Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Diseases of the Heart and Their Cures - The Intelligent heart the pure heart - Courtesy Dr. Gohar Mushtaq Ph.D Biophysical & Biochemistry

Diseases othe Heart and Their Cures

The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart (Qalb saleem). (Surah Ash-Shu'ara: 88-89)

THIS AYAH CLEARLY refers to the spiritual heart, although it is important to remember that the spiritual heart resides within the physical heart and the two are closely interconnected.

Spiritual diseases of the heart can have a negative impact on the physical heart and indeed the rest of the body. So, treating spiritual diseases of the heart will have a positive impact on the physical heart and body. Laboratory experiments at the HeartMath Institute have shown that when people focus on their hearts and activate a core heart feeling such as love, care or appreciation, this focus changes their heart rhythms immediately. When positive emotions such as happiness, compassion, care and appreciation are activated, there is increased production of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the body, a hormone that fights aging in human beings. If the heart suffers from spiritual diseases such as envy, anger or hate, DHEA production is reduced and the production of the stress hormone cortisol is increased, resulting in aging and reduction of potential life span. It is little wonder, therefore, that the Prophet (SAW) often used to make the supplication:

"O Allah! I seek refuge in you from anxiety (stress) and grief, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardliness, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men." (Bukhari, Abu Dawud and At- Tirmidhi)

Similarly, the actions taken to control the diseases of the physical heart will also have a positive effect on the spiritual heart.

This chapter starts by looking at the physical diseases of the heart and their cures according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, and then addresses the more important matter of how to attain a sound heart free from spiritual stains and defects (qalb saleem) by treating various spiritual diseases.

Physical Diseases of the Heart

Among the physical diseases of the heart, the rnajor one is coronary heart disease. This occurs when the arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen become narrowed because of deposits of cholesterol on the artery walls. If not enough oxygenated blood can reach the heart then an angina attack results. In more severe cases, if the supply of blood is completely cut off from a portion of the heart, a heart attack will result. Coronary heart disease is one of the major causes of death in the Western world. According to statistics, about one million people in the US64 and 110,000 people in the UK65 die each year from coronary heart disease. Although modern medicines and heart surgery can treat coronary heart disease, the best course of action is prevention through lifestyle changes.

The vast majority of diseases are related to our diet and the Islamic lifestyle as prescribed by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is an ideal course of prevention for many diseases, including those of the heart. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) disliked excessive eating. He lived with a flat belly and he died with a flat belly. He is reported to have said:

No man fills a vessel worse than his stomach. A few morsels are enough for the son of Adam (human being) to keep his back upright. But if he must eat more, then he should fill one third of his stomach with food, one third with drink and leave one third empty for the air (for easy breathing). (At-Tirmidhi)

It is important to exercise moderation in our eating habits. Limiting the consumption of food results in a tender heart, a strong intellect, a humble self and it weakens desires. Excessive eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities. Ibrahim ibn Adham said:

"Anyone who controls his stomach is in control of his deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behaviour. Disobedience towards Allah is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry." 66

Two of the most important aspects of Islam are salah and dhikr and these are equally important as part of a healthy lifestyle as the Prophet Muhamrnad (SAW) advised:

Dissolve and digest your food through the process of remembrance of Allah and offering of prayers. (Abu Nuaym}

It is for this reason that the five obligatory prayers are arranged as they are. Traditionally, the Dhuhr and 'Isha prayers are offered after a meal and these are longer, allowing us to gently exercise the body and prevent us from sleeping immediately after meals, The wisdorn behind this was explained by the Prophet (SAW):

Do not go to bed immediately after the meals; it will harden your heart. Avoid any hard or large quantum of exercise immediately after meals; it will also cause damage. (Abu Nuavm}

The quality of the food we eat affects both our physical and spiritual health. It is important to eat pure food that has been obtained using halal income. In Surah Al-Kahf when the Sleepers of the Cave'? awoke after their long sleep and sent one of their number to the nearby town market to buy some food, they advised him to get food which they described as 'Azka ta'aman' (pure food). These pious young men realised the importance of eating pure food in order to maintain a pure heart.

Part of the reason that the hearts of Muslims are destroyed is because we are no longer careful about choosing food that is pure.

Instead of eating homemade food filled with barakah, we prefer fast food, which in the words of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, is "made with haste and waste, two attributes of the devil." 68 It is important for us to be conscious of purity of the food we are eating for the sake of the physical and spiritual health of our hearts.

Types of Spiritual Heart

The heart is the midpoint between the body and soul. During our earthly life, there is a continual struggle between the desires of the body and those of the soul. If the heart inclines more towards the passionate desires of the body, it first becomes veiled, then it is hardened and finally it becomes diseased. Conversely, if the heart inclines more towards the desires of the soul, it starts to receive spiritual power that strengthens it. According to the Qur' an, people have three kinds of hearts spiritually:
             1  Mu'min (believer in Oneness of Allah) - somebody whose heart is alive.
2 Kafir (disbeliever in Allah) - somebody whose heart is dead.
3 Munafiq (hypocrite) - somebody whose heart has a disease.

The disease of hypocrisy is considered to be worse than disbelief as the munafiq tries to deceive Allah.

