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Spiritual Health and Purification of the Soul

Discussion in 'Islam DIR' started by Cordoba, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Greetings to All:

    God created the human soul and gave each person the choice to believe in Him or to disbelieve. He also gave us the choice to purify our hearts and souls and to do good in our lives, or to follow the other path of spiritual decline.

    Both righteousness and corruption are within us, and part of the internal struggle of believers is to do their best for righteousness to prevail. This can only happen by consistent and gradual purification of the heart and soul.

    God says in The Qur'an:

    And by the soul, and He who proportioned it. And inspired it [with disernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness. He has succeeded who purifies it. And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]. (91:7-10)

    This thread will try to present ways towards spiritual health in Islam from a number of different sources, and from the writings of several contemporary Muslim scholars and thinkers, as well as the writings of earlier Muslim scholars.

    In-Shaa-Allah it would be of interest and benefit for Muslims and non-Muslims.

    All the best.
    elmarna, lilithu, maro and 3 others like this.
  2. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    As a start, "Spiritual Health" is the title of an article by Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, and this is a first extract:


    [By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!] (91:7-10)

    [But those will prosper who purify themselves.] (87:14)

    We human beings do not have only our body and mind; we also have a soul.

    The soul is sometimes described as spirit (ruh) or heart (qalb). We know that our heart has physical functions, but there is no scientific evidence to prove that it does not have any spiritual functions. The soul probably resides in the heart or is attached to it. The soul is the inner dimension of our being. It is related to the body and mind as well, but it has its own being and existence, most probably, in or near the heart.

    Spiritual health is as important, if not more, as the physical and mental health. On the physical and mental health depend our meaningful life and success in this world, but on the spiritual health depends our success and salvation both in this world and in the hereafter.

    Imam Ghazali in his book Ihya’ says that every organ of our body has a function; when it fails to do its function, it means it is not well. The function of the soul or the spiritual heart is to know its Creator, to love Him, and to seek closeness to Him. If the heart fails in this function then we must know that it is sick.

    It is important to know the ailments that make the heart weak and sick. In the language of the Qur’an, it is not only the eyes that get blind; the hearts also become blind.

    [Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts that are in their breasts.] (22:46)

    The Qur’an has spoken in many places about the sickness of the hearts. Allah says in the Qur’an:

    [In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: and grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves).] (2:10)

    When the heart gets sick, it loses its desire and ability to do right and good deeds. This affects the morals and manners of a person and his general behavior. What are the major diseases that affect the hearts? And how can we take precaution? And what are the cures in case one is affected with these ailments?

    Following are some of the diseases of the hearts:

    1. Arrogance and conceit

    2. Ostentation

    3. Jealousy or envy, hate and deceit

    4. Suspicion

    5. Anger

    6. Stinginess

    7. Love of power, money, position, and fame

    These are called “diseases of the heart”, and they lead to major sins if they are not controlled and carefully treated. In the Qur’an and Sunnah and in the spiritual writings of Muslim scholars such Al-Ghazali and Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyah, we find a lot of discussion for the treatment of these ailments.



    ... (to be continued)
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  3. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Part 2 of the article:

    (The reasons and cures of heart diseases)

    1- Arrogance and conceit stem from egotism and overestimation of oneself and one’s abilities or merits. This leads sometimes to the denial of the Creator, as happened to Satan. The best treatment of this disease is to cultivate modesty. We have to remind ourselves always that we are the servants and slaves of Allah. We totally depend on Him for our being and existence.

    2- Ostentation is called “hidden idolatry” (ash-shirk al-khafiyy). It is a desire to show off and seek praises from others. It takes away sincerity and seriousness to pursue one’s goals and objectives. When a person becomes too much involved with ostentation, he becomes shallow and superficial. It may also lead to hypocrisy. The best cure for it is to check the intention (niyyah) before any action. A believer must remind himself that his work is for the sake of Allah alone.

