understand it not).”

“And We have put a barrier before them, a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see.” — Ya-Sin 36:9

The Muslim recites the Quran and will feel the Sakina and tranquility in his heart and being. This causes them only to fear Allah alone and no other. Allah (swt) says: “Those (the believers) unto whom the people (hypocrites) said, ‘Verily, the people (pagans) have gathered against you (a great army), therefore, fear them.” But it (only) increased them in Faith, and they said, ‘Allah (alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).” So they returned with Grace and Bounty from Allah. No harm touched them; and they followed the good Pleasure of Allah. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty. It is only Shaytan that suggests to you the fear of his Auliya [supporters and friends (polytheists, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger], so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers.” — Ali-‘Imran 3:173-175

Sadly, many have taken this Quran for granted and have neglected its recitation and implementation. They sought the worldly life and neglected the Hereafter. Allah (swt) says: “And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.” — Al-An’am 6:116

Allah (swt) says: “And most of them follow nothing but conjecture. Certainly, conjecture can be of no avail against the truth.” — Yunus 10:36

The people of disbelief try to cloud the beauty of the Quran by attempting to beautify their scientific endeavors and worldly possessions. Yet, Allah (swt) says: “They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood, like irrigating or sowing or reaping), and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” — Ar-Rum 30:7

Tragically, there are those who will recite the Quran in its entirety and finish with little more than with what they began with in terms of contemplation and action. Some are so concerned with how they sound, they beautify their voice without ever listening to what is being ordered or prohibited. Truly there are many reciters of the Quran that the Quran is free from them and their evil. They recite the Quran and are oppressive to themselves and others by not following its orders or forbidding its prohibitions. Allah (swt) says: “No doubt! The Curse of Allah is on the Zalimun (wrong-doers).” — Hud 11:18

He (swt) says: “Then pray and invoke (sincerely) the Curse of Allah upon those who lie.” — Ali-‘Imran 3:61

O Muslims!

Nothing is more valuable to a Muslim in his worldly life and in the Hereafter than reciting the Quran and reflecting and trying to comprehend its meaning. In doing so an individual will become acquainted with what is good and what is evil. He will see the effects of disobedience of Allah and its punishment in the parables of those who have come before us. An example of such a punishment is the flood that was sent upon the people of Nuh (as) and others similar to it. It is a source of inspiration and strengthens one’s belief in Allah. For this reason, Allah (swt) says: “And when His (Allah’s) Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord.” — Al-Anfal 8:2

This Book was sent and revealed from above the seven Heavens so that it could be comprehended and implemented, it is not just to be recited while the heart is pre-occupied. Allah (swt) says: “(This is) a Book (Quran) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” Sad 38:29

Allah (swt) says: “Have they not pondered over the Word (of Allah) or has there come to them what had not come to their fathers of old?” — Al-Mu’minun 23:68

Allah (swt) says: “Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would s!urely have found therein much contradictions.” — An-Nisa 4:82

He (swt) says: “Do they not think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)? — Muhammed 47:24

The Quran is an integral part of the Muslim individual’s life. Allah (swt) says: “Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allah’s Reminder (Quran)? And that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture before (Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged on them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fasiqun (rebelious, disobedient to Allah).” — Al-Hadid 57:16

What has happened to our hearts O ‘Ibad Allah? Why are our hearts locked out and unresponsive to the Quran? Why do the words enter from one ear and exit out the other. Why have our hearts hardened?

Let us comprehend the Quran and implement it in our lives. Let us be from those who implement the Quran in our days and recite it during our nights.

O Allah! Make the Quran the delight of our hearts and the light of our breasts and the remover of our pain, sorrow and discomfort.

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DEAD HEARTS

Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah

© AlJumuah, Vol 8 Issue 4

http://islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=217

While thousands of Muslims are killed all over the world, and while tens of thousands are imprisoned and tortured for calling to the path of Allah and for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, most Muslims remain remarkably silent and have no worry except for the material things of life. Their hearts have been filled with the love of this life and the forgetfulness of the Hereafter.

Allah says in the Qur’an: “You will indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life, even more than those who do not believe in Resurrection. Each one of them wishes he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from due punishment. For Allah sees well all that they do” (Al Baqarah, 2:96). Many Muslims today have become so much attached to their life that their desire is to dwell among their family, house, money and commerce. They have forgotten that matters of the Hereafter should come before matters of this life and that we must strive to follow the orders of Allah, not just those we find easy and convenient to follow. Some Muslims today claim that it is better to perform extra prayers and extra fasting rather than enjoin the good and forbid the evil or defend the lives of weak Muslims. Such people would even blame the Muslims who strive to perform these obligations.

