Archive for category Heart and Soul

“Change of Heart” by Dr. Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar

 

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Excerpts from Al-Ikhlas

By Dr. `Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar (may Allah have mercy on him) | Translated by Naiyerah Kolkailah

The Difficulty of Attaining Sincerity

Having true sincerity is one of the most difficult things to achieve, and it is not only the common people who experience this; many scholars and righteous people struggle with it too. Sufyan Ath-Thawri says: “I have never dealt with anything more difficult than my intention; it keeps changing on me.”

That is why the Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) would often supplicate, “O turner of hearts, keep my heart firm upon Your faith.”

He would also often say in his oaths, “Nay, by the turner of hearts.”

The heart changes frequently in its aims and intentions, and you can see this just by how much your heart’s aims and wishes vary within one hour. The Messenger ﷺ says: “There is no heart except that it is suspended between Two Fingers of the Most Merciful; if He wills, He keeps it firm, and if He wills, He deviates it; and the scale is in the Hand of the Most Merciful—He elevates some people and debases others, until the Day of Judgment.”

The Messenger ﷺ says: “Surely, the heart of the son of Adam turns over and over more than a pot of boiling water.”

The reason hearts change and turn so much is because of the amount of factors influencing the heart. As Sahl ibn Abdillah says, the heart is “delicate and easily affected by passing thoughts.”

Al-Harith al-Muhasabi mentions three factors that affect the heart.

The first is the warnings of the Most-Merciful. As the hadith (narration) says, “Whomever Allah wills good for him, He will place for him a warning conscience in his heart.”

In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, “Allah, the All-Mighty, sets forth a parable of the straight path: on either side of the path are walls with open doors, and the doors are draped with curtains. On the path, there is a caller saying, ‘O people enter all of you onto the path and do not deviate.’ Another caller also calls at the head of the path. So, when a person attempts to open one of these doors, the caller says, ‘Beware, do not open it. If you open it, then you will go through it (and leave the straight path).’ The path is Islam, and the walls are Allah’s legal boundaries, and the open doors are what Allah has forbidden. The caller at the head of the path is the Book of Allah, and the caller on the straight path is the warning conscience of Allah that is in the heart of every Muslim.”

The second element that influences the heart is Satan’s adornment of evil acts, and all his suggestions and whispers. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has commanded His messenger to flee to Allah, seeking refuge from Satan’s attempts: “And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Surely, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”

It is out of Allah’s wisdom that He made the hearts of His servants this battlefield, where both an angel and a devil vie for influence; one overtakes it sometimes, and the other at other times. The All-Mighty says, “Satan threatens you with poverty, and commands you to evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.”

The Messenger ﷺ elucidates this in the hadith: “Surely, an angel puts thoughts in the heart of the son of Adam, and the devil also puts thoughts. The angel’s thoughts promise goodness and affirm the truth, and the devil’s thoughts promise evil and reject the truth.” Then he read, “Satan threatens you with poverty, and commands you to evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.”

As Ibn Al-Qayyim says, “Satan bewitches the mind until it overpowers it, and nobody is safe from his magic except whomever Allah wills. He makes the harmful act seem appealing, until a person imagines that it is the most beneficial of things; and he turns him away from beneficial things, until he imagines that they are harmful to him. La ilaha illa Allah (there is no deity but God). How many people are deceived by this magic, and how many hearts are deprived of Iman (faith), Islam, and Ihsan (excellence in faith/worship) because of it; and how much has falsehood been adorned so it appears positive; and how much has truth been denigrated so it appears negative!”

The third source of influence on the heart is the self, since it commands one to do evil acts, and calls to disobedience: “Surely, the self constantly commands to evil.” The Prophet of Allah, Ya`qub (Jacob), told his sons when they claimed that the wolf ate Yusuf (Joseph): “No, your own selves enticed you to something (evil).” The All-Mighty also said regarding Adam’s son who killed his brother, “Then his own self persuaded him to kill his brother.”

