Diseases of the Heart part 4

In this post I will be discussing Ghibah (backbiting), it is especially important to discuss this as it is so prevalent in our society.

Someone people may think that backbiting is a sin of the tongue, not the heart but we need to understand that the tongue is a reflection of what is in the heart.

The tongue is a mirror for what is contained within the heart. – Arab saying

So from this we can see that there is a direct link between our tongues and our hearts. We cannot purify the heart until we purify the tongue.

The prophet (saw) said: “A persons imaan will not be upright until their heart is upright and strong. The heart will not be upright and strong until the tongue is upright and strong.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

Sins of the tongue have become widespread within our society. Foul language, backbiting, slander, lying etc are just some of the sins we have normalised within society and we so easily fall into those sins. These sins are not only harmful to ourselves but also have the power to ruin relationships.

The prophet (saw) said: “When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all of the organs of his body submit Toni’s tongue and say, ‘Fear Allah with us for our condition is according to you. If you are good, we will be good; and if you are bad, we will become bad.'” (At-Tirmidhi)

We should remember that every single word we say is recorded and we will be held accountable for.

“Man does not utter a word except with him is an observer prepared (to record).” Quran (50:18)

The tongue has the ability to lead us to Jannah or the Hellfire

The prophet (saw) said: “A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.” (Bukhari)

The prophet (saw) gave us a very important piece of advice regarding how we speak. He (saw) said: “He who believes in Allah and the last day should either speak good or remain silent.” (Bukhari)

So we need to remember this everytime we are about to say something. Is this a good thing to say? Will it be hurtful to someone? Is it my business to be speaking about this?

One of the great scholars, al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad said: There is no jihad which is more difficult that withholding the tongue.

The Quran also teaches us how vile backbiting is. In Surah Hujarat; ayah 12, Allah says: “…And do not backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would detest it…”

Allah mentions eating flesh because doing that will only hurt you not the dead person. Just like we incur sin by backbiting but nothing happens to the person we backbite about. We would never eat the flesh of a person so why do we backbite? Allah also specifies the flesh of a dead person because a dead person can’t defend themselves, just like if a person backbit someone they can’t defend themselves.

So I’ve spoken about how much Allah dislikes backbiting but what is backbiting?

The prophet (saw) asked his companions: “Do you know what is meant by backbiting?” They said, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “To say something about your brother which he dislikes.” One asked, “Even if what I say is true about my brother?” He replied, “If such defects you say are true about him, then you have backbitten him, and if he doesn’t have what you say, then you have committed slander against him.” (Muslim)

So how do we fall into Backbiting?

It is so easy to fall into backbiting in your everyday life so we need to become aware of them so we can learn to avoid them.

1) Anger – if you feel wronged by someone you may start speaking bad about them out of anger.

2) Your peers are doing it – if people around you are backbiting it is so easy for you to join in. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with good company as the prophet (saw) told us that we are on the religion of our friends.

3) Envy – if you begin to envy someone who is getting attention, praise or love then you may start to say bad things about them to stop that praise and love.

4) To make yourself feel better about yourself – You may degrade someone by saying that they aren’t smart to show how smart you are.

These are only some of the ways in which we can fall into backbiting so we should be careful of what we say.

So how do we stop ourselves from backbiting?

1) Understand the severity of what backbiting is – we can’t resolve the issue until we acknowledge the issue. We should remember that we will be held accountable for all that we say.

2) Cure the cause of the backbiting – is the backbiting due to envy? Anger? Pride? Curing the root cause will help to cure the symptoms, in this caste the symptoms are backbiting.

3) Give yourself a punishment – Everytime you backbite you need to give yourself a punishment but it has to be something that works for you. So it could be that you fast for a day or you donate money. This was done by the salad to prevent themselves from committing these sins.

4) Change your company – It is so important to have good friends, people who will tell you if you are doing something wrong not encourage it. If people around you are backbiting then you will fall into it too.

There are however times when it is permissible to backbite.

1) If you are oppressed you are allowed to go to speak to a person in a position to help end it.

2) Seeking help to change what is wrong and saving a sinful person from committing a sin. So you can go to speak to someone to get help if someone has done something wrong.

3) Seeking advice or fatwa – So you can tell the scholar if someone has wronged you to seek advice.

4) Warning people of someone’s evil – you can highlight whether someone has bad qualities to someone who is looking into marrying that person for example.

5) If a person openly commits evil or bid’ah – if someone takes someone’s wealth unlawfully for example it is permissible to speak about what he has done openly but we cannot speak about him in any other way.

The prophet (saw) told us what happens on the day of judgement to the one who spends his life backbiting others so it is imperative that we do not backbite.

The prophet (saw) said to his companions, “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” The Prophet said, “Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers, fasting, and charity, but also with insults, slander, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. The oppressed will each be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds run out before justice is fulfilled, then their sins will be cast upon him and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.” (Muslim)

So sorry for taking so long to post this! I’ve been crazy busy! I have a couple more posts on this series and I will get them out as soon as possible!

Diseases of the Heart part 3

So in this post I’m going to share what we learnt about the next disease of the heart: kibr.

Kibr is the Arabic word for pride or arrogance, when someone considers themselves superior to others.

The prophet (saw) defined kibr in this narration: “No one will enter paradise who has an atoms of pride in his heart.” A man said: “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.” [Muslim]

Allah describes in many places in the Quran how much Allah detests pride and the consequences of having pride in your heart.

