The Prophet SAWS said: In the body there is a piece of flesh, and the whole body is sound if it is sound, but the whole body is corrupt if it is corrupt. It is the heart.
Dear brothers, today’s topic is on the heart becoming hardened and harsh. There are many causes for this and some will be mentioned in todays reminder but Allah SWT speaks of this in warnings in the Quran. The imam mentioned ayat 179 from Sura Al-A’raf which is translated to say:
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless.
Dear brothers, we need to be mindful that the heart is to be protected. Just ponder over the way our bodies are constructed physically and you can see that the heart is protected by the ribcage and this is to remind us of how important this organ is both physically but as todays reminder tell us, spiritually as well.
And what is the root cause of this? The ayats in todays reminder all point to the fact that a heart that forgets Allah SWT becomes harsh as the focus becomes on this temporary world. But when that is said, it’s hard to visualise and so today’s reminder lists some of the common tell-tale signs or symptoms that the heart is becoming harsh.
Ask yourself for each, is it something you are suffering from, and if the answer is yes then you must strive to do the opposite of it so that your heart is repaired.
- Not praying in congregation brothers.
- Not reading the Quran.
- Not focus on prayers.
- Earning unlawfully.
- Cheating, deception or lying.
- Subjecting yourself to haram imagery or audio.
- Excess in lawful things. Things like eating, laughing, talking. Islam is about moderation and balance.
- Intoxicants such as drink or drugs.
Dear brothers, if you are finding that you are identifying with one or more of these then the remedy is something which ought to be applied as soon as possible, just like a doctor’s prescription. The reminder today concludes with 3 things we can do today to heal our hearts.
- Recite or listen to the Quran as this is the primary remedy for the heart.
- Learn about the book of Allah, our deen and our Prophet SAWS. Education never ends and this serves to heal the heart as well as provide us with knowledge.
- Do good deeds such as charitable acts. Even if it’s a smile. But key is to be consistent.
Dear brothers, we place so much emphasis on our physical health. Look around and you can see the impact of a virus on society itself. But spiritual health is also important and so let’s use today’s reminder to maintain a healthy heart and one that is free from harshness.
May Allah SWT make us soft-hearted, may Allah SWT protect us from harshness of the heart and may Allah SWT reward us in our efforts in this.Read More
The heart can fall ill and be diseased, just like the rest of the body, and breaks as the glass breaks, gets hungry as the stomach feels the hunger, and the diseases of the heart are many and different, depending on the reasons and the causes of the disease, to the point when one can be blinded by the diseases that one cannot see the truth in front of them.
From amongst the biggest of these diseases is the harshness of the heart, and this is dangerous, and no one can guarantee not having this except those that Allah SWT has saved.
The imam mentioned sura 74 of Sura Baqara which is translated to say:
Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah . And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
Scholars have remarked on this ayat in that it is meant to explain the harshness and rigidity of the heart – and its due to being away from the Quran and its contemplation. The prophet peace and blessings be upon him has warned of the harsh heart and indeed there are many other verses in the to Quran confirming this.
One example of this is the 16th ayat of Sura Al-Hadid which is translated to say:
Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.
The imam mentioned a dua of the Prophet SAWS which translated, speaks of the topic of this weeks reminder. It is translated to say:
[O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the inability (to do good), indolence, cowardice, miserliness, decrepitude and torment of the grave. O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul as You are the Best to purify it. You are its Guardian and its Protecting Friend. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which is not beneficial, and from a heart which does not fear (You), and from desire which is not satisfied, and from prayer which is not answered].
Dear brothers and sisters, we also have accounts from scholars who have remarked on the harshness of the heart. One such example of this is a quote which says:
Whenever the eyes dries up and no tear comes out from the awareness and fear of Allah – then realise that this is as a result of the harshness of the heart, and many of the Salaf used to love being able to cry and that it is higher than some worship.