The Muslim cannot be saved from the self that incites evil, and his own whims and desires, except through persistent struggle and self-discipline, and through arming oneself with the weapons Allah (swt) gave him, such as dhikr (remembrance of Allah), recitation of the Qur’an, acts of devotion and worship, etc.

Why Allah is the Ultimate Aim

The human being will be miserable if his aim is directed toward anything besides His Creator, and he will become even more miserable when he accumulates more worries and aimless endeavors. If a person’s aim is not uniformly devoted to One above all worldly endeavors, this person will find herself not knowing where to go and what direction to take. But a Muslim’s aim is One, and the methodology that guides her toward this aim is one; and thus, she is able to please God and follow His guidance.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, “Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah places abundance in his heart, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him despite its unwillingness. And whoever’s aim is worldly gain, Allah puts poverty before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and nothing of this world comes to him, except what has been decreed for him.”

Signs of Sincerity

Imam al-Shafi`i (may Allah have mercy on him) says, “How I wish the creation would learn this knowledge without attributing even one letter of it to me.”

He also says, “I have not spoken to anyone except that I wished that he is supported and aided, and that he is under Allah’s care and protection.”

Imam al-Ghazali says, “There is one sign that shows true sincerity in a person who counsels and advises others for the sake of God and not for people’s acceptance; if he is replaced by someone who is better, more knowledgeable, or more articulate than him, and people’s acceptance of that person surpasses his own, then he will be pleased, and he will thank Allah for relieving him from his obligation with someone more qualified than him.”

The sign of one who aims to impress others is that he will be pleased with words of praise or appreciation, even if they are not true; and he will be upset with words of criticism, even if they are true. The same applies to those who are after money. But that is not the case with the sincere one; she is pleased with the word of truth—whether it be for her or against her, and she is angered by a word of falsehood—whether it be in her favor or against her.

The sincere person finds no problem in everyone’s hearts being void of appreciation for him, if his heart is sound in the Eyes of Allah, the All-Mighty. He also does not wish for any person to see even an atom’s weight of his good deeds. If the sincere person is presented with two matters, one for Allah and one for worldly gain, he will prefer what is for Allah— knowing that this life is fleeting and the Hereafter permanent.

Source: Change of Heart by Dr. ‘Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar

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Resources for Those Inclined to Self-Amazement

Bismillah walhamdulillah

“I suffer from an inclination to be arrogant towards people and to feel superior towards them, and I would like to be humble. I hope that you can tell me something about the virtues of humility and its various types so that Allaah may open my heart towards it.”

Different Kinds of Humility

Ridding Oneself of Arrogance

Humility and Arrogance

Search my blog for keyword: self-amazement

 

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A Wake Up Call – Br. Amir Muhaddith AKA Loon

Bismillah walhamdulillah

I was blown away by this brother’s manners and sincerity. He is a wonderful example of what a Mu’min is, and watching this talk will make you take a long, hard look at yourself.

 

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Cut the Rope

Points of Benefit:

  • There will be times in your life when you will have to do something very difficult, for the sake of Allah, cut the rope of this dunya – don’t be afraid of what will happen to your dunya – and just do it.
  • There will be times when you are in a hard situation, and you feel like everything is going wrong and you can’t figure out why – cut the rope – do the most difficult thing by putting your complete trust in Allah. And know that, even if you can’t see it, the end result will be best for you.
  • This dunya is tearing away at your soul with every second that passes; this was the blizzard in the video. If he had cut the rope immediately, he would have been saved. If he had delayed it, he would have been damaged, but still saved. And if he never cut the rope, which he didn’t, then he would’ve been damaged beyond repair. Don’t delay it, cut the rope and stop living for the sake of the dunya – place it in your hands and place your deen on your head. If your crown moves out of place, put the dunyah on the ground and fix your crown first.
  • When you’re in the middle of a trial; it feels like things will be this way forever and you can’t see an escape. But sometimes the help is near, it can even be four feet away.