While the heart of the mu'min is clear and alive, it is always vulnerable to attack from envy, backbiting, arrogance and other spiritual diseases. Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah in his book 'Diseases of the Hearts and Their Cures' quotes from Ali bin Abi Talib (RA), about the different kinds of spiritual hearts:
"The hearts are of four types: the clear heart that is illuminated by a torch - this is the heart of the believer. The encased heart - this is the heart of the disbeliever. The inverted heart - this is the heart of the hypocrite. And, the heart that has two attractions, a time when it is called to faith, and a time when it is called to hypocrisy - these are a people that have mixed good actions with evil ones. "69

Importance of the Science of Tazkiyyah (Purification of the Heart)

Islam is not merely a religion but a complete code of life. The injunctions of Islam dealing with the outward aspects of our life form the science of fiqh (jurisprudence), while the commandments of Islam dealing with the inward aspects of our personalities are described in the science of tazkiyyah (purification of the heart). [For further details, see Appendix II]

Allah's purpose in sending Prophets and Messengers to humankind and revealing religious scriptures has been tazkiyyah (purification) of people's hearts. The Qur'an mentions. the purpose of the Prophethood of Musa (AS) as purifying the hearts of his people:

Go to Pharaoh, verily, he has transgressed all bounds. And say to him: 'Would you purify yourself.' And that I guide you to your Lord, So you should fear Him?  (Surah An-Na'ziat: 17-19)

Prophet Ibrahim (AS) prayed for a Prophet who would purify his own people:

Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger (If their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur'an) and 'Al-Hikma', and purify them. Verily! You are the All- Mighty, the All- Wise. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 129)

Allah accepted Ibrahim's (AS) du'a and bestowed Prophethood on one of his progeny, Muhammad (SAW), whose purpose has also been described in the Qur' an:

Similarly We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, reciting to you Our Verses and purifying you, and teaching you the Book (i.e. Qur'an) and the 'Hikma' (i.e. Sunnah}, and teaching you that which you used not to know. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 151)

Indeed, Allah purified the heart of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) so that he could receive the Qur' an in an incident which can be considered as the first heart surgery. [See Appendix I for further details J

The reason that tazkiyyah is so important is that it is a pre-requisite for success in the Hereafter:

Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own self. And indeed he fails who corrupts his own self. (Surah Ash-Shams: 9-10)

Ibn Abbas, the great interpreter of the Qur'an and Companion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have said: "Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught us Iman first and then he taught us the Qur' an."70 The seed of Iman is planted in the heart and the heart must be spiritually strong for Iman to grow.

Spiritual Strength of the Heart

The first step towards strengthening the spiritual heart is to contemplate the purpose of our creation, our relationship to Allah, our accountability to Allah on the Day of Judgment and the ways we can rectify our self, by concentrating on our heart. Frequent remembrance of death makes this life distasteful for us and we are less likely to follow those desires that lead us to disobey Allah. If we indulge too much in this world, our hearts are likely to be adversely affected. Dr. Iqbal writes about this condition in his book 'Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam':

"In our constant pursuit after external things we weave a kind of veil around the appreciative-self which thus becomes completely alien to us. It is only in the moments of profound meditation, when the efficient-self is in abeyance, that we sink into our deeper self and reach the inner centre of experience." 71

Similarly, Ibn Ata illah Iskandari, the great Egyptian saint and scholar, in his book Al-Hikam ul Ata'iyah mentioned:

"If we do not get upset whenever we miss an act of virtue or prayer and if we do not feel shame after committing an act of disobedience to Allah then that is a sign of the death of our (spiritual) heart." 72

In the same way that our physical body depends on food for its nourishment, so our spiritual heart depends upon Iman, acts of virtue and prayer for its well being. Spiritual diseases are dangerous for the health of the heart and, if left untreated, can result in its death.

Animals have only a very rudimentary understanding of right and wrong, while human beings have been endowed with Al-Furqan (the criterion to judge between right and wrong).

And the soul and Him Who perfected it in proportion. And then showed him (inspired with conscience of) what is wrong for him and (what is) right for him. (Surah Ash-Shams: 7-8)

This is accompanied by a highly developed capability to feel shame and guilt, which is again unique to humans. These qualities mean that human beings are capable of almost angelic behaviour. However, if a human being does not feel shame or guilt upon disobeying Allah, then the heart of that person is dead and his behaviour becomes worse than that of an animal. Such human beings who do not differentiate between right and wrong are described in the Qur' an as cattle:

They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones. (Surah AI-A'raf 179)

The ultimate goal of the purification of our heart is to reach the stage of having what the Qur'an calls 'Qalb Saleem' (a sound heart). This is the kind of heart about which Rumi noted:

"If the heart is restored to health
And purged of sensuality,
then the Merciful God is seated on the throne. 
After this, He guides the heart directly,
Since the heart is with Him."
(Mathnawi, Vol I, 3665-66) 73

The heart intuitively knows what is wrong because according to a tradition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) narrated on the authority of Wabisa bin Mabad (RA) who came to the Messenger of Allah:

You have come to ask about righteousness?" I said: "Yes." He said: "Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and moves back and forth in the breast (in your heart) even though people again and again have given you their opinion in its favour." (Ahmad and Ad-Darimi)

Similarly, in another hadith narrated by Nawas bin Sam'an, Prophet Muhammad -(SAW) is reported to have said:
Virtue is good ethics and behaviour and wrong action IS what irritates the heart and you do not desire other people to see it. (Muslim)

Hence, the heart is not only an organ of consciousness but also an organ of conscience (having the ability to differentiate between right and wrong). Therefore, in situations where there are no clear injunctions of Qur'an, Sunnah, fiqh (jurisprudence) or Ijma'a (consensus of Islamic scholars on an issue), the only option is for mu'mins to allow their hearts to guide them in these matters; the heart will feel at peace with the truth and uneasy with falsehood. 74

In discussing the education of the heart, Kabir Helminski, states:

"The heart is not merely a vague metaphor for some undefined capacity for feeling. The heart is an objective cognitive power beyond intellect. It is the organ of perception that can know the world of spiritual qualities. It is the heart that can love, that can praise, that can forgive, that can feel the Majesty of God ...