This is what Ibn al-Qayyim had to say about such people: ”The Shaitan has misled most people by beautifying for them the performance of certain voluntary acts of worship such as voluntary prayers and voluntary fasting while neglecting other obligatory acts of worship such as enjoining the good and eradicating the evil, to the extent that they do not even make the intention of performing them whenever they are able to. Such people are considered by the scholars to be on the bottom of the scale of religion: For the essence of our religion is to perform what Allah ordered us to do. The one who does not perform his obligations is actually worse than the one who performs sins. Anyone having some knowledge about the revelation of Allah, the guidance of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and the life of the companions would conclude that those who are pointed at today as the most pious people are in fact the least pious. Indeed, what kind of piety is there in a person who witnesses Allah’s sanctities being violated, his religion abandoned, the Sunnah of His Messenger shunned, and yet remains still with a cold heart and a shut mouth’ Such a person is like a dumb Shaitan! In the same way the one who talks falsehood is a speaking Shaitan. Isn’t the misfortune of Islam due only to those who whenever their life and food are secure, would not care about what happens to the religion? The best among them would offer a sorry face. But if they were challenged in one of the things their heart is attached to like their money, they would spare no efforts to get it back. These people, besides deserving the anger of Allah, are afflicted with the greatest calamity without even knowing it: They have a dead heart. Indeed the more alive a person’s heart is, the stronger its anger for the sake of Allah and the more complete his support to Islam and Muslims.” (A’alaam al-Muwaqqi’een, volume 2, page 176).

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DISEASES OF THE HEARTS AND THEIR CURES

By Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah

Source http://www.calgaryislam.com/imembers/Sections+index-req-viewarticle-artid-54-page-1.html

Miserliness and jealousy are sicknesses that lead to the soul hating that which would benefit it, and its loving that which would harm it. This is why jealousy was mentioned alongside hatred and resentment in the preceeding ahaadeeth. As for the sickness of desire and passionate love then this is the soul loving that which would harm it and coupled with this is its hatred of that which would benefit it.

Passionate love is a psychological sickness, and when its effects become noticeable on the body, it becomes a sickness that afflicts the mind also. Either by afflicting the mind by the likes of melancholy, or afflicting the body through weakness and emaciation. But the purpose here is to discuss its affect on the heart, for passionate love is the fundament that makes the soul covet that which would harm it, similar is the one weak of body who covets that which harms it, and if he is not satiated by that then he is grieved, and if he is satiated then his sickness increases. The same applies to the heart afflicted with this love, for it is harmed by its connection to the loved, either by seeing, touching, hearing, even think about it. And if he were to curb the love then the heart is hurt and grieved by this, and if he given is to the desire then the sickness becomes stronger and becomes a means through which the grievance is increased.

In the hadeeth there occurs, “Indeed Allaah shelters His believing servant from the world just as one of you shelter your sick ones from food and drink (that would harm them).” [1]

In the hadeeth concerning the saving of Moosa reported by Wahb[2], which is recorded by Imaam Ahmad in az-Zuhd, “Allaah says: “Indeed I drive away My friends from the delights of this world and its opulence and comfort just as the compassionate shepherd drives away his camel from the dangerous grazing lands. And indeed I make them avoid its tranquility and livelihood, just as the compassionate shepherd makes his camel to avoid the resting-places wherein it would be easy prey. This is not because I consider them to be insignificant, but so that they may complete their portion of My Kindness in safety and abundance, the delights of the world will not attract him and neither would desires overcome him.”

Therefore the only cure for the sick lies in his removing the sickness by removing this blameworthy love from his heart.

People are divided into two opinions concerning passionate love: One group says that if falls into the category of intentions and wishes, this being the famous opinion. Another groups says that it falls into the category of imagination and fantasies and that it is a corruption of the imagination since it causes one to depict the one who is loved in other than his true reality. This group went on to say: “And this is why Allaah has not been described with passionate love (ishk) and neither that He passionately loves (ya`shik) because He is far removed from this, and one cannot be praised who has these corrupt thoughts.”

As for the first group, then from them are those who said: “He is described with passionate love (ishk) because it is a complete and perfect love and Allaah loves (yuhib).” And it is reported in the narration of `Abdul Waahid bin Zayd that He said, “The servant will always continue to draw closer to me, loving Me and I loving him (A`shiquhoo).” This is the saying of some of the Soofis but the majority do not apply this word to Allaah, because passionate love is a love exceeding the proper bounds, as for the Love of Allaah then it has no end and cannot exceed the proper bounds. Passionate love is to be considered blameworthy without any exceptions, it is not to be praised when it is directed towards the Creator or created because it is a love that exceeds the proper bounds.