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The Fruits of Sincerity in Your Knowledge and Time

From: http://iskandrani.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/the-fruits-of-sincerity-in-your-knowledge-and-time/

“…How great are the fruits of sincerity, and how are the Muslims, the righteous, the worshipers who seek Allah and the Hereafter and know the worthlessness of the life of this world in dire need of purifying their actions to be solely for Allah so that they can see these fruits and blessings for themselves, and so that they can see things that nobody would believe could happen within the normal limits of the human perspective!

From these is that the scholars who wrote and sought knowledge sincerely for Allah were granted blessing in their time, lives, and knowledge by Allah, and many people benefited from them.

Take ‘Sahih al-Bukhari’ as an example. How many books have been written and authored? However, the author of this book was sincere towards Allah, and he would not write in it a single hadith except after making ablution and praying two units and making istikharah to Allah, and there was the worship and zuhd that was known in the life of Imam al-Bukhari. When this was the case, Allah blessed him in his time, and He blessed him in his deeds, and He gave this book the position and degree that it has. It is the most authentic book after the Book of Allah, and the Muslims of every era until the Day of Resurrection have accepted it wholeheartedly. This is indeed a great miracle, as how many books have been written that do not have what this book has?

Such is the case with the life of Imam Ahmad, may Allah be Pleased with him and he with Him. Look at the acceptance in the hearts of the people that Allah granted him – it is incredible! When Ahmad would simply point at someone with his finger and said ‘Yes,’ or if he were to mention someone and just say ‘Yes,’ – he praised him by simply saying ‘Yes,’ or ‘He is a good man,’ etc. – Allah would raise the status of that particular man in the eyes of all the Muslims. So, this man would become exalted, and this word of praise would spread from Baghdad to Khurasan to Egypt to Andalusia to everywhere else, and it would be recorded in the books that Ahmad said about such and such a man that he is good or that he praised him. So, this would be a tazkiyah for him and a means for the acceptance of his narrations and knowledge, and a confirmation of the soundness of his beliefs.

And the Khalifah al-Mutawakkil – from his intense keenness to be seen in a good light in front of his people as is the case with the rulers of every era – requested of Imam Ahmad to visit him because the people knew that Imam Ahmad only ate what was halal. So, he wanted him to come and eat from his food so that the people would take note of this and al-Mutawakkil would be praised by the people just because Imam Ahmad ate from his food, even if Ahmad himself did not praise him with a single word!

So, Imam Ahmad refused, and when al-Mutawakkil begged him – and he is al-Mutawakkil, the one through whom Allah revived the Sunnah and destroyed innovation, and Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah are indebted to him, and he is a leader of the Muslims – he saw that he had no other option but to obey him. So, he went to him while he was fasting. His sons ‘Abdullah and Salih said: “We were worried about our father that he would die, as he was continually fasting through the days and nights, and he would only drink water, as water was not something that could be considered a favor from anyone.” All the while, al-Mutawakkil assumed that he was eating from his food because they were not sitting and eating at the same table.

Why did they have this prestige? It was only because of their sincerity towards Allah.

In terms of the blessing in their time, look to the writings of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, the writings of adh-Dhahabi, the writings of Ibn Kathir, and the writings of an-Nawawi. You will see the most amazing things when you see these books despite the expulsion, prison, beating, inquisition, having their books burned, and prevention from any writing instruments that they suffered – especially Ibn Taymiyyah – and that despite this, the preoccupation with worship and Jihad that they displayed. Ibn Taymiyyah performed Jihad against the Batinis and the Tatars. Jihad and knowledge, collecting and researching knowledge from the books, worship, and he is still able to write all these books. How was this possible?!