But the human heart in most cases has suffered so much artificial conditioning that it has become a distorted and distorting instrument. In order for the heart to be an adequate cognitive instrument, it needs reconditioning. The reconditioning of the heart is a task that must be guided by objective principles." 75

The principles that we need to use have been given to us by our Creator in the form of the Qur'an and Sunnah.

mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur' an, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease) in your breasts - a guidance and a mercy for the believers. (Surah Yunus: 57)

These must be put into practice on a daily basis in order to educate, purify and rectify our hearts.

Spiritual Diseases of the Heart and their Cures

Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds. (Muslim)

We will be held responsible for our actions on the Day of Judgement and so it is our responsibility to refrain from sinful acts during our time here on Earth. Shay tan does not have access to the thoughts that enter our hearts. However, he does have the ability to whisper into our hearts to tempt us away from the Straight Path:

(Shaytan) who whispers in the breasts of mankind. (Surah An-Nas: 5)

A spiritually healthy heart will find it relatively easy to resist the whisper of shay tan. However, a weak heart will find this more difficult to resist and so the whisper of shay tan is very strong and effective in misguiding a weak-hearted man. Shay tan has used the same techniques to lead nun astray from the beginning of time and they have been effective ever since because human nature remains fundamentally unchanged as Maryam Jameelah eloquently expresses:

"Man's disposition, his biological and psychological needs, his physical and mental capacities, the temptations which make him succumb to evil and his eternal quest for the moral and spiritual values that give human life its meaning and purpose and distinguishes him from the lower animals, have not changed at all since the emergence of homo sapiens!" 76

Because of this lack of originality on shaytan's part in manipulating us, it becomes somewhat easier to understand the ways in which we are deceived by shaytan to full into his trap and to diagnose the spiritual diseases of the heart.

The heart, as with every other organ in the body, has a specific function, which if carried out correctly is a sign of its health. The function of the heart is to know its Creator and to seek the pleasure of Allah. If the heart fails in this function, then it is sick and diseased."

The diseases of the heart, according to Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziya, can be divided into two major categories:
1 Diseases of Shubahat (doubts)
2 Diseases of Shahawat (desires) 78

The disease of shubahat creeps into the heart when Iman is lowered and creates a sense of anxiety and restlessness which then governs our actions:

... whose hearts are in doubt that ask your leave. So in their doubts they waver. (Surah At- Tawbah: 45)

It comes about because of a lack of complete trust (tawakkul) in Allah and a lack of understanding about His Divine Decree (Qadr). The spiritually healthy heart has firm belief in Allah, submits to His Divine Decree and harbours no doubt.

The disease of shahawat arises when the heart succumbs to the desires of the self in excess of its needs. For example, eating, sleeping and talking to excess are all diseases of desire.

The Qur'an succinctly tells us in Surah al-Asr what the general treatment is for these two categories of disease. For the disease of doubt, the treatment is to have firm belief in the truth:

And (the believers) recommend one another to the truth. (Surah AI-Asr: 3)

For the disease of desire, it is recommended that we have patience to control these desires:

And (the believers) recommend one another to patience. (Surah AI-Asr: 3)

In this section, some of the major spiritual ailments of the heart will be discussed and some suggestions about their cures will be presented. It should be pointed out here that owing to the vastness of this subject, this book represents just a drop in the ocean on the subject of tazkiyyah. As the Punjabi spiritual poet, Sultan Mohammad Bahoo, said:

"Hearts are deeper than rivers and oceans,
Who knows all the secrets of the heart."

Corruption of the Heart through the Ears and Eyes

The eyes and ears provide information from one's environment that is then processed by the heart which in turn governs our actions. It follows therefore that our actions will be influenced by what we hear and see around us and that we should exercise some control over what we feed these senses.

Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allah). (Surah Al-Isra: 36)

Our sense of hearing is circular, while our sense of sight is linear. In other words, we can hear sounds from all directions but we can only see what is in front of us. If we are confronted by something distasteful, we can protect our eyes by simply closing them, but to protect our ears, we must physically leave that place. Similarly our sense of hearing (as opposed to our sense of sight) remains active even in the dark and while we are sleeping. In the story of the cave dwellers (Ashab-ul Kahf), Allah tells us that He covered their sense of hearing so that their sleep would not be disturbed:

Therefore We covered up their (sense of) of hearing (causing them, to go into a deep sleep) in the Cave for a number of years. (Surah AI-Kahf 11)

Hence, it is more difficult to protect the ears from corruption in comparison to the eyes. It is important therefore, to pay attention to what we listen to and protect ourselves from those sounds which will corrupt the heart. This includes all bad speech, undesirable language and backbiting regardless of whether it is through the media or in the company we keep.

Many of us are unaware of the harmful effects of listening to some types of music on the heart. We are surrounded by music each time we leave the home in department stores, shops and blaring out of cars. While there is little that we can do about this, we can, however, take responsibility for what we bring into our homes. Much of the music available nowadays has inappropriate and suggestive lyrics and is designed to excite us.

All music has the ability to move the heart and penetrate the soul. Worthless and lewd music with the use of instruments diverts the heart from the remembrance of Allah and can even awaken dormant desires within the heart, which can lead to wrong actions. Similarly, melody that praises and glorifies Allah or narrates the virtues of the Prophet (SAW) can awaken the desire towards worship. This type of music does not use instruments (except perhaps the daff or drum) to excite or arouse passions.