And so we know that the heart is subject to disease and that it is so critical that the rest of the body is prone to falling it if the heart is ill and vice versa. However, we also know that the heart is capable of repair and Allah SWT is able to repair and restore our hearts.
A harsh heart can be attributed to one of two things. Firstly, the increase of sins. We know this because the Prophet SAWS told us that:
“When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases.”
The second is the excessiveness of the permitted things. Things such as excessiveness of food, sleep and talk. We know this from the hadith which is translated to say:
“It is from the excellence of (a believer’s) Islam that he should shun that which is of no concern to him”
Dear brothers and sisters, this help from Allah SWT comes from our own efforts first and foremost and so this reminder concludes with practical tips we can all do to improve the health of the heart.
Firstly, and most importantly it is the reading of the Quran with contemplation. Dear brothers and sisters, this is often regarded as a challenge to those of us who aren’t born with Arabic language. However, this is not a viable excuse in a time of lectures filling sites such as YouTube and Facebook Groups. We should be making an effort to find online study circles or talks at the very least in order to increase our understanding of the Quran. Alongside this, we ought to have mp3s of the Quran recitation on our phones and in our cars. We have the technology and so we ought to back this up with the effort on our part.
Secondly, we should remember Allah SWT during our day. Whether this is through focus in our five daily prayers, set zikr or even just contemplation of the natural world around us during the day, we need to be mindful that this world is designed to be a distraction that leads us away from the remembrance of Allah SWT and so lets not get caught in that trap of bring just focused on chores, tasks and everyday things that we do in this life because that is the wrong focus to have.
Thirdly, it is to pray in congregation and on time. As mentioned last week, we need to be mindful of our prayers as they are critical to our success but also it is important to note it can help in repairing the heart too. Let’s aim, at the very least, to time our day around the prayers and not the other way around. The prayers are the anchors in the day to which everything else revolves and adjusts.
And lastly, to be amongst the righteous. Whether it’s the study circles in the masjid, congregational prayer community or just your friends who encourage you towards bettering yourself in front of Allah SWT, we are told that we are the company that we keep. And so, especially in a place where most of the time we are striving to keep hold of our Islamic identity, we should dedicate some time where we are around like-minded people so that we can strengthen our resolve and our sense of identity, which in turn will strengthen our hearts.
Dear brothers and sisters, our heart is told by doctors as being the most important organ in our body. We also know that it is the most important organ for our soul. We are told by doctors on how to keep our heart healthy for the sake of our body but let’s use today’s reminder to help keep our heart healthy for the sake of our soul.Read More
It is said that the shortest path to Paradise is with a healthy heart.
As Muslims, we are only too aware that the importance of having a heart that is healthy in the spiritual sense will lead us to the pleasure of Allah SWT and in turn to Paradise.
Allah SWT reminds us of this fact in the Glorious Quran in Sura Ash-Shuara in ayats 88 and 89 which are translated so say:
The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children
But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.
Dear brothers and sisters, what do we mean then when we speak of a healthy heart in this context? A healthy heart is one that believes in Allah SWT, a heart that recognizes that only Allah SWT is worthy of worship and seeking help from, a heart that is free from arrogance, anger towards others, love for this temporary life and free from the love of the trappings of this life such as power and money. It is a heart that yearns to help others, a heart that yearns to seek the pleasure of Allah SWT and a heart that seeks to keep away from any sins and is saddened when we occasionally slip in keeping free from sin.
Allah SWT, through the Glorious Quran and through his Messenger SAWS, has given us directions to attain a healthy heart.
For example, the prophet SAWS is reported to have said:
You shall not enter Paradise so long as you do not affirm belief (in all those things which are the articles of faith) and you will not believe as long as you do not love one another. Should I not direct you to a thing which, if you do, will foster love amongst you: say As-Salaamu Alaikum to one another.