Today, as you can see – we ask Allah to bless our time and our lives, and to grant us sincerity that will make us deserving of this – a student will spend five years preparing his doctorate, and he will then produce a book that will be nothing more than quotations. If he worked a little harder, he would finish it in a few months, and if he was one of the Salaf, he would have compiled it in a matter of days or weeks, as it is nothing more than quotations. What was all of this time spent doing?

This all has to do with how much sincerity we have. How?

Some even said that if you were to take the lifespan of one of them and divide it between the books that he wrote, you would find that he would write twenty pages a day. Is it possible for anyone to write this much? When would he have the time to check it over? When would he publish it?

If we ask a brother to prepare an article just one page long, he would spend the entire night writing it, and would then spend the entire next day reviewing and revising it. In fact, entire weeks might go by without him producing anything. Subhan Allah!! How did these people write so much? If they were able to write twenty pages that were reviewed, revised, fully and accurately referenced, and filled with precisely derived rulings, this could not have been possible except due to the blessing that Allah had placed in their knowledge, and this was all due to their sincerity to Allah.

This is why they had high determination and aspirations.

When at-Tabari told his students: “I will provide you with the ‘Tafsir’ in 300 volumes,” they said: “This is too long” – three hundred volumes was too long, and they couldn’t handle it – he replied: “Allahu Akbar! The aspirations have weakened!” So, he wrote it in thirty volumes instead of the 300. These thirty volumes were in accordance with the strength of their aspiration, as the vastness of ‘Tafsir at-Tabari’ – with all of its narrations, chains, linguistic commentaries and explanations – was written by at-Tabari for those with weak determination. Today, we say that at-Tabari should have summarized it, and it actually has been summarized, because the aspirations and determination that exists today is only a tenth of what existed during the days of at-Tabari’s students.

This is how it was. So, how does one’s determination become weak?

Determination weakens when there is little sincerity, and it increases when there is more sincerity and certainty. When a person combines the qualities of sincerity, certainty, love, and all the other actions of the heart that I have mentioned and will mention, he will reach the ultimate level of determination.

When the Companions reached this state, they gave no consideration whatsoever to the powers on Earth, no matter who or what they were. Rather, they would send armies to the East and West, land and sea, and they would not care in the least, and they would not look to the enemy as having any worth. Yes, they would make the necessary preparations, study the enemy in as much detail as possible, and engage in strategic research and military intelligence. However, they knew that they were fighting for Allah. So, no power was able to stand before them. They were victorious because of their faith, righteousness, sincerity, and truthfulness with Allah.

There is just one more issue to address that I will close with, and it is that having sincerity results in you being considered from the sincere, and this is because what goes around comes around. So, if you are sincere and truthful with Allah, Allah will make you from the sincere, and the sincere ones are the best of Allah’s Creation. They are the ones who know Allah, and this is the most important of their many characteristics. This is mentioned in ‘as-Saffat’ after Allah mentions the condition of the polytheists and their likes who ascribed a son to Allah and kinship between He and the jinn. So, at the end of these verses, He Said: {“Allah is Glorified above what they ascribe to Him”} [as-Saffat; 159] {“…except the sincere slaves of Allah.”} [as-Saffat; 40].

So, He is free of everything that He is described with with except what those who know Him and give Him His proper due describe Him with, and they describe Him with the attributes of perfection and praise…”

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Be Positive, You Have a Beautiful Heart

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Who will pray for you when you die? Sh. Tawfique Chowdhury

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Jealousy: The Green-eyed Monster by Navaid Aziz

 

Parts 2-5 can be found on youtube. The entire lecture is very nice and worth the time, inshaa’Allah.

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One of the Seven Shaded, inshaa’Allah

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Cure for Self-Amazement (‘Ujb) by Sh. Ash-Shinqitee

One of the salaf said: “By Allah, I never sat in a gathering thinking myself to be the best of them except that I left being the lowest! And I never sat thinking myself insignificant, except that I left being upmost.”

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