    3- Jealousy, envy, hate, and deceit stem from the lack of respect, mercy, and love for others. A jealous person does not like to see others happy, successful, and prosperous. Very often jealousy and envy lead to hate, deceit, and violence. The best treatment is to have positive envy by competing with others in acts of goodness and use this as an incentive to achieve more and better.

    4- Suspicion comes from lack of trust and confidence in others. Allah says in the Qur’an [Some suspicion is sin.] Suspicion creates cynicism and takes away hope and optimism. Suspicious persons or cynics are those who, when they see actions and hear some words that have the possibility of being positive or negative, they take the negative and evil. Suspicion sometimes also leads to violence. It is good to be cautious and careful, but we must keep our attitude positive. If we want to be trusted, we must trust others as well.

    5- Anger is given to human beings as a mechanism for self-defense, but if it is not properly controlled, it becomes very destructive. In the Hadith it is called “fire.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that when you get angry change your environment, change your position, and drink some water. Imam Ghazali said, “Love of Allah extinguishes the fire of anger

    6- Stinginess is a terrible disease. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to seek Allah’s refuge from stinginess. Stinginess stems from selfishness, materialism, and too much love of this world. It means lack of care and consideration for others. It holds people from fulfilling their duties and recognizing the rights of others. It leads sometimes to cheating and dishonesty. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Be aware of stinginess. It destroyed many nations before you. It made them to shed the blood of each other and misappropriate what was sacrosanct.” (Muslim, 2578)

    7- Love of jah — that is, the extreme desire for money, power, position, and fame — is another major disease of the heart. This is also called in the Qur’an and Hadith as “love of this world” (hubb ad-dunya). In a hadith it is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Two hungry wolves in a herd of sheep are not as destructive and harmful as the love of money and extravagance are for the religion of a person.” (At-Tirmidhi 2376)

    The cure for this is to remind oneself always that this world is fitnah (a test and trial) and the real world is the Hereafter.

    Spiritual health comes with our sincere devotion to Allah with prayers, reading of the Qur’an, and being in the company of the good people. May Allah keep us all in good physical, mental, and spiritual health. Ameen.

    All the best.
  4. Peace

    Peace Quran & Sunnah

    Salamu 'alaikum brother,

    Great! Jazaka Allah khayran!!

  5. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Assalamo Alaikom Sister Peace:

    Towards achieving spiritual health, a believer needs to cure a number of diseases of the heart, including anger, self admiration, show-off, arrogance, jealousy, envy and other problems. This is an extract from an article which deals with "How to Remedy Avarice and Greed?":

    The remedy for avarice and greed has three components: patience, knowledge, and action. And these three are to be acquired through five things:

    1. One should deal with one’s livelihood and financial needs economically and be content with any available food, drink, clothing, etc. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was reported to have said, “Economization is half of livelihood.” (Reported by Ad-Daylami)

    2. If one is provided with sufficient livelihood, one should not worry about the future; rather, one should be certain that one’s provision will come to one as Allah has predestined.

    3. One should be aware of the meaning of independence, which is apparent in being content, and of the meaning of humiliation, which is apparent in avarice and greed.

    4. One should contemplate about the life of ease that some foolish people enjoy, then meditate on the conditions of the prophets and the righteous people and how content and patient they were. This will encourage one to be content with one’s provision, no matter how little it is, and not to be seduced by the enjoyment of those disbelievers and fools.

    5. One should understand the dangerous effects of collecting wealth and think over the good rewards that the patient poor people receive. One is also recommended to look at those who are poorer than oneself. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Look at those who are below you and do not look at those who are above you, for this is more becoming that you do not despise Allah’s favor(s) upon you.” (reported by Muslim)

    (Source: Islam On-Line web site)
  6. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Backbiting is forbidden in the Glorious Qur’an, and is considered a major sin in Islam. (Al-Hujurat 49:12).