The purest sound that the ears can listen to is that of The Holy Qur' an recited in a melodious voice. It brings peace to the anxious heart, tranquillity to the restless heart, comfort to the aching heart and inspiration for the yearning heart. It is all things to all people and should be made a regular practice in our daily lives.

It is equally important for the health of the heart for us to guard the sight as mentioned in the Qur' an:

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware if what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent. (Surah An-Nur: 30-31)

When we gaze at any sight that appeals to us, we become attracted to it and the image of what we see becomes imprinted on our heart. If the sight is prohibited then the imprinted image will pollute the heart. It has been reported that the Prophet (SAW) once said to his companions:

The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the day that he meets Him. (Ahmad)

We must be careful to distinguish between reality and illusion. Often we are presented with altered or distorted images in the media that make things appear more beautiful than they really are. Our hearts may yearn to be like the people we see on screen or to achieve their lifestyle and acquire their possessions. We begin to display the symptoms of al-wahn (the love of this world and dislike of death) and experience the dissatisfaction that accompanies it. Big screens, sophisticated sound systems and state-of-the-art special effects all come together to create an illusion which seduces the viewer. Soon we are addicted to these images and more time is spent watching television and DVDS than on any other activity. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves and our families from the damage done through the media by limiting what we bring into our homes. It is not necessary to have multiple televisions, cable channels, satellite dishes, Hollywood and Bollywood videos and DVDS, Playstations and computer games.

There is a hadith that states that angels do not enter homes in which there are pictures.79 It follows, therefore, that we deprive ourselves of the mercy of angels if we keep our TV switched on for most of the day and night.

Corruption of the Heart through the Tongue

"The tongue is a great endowment from Allah; though small in size, its crime is enormous." 80

So said Imam Ghazali, centuries before it was known that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. The ability of human beings to speak and articulate distinguishes them from all other animals:

He (Allah) created man. He taught him eloquent speech. (Surah Ar-Rahman: 3-4)

The tongue has the greatest potential to be used for good - to praise Allah, to encourage others in good deeds, to heal rifts. However, it has an equally great potential to be destructive through backbiting, obscene and misleading talk, hypocrisy, boasting, quarrelling, singing, lying, mocking etc. all of which can affect and ruin a person's heart. The Prophet (SAW) said:

The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right, and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right. (Ahmad)

Abu Huraira reported that Ibn aI-Abbas said:

A person will not feel greater fury or anger for any part of his body on the Day of Judgment more than what he will feel for his tongue, unless he only used it for saying or enjoining good. 81

The following story illustrates how important the heart and the tongue are. Luqman was a wise man from Africa and was bestowed great wisdom by Allah with regards to the Qur'an. He spent the early part of his life as a slave and his master was a good and intelligent man. The master deduced that Luqman was no ordinary man and thus set him a task to test his intelligence. One day, Luqman's master ordered him to slaughter a sheep and to bring the worst part of it to him. Upon slaughtering the sheep, Luqman brought to his master the heart and tongue of the animal.

A few days later, Luqman was again instructed by his master to slaughter a sheep, but this time he was asked to bring the best part of the animal to him .. Upon slaughtering the sheep, Luqman again brought to his master the heart and tongue of the animal. The master asked Luqman how the same organs could be the best and worst parts. The wise Luqman explained that the tongue and the heart are the sweetest parts of the body if the owner is pure; but that they can also be the worst parts of the body if the owner is evil.

The following sections highlight the most common faults of the tongue that we are guilty of and how to rectify these.

Unnecessary Speech (Fudhool ul Kalam)

The root cause of many problems is unnecessary and excessive speech and this distracts us from the remembrance of Allah as related in the following hadith on the authority of Ibn Umar:

Do not talk excessively without remembering Allah, because such excessive talk without the mention of Allah causes the heart to harden, and the person furthest from Allah is a person with a hard heart. (At- Tirmidhi)

Words are like arrows; once they have been fired, they cannot be taken back and it is very hard to undo the damage that has been done. We can never know just how far-reaching the effects of our words can be as the following hadith narrated by Abu Huraira '(SAW)' highlights:

The servant speaks words, the consequences of which he does not realise, and for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance between the east and the west. (Bukhari)

Not only is vain and excessive talk bad for our spiritual health, it is also injurious to our physical health. James J. Lynch, M.D., a U.S. researcher and scientist, has found through 20 years of scientific research that speech affects our whole body especially the cardiovascular system and raises the blood pressure.82 For those people that have an existing condition of high blood pressure, talking can exacerbate their condition to a dangerous level. 83 On the other hand, when we listen, our blood pressure decreases.

It is also worth pointing out here that excessive laughter is also bad for the spiritual health of the heart as the Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said:

Do not laugh too much for too much laughing deadens the heart. (Ibn Majah)

The best way to refrain from vain and idle speech is to engage the tongue in the remembrance of Allah (dhikr) as much as possible. It is an excellent way to become closer to Allah and to achieve rest and peace of the heart, while repelling the whisperings of shay tan. When the tongue is occupied with the remembrance of Allah, it cannot engage in evil acts that will displease Allah and may hurt our fellow human beings. Thus, dhikr can also act as a shield from the fire of hell.

Backbiting (Ghibah)

Backbiting (ghibah)  is a sinful practice that is prevalent in many societies and involves talking about someone in their absence in a manner that would hurt their feelings if they were to hear it, even if it is the truth. If a falsehood is said about someone in their absence, then this is the sin of calumny(buhtan). Backbiting is strictly prohibited in the Qur'an and Sunnah, while calumny is an even more serious crime as it involves lying and backbiting.

