All praise is due to Allah SWT. Peace and blessings upon His Messenger, his family and his companions.
This week’s reminder is third in a series about diseases of the heart.
The imam referenced ayat 37 from Sura Qaaf of the Glorious Quran in which it said:
Indeed in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart or who listens while he is present [in mind].
Dear brothers and sisters, this passage follows ayats that talk of having a good heart, fixed of its diseases. We spoke of these diseases in two previous reminders in this series. In the first we were reminded of seeking forgiveness and in the second reminder we were told about charity as a form of healing the heart.
In today’s reminder, we speak of another method of mending the heart and that is seeking knowledge of our religion.
The imam mentioned the following hadeeth in reference to today’s reminder. It says:
Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to recognize that Islamic knowledge is one of the greatest ways of fixing and purifying our hearts, this is because:
Firstly, the heart is the place of the intentions and so the intentions have to be right. How does one intend to do something? Whether it’s the food we choose for breakfast to the mode of transport to work today, our intention is based on the knowledge we have. In the case of breakfast, our knowledge tells us what’s in the fridge or in the case of commute, we know if there’s a bus or train that can take us there. The same applies to our moral and ethical intentions. If we don’t have the knowledge to help us make that informed decision, then we run the risk of making the wrong choice.
Secondly, the heart gets diseased by desires and confusion, both of these can be fixed by knowledge. The life we live in is all about information. It is said we live in the Information Age as most of us possess devices that have access to a lifetimes worth of knowledge. However, we need to be able to filter the time-wasting knowledge acquisition that occurs now courtesy of social media from the stuff that is going to benefit us in this life and the next.
What concludes then are 4 practical steps that we can all take to acquire knowledge as well as saving ourselves from falling into the traps of our time and place.
- We ought to make it a habit that we ask Allah SWT in our supplications and conversations with Him that he makes it easy for us to acquire benficial knowledge.
The imam referenced a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS would recite a dua after the morning prayer. It is translated to say:
O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, goodly provision and acceptable deeds
Lets remind ourselves that none of this will be possible or beneficial without the help of Allah SWT and so keep requesting this of Him in our supplications to Him.
- Time Management – Look to your weekly schedule to dedicate some time to acquiring knowledge on Islam. If one says they will fit it in as and when, then that time will seldom come because worldly distractions will take time away from this responsibility. Rememeber that the Prophet SAWS employed time management as he had time for his family, his companions, spreading Islam, etc without neglecting any of these areas.
- Invest in an electronic device. Most of us have smart phones or tablets. Those who don’t can pick up an mp3 player for this purpose. Use these devices to benefit your heart by downloading free lectures and apps to increase your knowledge of Islam. Whether it’s a biography of the Prophet SAWS, a translation of the Quran or on a particular topic, this allows you to have that knowledge on standby whenever the time permits.
- Pick a small area to focus on. This is especially true for those beginning in this method. It can be overwhelming sometimes with the vastness of knowledge available and so start small and remind yourself that Allah SWT like consistency and so small but often is better than a one off effort that is soon forgotten about.
Dear brothers and sisters, alongside seeking forgiveness and giving charity, we now have a third remedy for our hearts. By seeking knowledge, we can counter the effects of the time and place we live in. By acquiring good knowledge, we can perfect our intentions and be of the people as mentioned by Allah SWT in the glorious Quran in Ayats 57 to 61 of Sura Muminun which says:
Indeed, they who are apprehensive from fear of their Lord. And they who believe in the signs of their Lord. And they who do not associate anything with their Lord. And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord – It is those who hasten to good deeds, and they outstrip [others] therein.
The imam referenced ayats 31 to 3 from Sura Qaaf of the Glorious Quran in which it said:
And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far, [It will be said], “This is what you were promised – for every returner [to Allah ] and keeper [of His covenant], Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance].
Dear brothers and sisters, this passage talks about us returning to our Lord with a healthy heart. We spoke about this last week and one of the methods of achieving this. The method last week was about asking for forgiveness and this week we expand upon charity as a method for fixing our heart.
Giving our wealth in the name of Allah SWT and spending on the poor and needy is one of the best ways to fix our heart. The imam reminds us of Sura Al-Toba, ayat 103 which says:
Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [ Allah ‘s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah SWT is telling us here the effect of charity on us and so it is imperative that we do not overlook this advice in reference to the health of our hearts and our souls.
In Islam, we have both mandatory charity which is Zakat and optional charity is Sadaqa. We ought to remind ourselves, that the charity we give here to purify ourselves is above and beyond the compulsory charity.
The imam mentioned the following hadeeths in reference to today’s reminder. The first one is in reference to the character of the charity giver and this is important so that we do not cancel out our reward of giving charity. It says:
“Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His ….” He mentioned the rest of the hadith, which says, “and a man who gives charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given.” (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity).
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to recognize the lesson here is that we can give to charity but if we follow it up by boasting about it, either in person or sharing it via facebook etc, then we run the risk of invalidating the deed because we are showing it off. Let’s keep our charitable acts between us and our creator.
The next hadith mentioned is where the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) spoke of 3 qualities of Allah SWT. For the purposes of today’s reminder, we will focus on one of the three. The Prophet SAWS said:
“I swear by Allah for three (qualities) which I am going to tell you about. Remember them well:
(1) The wealth of a man will not diminish by Sadaqah (charity).
Dear brothers and sisters, this is an important point as it touches upon a mathematical and financial miracle that is present in our everyday lives that we seldom speak of to others unless in the month of Ramadan when reminders are being given.
By donating to charity, our wealth does not decrease but Allah SWT will ensure that it increases. This, in turn, means that charity is actually one of the best investments we can do in life. Forget the ISA or the Mutual Funds, this is coming straight from the provider of wealth and so we would do well do add charity to our list of investments we make.
Dear brothers and sisters, it’s a no-brainer to spend in the way of Allah SWT. So what does this mean practically? We conclude this reminder with 2 practical tips that each of us can take with us.
Firstly, we should aim to make charity a regular part of our lives. Set up a direct debit, however large or small it may be and use it to contribute to a charity that benefits the local community. You will find over time you will forget that it even exists and yet it will continue to benefit you in this world and the next insh’Allah.
Next, we should aim to remind ourselves constantly that the money we have, the wealth that we acquire and the status that we have been given is from Allah SWT. The money is a loan to us from Him and we will be answerable to the money we earn and spend on the day of Judgement.
We should remind ourselves of this often so we do not fall into the bad habits of spending and worse still, fall into the trap of earning the money from the wrong sources.
Dear brothers and sisters, in the world of mathematics, you can add, subtract, divide and multiply in precise quantities. You cannot increase what you have, by dividing it or giving it away. That’s mathematics.
But, in the spiritual world, things work differently. In the spiritual world, the more you give of what you value, the richer you become, the more you prosper. Whether you give of your wealth, or your time, or your love, your care and wisdom, you can never impoverish yourself by giving generously. Dear brothers and sisters, let us take care not to mix the rules of mathematics with the rules of Islam.
May Allah SWT protect us being miserly or careless with money. May Allah SWT enable us to spend in His way. And may Allah SWT rewards us for our efforts in spending for the sake of Allah SWT.Read More