In today’s article, we’re focusing on how to connect the heart to Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) talks about the heart, over and over again in the Quran. He (swt), refers back to the heart when addressing how you take control of your life.
The Heart – The Control Centre
The most important aspect of your body, or the most important piece of flesh in your body is the heart because it is the control centre. The Prophet ( saw) said,
وَإِنَّ فِي الْجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً إِذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ وَإِذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ أَلاَ وَهِيَ الْقَلْبُ
The Prophet (saw) said that indeed there is a piece of flesh in your body. If it is reformed and good, then the whole body is going to be good.
And if it is corrupted, then the whole body will be corrupted. Indeed, this is the heart.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) pointed us towards the heart because it plays a crucial role in your body. It’s not just the physical function of pumping blood around the body.
It has a spiritual function that affects your soul and not just your soul, but it affects everything you do in your life.
Allah (swt) constantly turns us back to this heart because it is the motivation and the power behind everything that we do.
Allah could have spoken to us about our intellect, but Allah doesn’t.
In fact, in Surah an-Nas Allah (swt) is telling us to seek refuge in Him from the Shaytaan.
Allah also says,
الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ
Allah describes the Shaytaan as the one who whispers into the hearts of mankind.
Literally means chest, but the explainers of the Quran explain this to mean the heart because the heart is the control centre.
It’s the place where all the real power comes from.
We already know this if you think about this example of the advertising industry.
When companies are advertising to get you to buy their goods, they’re not appealing to your intellect.
Rather, they appeal to your emotions, because they know from years and years of market research, that tapping into your emotions can motivate you to purchase or buy whatever they’re selling.
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It’s more likely that you will buy into something because of your feelings than you will because of what you think.
You can see this throughout the entire advertising industry.
Think about the example of the tobacco industry, and cigarettes specifically.
In the UK, and many countries in the world there’s a law that a warning has to be printed on the box.
So on every cigarette box, you see the warning; Smoking Kills.
That boldly printed warning on the box has not stopped people from buying cigarettes to smoke.
Smoking kills which appear on the box, appeals to their intellect. It’s telling them to be reasonable because this is harmful.
However, we know that people in their millions, in their droves, are still smoking regardless of the fact that you’re reading about smoking that kills.
Because it hasn’t appealed to their emotions. It hasn’t appealed to their hearts, and it’s the heart that drives our actions.
It’s the power behind our actions.
It’s what motivates us and it’s about how we feel. The truth is, if you feel like it, you’ll do it.
Even if you know it’s not good for you.
Whereas if you don’t feel like it, you won’t do it, even if you know something is good for you.
Allah (swt) is our Creator so he knows what is actually the most important thing to address.
The Driving Force Behind Behaviour
Allah addresses the heart because the heart is the thing that controls our behaviour.
That’s why the Prophet (saw) said in this Hadith: “Indeed if this heart is reformed, if you fix it, then the whole body will be fixed, whereas if it is spoiled, then the whole body will be spoiled, if it’s corrupted, the whole body will be corrupted.”
When we talk about a corrupted heart, this means that your actions and your behaviour will be corrupted.
Just like if your heart is good, then what you do will be good. If your heart is full of mercy, then your actions are full of mercy.
When your heart is full of malice, then your actions are full of malice. That’s why the Prophet (saw) said this.
It is without any doubt the thing that matters the most.
That’s why the scholars of Islam, throughout history, have always referred the people back to the heart, because the heart is the control centre of all of our behaviour.
If you want to change and improve your behaviour, work on your heart, and Insha’Allah Ta’ala, you will see a solution.
In Surah, Al Baqarah verse 74, Allah (swt) talks about the hearts and when Allah is referring to Bani Israel. Allah refers to them again and again, as an example. To make clear to us what not to do.
Bani Israel were repeatedly disobeying Allah.
Allah saved them from Firaun (the Pharaoh), and then they worshipped the golden calf. They always did what they shouldn’t have.