It was also asked of the Prophet SAWS the question of which people are best, he is reported to have replied to this question by saying:
‘Everyone who is pure of heart and sincere in speech.’ They said: ‘Sincere in speech, we know what this is, but what is pure of heart?’ He said: ‘It is (the heart) that is pious and pure, with no sin, injustice, bitterness or envy in it.’”
Dear brothers and sisters, we are in a time and a place where ties are being broken whereas people are spending more and more time creating ties in a virtual world through their phones and social media.
We need to recognize that not only Islam, but studies are showing the damage that this is having both on the individual and on society as a whole. As Muslims, we are forever the role model for others as well as teachers of what is the correct practice.
Therefore, we need to be mindful that we do not fall into the trap of cutting ties with our family and friends. We need to make the effort of keeping these ties going and to repair any ties which are broken between us.
We need to learn to forgive one another for the sake of Allah SWT, to love one another for the sake of Allah SWT as this is the correct mindset to have.
In fact, the Prophet SAWS taught us these valuable lessons in the following hadiths which are mentioned by the imam today.
In the first, the messenger of Allah SWT said:
“People’s deeds are presented before Allah on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave (of Allah) is granted forgiveness (of minor sins) if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancour against his brother, will not be pardoned. With regard to them, it is said twice: ‘Hold these two until they are reconciled’.”
And secondly, the messenger of Allah SWT said:
“It is not lawful for a Muslim to forsake or disown his (Muslim) brother beyond three days; and whosoever does so for more than three days, and then dies, will certainly enter the Hell.”
This reminder therefore concludes with 3 short steps we can take to attempt reconciliation with one another.
Remind one another the importance of reconciliation and give examples from the Quran and sunnah like the ones mentioned today. Explain to the other the importance for both to reconcile for the sake of Allah SWT’s mercy.
Introduce a mediator to help reconcile. Find someone willing to play the middle person to help reconcile between you and the other person. Make the effort to make this happen as the effort alone will insh’Allah be recognized by Allah SWT.
Lower the wing of mercy for the other person. Even if the issue is one that you cannot agree on, this does not mean that the reconciliation cannot happen. Agree to disagree and choose to reconcile and avoid the topic for the sake of reconciliation. This is more important for the soul than whoever may be right in regards to the issue concerned.
Dear brothers and sisters, we can see the importance of showing mercy to one another. Not only does it benefit our own hearts but it makes for a happier society, if we show love and understanding for one another. If we are to attain the mercy of Allah SWT then surely we need to demonstrate this with one another first.Read More
Islam is a religion of purity and decency. It is a religion of good manners and education. It is a religion that promotes the purification and cleansing of the heart.
Every Muslim needs to actively be of a sound mind and ability to self-audit and guide themselves to the righteous path. We need to be people who think for themselves and not follow the crowd so to speak, especially in the current time and place in which we live.
The imam reminds us of a hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which the key to this is indicated. It is translated to say:
“The disease of the nations before you is creeping towards you: Envy and hatred, it is the Haliqah. I do not speak of what cuts the hair, but what severs the religion. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul! You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I tell you about what will strengthen that for you? Spread the Salam among each other.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we are being told of a warning. A disease that is creeping towards us. A disease of envy and hatred. And the dire consequences of this is then stated later by informing us that it will sever our religion. We are then told of its consequences not only on us as a community but also on us as individuals. And then if that wasn’t warning enough, we are told of its effect on this life and the severe consequences on the next life.
However, as with all things in relation to our beautiful faith, this warning comes with a clear remedy. A treatment of this disease and that is the spread of love and peace between one another. This, we are told, is the cure to the envy and hatred that we are may have in our hearts.
Before we look into this further, it is worth noting that there is a distinction made between envy and jealousy. Sometimes, we use the words as synonyms for one another but the truth of the matter is that there is a key difference in the two words that we need to know of.
The definition of envy is simply looking at something someone else has and wishing for it to be removed or wishing for us to have it instead. Examples of this may be wealth, happy family home, health, even imaan in the other person.