When a group of companions asked Prophet Muhammad (SAW) about backbiting (ghibah; gossip), he explained clearly that backbiting (ghibah) refers to mentioning something about your Muslim brother that he hates. The Prophet was asked, "What if that thing I mentioned was something truthful about him?" The Prophet said, "If it was in him, then you have committed backbiting (ghibah), and if it was not in him, then you have committed al-buhtan" - which is a sin more enormous than backbiting. (Muslim, Abu Dawud and At- Tirmidhi)

In the Qur'an, Allah says:

And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Surah Hujurat: 12)

Here, backbiting is likened to eating the flesh of one's dead brother - an act which is repulsive to all of us. A dead person cannot defend or protect himself and by eating his flesh, his person is being violated. Similarly, in the case of backbiting, the absent person cannot defend himself while his honour and reputation are being sullied.

Backbiting occurs when people do not have control over their tongues or they are bored so they pass the time by engaging in gossip about other people. However, Islam encourages us to mind our own affairs and not involve ourselves with that which does not concern us:

One of the merits of a person's Islam is his abandoning what does not concern him. (At- Tirmidhi)

Sitting in a place where other people are backbiting while we listen is the equally grave sin of 'passive backbiting'. We must stop it if we have the authority to do so or at least leave the offending gathering as politely as possible. We are often afraid to speak out against the bad for fear of ridicule, but we must remember that the Qur' an instructs us to 'enjoin the good and forbid the evil …'  (3: 110) and this can be done in a gentle manner as the following story illustrates. An Islamic scholar was invited to dinner one evening where he overheard two people engaged in backbiting at the dinner table. He turned to them and said, "Brothers, it is interesting that most people start their dinner with bread but you two have started your dinner by eating the flesh of your dead brother!"

As brothers and sisters in Islam we have a duty of care to one another and this is eloquently expressed in the following hadith:

A believer is a mirror to his brother. A believer is a brother of a believer: he protects him against any danger and guards him from behind. (Al-Adab al-Mufrad and Abu Dawud)

A mirror shows the exact nature of someone without exaggeration at a particular point in time. It does not flatter or degrade. When a person leaves the mirror, the image disappears; it is not retained in the mirror for others to see. Similarly, when we meet our Muslim brothers and sisters, we should not speak in terms of excessive flattery or humiliate them. Once we have parted company we should not retain any ill feeling towards them within us and we should not engage in talking about them behind their back. If we hear others doing so, we have a duty to protect our fellow brothers and sisters in their absence. For if we do so, then Allah will protect us:

The Muslim who helps another when the latter's honour and dignity are under attack, shall be helped by Allah, Glorious and Sublime is He! - at a time when he would wish for Allah's help. But he who forsakes a Muslim whose dignity is under attack, shall have Allah forsake him at a time when he would wish for Allah's help. 84

Lying (Kizb)
One of the most serious faults of the tongue is that it can be used to tell lies. Abdullah ibn Massoud quotes the Prophet (SAW) as saying:

Maintain truthfulness, for truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Heaven. A man continues to maintain truthfulness until he is recorded in Allah's book as truthful. Refrain from lying, because lying leads to blatant evil, and evil leads to the fire. A man continues to lie until he is recorded in Allah's book as a liar. (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daurud and At- Tirmidhi)

A lie is a most serious crime because it can be used to cover up other evil actions such as adultery, theft and murder. If the liar is successful in doing this once, then he gains the confidence to continue to behave in this way until he is weighed down by his evil actions. It is for this reason the hadith says that lying leads to blatant evil. A persistent liar is not only recorded in Allah's book as a liar but he also loses his respect in the sight of his fellow human beings - a very humiliating situation.

Conversely, if a person is honest at all times then there is no opportunity for him to cover other shameful deeds and thus truthfulness leads to righteousness. Truthfulness and honesty encompass many aspects of speech and thought. The most obvious is to refrain from telling lies. In addition, we should not make promises that we have no intention of fulfilling and once we do make a promise, we should be careful to fulfil it regardless of how trivial it may seem.

Most hateful it is with Allah that ye say that which you do not do. (Surah As-Saff: 3)

Moreover, the truthful person will be respected by his fellow human beings and recorded as a truthful person in the eyes of Allah - a most honourable situation,

The following advice of the Prophet (SAW) related by Abu Huraira (RA) sums up beautifully how we should behave with regard to the tongue:

Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or remain silent. (Bukhari)

Anger (Ghadhab)

Anger is a self-defence mechanism given to human beings, but unless it is properly controlled, it becomes a very destructive quality. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) explained the origin of anger:

Anger is from shay tan and shaytan has been created from fire. Since water extinguishes fire, therefore, when one of you is overtaken by anger let him make wudu. (Abu Dawud]

Fire is a beneficial commodity for us as long as it is under control. However, it is chaotic by nature and can easily get out of control. It is at this point that it becomes destructive. Another feature of fire is that it rises in the upward direction, unlike dust which is attracted downwards. So the natural state of shay tan is to be arrogant while the natural state of humans is to be humble. However, when we are angry, we tend to take on the shaytanic quality of arrogance.

The best of you are those who are slow to anger and swift to cool down ... Beware of anger, for it is a live coal on the heart of the descendants of Adam. (At- Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (SAW) was the perfect example of this as mentioned in the Qur'an:

And by the Mercv of Allah, you (O Muhammad (SAW)) dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah's) Forgiveness for them. (Surah AI-Imran: 159)

Anas bin Malik (RA) was the personal servant of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for the last ten years of the Prophet's life. He said that during that time, the Prophet (SAW) did not scold him once. If Anas ever made a mistake, the Prophet (SAW) would always be smiling.