This is also true because the word “passionate love” is only employed with regards to a man loving a woman or child (or vice versa), it is not employed in things such as the love of one’s family, property or status, just as it is not employed with regards to the love of the Prophets and the righteous. Commonly, you will find this word being mentioned alongside a forbidden action, such as loving the woman who is not lawful for him, or loving a child joined with the unlawful glance and touch and other such unlawful actions.

As for the love of a man for his wife or slave-girl which leads him out of the folds of justice such that he does unlawful things for her and leaves what is obligatory as commonly happens even to the extent that he may oppress his son born of his old wife due to this love of his new wife, or to the extent that he will do things to keep her happy that would harm his religion and worldly life. For example his singling her out for inheritance that she does not deserve, or that he gives her family authority and property that exceeds the limits set by Allaah, or he goes to excesses in spending on her, or he makes unlawful things possible for her which harms his religion and worldly life. This passionate love is forbidden with regards to one who is permissible for him, so how would it be with regards for one who has passionate love for someone who is unlawful or with regards to two men? For this contains a corruption the extent of which none can assess except the Lord of the servants; it is a sickness that corrupts the religion and objectives of the one who possesses it, then it corrupts his intelligence and then his body. Allaah, the Most High, says,

Then do not be soft in speech, lest in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.[3]

There are some whose hearts contain the disease of desire and whose perceptions are only skin deep. When the object of the desire submits, the sickness is satiated, and this satiation strengthens the desire and pursuit of the object and hence strengthens the sickness. This is in contrast to the one whose objective is not met, for this failure results in removing the satiation that would strengthen the sickness and thereby the desire is weakened as is the love. This is because the person definitely intends that there be action accompanying his desire, for otherwise all his desire would be is just whisperings of the soul, unless there is some speech or looking accompanying this.

As for the one who is afflicted with this passionate love but holds back and is patient, then indeed Allaah will reward him for his taqwaa as occurs in the hadeeth: “That the one who passionately loves someone yet holds back, conceals this and is patient, then dies you this, will be a martyr.”[4] This hadeeth is known to be the report of Yahya al-Qataat from Mujaahid from Ibn `Abbaas from the Prophet (saw) but it is problematic and such a hadeeth is not to be depended upon. But it is known from the evidences of the Sharee’ah that if one were to hold back from performing that which is unlawful, be it looking, speaking or acting, and he conceals this and does not articulate it so as not to fall into that which is prohibited and he is patient in his obedience to Allaah and keeping away from disobedience to Allaah, despite the pain that his heart feels due to passionate love, (similar to the case of the one who is patient through a calamity), then indeed this person would gain the same reward as those who have feared Allaah and been patient.

Verily, he who fears Allaah and is patient, then surely Allaah makes not the reward of the doers of good to be lost.[5]

This holds true for the disease of envy and all other sicknesses that afflict the heart. So when the soul pursues that which would anger Allaah, and the person prevents himself from this, fearing Allaah, then he is included in His saying,

But as for him who feared the standing before His Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.[6]

When the soul loves something, it will do all that it can to attain it, so the one who does this out of having a blameworthy love or hatred then this action of his would be sinful. For example his hating a person due to envying him and thereby harming whosoever is linked to that person either by preventing his rights or by showing them enmity, or his doing something that is commanded by Allaah but he does it due to his desires and not for the sake of Allaah.

These types of sicknesses are commonly found in the heart. The person can hate something and due to this hate, love a great many things due to mere whims and fancies. As one poet affected by this said, “For the sake of a Sudanese girl he loved Sudan to the point that he loved the black dogs due to his love of her”

So he loved a black girl, and therefore loved all types of black even the blackness of dogs! All of this is a sickness in the heart with regards to its imagination, fantasies and desires. We ask Allaah that He eliminate all of the illnesses from our hearts, and we seek refuge with Allaah from evil manners, desires and sicknesses.

The heart has only been created for the worship of Allaah, and this is the natural disposition (fitrah) upon which Allaah created His servants as the Prophet (saw) said, “Every new-born child is born upon the natural disposition and it is his parents that make him a Jew, Christian or a Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal, do you see any part of its body amputated?” Then Aboo Hurayrah, radiyallaahu `anhu, said, recite if you wish the saying of Allaah,

The Fitrah of Allaah with which He has created mankind. No change is there in the creation of Allaah.[7] [Reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim].

So Allaah has made the natural disposition of His servants to love Him and worship Him Alone, so if the natural disposition was to be left as it is without corrupting it, then it would be cognizant of Allaah, loving Him Alone; but the natural disposition does become corrupted due to the sickness of the heart such as the parents making it a Jew or a Christian even though this be by the Will and Predecree of Allaah, just like the body is altered by amputation. But even after this it is possible for the heart to return to the natural disposition if Allaah makes this easy for the one who does his utmost to return it to the natural disposition.