    It is also condemned in the Sunnah. We read in a Prophetic hadith, “Verily, your blood (i.e., life), your property, and your honor are inviolable (and sacred) among you…” (Reported by Muslim)

    Backbiting is mentioning a person in a manner that he dislikes, whether by referring to a defect in his body such as shortness or squint; or in his lineage such as that his father is immoral or indecent; or in his morality such as that he is dirty.

    All this is involved in the Prophetic hadith reporting that when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked what backbiting means, he answered, “To mention your brother in a manner which he dislikes.” Then he was asked, “What if my brother actually has (this failing) that I made a mention of?” The Prophet said, “If (that failing) is actually found in your brother, you in fact backbit him, and if that is not in him, it is a slander.” (Reported by Muslim)

    It is also worth mentioning that whatever involves the meaning of insulting is included in backbiting, whether it is in the form of words, gestures, or writing. Additionally, whoever listens to backbiting is regarded as a participant in it unless he denies it either with his tongue or with his heart if he fears to do so in public. He may also leave the place where it is being committed or turn the topic to another subject. In all situations, he must deny backbiting. This is, of course, part of the Muslim’s duties towards others.

    (From Islam On-Line)

    The Causes and Remedy of Backbiting ... (to be continued)

    All the best.
  7. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    There are many things that lead to backbiting, including the following:

    - Alleviation of or response to one’s anger. A person may be led by his anger with another person to backbite him.

    - Conformity with one’s guests or fellows. As a compliment, a person may share with his fellows or guests in backbiting others, thinking that this is a requisite of good social relations or that they may reject his act if he does not do so.

    - Upgrading one’s position by degrading that of another person. For example, a person may say that so-and-so is ignorant or narrow-minded, aiming to show that he is knowledgeable and broad-minded and, consequently, better than he.

    - Joking and jesting. A person may backbite someone just for the sake of making some others laugh; this even represents a means of livelihood for some persons.

    As for the remedy, the backbiter should know that, by backbiting people, he subjects himself to the wrath and punishment of Allah the Almighty and that his good deeds will be paid to those whom he backbites, and if he has no good deeds their evil deeds will be loaded on him.

    It is a very effective remedy for any backbiter to remember and comprehend these facts. Furthermore, whenever he is about to backbite someone, he may think about his own shortcomings and how to rectify himself. In this way, he may feel ashamed of himself when realizing that he himself has defects that others can see.

    Even if a backbiter thinks that he has no defects, he may show gratitude to Allah for His uncountable favors and bounties by not defiling himself with one of the ugliest flaws, i.e., backbiting. Moreover and more important still, he should remedy backbiting by overpowering the cause or causes leading to it. So, for example, if he knows that he backbites someone because he is angry with him, he should suppress his anger, and so on.

    Here, it is worth noting that backbiting may be committed by the heart, and this is what may be called thinking ill of the others. A Muslim should not think ill of another person unless he explicitly knows about him some evil thing that cannot be interpreted as meaning otherwise, especially when he knows it through a trustful, faithful Muslim.

    Nevertheless, a Muslim is generally recommended not to respond to ill thoughts as regards others. He may instead invoke Allah on their behalf whenever Satan pushes him to think evil of them, for this enrages Satan and drives him away, fearing that he may be accustomed to invocation through his evil whispers.

    (From Islam On-Line)

    All the best.
  8. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    The next problem, or disease of the heart, which prevents reaching a state of spiritual health is "showing off".

    Showing off is dispraised both in the Qur’an and in the Sunnah. In the Qur’an, Allah the Almighty says, [So woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their Prayers; those who (want but) to be seen (of men).] (Al-Ma`un 107: 4-6)

    And in the Sunnah, it was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The thing of which I am most afraid (that it should afflict) you is the minor polytheism (shirk).” They (the listeners) said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the minor polytheism?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered, “(It is) showing off (riya’).

    Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, says to those (who show off in worldly life) on the Day of Resurrection, when He rewards people for their deeds, ‘Go to those of whom you wanted to be seen in worldly life, (and see if) you (can) find (any) good with them.’” (Reported by Ahmad)

    The Degrees of Showing Off

    Showing off has different degrees, some of which are more serious than the others.

    The first and most dangerous degree is not originally seeking to get a good reward for one’s deed, as in the case of a person who performs Prayer only when people can see him and neglects it when being away from their sight.

    The second degree is seeking to get a good reward for one’s act but the deed is a little bit absorbed with showing off to the extent that if one were alone one would not do it. This degree is near to the first one, and both are detestable in the sight of Allah the Almighty.

    The third degree is having the intention equally directed towards both getting a good reward for one’s act and being seen by people. In this case a person ruins his good deed, as he is not free from sin.

    The third degree is that being seen by people encourages one to do such religious acts, but one does not neglect worship when out of people’s sight. In this case one is rewarded for the good intention and punished for the bad intention.

    (Source: Islam On-Line)

    The Remedy for Showing Off ... (to be continued)

    All the best.
  9. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    The Remedy for Showing Off

    There are two elements in the remedy for showing off: first, uprooting it from the heart, and second, warding it off immediately whenever it comes to one’s mind when doing an act of worship.

    As for uprooting it from the heart, it should be realized that love of prestige and high position is the primary root of showing off. There are three signs of such love: to love the pleasure produced by being praised, to avoid the pain of being dispraised, and to look greedily at what other people possess.

    The best remedy for such a person, as well as the person who likes to be praised, is to meditate on what leads him to show off and to recall the tremendous consequences of this terrible flaw. He will then realize that, in spite of its being pleasant at the moment, it is harmful in the end, so it is quite rational that he should avoid it from the beginning.

    Another main root of showing off is looking covetously at what other people possess. A person can remove this root by comprehending that only Allah the Almighty provides bounties and wealth, and that whoever looks covetously at the possessions of others is not free from humiliation and loss, even if he gets any of these possessions. How can he then leave that which in the hands of Allah for the sake of a deceptive desire for what others have?

    The second element in the remedy for showing off is to ward it off immediately whenever it comes to one’s mind when doing an act of worship. This can be done through much practice and striving against one’s vain desires. This striving requires that the person who is afflicted with showing off habituates himself to being content with Allah’s bounties and not seeking to get what others have.

    He should also pay no attention to people’s praising or dispraising him, for Satan never leaves him alone when he is worshiping Allah and always attacks him with thoughts of showing off that may render his worship fruitless. If, for example, he is distracted by the idea that people are observing his worship, he should say to himself, “It doesn’t matter whether or not they know about my worship, for Allah knows best about it. So, what will be gained by anyone else’s knowing about it?”

    (Source: Islam On-Line)
  10. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Anger is another important obstacle which prevents a believer from reaching a state of spiritual health.

    The prophet peace be upon him said that the strong person is a person who can control himself when angry.

    This is an article from Islam On-Line titled "Anger: Causes and Remedy", which may be of interest:

    "Anger is a flame of fire, and when man is angry he has some relation to the accursed Satan who said, as the Qur’an tells, [… Thou didst create Me from fire, and him from clay.] (Al-A`raf: 12)

    Anger is condemned in Islam because it produces malevolence and envy. Once a man said to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “Advise me!” and the Prophet said, “Do not become angry.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said each time, “Do not become angry.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    Causes and Remedy of Anger

    The remedy of any defect mainly depends on the elimination of its causes. Self-admiration, joking, argumentation, and betrayal are among the primary causes of anger. Undoubtedly, these are ill morals that Islam condemns, and in order to get rid of them, people should treat each of them with its opposite.

    To remedy the habitual anger one should do certain things, as follows:

    First: He should become well acquainted with the virtues of forgiveness, forbearance, endurance, and restraining anger.