“I will turn away from my signs those who are arrogant upon the earth…” Quran (7:146)

“…Thus does God seal over every heart (belonging to) an arrogant tyrant. Quran” (40:35)

“Indeed He, does not love the arrogant.” Quran (16:25)

These are just some of the places that Allah speaks about how displeased he is with those who have pride in their hearts. These ayahs show that Allah will not allow someone with pride to have understanding of the Quran and He will seal their hearts from the light of emaan.

The types of Pride

There are 2 types of pride:

1) Having pride and arrogance in accepting the truth in the oneness of Allah and Islam. So this person rejects Allah, the one who created him.

2) This is the pride people have towards other people. They think they are better than others and look down on them, whether it’s in regards to deen or dunya.

The causes of Pride

There are many reasons why someone may have pride some of which are:

1) Knowledge: People of knowledge can fall into this sin as they may be admired for their knowledge and start looking down on those who don’t have as much knowledge as them.

2) Practice and Worship: When people look down on those who may not be practicing their faith. They also look down on those who sin and feel like they are better than them.

3) Lineage: People who come from a noble lineage/tribe look at those who come from a lower tribe with scorn and behave as if these people are here to serve them.

4)Wealth: Allah describes wealth as a fitna in the Quran. So it can be used for good or it can cause harm. Someone who is wealthy may start to look down at those who have less.

Qualities of a person who has Pride

1) Likes people to stand up for him

2) Wants others to walk behind him

3) Believes that he doesn’t need to visit people only that people should visit him

4) Doesn’t want others to be on his level

5) Does not help in chores

The opposite of pride is humility. The prophet (saw) was always humble.

Cures of Pride

1) Realising the greatness of Allah and realising the weakness of man.

2) Contemplate and reflect over the ayah and Hadith which speak about pride.

3) Think of others as better than you, it doesn’t matter who they are.

4) Increase in ibadah and seek refuge in Allah from this disease.

5) Surround yourself with people who remind you of Allah and of your place.

6) Engaging in chores

When you see someone who is older than you; think they’re better than you because they’ve had more time to do good.

When you see someone who is younger than you; think they’re better than you because they’ve had less time to commit sins.

Hope this has been of benefit, my next post will cover backbiting.

Diseases of the heart Part2

In my last post I discussed why it’s important to study the diseases of the heart. So this post will be about the first disease, hasad (envy).

First we need to know what hasad is, according to Ibn al-Qayyim, hasad is defined as: “disliking a blessing that another had received and wishing that the other person would lose that blessing.”

There are several degrees of hasad:

1) When a person wants a blessing to be taken away from someone else. They don’t want the blessing for themselves just that it’s taken away from the other person.

2) When a person wants the blessing to be taken away from someone else because he wants it for himself.

3) When a person wants a blessing that someone else has without wanting it to be taken from the other person. This is permissible and known as ghibtah. The prophet (saw) said: “There is no permissible envy except in two cases; (towards) a person to whom Allah has granted wealth and property from which he gives charity by night and day, and a person to whom Allah has given the Quran and who recites it night and day.” (Agreed upon)

There are many examples of hasad in the Quran from the story of Habil and Qabil to Yusuf (as)  and his brothers to even Iblees and Adam (as). They all showed how hasad caused them to commit evil acts and corrupted them.

So what causes hasad?

1) Hatred

This often leads to envy, when you feel happy when the person you envy goes through some difficulty. You also feel unhappy when the person you envy is given a blessing from Allah.

2) Arrogance

Pride and arrogance can make a person feel envious towards someone who has a blessing that they don’t have. They can’t understand why someone who they perceive as below them has been given a blessing that they don’t have.

3) Desire for fame

When the desire to be the best in something leads the person to become obsessed with getting praise and recognition and thinks they are more special than others. If someone else receives praise they feel envious towards them.

The consequences of hasad

1) It makes a person unhappy and discontent with what they have. This can be a punishment from Allah if the person doesn’t want to cure hasad from their heart, that they will never be happy with what Allah has given them.

2) It wipes out good deeds. The prophet (saw) said: “Beware of envy, because it consumes good deeds just like a fire consumes wood.” [Abu Dawud]

3) It causes disunity in the community and between family and friends. The prophet (saw) said: “Do not envy one another; do not hate one another; do not turn your back on one another (in discontent); but be slaves of Allah as brothers.” [Bukhari]

4) Being envious of someone will lead to other sins such as backbiting, slander, spreading lies etc.

So how do we cure ourselves of hasad?

1) Force yourself to behave in the opposite way that the envy makes you feel. So if you feel like putting the person down out of your own pride then you should praise the person instead.

2) We often assume that something good that someone else has is a blessing for that person but Allah tests us with blessings as well as hardship. This blessing you desperately want, that the other person has, may not be a blessing for you. It could lead you away from Allah.

3) Look to those who have less than you and be grateful for what Allah has already blessed you with. A good way of doing this is to have a gratitude journal where you write a few things in there daily that you are thankful for having.

4) As Muslims we should understand that nothing happens without the decree of Allah. So when Allah blesses someone we will know that it is due to His divine decree and we cannot do anything to change that.

It is important to constantly reflect on the state of our heart as it is easy to fall into any of these diseases of the heart. In my next post I will discuss kibr (pride).

Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures part1

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).