The Messengers were sent to affirm and re-establish the natural disposition and to perfect it, not to alter it. So when the heart loves Allaah Alone, making the religion sincerely for Him, it will not be tried with this passionate love (directed to him) his love of Allaah Alone, making the religion sincerely for him, did not allow him to be overcome by this, rather Allaah said,

Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.[8]

As for the wife of al-`Azeez, it was because she was and her nation were polytheists that she was afflicted with passionate love. No one, and no one is afflicted with passionate love except that this diminishes his singling out Allaah Alone for worship and his faith. The heart that repents to Allaah, fearing Him, has two routes by which it can remove this passionate love:

1) Repenting to Allaah and loving Him, for indeed this is more satisfying and purer than anything else, and nothing will be left to love along side Allaah.

2) Fearing Allaah, for indeed fear is the opposite of passionate love and removes it.

So everyone who loves something, with passion or otherwise, then this love can be removed by loving that which is more beloved to compete with it.[9] This love can also be removed by fearing the occurrence of a harm that is more hateful to one than leaving this love. So when Allaah is more beloved to the srvant than anything else, and more feared by him than anything else, then he will not fall into passionate love or find any love that would compete with his love of Allaah, except in the case of negligence or at a time when this love and fear has become weak by his leaving some of the obligatory duties and by performing some of the prohibited actions. For indeed faith increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience, so each time a servant obeys Allaah out of love and fear, and leaves a prohibited action out of love and fear, his love and fear becomes stronger, and any love or fear of anything else besides Allaah will disappear from his heart.

The same is true for the sickness of the body: for the health of the body is preserved by the same, and the sickness is repressed by the opposite. The correctness of the faith in the heart is preserved by its like, meaning that which would breed faith in the heart from the beneficial knowledge and righteous action for these are its nourishment as occurs in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood, reported as his saying and as a hadeeth of the Messenger (saw), “Indeed every host loves that people come to his table spread, and indeed the table spread of Allaah is the Qur’aan.”

So the Qur’aan is the table spread of Allaah.

From those things that nourish the heart are supplication at the end of the night, the times of Adhaan and Iqaamah, in his prostration, at the ends of the prayers[10] add to this repentance. For indeed the one who repents to Allaah and then in turn Allaah forgives him, He will then give him enjoyment for an appointed time. That he takes to reciting the reported adhkaar for the day and at the time he sleeps. That he bears with patience what he is enticed with that would divert him from all of this, than Allaah will immediately aid him with a spirit from Him and write faith in his heart. That he be eager to complete the obligatory duties such as the five prayers inwardly and outwardly for they are the pillars of the religion. That his words of recourse be “laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaahi” [11] for by them the heavy burdens can be born, horrors can be overcome, and the servant be gifted up the supplication and seeking help from Allaah, for the servant will be answered as long as he is not hasty, saying: “I have supplicated and supplicated but I have not been answered.” [12] That he should know that help comes with patience, that relief comes after anxiety and distress, that after every period of difficulty there follows a period a period of ease.[13] That he knows that no prophet or one less than him was rewarded with a good end except as a result of his being patient.

And all praise and thanks are due to Allaah, the Lord of Creation. To Him belongs praise and grace for guiding us to Islaam and the Sunnah, a praise that would suffice His favours to us outwardly and inwardly, as in required for the nobility of His Face and might of His Magnificence. Abundant Peace and Blessings be upon our master, Muhammad (saw), and upon his family, Companions, his wives, the mothers of the believers, and all those that follow them in good until the Day of Judgement.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] A similar hadeeth to this reported by al-Bayhaqee and it is a da`eef hadeeth. (Refer to Fayd al-Qadeer).

[2] Wahb ibn Munabbih is a noble taabi`ee, but this hadeeth is reported from him directly to the Prophet (saw) and is not authentic.

[3] Soorah al-Ahzaab (33):32.

[4] A da`eef hadeeth. Refer to the discussion concerning its inauthenticity in al-Jawaab al-Kaafee and Rawdah al-Muhibbeen of Ibn al-Qayyim and Silsilah ad-Da`eefah of al-Albaanee.

[5] Soorah Yoosuf (12):90.

[6] Soorah an-Naazi`aat (79):40-41.

[7] Soorah ar-Room (30):30.

[8] Soorah Yoosuf (12):24.

[9] Refer to Rawdah al-Muhibbeen of Ibn al-Qayyim for he has a beautiful discussion concerning this.

[10] These are the times in which Allaah answers the supplications, there are authentic ahaadeeth concerning these.

[11] The Prophet (saw) said, “indeed it is a treasure from the treasures of paradise.” Reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the hadeeth of Aboo Moosa al-Ash`aree.

[12] Reported by Muslim

[13] A hasan hadeeth reported by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee from the hadeeth of Ibn `Abbaas.

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