    Second: He should frighten himself with the punishment of Allah the Almighty by saying to himself, “Allah’s might over me is much greater than my might over that person (who has enraged me), so if I punish him now, I cannot be sure I will be safe from Allah’s punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and I am much more in need of His forgiveness (than His punishment)!”

    Third: He should warn himself against the consequences of enmity, revenge, and glee at the misfortune of his disputants, for, like them, he is not free from calamities that may afflict him at any time.

    Fourth: He should meditate on how ugly his image seems when he is angry and on that he should not lead himself to such a terrible image.

    Fifth: He should think over the cause that invites him to take revenge. For example, the cause of his anger may be because Satan says to him, “You should not stand still after hearing such humiliating words (that he may have just heard from someone), otherwise you will become humble in the sight of people.” At that moment, he should say to himself, “Do you fear that you should become humble in the sight of people and do not fear of being humble in the sight of Allah, the angels, and prophets?” In this way, he may restrain his anger and escape from the destructive traps of Satan.

    Sixth: He should remember that his anger has been caused by something that happened according to Allah’s will and not his own will, so how can he comply with his own will other than the will of Allah the Almighty?

    All the best.
  11. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Another obstacle towards reaching spiritual health is self-admiration and pride.

    This is a short article from Islam On-Line on this dangerous disease of the heart, and how to cure it.

    Self-Admiration and Its Remedy

    It was reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “While a man was strutting in two gowns out of self-admiration, Allah caused the earth to swallow him up, and he has been submerging therein up to the Day of Resurrection.”

    And it was reported that Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Destruction lies in two things: self-admiration and despair.” Ibn Mas`ud put self-admiration and despair together because happiness cannot be obtained without exerting much effort; the despairing person does not make any effort because of his despair, and the self-admiring person believes that he has got what he wants, so he feels he does not have to make any effort either.

    Self-admiration leads to pride, and pride leads to many destructive flaws.

    The Remedy for Self-Admiration

    Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, favored man when He created him and provided him with all the blessings he has. Therefore, no one should be self-admiring because of his actions, knowledge, beauty, or wealth, as these are bounties provided by Allah out of His Grace. Even man’s being favored with such bounties is another favor from Allah upon him!

    Moreover, even a person’s righteous deeds will not admit him to Paradise because it is Allah Who guides him and enables him to do them. It was reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once said, “The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise.” They (the Prophet’s Companions) said, “Not even you, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

    Someone may say that a nobleman may be self-admiring because of his noble lineage, and he may wish that his noble relatives intercede for him on the Day of Resurrection.

    Commenting on this, we can say that all Muslims wish for intercession on their behalf, and it is true that intercession may not be accepted when one’s sins are very great. Allah the Almighty declares, [… Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you…] (Al-Hujurat 49: 13)

    And the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to his daughter, “O Fatimah, I have no power (to protect you) from Allah in anything.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    Therefore, it is only a person’s righteous deeds and good qualities that make him noble or honorable in the sight of Allah. Besides, we have on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “I should not find that any of you should come on the Day of Resurrection with a growling camel mounted on his neck and should appeal to me for help saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, help me,’ and I should say, ‘I have no authority to help you; I already communicated to you.’” (reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

    So, whoever knows and comprehends these facts will start occupying the rest of his life with as many acts of worship and obedience as he can, as this is the only road to success.

    All the best.
  12. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    On the positive side, after having done one's best to cure the diseases of the heart, to reach a state of spiritual health a believer is advised to remember God throughout the day, not only in the five prayers but also in all other special moments, like before sunrise and before sunset, late at night before dawn, ... etc.

    The more the heart loves God, the more a believer would remember Him.