Anger is like an intoxicant which clouds the senses and under whose influence a person may conunit other more serious crimes. The angry person has no control over what he says and may say things that can cause harm to others and that he later regrets. It is very important therefore not to let this emotion overcome us in the first place as the Prophet (SAW) once advised a man who came to him:

Abu Huraira reported that a man came to the Prophet ilj; and said to him: "Advise me!" The Prophet (SAW) said, "Do not become angry and furious." The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, "Do not become angry and furious." (Bulehavi}

If we do find ourselves becoming angry then we should change our environment, for example by leaving the room, or our position (from standing to sitting or lying) and we should make wudu (ablution) or drink some water to cool down the fire of anger.

It is a noble quality to be able to control anger and to hold the tongue even when we are overcome with emotions. As the saying goes: "A moment of patience at the time of anger saves one from years of regret and sorrow".

Love of this world and Dislike of death (Al- Wahn)

When a large number of individual Muslims suffer from a particular spiritual disease, then it reaches epidemic proportions and the whole ummah becomes afflicted. We are currently in the grip of just such a disease and that is love of this world and dislike of death (al-wahn). The root cause of the love of this world is greed and the cause for dislike of death is fear.

If we look honestly at our lives then we find that we spend much of our time in pursuit of wealth and accumulation of material possessions. Indeed, Allah knows all too well about our nature and says in the Qur' an:

The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you. Until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die). Nay! You shall come to know, Again, Nay you shall come to know. Nay! if you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of piling up, you would not have occupied yourselves in worldly things). Verily, You shall see the blazing Fire (Hell)! And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world). (Surah At-Takathur: 1-7)

The desire to accumulate has diverted us away from our remembrance of death and the Hereafter. For what purpose will our accumulation have served when we are in our graves? In a tradition narrated on the authority of Thawban, the Prophet (SAW) said:

The nations will summon each other against you as those eating summon each other to their dish. Someone asked, "Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?" He replied, "No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts." Someone asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?"  He replied, "Love of the world and dislike of death." (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)
The symptoms of this disease are the desire to gain money, power, fame and status. Yet we have not yet grasped how dangerous this disease can be for our heart.

Two hungry wolves in a herd of sheep are not as destructive and harmful as the love of the money and extravagance are for the religion of a person.(At- Tirmidhi)

It is important to realise that materialism is completely superficial. There is nothing that the materialistic way of life can offer to nourish and pacify the human soul. In fact, even the physical pleasure of acquiring something is short-lived and we are soon absorbed by the desire to acquire something else which is bigger or better. In short, we are never satisfied.

Narrated Hakim bin Hizam: I asked the Prophet (for some money) and he gave me, and then again I asked him and he gave me, and then again I asked him and he gave me and he then said, "This wealth is (like) green and sweet (fruit), and whoever takes it without greed, Allah will bless it for him, butwhoever takes it with greed, Allah will not bless it for him, and he will be like the one who eats but is never satisfied. And the upper (giving) hand is better than the lower (taking) hand." (Bukhari)

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: I heard the Prophet saying, "If the son of Adam (human being) had two valleys of money, he would wish tor a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam's son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to Him." (Bukhari]

The first step towards treating the disease of al-wahn is to sincerely repent to Allah and ask Him to bestow barakah on all that we have. Secondly, the Prophet it recommended that we visit the graves85 in order to diminish our love of this world and to serve as a reminder of death. When we ultimately leave this world we will only take with us our balance of good deeds and the reward of the following three things: 86

a Recurring charity
b Knowledge by which people benefit
c The prayers of our children

Therefore, our limited time on earth should be spent amassing good deeds to the best of our ability, fulfilling both the rights of Allah and of our fellow human beings. We should also invest our time in actions that will help us and others once we have passed away. The greatest legacy we can leave is to ensure that our children are given a sound Muslim education and that they set aside the time to pray for us when we have passed away rather than spend their time in pursuit of wealth.

It is also worth spending some time examining all the possessions that we have. We will find that we do not need as many things as we have and we do not need to replace them as often as we do. We should be content with what we have (which is a great deal). What is important is not how much we have but how much barakah there is in what we do have.

Sociologists in the West have identified a disease which they term 'reference anxiety'. This arises when we constantly compare what we have with others and find what we have to be lacking. It always helps to look at people who have less material possessions than us rather than at those who have more. This will help us to appreciate what we have and realise that we do in fact have far more than we deserve, yet we are still not grateful.

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "Look at those who are lower than you and do not look at those who are higher than you. That is more likely to prevent you underestimating the blessing of Allah on you." (Muslim)
There is great dignity in simplicity as exemplified by our Beloved Prophet (SAW). He did not have many material things, but he was well-respected and loved for his strength of character. We should try to emulate him as our role model rather than be seduced by the superficial beauty of this world.

Abu 'Abbas Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Sa'idi said, "A man came to the Prophet (SAW) and said, 'Messenger of Allah, show me an action for which Allah will love me and for which people will love me if I do it.' He said, 'Do with little of this world and Allah will love you, and do with little of what belongs to other people and people will love you." (Ibn Majah)

Stinginess (Bukhal)

Stinginess or miserliness is another spiritual disease of the heart, from which the Prophet (SAW) taught us to seek Allah's refuge. Stinginess originates from selfishness and greed and occurs when we withhold what we have been blessed with from others, in the mistaken belief that we will be poorer. The Prophet (SAW) said of stinginess:

Be aware of stinginess. It destroyed many nations before you. It made them to shed the blood of each other and misappropriate what was sacrosanct. (Muslim)

The nature of the Muslim is to be generous; generous with his time, his wealth and his efforts in the Path of Allah and in helping his fellow human beings. The best cure for the disease of stinginess is to spend in the way of Allah as this will connect the heart with Allah.