This is a severe disease of the heart as this can manifest into wishing bad on others or the evil eye which we have discussed in previous reminders.
In comparison the definition of jealousy is wishing you had something that someone else has. Again the examples can be the same things such as wealth, family, heath but the key difference between the two may be that you do not wish bad for the other person nor want that person to no longer have it.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is human nature to compare and want. If we don’t have references in others then how will we know it is something that is desirable within us? In other words, jealousy can be a positive thing if it is understood and dealt with in the correct way.
For example, in our career we may wish we had the job of someone else. This is an example of being jealous but if we following this up by asking Allah SWT of a promotion, not wishing bad for the person we were jealous of and working hard to achieve that status, then this is a positive example.
We may wish to have the energy of our friend. Rather than wish he or she no longer has that energy, we supplicate to Allah SWT, a dua every night in which we wish even more health for our neighbour, telling them that they are an inspiration to us and we work hard to exercise and be fit like they are so that we can have the energy they have. This is a positive example of being jealous.
And the main one we are taught in Islam to compete with one another is in our level of worship to Allah SWT. So this may come about when we see someone doing an act of worship we wish we did. This is jealousy. But again, if we follow the thought with Mash’Allah first for that person and compliment that person, seek advice from that person in doing the same, doing dua to be like that person then this is an example of positivity from jealousy. This is a positive demonstration of love for that person and peace towards that person. Our heart remains pure and free of disease.
Dear brothers and sisters, the bigger lesson from this reminder is the need to correct one’s heart. If we are not reacting to similar examples in our lives to the ones given today then an MOT of the heart is overdue.
The imam reminded us of Sura An-Nisa, ayat 32 which is translated to say:
And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing.
In this ayat,, Allah SWT is giving us a number of lessons and one reminder can never do justice to the ayat but to summarise one lesson, we are being told that in life we will always encounter something we wish we had in others.
But it’s our heart, and how we deal with this scenario that is the key. Allah SWT is telling us not to wish for that by which he has made the other exceed you. But in the same ayat we are being told to ask Allah SWT from His bounty. Therefore, if we ponder over this, how can the two statements co-exist?
They co-exist because the first is an example of envy, a warning not to want the thing the other person has. That’s envy because you are wanting that thing for yourself. You are wanting it removed from that person who has exceeded you. This breeds hatred and a heart in need of repair.
The second is a positive reaction to jealousy as discussed earlier. And this is directly answered by Allah SWT in that we are told to ask Allah SWT of it. To be like the person we compared ourselves to. He tells us to ask Allah SWT of His bounty. This takes nothing away from the person that exceeds us but gives us a reason to return to our Lord in prayer.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we ponder over this ayat further, we can see that through jealousy we have been given a reason to ask of Allah SWT, to increase of level of worship. To ignore the human nature to compare is not the answer, this is part of who we are. However, it is how we deal with that characteristic is what will make us successful in this life and the next.
By wishing only the best for those who exceed us, by returning to our Lord in sincere dua and asking for something like what we have seen in others whilst wishing for their blessing to continue, we are fulfilling our obligations and we are reacting to our heart in a way that will rid it of the disease of envy and hatred for others and promote love for one another instead.
May Allah SWT enable us to be rid of envy. May Allah SWT enable us to deal positively to jealousy and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in healing our hearts of any negativity towards others.Read More
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
All praise is due to Allah SWT. Peace and blessings upon His Messenger, his family and his companions.
This week’s reminder is about diseases of the heart.
The imam referenced ayats 88 and 89 from Sura Ash-Shu’ara of the Glorious Quran in which it said:
The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children
But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.
And he also reminded us of the hadith in which the prophet SAWS said:
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, todays reminder is part of a series of reminders about how we can go about to fixing our hearts.
Since these references tell us that nobody will escape punishment unless they face their Lord with a sound heart, we need to do all that we can to achieve that if we do not already possess it.
