Keep your heart alive
How can you make your heart safe and sound throbbing with faith and life?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the universes, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
The heart is the essence of life in the human being, according to its integrity and purity; the human life's safety and purity are dependent. This fact as being proved by the legitimate evidences is established by the scientific and philosophical theories in all denominations throughout history.
Hence, the wise Muslim is the one who searches for the causes of the goodness of his heart, and the reasons of its strength and vitality; because he realizes that once he possesses a sound heart; he has owned life with its purity and beauty.
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, has shown us that the goodness and righteousness of the human being is connected to the righteousness of his heart, he says: “Beware, there is a piece of flesh in the body; if it is sound, the whole body is sound and if it is corrupt the whole body is corrupt, and hearken it is the heart” [Narrated by An-Nu'man ibn Bashir – authenticated by Al-Albani, Sahih At-Targhib: No.: 1731]
My dear brother: your heart is the key to happiness and wealth, it is the vessel of safety and guidance, and it is the source of strength and satisfaction. Your keenness to the clarity and purity of your heart is far more important than your keenness on air and food. How can you make your heart safe and sound throbbing with faith and life?
First: have a doctrine
Believing in the Oneness of Allah, glorified and exalted, is a light that fills the hearts, it enlightens and strengthens them, it is the substance of their life, and the basis of their strength and integrity, there is no life in the heart unless by believing in Allah the Almighty, this faith in Allah creates confidence in the hearts and tranquility in the souls; because it generates in them a kind of trust in Allah that lightens all difficulties: “And whosoever puts his trust in Allâh, then He will suffice him” [At-Talaq 65:3]
Transliteration: waman yatawakkal AAala Allahi fahuwa hasbuhu
it creates in them the confidence and certainty in Allah which remove all the worries and distress and grief, believing in the oneness of Allah also creates insight and guidance in the hearts, making them more stable, and capable of facing difficulties, Allah the Almighty has said: “No calamity befalls, but by the Leave [i.e. Decision and Qadar (Divine Preordainments)] of Allâh, and whosoever believes in Allâh, He guides his heart [to the true Faith with certainty, i.e. what has befallen him was already written for him by Allâh from the Qadar (Divine Preordainments)]. And Allâh is the All-Knower of everything.” [At-Taghabun 64:11]
Transliteration: Ma asaba min museebatin illa biithni Allahi waman yumin biAllahi yahdi qalbahu waAllahu bikulli shayin Aaaleemun
Faith in Allah the Almighty is a light that flows in the heart of the believer; enlightening his path and enabling him to adhere to it; so that he can see things for what they really are: the ugly is ugly, and the beautiful is beautiful.
Dear brother: know that happiness and good life in this worldly life is based only on one thing which is guidance. As Allah the Almighty has said: “Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray, nor shall be distressed. . "But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’ân nor acts on its teachings.) verily, for him is a life of hardship,” [Taa-Haa 20:123-124]
Then know that the guidance is in the heart, and that this heart cannot hold guidance unless it contains enough certainty and faith which qualify it for this; so Allah the Almighty said: “whosoever believes in Allâh, He guides his heart” [At-Taghabun 64:11]
Transliteration: waman yumin biAllahi yahdi qalbahu
Hence, realizing guidance is conditioned by realizing the right doctrine as well as realizing the faith which is clear from the impurities of polytheism. And as much as the believer knows his Lord and believes in him, his insight and fear and guidance are realized accordingly as Allah the Almighty said: “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allâh.” [Fatir 35:28]
Transliteration: innama yakhsha Allaha min AAibadihi alAAulamao
O brother! If you contemplate in the affection of hearts by the remembrance and fear of Allah, you will find that this affection does not occur but to the hearts of believers, Allah the Almighty said: “Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allâh: verily, in the remembrance of Allâh do hearts find rest” [Ar-Ra'd 13:28]
Transliteration: Allatheena amanoo watatmainnu quloobuhum bithikri Allahi ala bithikri Allahi tatmainnu alquloobu
Allah the Almighty, in this verse, has mentioned the 'rest of the heart' after He mentioned 'believing', which indicates that the heart of the believer is wiser when it hears the 'remembrance of Allah'; for all the meanings contained in remembering Allah (glorifying the Praises of Allah), which make the heart affected by it, and more apt to understand the revelations and Al-Ghaib: unseen matters (Al-Ghaib: literally means a thing not seen. But this word includes vast meanings: Belief in Allâh, Angels, Holy Books, Allah's Messengers, Day of Resurrection and Al-Qadar (Divine Pre-ordainments). It also includes what Allah and His Messenger informed about the knowledge of the matters of past, present, and future e.g., news about the creation of the heavens and earth, botanical and zoological life, the news about the nations of the past, and about Paradise and Hell.).
