By Crystal Daulton
Purification of the Heart:
“As you live deeper in the heart, the mirror gets clearer and cleaner” -Rumi
Indeed the heart is the reflection of oneself; a place where imaan can illuminate, or disease can ravish. How can one purify the heart, to make room for imaan and guidance, and how can we avoid the deadly consequence of a diseased heart?
As reverts, we all come from different walks of life. Each journey differs- incarceration, addiction, or simply the search for guidance or the truth are reasons Allah chooses us for the path of Islam. We know that once we take our shahaada, all past sins are forgiven and the heart is renewed, and thus the journey of the heart through Islam begins.
It is essential for the purification of the heart to begin, continue, and end with tawbah (repentance ). In other words one must continuously polish the heart by asking Allah for forgiveness as it helps rid ourselves of our character defects.
“Allah loves those who constantly repent”. Quran 2:22
Seeking Allah’s forgiveness keeps the heart filled with noor (light), giving us access to Allah’s guidance.
Reciting Quran is the best way to stay in the remembrance of Allah. In it, is guidance for all mankind. It is important to build a relationship with the Quran and gain an understanding of its meaning, and just like anything else in life that we wish to master, reading the Quran takes practice.
Before reading, ask Allah to increase your knowledge and understanding of that which you are about to embark upon. Concentrate and follow the words with your finger – in time, the words will become more familiar to you, engraving themselves upon your heart.
The Quran says, regarding the believers:
“Their hearts soften at the remembrance of Allah” (39:23), so allow the Quran to penetrate your heart, and in it, you will find solace.
Performing good deeds
Acts of charity allow us to remove the self-centredness that sometimes consumes us, living in a consumerist,materialistic society. Helping others is a way to fill our heart with empathy, compassion, and love and counteract these selfish desires. In turn, we feel the warmth of love in our hearts that not only radiates from within, but can be seen as noor (the light of God) on the outside. Performing extra good deeds, over and above the daily enjoined duties, are acts of love and worship, and they open the heart to Allah’s mercy and love.
So far, we have talked about the purification of the heart. Now let’s look at the opposite- the diseases of the heart. Just as we take precautions to keep our physical heart healthy from disease, it is important for us to recognize the signs of a spiritually diseased heart.
Laziness, jealousy and obsession are a few diseases of the heart that we must be especially careful to guard against.
The onset of laziness is the first defect to watch out for. Laziness causes us to forget Salaah, weakening our connection to Allah, leading to confusion and misguidance. The prophet Muhammad S.A.W. (peace and blessings be upon him) prescribed this dua:
“Oh Allah, I seek refuge in you from incapability and laziness.”
This dua puts us back in the state remembrance of Allah, and connects us back to our desire to worship him.
Hasad (jealousy ) is not only a character defect, but it eats away at our good deeds, as the Prophet SAWS said, “Avoid hasad for it destroys good deeds as fire destroys wood (or grass)” (Abu Dawud ).
It is also reported in a separate hadith that prophet Muhammad pbuh said, “There are enemies of Allah’s bounties.” They asked, “Who are they?” He (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Those who envy people for what Allah has given them of his bounty.” (Al-Tabaraani).
These two powerful hadith explain to us that not only do we extinguish our own good deeds by harbouring jealousy, but we also eliminate the chances of earning Allah’s bounties!
Anyone who desires a clean heart must be free of hasad. So, how do we rid ourselves of jealousy? The key is not to count others’ blessings, but to say Mashaa Allah, and to show gratitude to Allah for the bounties He has bestowed upon each of us. Surely, hasad blocks us from the guidance of Allah and weakens our emaan. It shows a hidden type of ingratitude, where we think we deserve something that someone else has been given by Allaah; where we think we know who and where Allaah’s bounties should be given to, and where we show unhappiness with where Allaah Himself has chosen to give them. And we ask Allaah to protect us all from these destructive thoughts and feelings, ameen.
Last but not least we have obsession. Obsessions interfere with our capability to wholeheartedly love and worship Allah. There’s a place in the heart reserved for Allah and once obsession encroaches upon that place, trouble will proceed.
“When you love do not love like a child who becomes obsessed with something he loves and when you hate do not not hate to the point where you want to see someone destroyed.” ( Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Muslim Manners, no. 1322)
Of course, it’s ok to have goals in this life and to love our spouses and children- but remember that place in the heart reserved for Allah that no obsession should replace.
The heart is our inner self. A reflection of our character. Purifying the heart through repentance, Quran and good deeds opens the heart to guidance and deepening emaan from Allah. Keep in mind that we must monitor the condition of our heart to avoid disease and become aware of our character defects.
I pray that this article has inspired you to think and further study the matters of the heart, and as always, comments and discussion are welcome below.
About the author
Crystal Daulton attended the Los Angles Training institute of Drug and Alcohol Counseling and is a registered drug and alcohol technician. A native of Pittsburgh Pa, Crystal is an aspiring writer who resides in Lancaster Ca, with her six children.