The method we are going to expand upon today is about seeking forgiveness.
Allah SWT speaks of this in the Glorious Quran in Surat Hud, ayat 3 in which it says:
Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him.
And the imam mentioned the hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he said:
“Verily, when the slave (of Allah) commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. When he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart. And that is the ‘Ran’ which Allah mentioned: ‘Nay, but on their hearts is the Ran which they used to earn.’”
Dear brothers and sisters, this is an important hadith to think about because it is telling us that if we commit a sin then at first the body reacts to the sin, the soul is disgusted by it and we feel it. However, if we do this again and again, eventually the soul no longer reacts to it.
The analogy here is those who know someone who smokes. Ask them what their first cigarette was like and 100% of them will tell you that it was disgusting, they choked and a lot of them vomited. Ask them then why they smoke now and they will tell you that it no longer has that reaction. This is because the body has now surrendered to the toxins and poisons going into it. If they had stopped at the beginning the repair would have been minimal and the task would have been easy. Ask those people now and they will tell you how hard it is to quit.
This, dear brothers and sisters, is the effect of the sin on the soul and so the danger cannot be underestimated.
What follows then are 6 practical tips that we can all take away to assist us in the first remedy to repair our hearts.
Step 1 is about correcting the intention in repenting. Anyone can do the blanket Astaghfirullah and nobody is taking away the action as it’s acceptance is with Allah SWT. However, we need to remind ourselves that the intention is only as good as the sincerity that goes with it. We may have experienced insincerity in our lives from others and how that makes us feel. Therefore why should we feel that it is acceptable when asking for forgiveness from our Creator? We need to ask with fear and hope of His Mercy.
Step 2 is about removing the sin that you are committing. The imam made a reference to Sura Nisa, ayat 17 in which it says:
The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
Step 3 is to feel sorry for the sin committed as this will lead to one wanting to seek forgiveness. This is an important point as this is talking about shame or a sense of remorse. Unfortunately both these qualities are ever increasingly unfashionable in society. It is almost where it’s ridiculed by peers when someone demonstrates shame or remorse. My dear brothers and sisters, this is a time and a place to test us and we need to step up and demonstrate that we are the best of people, the best that we can be, and we do that by being leaders in our groups and being role models for others to follow in our manners and our actions.
Step 4 is to ask for forgiveness at time its still possible to do so and so this is about death. Dear brothers and sisters, we are steered away from talking about death. In a time where all other taboos have gone, its funny that the only certainty of life is still something that is avoided in society. That is probably because by remembering it, people are reminded of their responsibilities to their own selves, their souls and it makes them think of their behaviours. We need to remind ourselves that the end of our life here is only known to Allah SWT and that we could depart this world anytime. Therefore it makes no logical sense to delay in seeking forgiveness or changing behaviours for the better.
Step 5 is to give back any rights taken from others, even it’s a single morsel or penny. This is because we would rather pay our dues in this life than the next and we do this with the hope that it leads to our forgiveness.
And finally we are proactive in our forgiveness and we be this by avoiding any repeat of the sin by taking ourselves out of the danger zone. Whether that is the people we associate with, the habits that we have formed or the lifestyle that caters for the sin, we need to learn to change in order to rid ourselves of the transgression. And for those of us who are worried that it is a big change to make, it’s worth reminding ourselves that in psychology they say human nature means to fear change and so this may apply in this scenario. However, by having faith in Allah SWT that the change we are making is to rid ourselves of sin, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the steps we take will be full of blessing and reward as they are in the name of Allah SWT.
Dear brothers and sisters, our religion is not a passive one. We cannot hope for changes and improvements through divine intervention alone. The responsibility is also on us to do our bit and by implementing these 6 tips we can go some way to achieving the forgiveness of our Lord and repairing the state of our hearts.
May Allah SWT return us to Him with a sound heart. May Allah SWT enable us to implement actions to repair our hearts and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in repairing our hearts.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.Read More