That’s not all of Bani Israel, but many of them did this and as a result, Allah (swt) describes them as though He is angry with them.
The Heart as a Rock
Allah gives us examples of Bani Israel when referring to their hearts.
Allah (swt) compared their hearts to stones or even harder.
Allah draws a similitude, a parallel, between their hearts and a stone.
Imagine that! A heart that is harder than a stone, is a heart which is so difficult to penetrate.
It doesn’t matter what you say, no appeal can penetrate that heart. It’s stubborn and you just cannot get through.
Allah (swt) then goes on to say, “And indeed there are from some stones, rivers which burst forth.” In the Tafsir of these verses, the explainers of the Quran say that the rivers bursting forth is the mercy that burst forth.
Even though Allah is likening the heart to a stone, Allah differentiates between the different types of hearts.
Allah says there are some stones which are filled with mercy and they gush forth with mercy.
Then Allah (swt) goes on to say, “And indeed, there are some stones which split open and from it, water flow.”
So, there are some hearts where there is less mercy, but there is still mercy within those hearts.
“And indeed, there are some stones which fall from the fear of Allah.”
We can take an example of this from the mountain that Musa (as) was standing on when he asked Allah (swt) for the ability to see Him.
When Allah (swt) revealed himself to the mountain, the mountain collapsed from fear.
The mountain collapsed and Musa (as) fell unconscious.
This is a type of rock that has the fear of Allah.
Does your heart have the fear of Allah?
Allah (swt) finishes off the verse by saying, Allah is not unaware.
Don’t think that Allah doesn’t know what you’re getting up to.
That’s why in this verse, Allah (swt); Al-Hakeem, the Most Wise, draws a parallel between the heart and rocks and demonstrates that the heart, just like the rocks, is of different types.
Some are harder than others and some rocks can be softer and the water penetrates it.
This is like the heart which is penetrated by mercy.
The different types of hearts that Allah (swt) describes here are four.
It is the heart which gushes forth with mercy and compassion.
The second one is the heart which has some mercy and some compassion. The third one is a heart that falls from the submission and the fear of Allah and the reverence for Allah.
The last one is the hard heart that is devoid of all mercy.
The question that we should be asking ourselves is which one we have right now.
It’s important to know that Allah wouldn’t just tell us about the different types of hearts, just for the sake of it.
Allah is telling us so that we can make the choices and take the actions to accomplish the type of heart that we want. We can change our hearts. The message is clear.
Allah shows us that the heart is your central control. It is where the motivation and energy comes from.
The rational mind doesn’t have power over the heart, but the heart has power over the rational mind.
So, like the Prophet (saw) said, if you can take control of this heart, then you are in a good state.
Whereas, if you lose control of your heart, and your heart is constantly in a state of sin, the heart hardens.
The Hardening of the Hearts
We learned from this Hadith, that the constant, perpetual sins and excuses we make for ourselves when we’re committing those sins darkens the heart.
We keep sinning because we make excuses for ourselves, and we belittle the sin. But the truth is, we fool ourselves.
Every time you sin, as the Prophet (saw) said, it’s like a black spot appears on your heart. That’s the darkness of sin.
And if you keep sinning, your heart becomes darker and darker, until it becomes like an overturned vessel.
This example, the Prophet (saw) gave us: ‘like the overturned vessel,’ if we reflect on it, we see what a fitting example it is.
Think about it. If you leave a boat in the water for ages, the bottom of the boat that’s beneath the water becomes covered with darkness.
If the boat is overturned, then you can see that darkness.
When you keep committing those sins, especially knowingly, then your heart becomes harder and harder, darker and darker, until you are in a complete state of lack of mercy.
Your heart becomes so hard that you can become arrogant, and full of pride and all of the negative characteristics that a human being has.
It all comes from a hardened heart.
Allah (swt) describes this hardened heart as devoid of any goodness, or water that gushes forth.
We know that water is the source of life. So for a heart to be devoid of water is to be devoid of the source of life.
