Daily Trust

Towards a faithful heart

The human heart is the “engine room” of the body and soul of man. It powers and propels man’s reason and intellect. The heart is the home of convictions as confessed by the tongue and practised by the body. The heart is a platform where man’s thoughts and actions take their roots. The heart, according to a tradition of the Prophet (SAW), is central to the mental and physical wellbeing of man. Bukhari and Muslim both relate in the sixth hadith of Annawawi’s collection of forty traditions that the Prophet (SAW) said, “…Is it not a fact that there is in the body a mass (of flesh) by whose healthiness the whole body is healthy, and by whose sickness the whole body is sick? And is this not the heart?” Butwer-Lytton Edward said, “A good heart is better than all the heads in the world”. 

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It is not good enough to be a believer with a heart troubled by spiritual ailments. The fear of Allah (SWT) is the centre-piece of a believer’s heart. This piety can be expressed in one’s relationship with Allah (SWT) through sincere worship. It would be hypocritical of a believer’s heart if his thoughts, words and actions contradict the fundamental principles of the faith he claims to profess. 

A believer’s heart, as required by Islam, gives truth to destiny (good or bad). Of course, only a believing heart worries about things it cannot change. Let us as believers pacify our hearts to accept things to which fate binds us, and love people with whom fate brings us together. Through this, our hearts will find life worth living. 

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A Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim. He thinks good of him and also wishes for him the best of favours at all times. With a faithful heart, a believer does as much good as he can to as many people as he can. It would not be called a believing heart if it is not free from hatred, jealousy, envy, anger, arrogance, sadism and evil. Blameworthy anger in Islam is a resentful state of the heart that leads to hate speeches, abominable actions against others. 

Imam Bukhari reports on the authority of Abi Hurayrah (RA) that a man came to the Prophet (SAW) and requested to be admonished. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Do not get angry”. He (SAW) repeated this to the man several times as a mark of emphasis. Similarly, Bukhari and Muslim both relate on the authority of Abi Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “To be strong is not in fighting but in the ability to control self in moments of anger”. 

There are times when our wives, husband, children, brothers, sisters, friends, colleagues or even visitors would once in a while do such things as may annoy us, sometimes to a great deal of exasperation. When a believer feels infuriated or angered by the careless actions of other people, Islam enjoins him to take control of the situation by seeking refuge from Allah against the devil (Satan); saying “a‘uzu billahi min ash-shaytanir-rajim”. He is also advised to move away from the place he was irritated to another. 

It is recommended that an angered person should sit if he was standing or lie down if he was sitting. As a means of controlling anger, the Prophet (SAW) also advised, that an angered person should perform ablution (wudu’u). No matter the cause of the anger, a believer is required to take control of his heart and tame it against violent reactions. 

Hatred is one infection against which every believer must strive to protect his heart. Baihaqi relates that the Prophet (SAW) once announced to a man that he (the man) is of the people of Paradise. When others asked this man about what constituted his good works, he replied saying, “I go to bed and wake up without a portion of hatred against anyone”. Now, why should anyone find pleasure in other people’s misfortune or make life difficult for others? Abu Daud relates that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Avoid envy because it consumes good works in the manner that fire consumes grasses (or firewood)”. 

A heart that rejoices with a fellow brother or sister only when calamity befalls him or her is not a believing heart. Mischievous, malicious and envious people should know that Allah (SWT) alone bestows favours upon whom he pleases. It is not envy in Islam when, for instance, a believer sees another who is blessed with wealth which he hasn’t got and thus prays to Allah (SWT) to give him same so that he can be empowered to advance as much good deeds as he could. In Islam, this is not envy but is rather referred to as ‘delight of the heart’ (or gibtah in hadith literature). May Allah (SWT) protect every believing heart from all spiritual ailments and from falling prey to the plots of the sneaking whisperer who whispers evils in to the hearts of mankind, amin.