By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.), unless you spend (in Allah's Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well. (Surah Al-Imran: 92)

The heart is always inclined towards that on which it has spent the most. If we spend on the material possessions of this world, then our hearts are inclined towards this world. Conversely, if we spend in the way of Allah, the heart will incline towards Allah and seek to earn his pleasure. In the words of Prophet Isa (AS):

Give your wealth to your Lord, because your heart stays wherever your wealth stays. 87

Many Muslims believe that if they have paid their zakat then they have spent in the way of Allah. Zakat is an obligatory welfare contribution which is incumbent on every capable Muslim annually. If we wish to purify our hearts then we must sacrifice more than the minimum amount set forth by Islamic Law. We must also give sadaqah on a regular basis. The Prophet (SAW) said:

Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire. (At- Tirmidhi)

Sadaqah appeases the Lord's anger and averts an evil death. (At- Tirmidhi)

Any good deed that we do selflessly for the benefit of others and for the pleasure of Allah is considered sadaqah. When we give in this way, it does not decrease what we have but increases it as Allah has promised in the Qur' an:

The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower. (Surah Al- Baqarah: 261)

It is worth reflecting on the fact that we have a great deal of disposable income for unnecessary superficialities in life yet when it comes to spending in the way of Allah, we have neither the time nor the money to give. If we all sincerely wished for our fellow human beings what we would wish for ourselves, then we could go a long way towards eradicating poverty and misery in this world. The next time we feel we cannot give up of our wealth in the path of Allah then it is worth remembering the following words of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW):

Stinginess and iman can never be together in the heart of a believing servant. (An-Nasa'i;, Ahmad, AI-Hakim and Bukhari)

Showing Off (Riyaa)

Showing off is regarded as 'hidden idolatry' (al-shirk al-khafiyy) in Islamic teachings. It refers to a desire to show off and seek praise from others. It takes away sincerity and seriousness from the act of virtue a person is performing and his actions become superficial. Empty actions without sincere intentions are worthless and can lead a person to the ultimate disease of hypocrisy (shirk). Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri narrates that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

Shall I not tell you what I fear for you more than al-Masih ad- Dajjal?" They replied: "Yes." He said: "It is hidden shirk (riyaa) such as when a person stands in prayer and he improves his prayer when he knows that others are watching. (Ahmad)

The danger of ad-Dajjal (the anti-Christ) is confined to a specific time, while the danger of riyaa is present at all times and places. Because the intention of a person is hidden so the disease of riyaa is not always apparent.

It is a common human weakness to enjoy being praised, which is why Rumi said that animals gain weight by eating fodder whereas the human nafs (ego) becomes fat through the ears, meaning that the human ego becomes inflated by listening to its own praise.88 It is important to remember that any deeds carried out with the intention of being seen by others will not incur any reward. The following hadith narrated by Abu Huraira highlights the severity of this:

I am Independent of all the partners (ascribed to me). Whoever performs a deed while associating partners with Me, I will leave him and his Shirk. (Muslim)

The best cure for the disease of riyaa is to check the intention (niyyah) before performing any action. As a believer, our goal should be only to please Allah because:

To our Lord (Allah) is the End. (Surah An-Najm: 42)

Arrogance (Takkabur)

Arrogance (takabbur) stems from egotism and overestimation of oneself and one's abilities or merits. 'To arrogate' means to make an unjust claim to something. An arrogant person makes an unjust claim of his abilities or merits, which in reality have been granted to him by Allah. He also shows his pride by hurniliating others. In Islam, arrogance has been condemned very strongly both in the Qur'an and the hadith:

And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster. (Surah Luqman: 18)

One will not enter Paradise, if one has an atom's weight of arrogance in his/her heart. (Muslim and At- Tirmidhi)

Arrogance was the reason that Shaytan did not bow down to Adam (AS) when asked to by Allah, and was consequently expelled from Paradise.

(Allah) said: "What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?" Iblis (shaytan) said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.” (Allah) said: “ (O Iblis) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are  of those humiliated and disgraced. “  (Surah Al-A'raf 12-13)

Pharaoh was arrogant and refused to believe in Allah even after signs and miracles were shown to him by Prophet Musa (AS). Pharaoh said to his people, 'I am your Most High Lord.' Therefore, God seized him with punishment. (Surah An-Naziat: 24-25)

Arrogant persons are deluded into thinking that they are better than other people. They believe that their qualities (power, intelligence, wealth) are self-made and will stay with them forever. They do not realise that these are bounties from Allah who has the power to take those blessings away within the blinking of an eye. Allah describes their state of mind in the Qur'an:

Thinks he that none can overcome him? He says (boastfully): "I have wasted wealth in abundance!" Thinks he that none sees him?
(Surah AI-BaIad: 5-7)

Another type of arrogance is called Ujb which is a state in which a person suffers from self-admiration of his abilities and merits. Ujb, in itself, is a destructive vice, which ruins faith and actions and is a product of self-love or narcissism. Ujb can apply to both good and bad actions. A virtuous person may become conceited about his good deeds. Similarly, a doer of wicked deeds may feel proud of his actions, both of which are wrong .

The opposite of arrogance is humility and it is this quality that we must nurture in our hearts to the extent that there is no room for arrogance.