    Merits of Remembrance of God (Dhikr)

    The merits of remembrance of Allah Most High are highlighted in the following Qur’anic verses:

    [Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and reject not Faith.] (Al-Baqarah 2: 152)

    [Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides.] (Aal `Imran 3: 190)

    The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said:

    “Surely, Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, says, ‘I will be with My servant as long as he makes mention of Me and moves his lips in making mention of Me.’” (Reported by Al-Bukhari), and

    “No people assemble to remember Allah but angels surround them, mercy covers them, sakinah (calmness) descends upon them, and Allah mentions them in His assembly.” (Reported by Muslim)
  13. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Another way for a believer to reach spiritual health is through prayers and supplications (duaa').

    The merits of supplication are highlighted in the following hadiths:

    Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “In the sight of Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, nothing is more honorable than du`aa’.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)

    “Verily, the most virtuous act of worship is du`aa’.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

    Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever does not ask Allah, will incur Allah’s wrath upon himself.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)

    Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Beseech Allah to shower His Bounty upon you, for Allah loves to be besought.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)

    Etiquette of Du`aa’

    Following are some points of etiquette that one who makes du`aa’ is recommended to strictly adhere to:

    1.Choose the optimum time to make du`aa’ . The best times are: the Day of `Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah), the month of Ramadan, Fridays, the last part of the night before dawn, the time between the Adhan and Iqamah, after performing Prayer, while it rains, in times of jihad, after finishing the recitation of the whole Qur’an, while prostrating, after breaking one’s fast.

    2. Face the qiblah.

    3. Lift one’s hand towards the sky.

    4. Wipe one’s face with one’s hands after du`aa’.

    5. Lower the voice.

    6. Commence du`aa’ with praising Allah Most High.

    7. Send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

    8. Steer clear of oppression and sins.

    9. Remain penitent.

    10.Implant consciousness of Allah Most High in the heart.

    (From Islam On-Line)

    All the best.
  14. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    According to Islam there are three types of hearts: the healthy heart, the dead heart, and the sick heart.

    This is an extract from an article on the purification of the heart and soul:

    1- The Healthy Heart

    On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to God with a healthy heart will be saved. God says:

    “The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever comes to God with a sound heart.” (26:88-89)

    In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: “It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what God commands, or disputes what He forbids.

    It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. Its services are exclusively reserved for God, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is in the way of God. If it detests, it detests in the light of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for God. If it withholds, it withholds for God.

    2- The Dead Heart

    This is opposite of the healthy heart.

    3- The Sick Heart

    This is a heart with life in it, as well as illness. The former sustains it at one moment, the latter at another, and it follows whichever one of the two manages to dominate it.

    One of the main purposes in life for a believer (from a Muslim perspective) after the worship of God and doing good deeds, is to purify the heart and the soul, as this is an important way to get closer to God.
  15. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    The Causes of Sickness of the Heart

    The temptations to which the heart is exposed are what cause its sickness. These are the temptations of desires and fancies. The formers cause intentions and the will to be corrupted, and the latter cause knowledge and belief to falter.

    The Messenger of Allah said:

    ‘Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognises good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims.’

    He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, placed hearts, when exposed to temptation, into two categories:

    First, a heart which, when it is exposed to temptation, absorbs it like a sponge that soaks up water, leaving a black stain in it. It continues to absorb each temptation that is offered to it until it is darkened and corrupted, which is what he meant by “like an overturned vessel”. When this happens, two dangerous sicknesses take hold of it and plunge it into ruin:

    The first is that of its confusing good with evil, to such an extent that it does not recognise the former and does not denounce the latter. This sickness may even gain hold of it to such an extent that it believes good to be evil and vice-versa, the truth to be false and falsity to be the truth.

    The second is that of its setting up its desires as its judge, over and above what the Prophet taught, so that it is enslaved and led by its whims and fancies.

    Second, a pure heart which the light of faith is bright and from which its radiance shines. When temptation is presented to pure hearts such this, they oppose it and reject it, and so their light and illumination only increase.
  16. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    (The life of a believer) Between The Past and The Future

    Your life in the present moment is in between the past and the future.

    So what has preceded can be rectified by repentance, regret and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. And this is something that will neither tire you, nor cause you to toil as you would with strenuous labour. Rather it is an action of the heart.