Therefore, when Allah is mentioned, a believer sees his imperfections and the greatness of Allah, he sees His ability and His mercy and sublime attributes and his defects and weaknesses; this insight of his heart enables him to be affected when listening to the remembrance of Allah, as opposed to the weak in faith whose sensitivity of his heart has died, as if he could not hear or realize, as Allah the Almighty said: “They have hearts wherewith they understand not” [Al-A'raf 7:179]
Transliteration: lahum quloobun la yafqahoona biha
And “or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)” [Muhammad 47:24]
Transliteration: am AAala quloobin aqfaluha
And Allah the Almighty also said: “Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” [Al- Hajj 22:46]
Transliteration: fainnaha la taAAma alabsaru walakin taAAma alquloobu allatee fee alssudoori
The heart of the believer is the heart of a wise man, he is not beguiled by the appearances of things because he does not see with his eyes only but with his heart as well, The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "The mind is in the heart, and mercy is in the liver, and compassion is in the spleen, and the self is in the lung" ” [Al-Albani reported it with a good chain of transmission- The True Literature (Al ‘dab Al Mofrad) no. 425]
Because the heart of the believer is enlightened by the Oneness of Allah; it is wiser by the cosmic and legitimate signs, therefore, Allah the Almighty said: “The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur’ân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone) ;” [Al-Anfal 8:2]
Transliteration: Innama almuminoona allatheena itha thukira Allahu wajilat quloobuhum waitha tuliyat AAalayhim ayatuhu zadathum eemanan waAAala rabbihim yatawakkaloona
Sheikh Abdul Rahman As-Sa'di said: "Allah has described the believers with these qualities which include performing the principles of religion and its branches, its apparent and hidden concepts, He described them by believing in Him in a way that showed its effects in their beliefs and statements, and their outward and inward actions, and that with the stability of faith in the hearts, their faith increases whenever they hear Allah's verses, their fear and reverence increase whenever Allah is mentioned; they are dependent upon Allah in their hearts and secrecy" (The Illustration and Explanation of the Tree of Faith, p. 15).
Secondly: empty your heart from worries and mixed actions
1 – the inconstancy of the heart: Faith in Allah the Almighty, trust in Him, and believing in Him, all generate, in the heart, strength and insight and a mind by which a believer weighs matters and realizes guidance to live safe from the evils of delusion and the ways of doom.
But the law of Allah required that a believer must remain in conflict and enduring to keep his heart constant on faith and piety, but no matter how strong the faith of the believer is; it must experience a period of slumber and weakness, it was only called the heart (qalb in Arabic) because it changes a lot (yataqalab in Arabic).
the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “It is called the heart because it changes a lot, the heart is but like a feather in an open space, hung to a tree, and wind is tossing it backward and forward” " [Narrator: Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari, authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami; No.: 2365].
This quality of instability, which is a particularity of the heart, is the origin of describing man of being unjust, treacherous and erroneous; his conditions are inconstant, his attributes are changeable, he is beaten by his lustrous desires, he gets confused by apparently similar matters, he is oft forgetful, he indulges in desire and tyranny, he is taken in by enjoyments, and is beaten by his nature, it is for one reason or another a man is inconstant in his attributes.
