Translated by Shaykh Saleem Bhimji and edited by Arifa Hudda, this work looks at 30 topics through the supplications taught by Prophet Muhammad, prayers of God be upon him and his family, to be recited in the Blessed Month of Ramadan. In this installment, the topic of "Spiritual Cleanliness of the Heart" is elucidated upon.
O Allah, on this day, cover me with Your mercy and grant me success and protection and purify my heart from the darkness of false accusations. O the Merciful One, to His believing servants.
Audhubillahi min al-shaytan al-rajim, Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
We are almost at the end of the blessed month, we have only two more days perhaps to enjoy these mercies from Allah; and today our topic is on the spiritual cleanliness of our heart, not obviously the physical heart within our body, but the spiritual heart that has been talked about in so many verses of the Qur'an, which we want to look at today in detail and the many hadith sayings of our 14 immaculate leaders.
Let me begin first with a hadith, a saying that we have, which explains the following: "The place of the intellect is the brain; while the hardness and softness, the emotions, are found in the heart." This hadith tells us that the intellect, the rational, logical part of human being is within his intellect, within his brain, but the emotions, the hardness, the softness of the heart is in that heart that we have within us.
Again, not a physical entity, not a physical being, but rather an entity which is above and beyond the heart that pumps the blood throughout our body, and there have been many books and articles written on that topic, which we will leave it up to the viewers to research more to understand the difference between the heart and the intellect.
Another hadith we have from the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali, may God's peace and blessings be upon him, tells us the following: "The heart is the source of wisdom." So again, we see that, yes, the brain is what we think with, but the heart is what we get our wisdom in, it is what contains the wisdom of an individual and again there is a clear difference between these two.
Another hadith from the first imam tells us the following about the heart: The heart is the treasure-house of the tongue. This understanding that we have in Islam, that our heart is the treasure-house of the tongue or the tongue becomes the mouthpiece of what is in the heart, is a reflection of whatever a human being speaks is what is in their heart.
So if you want to know the true nature, the true character of a person, look at how they speak. If they use foul, vile language, within themselves they are foul, wicked, vile people; but if they come with a soft-spoken tongue, they are respectable, they are humble in their speech, then we should appreciate that these are respectable people or people with respectable, soft, caring hearts.
Another tradition we have, tells us the following about the heart: "Indeed, the status of the spiritual heart in relation to the body is just like the status of the Imam, the divinely appointed leader, to the rest of humanity." So the Imam, the divinely appointed leader, is the guide for all of humanity, and similarly, the heart is the leader of the body. So, again, if the heart is corrupt, you will then see the body going to corrupt places.
Those people who go to the nightclubs and casinos and engage in debauchery and who are in gatherings of sins being committed, these people have a heart which is sick, they have a heart which is diseased, they have a heart which is poisoned and they need to clean that heart out.
One of the questions or one of the discussions comes about the heart is what does the Qur'an speak about the heart? Let us now reflect on many verses of the Qur'an, because we only have a few days left, so we will take a bit more time to build up this topic.
What does the Qur'an talk about the heart? Are there only one or two types of hearts? Let us ask the Qur'an for the answer of how many hearts there are, or how many states the heart can be in? to word it in a better way.
The first heart we want to talk about is the heart that Allah mentions in Surah Ash-Shu'ara, chapter 26 verse 89, where He states the following: "Except the one who comes to Allah with an immaculate heart, Qalb as-Saleem"(26:89). An immaculate heart is one free of rancor and hatred and divisiveness and sin; it is a pure, safe and sound heart that a person can meet his Lord or her Lord with, on the Day of Judgment.
A second heart is talked about in Surah al-Ra'ad, chapter number 13 verse number 28, in which we read the following: "Those people who believe and whose hearts have entered into tranquility through the remembrance of Allah"(13:28). So we are told that there are people who have hearts that are in a state of ease and tranquility, they are in a state of humbleness, again, another type of heart that we have to look to inculcate within ourselves; but now on the other end, we have people who don't have a clean heart.
In Surah al-Baqarah, chapter 2 verse number 10, Allah gives us an indication of this, and he says the following: "In their hearts is a disease."(2:10) So you have people who have heart disease on a physical front, that is not our discussion today, but you have people who have a spiritual disease in the hearts, and those are the people that we have to ensure we do not become a part of; that our heart is not a diseased heart, a heart not full of hypocrisy, of disbelief, of evil, of wickedness.
Another heart, Allah talks about in the Qur'an is found in chapter 40, Surah al-Ghafir verse 35, where He says the following: "Thus does Allah set a seal over the heart of every arrogant one."(40:35) So there are people whose hearts are sealed by Allah; sealed because of their own iniquity, their own sins, their own evils, and when they get to that level of sin and evil, Allah puts a seal upon their hearts; their hearts are now covered over.
Another heart that Allah talks about in the Qur'an is in chapter 5, Surah Al-Ma'idah, verse number 13, in which he says the following: "Then, because of their breaking of their covenant, We cursed them and We made their hearts hard" (5:13). So Allah says that there are people who break the covenant of Allah, and because of that, Allah makes their heart like a rock, hardened, its solid; there is no way to penetrate into such a heart. Again, we seek refuge from Allah, from such a heart.
The last heart that we want to speak about today is actually a saying from Nahj al-Balagha from Imam Ali, may God's peace and blessings be upon him, in which he shows us one last heart, and this is where he says: "A person whose spiritual vigilance is low has a dead heart." So it is one thing to be of a sick heart. It is one thing to be a sealed heart. It is one thing to have a rock-solid heart.
Now, the Commander of the Faithful says, when you get to that level of your depravity, forget about a sick or diseased heart, now you have a dead heart; spiritually, emotionally, you are dead. You may be walking on the earth, but you are a living-dead human being; your body is living, but your heart is dead.
As we end this blessed month of Ramadan with only a few days left, let us ask Allah for the ability to have a spiritually enlivened, safe, secure and content heart with Allah.
Wa assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.