    Then as regards the future, it can be corrected by withholding yourself from sins. And this abandonment is merely the leaving of something and to be at ease from it. This also is not action of the limbs, which requires you to strive and toil. Rather this is a firm resolve and intention of the heart – which will give rest to your body, heart and thoughts.

    So as for what has preceded, then you rectify it with repentance. And as for the future – then you rectify it with firm resolve and intention. Neither of these involves any hardship or exertion of the limbs.

    But then your attention must be directed to your life in the present - the time between two times. If you waste it, then you have wasted the opportunity to be of the fortunate and saved ones. If you look after it, having rectified the two times – what is before and after it, as we have said – then you will be successful and achieve rest, delight and ever-lasting bliss.

    However, looking after it is harder than that which comes before and after it, since guarding it involves keeping to that which is most befitting and beneficial for your soul, and that which will bring it success and well-being.

    Extract from an article by Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah, a Muslim scholar from Syria born in Damascus in 1292.

    This is a brief list of some of his translated writings, if of interest, in English & French, on the love of Allah and other topics relating to the purification of the heart and spiritual health:


    All the best.
  17. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    The Hardened Heart

    The slave is not afflicted with a punishment greater than the hardening of the heart and being distant from Allah. For the Fire was created to melt the hardened heart. The most distant heart from Allah is the heart which is hardened. If the heart becomes hardened, the eye becomes dry.

    If four matters are exceeded in quantity, beyond what is necessary, the heart shall become hardened:

    Food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by disease does not derive nourishment from food or water, similarly a heart diseased by desire does not benefit from admonishment or exhortation.

    Whosoever desires to purify his heart, then let him prefer Allah to his desires.

    The heart which is clinging to its desires is veiled from Allah, commensurate to the degree that it is attached to them. The hearts are the vessels of Allah upon His earth, hence the most beloved of them to Him, are the ones most compassionate, pure and resistant to deviation.

    They (the transgressors) preoccupied their hearts [in the pursuance] of the worldly life (Dunya), would that they preoccupied them with Allah and the Hereafter, then surely they would have reflected upon the intended meaning of His poignant Words and Verses. Their hearts would have returned to their masters with a wisdom, marvelously curious and [in possession] of the rarest of precious gems.

    If the heart is nourished with remembrance, its thirst quenched with contemplation and cleansed from corruption, it shall witness remarkable and wondrous matters, inspiring wisdom.

    Not every individual is endowed with knowledge and wisdom, and assumes its character is from amongst its people. Rather the People of Knowledge and Wisdom are those who infused life into their hearts by slaying their desires. As for the one who slayed his heart and vitalized his desires, then knowledge and wisdom is naked upon his tongue.

    The destruction of the heart occurs by security [in this Dunya] and negligence, its fortification occurs by fear and remembrance. If the heart renounces the pleasures of the Dunya, it settles upon the [pursuance] of the pleasures of the Hereafter, and amongst those who call towards it. Should the heart become content with the pleasures of the Dunya, those pleasures [of the Hereafter] cease [to continue].

    Yearning for Allah and His meeting is like the gentle breeze blowing upon the heart, extinguishing the blaze of the Dunya. Whosoever caused his heart to settle with his Lord shall be in a state, calm and tranquil, and whosoever sent it amongst the people shall be disturbed and excessively perturbed.

    For the love of Allah shall not enter a heart which contains the love of this world, except as a camel which passes through the eye of a needle.

    Hence, the most beloved servant before Allah is the one whom He places in His servitude, whom He selects for His love, whom He causes to purify his worship for Him, dedicates his objectives for Him, his tongue for His remembrance, and his limbs for His service.

    The heart becomes sick, as the body becomes sick, and its remedy is al-Tawbah and protection [from transgression].

    It becomes rusty as a mirror becomes rusty, and its clarity is obtained by remembrance.