2 – Purifying the hearts by repentance: This inconstancy in humans, is not created by Allah the Almighty but to test man by his mistake as He tests him by his righteousness, Abu Huraira narrated that, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace you by those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them.” [Narrator: Abu Huraira, in Sahih Muslim].
And to demonstrate His mercy, if man admitted to his guilt and returned to Allah: repentant and obedient. So my brother you should know that you are always in need of renewing your repentance and of frequently asking Allah for His forgiveness; as they purify the heart of the impurities of sin and their effects and blackness, therefore, Allah, glorified and exalted, recommended His slave believers to repent, and make it the basis of their success, He said: “And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [An-Nur 24:31]
Transliteration: watooboo ila Allahi jameeAAan ayyuha almuminoona laAAallakum tuflihoona
Narrated by Hudhaifah ibn al-Yaman that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “Temptations will be presented to men's hearts as reed mat is woven stick by stick and any heart which is impregnated by them will have a black mark put into it, but any heart which rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that there will become two types of hearts: one white like a white stone which will not be harmed by any turmoil or temptation, so long as the heavens and the earth endure; and the other black and dust-colored like a vessel which is turned upside down, not recognizing what is good or rejecting what is abominable, but being impregnated with passion.”[Reported by Muslim]
O dear brother: If you know that sins sicken the heart, and blur its insight, and disrupt its mind, be sure to purify your heart from the diseases of sin by avoiding them, and keep on repenting and seeking forgiveness to abolish their harmful effects, the strength and integrity of your heart are subject to its serenity and purity, your heart is purified by three things:
First: to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness from sin.
Second: to perform plenty of good deeds, they remove the evil deeds, as Allah the Almighty said: “And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” [Hud 11:114]
Transliteration: Waaqimi alssalata tarafayi alnnahari wazulafan mina allayli inna alhasanati yuthhibna alssayyiati thalika thikra lilththakireena
Third: to be keen on the means of forgiveness such as prayers, voluntary acts of worship, the ablution, awaiting prayer after prayer, the pilgrimage and the minor pilgrimage ('umra), and the like of the causes of forgiveness, all shown in the books of virtues and behavior.
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him recommended Mu'az saying: “Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow the evil deed by a good deed to erase it, and treat people with good manners” [Reported by Albani as Hassan]
3 – Purifying the heart from diseases: the purity of the heart from its diseases and symptoms, is the greatest reasons of its strength and softness, tenderness and fear of Allah, its owner is the best among people and the most loved by Allah, as illustrated in the Hadith: “we said" O Messenger of Allah, who is the best among people? He said: those who have a heart which is makhmum (pure from envy) and who have an honest tongue, we said: O Prophet of Allah! We know the honest tongue, but what is the heart which is makhmum? He said: it is the pious and pure; where there is no sin, no oppression or envy, we said: O Messenger of Allah! Who is following its trails? He said: whoever hates the worldly life, and loves the hereafter. We said: we do not know any one among us (who has such qualities) but Rafi' the servant of the Messenger of Allah, who is on his trails? He said: a believer with good manners” [Narrator: Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas, authenticated by Al-Albani]
These qualities are the most serious of the diseases of the heart, and which if hit the heart filled it with evil and darkness, and blurred its light and weakened its insight.
If the sins leave black spots in the hearts, envy eats the good deeds that are the causes of their purity just as fire devours firewood.
"Envy is: wishing for the demise of the grace of the envied, or it is hatred to what he sees of the well-being of the envied, it is a mean characteristic imprinted in dead hearts, no matter how significant their owners might be. You might find a person who owns all the attributes of wellbeing, not owned by others; nevertheless, the predominance of his envious nature makes him hate to see grace with others."
My dear brother: know that envy is but objecting to the rule of Allah, the Almighty, as it was said: "whoever accepts Allah's rulings will not be displeased by others, and whoever gets satisfied with Allah's gifts will not experience envy."
