Position of the Heart
By: Bint Mirza
The Prophet said: “Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” (Saheeh Bukharee) 1
Unlike the belief of several doctors and philosophers who say that the function of the human heart is to merely pump blood throughout the human body, Qur’an emphasizes on the role of the human hearts in mental, emotional and spiritual decisions of man. Allah mentions the heart or “qalb” in the Qur’an more than 130 times. Of these Qur’anic statements, some describe this sentient organ as having the capacity of being a center of reasoning, intentions and decision-making. Consequently, human hearts can either be healthy or diseased.
Healthy (or soft) hearts can have their humane attitude and balanced rational, while diseased (or hard, stony) hearts can lose both their humane touch and their capacity to see and understand. 2
“Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Al-Ĥujurāt, 49:13)
Therefore, the only factor which can elevate us in the Sight of Allah is ‘Taqwa’ or righteousness in our hearts. Taqwa generally means to be conscious of Allah . You should know that He is watching you all the time and that He knows the secrets of your hearts.
Ibn Masood commented about the verse: “Have Taqwa of Allah, as you should have of Him” (Al Imran, 3:102) 3 that it means to obey Him and not to disobey Him, to remember Him and not to forget Him and to thank Him and not be ungrateful.
Abu Hurairah was asked about taqwa so he asked the questioner whether he had trodden a thorn- infested path. The man said he had. Abu Hurairah asked him how he walked on it. The man said: ‘When I saw a thorn, I took evasive action, lest I was pricked by it.’ Abu Hurairah answered him by saying:‘That is exactly what taqwa means (to take evasive action on seeing sin).’
Ibn Mu’taz (the poet) rephrases this:
‘Leave sins big and small, that is taqwa.
Be like the one walking on thorns, dreading what he sees.
Don’t underestimate the minute (small), for mountains are made of small stones.’ 4
Since taqwa is located in the heart, outward physical acts are not valid and acceptable unless they are accompanied by appropriate actions of the heart, because the heart is like the king and the physical faculties are like his troops. If the king is evil, his troops will also be evil. Hence the Prophet said:
“In the body there is a piece of flesh: if it is sound the whole body will be sound and if it is corrupt then the whole body will be corrupt.”
Similarly the (hidden) actions of the heart inevitably affect the (visible) physical actions. 5 Therefore, it is in the heart where your main struggle is.
Some of the sure ways of attaining taqwa:
1. Read and understand the Qur’an. Act upon it.
“[It is] an Arabic Qur’an, without any deviance that they might become righteous.” (Az-Zumar,39:28)
“Taqwa” is one of the main objectives of the revelation of the Qur’an. In fact, we find that the word ‘taqwa’ itself is used over 200 times in the Qur’an.
So, the more we read Quran and try to understand it, the more taqwa we will gain. We will gain an understanding of what is right and wrong, and eventually be capable of worshiping Allah in a manner that pleases Him.
2. Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:133)
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “The beneficial and productive kind of praying for forgiveness is that which is accompanied by regret, giving up the sin and resolving sincerely not to go back to it.” 6
“Who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship…” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:134)
Spending here, also includes spending energy (wealth, time, youth, energy, priority, planning) and not just money.
The act of charity that is more important and more beneficial for the hearts is that we ourselves should get involved with whom we want to give charity to. This is a way to make our heart more grateful to Allah for the blessings we receive, be humble and feel close affinity with those Muslims who are less fortunate than us. But we would not experience this if we just put some money in some charity box, though this is rewarded too inshaAllah. 7
4. Restrain your anger. Swallow it!
“who restrain anger…” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:134)
The verse implies towards those who “swallow” their anger consistently. Swallowing anger means controlling yourself as if the anger is not even there, just like when you have swallowed your food, no one would know of the food that was in your mouth, unlike “chewing” where one can know that there is something in your mouth. So, when you get angry, you “swallow” your anger, not showing it, as if it’s not even there. 8
5 .Pardon the people
“and who pardon the people…” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:134)
Note that “forgiving” itself means to forgive someone who does not deserve it. When you forgive, forgive out of love and with a good heart. 9
6. When you commit an immorality or wrong yourselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for your sins
“And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:135)
Even if we disappoint Allah and fall short of the standards of our Lord, we should never lose hope in His Mercy. We are not allowed to lose hope in Him. It was said to al-Hasan al-Basri, “Would not any one of us feel ashamed before his Lord to seek forgiveness from his sin then go back to it, then seek forgiveness then go back to it? He said: The shaytaan would like you to feel that way; never give up seeking forgiveness.”10
7. Always speak the truth. Speak words of justice!
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. (al-‘Ahzab, 33:70)
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said: “I memorized from the Messenger of Allah ‘Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt, for truthfulness is certainty and tranquility, whilst lying is doubt and confusion.” 11
8. Fasting greatly assist in attaining Taqwa
Interestingly, the purpose of fasting is also to attain taqwa.
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:183)
By fasting, Allah trains your heart. When you fast, your body constantly asks for food and water. So, when you don’t feed your body in obedience to Allah and avoid sins to keep your heart pure, your “heart” becomes stronger as you constantly fight your nafs.
Posted on September 2, 2014, in ARTICLES and tagged actions, Allaah, Allah, article, attitude, balanced, believers, beware, bint mirza, blood, body, capacity, conscious, decisions, diseased, elevate, evil, God, good, heart, hearts, Human, human being, human heart, islam, islamic article, islamic online university, love, muslim, muslims, online, pbuh, peace, piece of flesh, position, position of the heart, prophet muhammad, quran, rational, read, righteousness, saw, source, spiritual, taqwa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.