    It becomes naked as the body becomes naked, and its beautification is al-Taqwa.

    It becomes hungry and thirsty as the body becomes hungry, and its food and drink is knowledge, love, dependence, repentance and servitude.

    (by Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah)

  18. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Good Character
    by Imam Al-Bayhaqi (*)

    The meaning of good character is the inclination of the soul towards gentle and praiseworthy acts.

    This may take place in one’s personal actions for Allah Most High, or in actions which involve other people. In the former case, the slave of Allah has an open and welcoming heart for His commandments and prohibitions, and does what He has imposed on him happily and easily, and abstains from the things which He has forbidden him with full contentment, and without the least dissatisfaction.

    He likes to perform optional good acts, and abstains from many permitted things for the sake of Allah Most High whenever he decides that to abstain in that way would be closer to perfect slavehood to Him. This he does with a contented heart, and without feeling any resentment or hardship.

    When he deals with other people, he is tolerant when claiming what is his right, and does not ask for anything which is not; but he discharges all the duties which he has towards others.

    When he falls ill or returns from a trip, and no-one visits him, or when he givse a greeting which is not returned, or when he is a guest but is not honoured, or intercedes but is not responded to, or does a good turn for which he is not thanked, or joins a group of people who do not make room for him to sit, or speaks and is not listened to, or asks permission of a friend to enter, and is not granted it, or proposes to a woman, and is not allowed to marry her, or ask for more time to repay a debt, but is not given more time, or asks for it to be reduced, but is not permitted this, and all similar cases, he does not grow angry, or seek to punish people, or feel within himself that he has been snubbed, or ignored; neither does he try to retaliate with the same treatment when able to do so, but instead tells himself that he does not mind any of these things, and responds to each one of them with something which is better, and closer to goodness and piety, and is more praiseworthy and pleasing.

    He remembers to carry out his duties to others just as he remembers their duties towards himself, so that when one of his Muslim brethren falls ill he visits him, if he is asked to intercede, he does so, if he is asked for a respite in repaying a debt he agrees, and if someone needs assistance he gives it, and if someone asks for favourable terms in a sale, he consents, all without looking to see how the other person had dealt with him in the past, and to find out how other people behave. Instead, he makes "what is better" the imam of his soul, and obeys it completely.

    Good character may be something which a man is born with, or it may be acquired. However, it may only be acquired from someone who has it more firmly rooted in his nature than his own. It is well known that a man of sensible opinion can become even more sensible by keeping the company of intelligent and sensible people, and that a learned or a righteous man can learn even more by sitting with other people orf learning or righteousness; therefore it cannot be denied that a man of beautiful character may acquire an even more beautiful character by being with people whose characters are superior to his own.

    Source: http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=488

    (*) Imam Al-Bayhaqi: From his book "The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith"
  19. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member


    Patience is a virtue which God praised in The Qur'an, and is very important for reaching a state of spiritual health.

    Every person has to exercise patience in order to face difficulties, whether he does so willingly or unwillingly.

    The noble person exercises patience willingly, because he realizes the benefits of patience, and he knows that he will be rewarded for his patience and will be criticized if he panics.

    He is aware that if he does not have patience, panicking and impatience will not help him to regain missed opportunities, and will not take away things he dislikes. Whatever is decreed cannot be prevented from happening, and whatever is decreed not to happen cannot be made to happen. So an attitude of impatience and panic actually causes harm.

    Source: http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=301
  20. Cordoba

    Cordoba Well-Known Member

    Having a Good Opinion of People

    From leading principles to which the Muslim needs to pay attention before he raises any doubt and before he accepts and believes in any accusation is to give priority to having a good opinion over having a bad opinion of his Muslim brothers.

    He should look for excuses and justifications that will excuse them and clear them of blame, especially when the accusation is directed towards callers to Allah and the righteous.

    This is the practice of the righteous, people of understanding and wise men from among Muslims who fear their Lord.

    Source: http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=555
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