Some said: "I have never seen an oppressor more similar to oppressed than the envier; always steaming, he has clinging worries and distracted heart."
If you contemplate the words of Allah, glorified and exalted: “And from the evil of the envier when he envies.” [Al-Falaq 113:5]
Wamin sharri hasidin itha hasada
you will know that envy is a characteristic that often creeps into the hearts, however, hearts living with faith, see its radiation, so they reflect it and send them away disappointed, but weak vulnerable hearts respond; therefore, Allah the Almighty said: “And from the evil of the envier when he envies.” [Al-Falaq 113:5]
Ibn Taimiah: "there is no body free from envy, but the mean shows it and the decent hides it."
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers. It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days.” [Narrator: Anas ibn Malik, authenticated by Al-Albani]
know my brother that as envy requires hardening of the heart, the meanness of nature, and the corruption of morals, it also disables the heart from gaining the greatest reward, because the heart which is free of envy is absolutely filled with goodness; you will not find its owner but talking himself into performing good deeds, even if he was unable to perform them, his good intentions and his love for the benefit of the subjects of Allah will take him where prayers and acts of worship will not!.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab narrated that he Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.”[Narrated by: 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab, authenticated by Al-Albani]
O Brother: if you want the pure heart, accustom yourself to be patient, and strive hard to benefit the slaves of Allah, be good to those who offended you, be in touch with those who deserted you, give those who have denied you, and forgive those who have hurt you. Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “A believer who mixes with people and stands for their evil, is better than he who does not mix with people or stand for their evil”[Narrator: Abdullah ibn Umar, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani reported it with a good chain of transmission]
Just as purifying your heart of envy make you deserving to purity and integrity, your patience towards the envier and tolerating his harm, and being kind to him make you deserving to goodness, comfort and victory, it absorbs the envier's harm and sends it back, as it goes among people that goodness owns their hearts, and brings them back to their senses.
Allah, glorified and exalted, said: “Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allâh orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” [Fussilat 41:34]
Transliteration: idfaAA biallatee hiya ahsanu faitha allathee baynaka wabaynahu AAadawatun kaannahu waliyyun hameemun
4 - Enrich your heart with content: misery causes poverty to the heart, it creates a kind of destitution that is never filled by anything at all, on the other hand, the contentment and satisfaction of Allah's destined provision make your heart rich and generate tranquility and serenity inside it, The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, told Abu Zar : “O Abu Zar do you think that a lot of money is richness? I said: Yes, O Messenger of Allah! He said: do you think that the lack of money is poverty? I said: Yes, O Messenger of Allah! He said: richness is the richness of the heart, and poverty is the poverty of the heart» [Narrator: Abu Dhar al-Ghafari, authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih At-Targhib No.: 3203].
And whenever content inhabits the hearts; they will be hit by all goodness, and they will be safe from the scourge of covetousness, avarice, and misery which are of the most lethal diseases, Allah the Almighty said: “And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, then they are the successful ones.” [At-Taghabun 64:16]
Transliteration: waman yooqa shuhha nafsihi faolaika humu almuflihoona
Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “and take guard against covetousness, as it was the cause of the doom of the nations before you, it made them shed their blood among them, and made them violate the sacred degrees of consanguinity” [Reported by Muslim]
Covetousness is the intensity of misery.
My dear brother: know that caring for the things that strengthen the heart and cause its integrity are more than to be mentioned in this book. But you have to frequently mention Allah after fulfilling His obligatory acts of worship; it is your greatest help for the purity of your heart, because if you continue on the remembrance of Allah by saying: subhan Allah (Allah is exalted), Astaghfiru Allah (I ask Allah for forgiveness), la ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah) and Allah akbar (Allah is the greatest), you will find the impact of that obvious on your heart, if you become keener on fasting and avoid excessive sleeping, eating, talking and laughing; you will gain the well-being of your heart and its integrity.
May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad, his household and companions.
Dar Ibn Khuzaimah
Site of Islamic Booklets
With slight modifications
Translated by Wathakker.info website