The Mercy, the compassion, the life source is not there.
That hardened heart is the one that is committing corruption.
That means that your actions are corrupted.
When your actions are corrupted, you will do things to hurt yourself and hurt others, take your own rights, and take the rights of others.
You will harm the environment around you, and the community around you and you’ll bring no good to society.
That is what we know as Fasaad; corruption.
Allah (swt) says that corruption has appeared on the land and the sea, because of the things that humanity has done, the things we do, creating corruption.
By Allah’s Messenger (saw), telling us that the heart is the source of that corruption, the message is to change your behaviour by changing your heart.
If you focus on your heart, you can change your behaviour.
If you do that, then Allah (swt) will aid you.
It’s all about you focusing on it. Allah and His Messenger (saw) didn’t tell us all of this just for the sake of it.
They informed and educated us about this because it will make or break your life.
Everything we do in our lives is powered by the power source of the heart.
The heart powers everything. So if we do not focus on cleansing our hearts, then we are in a state of absolute loss.
The Prophet (saw) informed us that every sin you do, hardens the heart and darkens the heart, making it more difficult to penetrate.
The Mercy of Allah will not penetrate the hardened heart, because the hardened heart repels it.
So how do you fix this problem?
Softening the Heart
The easiest way is found in Surah Nuh,verse 10 where Allah (swt) says,
فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا
Seek repentance,turn to Allah (swt).
Because Allah (swt) is the Perpetual Forgiver. He never stops forgiving.
So if you commit a sin, do as the Messenger of Allah(saw) advised us to do. When you commit a sin, immediately follow it up with a good deed.
By following it up with a good deed, Allah wipes away that sin and replaces it with a good deed.
Even as I write this, it gives me that feeling of hope, knowing this Hadith, knowing that I’ve made many mistakes in my life as we all do.
We make mistakes, we repent for them and sometimes we forget the mistakes that we make, and we don’t even repent for those mistakes.
But knowing that Allah(swt) is the Perpetual Forgiver, at any point where you remember anything you’ve done, as soon as you remember, make Istighfaar.
Allah(swt) is telling us that if you make Istighfaar, not only will Allah forgive you, and Allah goes on to say in Surah Nuh, verses 11-12, He will rain down from the heavens upon you an abundance.
يُرْسِلِ ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًۭا, وَيُمْدِدْكُم بِأَمْوَٰلٍۢ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ جَنَّـٰتٍۢ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ أَنْهَـٰرًۭا
Allah will give you an abundance in your wealth, your health, your children, and every area of life. Allah will bless you in it all because you repent.
Because you turned back to Allah (swt) and that’s the key.
That’s the way to soften your heart. By turning back to Allah (swt) and connecting to Allah.
When you backbite someone, make Istighfaar, turn back to Allah (swt), and repent. Allah (swt) is the Perpetual Forgiver. Allah will never let you down.
Allah tells you if you do this, then Allah will give you an abundance in this life.
Not only will Allah wipe away those sins and make your heart softer, but Allah will bless you in your life. What more could you ask for?
Allah is guiding us to a pure heart. There is no 100% pure heart but Allah is guiding us to have a heart that is submissive.
When I think about these four types of hearts, I want my heart to be the heart that gushes forth and is filled with mercy and compassion, because then that should come through in my actions and behaviour.
I want my heart to be the one that falls into submission when thinking about Allah.
When thinking about the Ayat of Allah, I want my heart to be like that mountain that collapsed when Musa (as) asked to see Allah, because of the fear of Allah.
Now, you don’t have to have one type of heart, but we should be working on it.
It isn’t a once-off thing.
Isn’t it the case that we make mistakes on a regular basis?
How many years have you been alive? How many times have you fallen into sin, knowing sometimes and other times not knowing?
Have we gone through a year of our life or even a month or a week of our life without committing a sin or falling into error?
Allah (swt) will extend His mercy to you. Allah (swt) will give us the forgiveness that we want, but we have to ask for it. If you don’t ask for it , just like in life, you don’t get it.
