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.