By Khalafalla Osman
Bismillahi Rahman Ar Raheem (In the name of Allah, the Giver and Owner of Loving Mercy)
“There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily, this piece is the Heart.” – Rasulullah ﷺ (Found in As-Sahihayn)
To begin, I wish each and every one of you a Ramadan that is successful, productive and accepted by Allah ﷻ. Ramadan personally for me is a month where I try to immerse myself in an experience filled with Qur’an and reflection upon it. So this article was inspired by one of those reflections. In addition, it reminded me of a very beneficial lecture I enjoyed at ICNA-MAS 2016 in Baltimore, MD called “Disconnected the Missing Peace” with Sh. Kamal El-Mekki (hafidhahullah).
Allah ﷻ reminds us in His Noble Qur’an about Shaytan, and his rebellion against Him in Surah Al-Araf. So many of us are familiar with this story – Allah ﷻ gathered the Angels and Iblis and commanded them to prostrate to Adam. All the angels immediately followed Allah’s instructions whilst Iblis chose consciously to rebel against Allah’s command. His rebellion caused him his exile from Jannah, however – how many of us remember what Iblis who became Shaytan after his disobedience said to Allah ﷻ?
In Shaytan’s arrogance (authobillah) in Ayah 16 of surah Al-Araf, he says “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path.” He follows it stating in the next ayah, “Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”
The Cursed Devil said he would wait for us on Allah’s beautifully paved Straight Path that he made for us – with the intention of misguiding us and making us ungrateful. Personally, when I read that – I felt like that was a very serious and important reminder for the Believer. It is interesting because Shaytan says he will wait for us on the path of righteousness, Sirat Al-Mustaqeem. It is in Sirat Al-Mustaqeem that he plans on tripping us up and causing us to fall into ingratitude and misguidance. SubhanAllah, one might think – “wow, we are on the straight path and still potentially capable of being derailed by Shaytan? Do we even stand a chance?!” Slow down, we often forget about another part of this story with Shaytan – he never apologized for his arrogance. He never told Allah ﷻ, O Allah, indeed I have transgressed against myself and if you don’t forgive me, I will surely be amongst the losers like our Father and Mother Adam and Hawwa did. Instead, Shaytan rebelled even more, digging himself into a deeper hole, sealing his fate as the Enemy of Allah ﷻ. So yeah, Shaytan will absolutely target your heart, which is the control center of guidance in your body – and he will try to influence your actions. So what are you going to do? Here are some tips to protecting your heart that I derived from Shaykh Kamal El-Mekki’s lecture.
- Repentance: You are bound to make mistakes, it’s in your human nature. However, are you smart enough and strong enough to humble yourself before Allah ﷻ and own up to it? Are you willing to swallow your pride, and remind yourself that you’re not perfect and surrender to the Supreme Lord, Allah ﷻ? If you are, I have beautiful news for you.
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Qur’an 39:53)
- Forgive others: To keep it really simple – how can we expect Allah’s forgiveness, when we are not forgiving others? This life is too temporary to hold onto grudges, of all degrees! Even if the wickedest of persons wronged you, forgive them for the sake of cleaning your heart with such a heavy presence it has when present in your heart. Shaytan wants you thinking about those who wronged you, so you miss out on the opportunity to make remembrance of Allah ﷻ. If you can forgive those who wronged you in this life no matter what they’ve done – Allah ﷻ is the Most Merciful and will forgive YOU, no matter what YOU’VE done. subhanAllah.
- Actualize your professed love for Allah ﷻ: If you truly love Allah ﷻ, then we have to prove it by doing what He loves. Think of your Lord constantly. How? Go outside, and observe His creations in nature! Look at the beautiful sky and clouds, and say “Alhamdulilah”. Read the news, and get yourself aware of the many conflicts in the world. The many disadvantages people face, and remind yourself how BLESSED you are! Be generous, and get yourself in the habit of dhikr and extra ibadah. When you love someone, you constantly work towards pleasing them and serving them. Allah ﷻ is the Most Deserving of your love, praise, devotion, and remembrance – He is your Creator. So let’s please and serve Him! This is a reminder to myself first!
In conclusion, the heart is like your health and wellbeing. You got to work on it, and check on its nutritional state constantly. You have to maintain that spiritual balance, or else you become lazy at worship and spiritually unfit. As the days of Ramadan reach their end soon, I pray Allah ﷻ guides us to establishing great habits that we won’t abandon as soon as Shawwal hits. O Allah, make the Qur’an the guiding light of our hearts, and accept our fasts this Ramadan – Allahuma Ameen.
Glorious is Allah, and He knows best.
Reference: ICNA-MAS Convention 2016 in Baltimore, MD, Session titled: “Disconnected the Missing Peace” by Shaykh Kamal El-Mekki
Picture Reference: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/368310075746946802/