So currently I’m attending a weekly class on the diseases of the heart and their cures and I wanted to share what I learnt with you all so we can all benefit inshaAllah.
So why is it important to study the diseases of the heart?
1) Purification of the heart was one of the objectives of prophethood.
Ibrahim (as) made this dua: Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them your verses and teach them the book and hikmah and purify them. Quran (2:129)
Allah responded by saying: Certainly did Allah confer (great) favour upon the believers when He sent among them a messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the book and hikmah, although they had been before in manifest error. Quran (3:164)
In these ayahs we learn that Allah answered the dua of Ibrahim (as) but Allahs response was different in that He said ‘purify them’ before teaching the book and hikmah which shows that we need to purify ourselves first in order to learn what the Quran is teaching us and have hikmah.
2) The heart is the most important organ in the body.
Indeed in the body is a piece of flesh, if it is correct the whole body is correct and if it is corrupt then the whole body will be corrupt, verily this piece is the heart. (Bukhari)
If the heart is corrupt then this will dictate what the limbs will do. So we need to first fix our heart for our limbs to be fixed.
3) We often neglect studying the diseases of the heart but a lot of societal problems are a result of a corrupt heart. For example arguments are often caused by diseases such as envy, pride, arrogance etc. So in order to rectify these societal issues we must rectify our hearts.
4) Purification of the heart is the key to success in the dunya and the aakhirah.
The day when there will not benefit (anyone) wealth and children. But only those who comes to God with a sound heart. Quran (26:88-89)
If we want to be saved in the aakhirah and enter Jannah we need to purify our hearts of these diseases.
So how do we know that our heart is sick?
Ibn al-Qayyim discussed signs of a sick heart, some of these signs are:
1) The person doesn’t feel remorse when he commits a sin.
2) He finds pleasure in committing acts of disobedience.
3) When he hears the truth he has difficulty accepting or submitting to it.
4) He is not affected by any reminder, khutbah, Quran recitation etc.
Don’t look at the size of the sin, look at the greatness of the one who we disobeyed.
What effect does sinning have on the heart?
The prophet (saw) said: When a slave commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he gives up the sin, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart will be cleansed, but if he repeats it, (the blackness) will increase until it overwhelms his heart. (Ibn Majah)
Some of the effects that sinning has on the heart that Ibn al-Qayyim discusses are:
1) Being deprived of knowledge, as knowledge is a light that Allah causes to reach the heart and sinning extinguishes that light.
2) Being deprived of provision. The prophet (saw) said: A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits. (Ahmad)
3) Deprivation of worship and obedience. Sinning prevents a person from doing an act of worship and cuts off access to other acts of worship.
4) Sin leads to sin. The more this happens the harder it is to escape it. Eg. Being jealous of someone can lead to you gossipping and backbiting that person.
5) Sin weakens a persons willpower and makes him desensitised to sinning. The person will gradually find it easier to commit sins and harder to repent. Eventually he will not be bothered about sinning and it will become a habit.
So how do we protect our heart?
There are a number of ways to strengthen the heart. Some of which are:
1) Consistently fulfilling the obligatory actions. Not just the pillars of Islam but also all the obligations we have in regards to family, friends, neighbours etc.
2) Building a strong relationship with the Quran
3) Reciting the morning and evening adhkar
4) Increasing your dua. We should make dua for all things, both in regards to deen and dunya.
5) Repentance. Allah tells us again and again to seek forgiveness because it’s in our nature to sin.
I hope this has been helpful and now we know why we need to study the diseases of the heart and give importance to purifying our heart. I will discuss each disease that we go through in class inshaAllah. The next post will be about hasad (envy).