Allah (swt) is constantly guiding us back to fixing our hearts, cleansing our hearts, and purifying our hearts, by turning back to Him; Azza Wajal in repentance.
Allah loves the one that turns to him in repentance, Allah loves the one that asks because Allah loves to forgive.
So, what is the condition of your heart? This is a question that you and I should be asking all the time.
Every time we ask ourselves this question, we will look to examine our behaviour, because your behaviour is the mirror reflection of what’s in your heart.
If your behaviour is not good, if it’s rebellious, disobedient, like the hardened heart, it needs work.
If your behaviour shows arrogance or pride, and malice or anything negative, then this comes from within our hearts, and it needs correction.
Simple Steps For a Sound Heart
The first stage of fixing our affairs is to be aware of our situation, to be aware of what our condition is. That’s how you nurture a sound heart.
So check regularly, what the condition of your heart is, and then have absolute hope.
Just remember that Allah (swt) says in Surah Nuh – Indeed Allah is the Perpetual Forgiver. Allah will forgive, there’s no doubt about it.
If you can soak up these verses, and let these verses affect your heart, then you will soften your heart.
You will become submissive and humbled to Allah (swt). You will be in a state of perpetual gratitude because you know that Allah is the Perpetual Forgiver.
For every mistake we make, Allah (swt), the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate will forgive us and this is something that we should be working towards on a daily basis.
In Surah Al Anbiya, verse 107, Allah (swt) talks to the Messenger of Allah(saw) and says, I have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
In this verse, Allah (swt) describes His Messenger.
We know that this life is a journey and we have a standard.
The standard has been taught to us through Revelation and we have a goal that we should be seeking to attain.
To become the very best that we can be. We should be on a continual self-development, self-growth journey throughout our lives.
The days, weeks, months, and years are there to help us attain a higher standard of ourselves and to actualise our potential.
The best way to do this is to follow the greatest of role models, the Messenger of Mercy (saw).
When Allah (swt) talks about the types of hearts, then Allah is talking about the hearts that are filled with mercy.
Allah (swt) is telling us in this verse, that the Messenger of Allah is a mercy to all of humanity.
So we should follow his example and seek to be a mercy for all of humanity, through our actions, through our words, and how we live.
The way to focus on this is to be on that continual path of growth and development.
You have to work towards becoming the best that you can be.
Our goal is not to become someone else’s best but to be the best version of ourselves.
All that requires is taking daily steps towards purifying our hearts, purifying our behaviour, and becoming better and better day by day.
This requires a continual journey of softening the heart and creating a heart that is connected to Allah (swt) because ultimately it is the Dhikr of Allah, the Remembrance of Allah that brings peace to the heart.
I want to add that Dhikrullah is not just Tasbeeh.
It’s not just saying Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, Allahu Akbar it’s not just saying SubhanAllahi Wa Bi Hamdihi. These are the great ways of remembering Allah.
But Dhikrullah in its entirety is to remember Allah, to reflect upon His verses, to actually connect to Allah (swt), to have your heart connected to him.
There’s a famous statement of Ibn Taymiyyah where he said that it is the food of the heart, the heart is the place where the remembrance of Allah lies.
That’s how we connect. We connect to Allah by connecting our hearts to Allah, yearning for the mercy of Allah, yearning for the forgiveness of Allah, learning about Allah, learning about the verses of Allah, and reflecting on these verses.
In Surah Al Anfal verse 2, Allah (swt) says:
نَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
Their hearts tremble, their hearts are moved by listening to these verses.
This is what we should be doing, this is how you remember, this is how you connect to Allah (swt) and this is how to soften your heart.
If you can do this on a daily basis, just one small step at a time, then Insha’Allah, you’re on a journey to becoming the very best that you can be.
That is going to be a reflection of the best state of your heart.
Insha’Allah Ta’ala, I leave you with those jewels. Hold on to it and treasure it.
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