And the slaves if the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility ... (Surah Al-Furqan: 63)

We can learn lessons from the Qur' anic accounts of those people who were arrogant and their hapless £1te, such as Pharaoh and Qarun. We can also gain a great deal by reading accounts of the Prophet ~ who was a most humble man. At the time of the conquest of Makkah, he entered the city as the head of the army of 10,000 people, he was riding a camel and, out of humility, he had bowed down so much that his forehead was touching the hump of his camel.

Attending congregational prayers and performing Hajj will emphasise how insignificant and ordinary we are in relation to all of Allah's creation. We are all servants of Allah and are completely dependent on Him for our being and existence. When we stand on the Plain of Arafat along with millions of other Hajis, we all stand humbled before Allah in the same garments and there is no way of knowing who is a king and who is a pauper. We will all stand this way on the Day of Judgement accompanied by nothing but our deeds. It is a sobering and life changing experience for those whose hearts are open to it.

Envy (Hasad)

Envy (hasad) or jealousy is a disease of the heart in which a person resents what another person has and desires it for himself. It is without doubt one of the most corrosive of all human emotions. Helmut Schoeck, a German sociologist, in his book entitled 'Envy: A Theory of Social Evolution', believes that a society's "civilizing power of achievement" depends on how well it controls envy89 While modern materialistic society does nothing to curb this emotion, religion provides the solution to control its destructive effects. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) advised:
Abstain from envy (jealousy). Indeed, envy finishes all the good acts and their rewards as the fire does away with firewood. (Abu Dawud)

The destructive nature of envy is mentioned in the Qur' an:

Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Day-break. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness. And from the evil of the witchcrafts when they blow in the knots. And from the evil of the envier when he envies. (Surah Al-Falaq: 1-5)

History is rich with examples of envy that have lead to major crimes. The first murder in human history occurred because of envy. Qabil, the son of Adam (AS), was jealous that Allah had accepted the sacrifice of his brother Habil. As a result, Qabil murdered Habil. Similarly, the stepbrothers of Prophet Yusuf (AS) were jealous of their father's love for him. Blinded by their feelings of envy, the stepbrothers of Yusuf (AS) conspired to kill him by throwing him into a well and abandoning him and then lying to their father about the incident.

When we look at the blessings given to other people by Allah, our own self (nafs) becomes dissatisfied with our present condition. Instead of being grateful to Allah for what He has blessed us with, we resent and begrudge what other people have. This in turn leads us to commit other crimes to satisfy our own sense of justice. However, we should try to avoid feelings of envy within ourselves and one of the ways to do this, as mentioned before, is to look at people that are less fortunate than we are. This will soon extinguish any feelings of envy we may harbour towards our brothers and sisters in Islam.

Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here - and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour. (Muslim)

In Islam, the only time we should compete with each other is in gaining the pleasure of Allah. In one hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

There is no desirable form of jealousy except for two types: a person whom Allah has given the Qur'an and he recites it day and night, so when a person hears him he says, 'If only I were given the likes of what he has been given so that I may act upon it the way this person is.' And a person to whom Allah has bestowed wealth and he spends in the cause of Truth, so a person says, 'If only I were given the likes of what he has been given, so that I may act upon it the way this person is.' (Bukhari)

General Cures for Diseases of the Heart

As human beings we are prone to making mistakes. In fact, according to some Islamic scholars, the Arabic word for human being insaan comes from the Arabic root-word nasa yansee which means 'to forget'.

All children of Adam make mistakes and the best among you are the ones who repent (to Allah for their mistakes). (At- Tirmidhi)

Every time, we commit a sin, a black spot appears on our heart. If we ask for repentance from Allah and give up the sinful act, then the black spot is removed. If we continue to sin then the black spot grows until the whole heart becomes black (At- Tirmidhi). This is also mentioned in the Qur' an:

Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn. (Surah Al-Mutaffifin: 14)

Therefore, we must continually seek repentance for our sins and take care that we do not repeat them. AI-Hasan al-Basri, an eminent righteous predecessor, said: "The good deed illuminates the heart and strengthens the body, while the bad deed darkens the heart and weakens the body." In the infinite mercy of Allah, the door of repentance is not closed until the hour of death. However, since none of us know when we shall meet with the Angel of Death, it is best to seek repentance at all times and strive now to purify our hearts as if there is no tomorrow.

The ultimate goal is to attune the heart such that if we commit a wrong action then we feel bad about it within ourselves regardless of what anyone else may say. The first step is to recognise that the human brain has a tremendous ability to rationalise any wrong action to justify conmlitting a sin that appeals to the desires of the nqfs, thus deceiving the heart. It is easy to confuse the emotions of the ego with the feelings of the heart. Certainly, shay tan uses the rationalising capability of the human brain to silence the truth- seeking voice of the heart. The poet and philosopher, Iqbal, must have been referring to this tremendous capability of the human brain to rationalise when he said in one of his poetic verses:

"Angel Gabriel (Jibril) told me at the dawn of Life,
Do not accept the heart that is the slave of the brain.
Falsehood likes dual nature (hypocrisy) whereas truth is one,
Do not accept the compromise of truth and falsehood." 
(Kulliyat Iqbal)

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi once told his disciples that shaytan had three good qualities (the three A's) but because he lacked the fourth and most important quality, he was expelled from Paradise. Shaytan was a great Abid (one who prays a lot), a great Alim (scholar of the teachings of all the Prophets of Allah) and a great Arif (one who knows the attributes of Allah). However, Satan was not a good Ashiq (lover of Allah). For if shaytan had true love of Allah in his heart then he would have submitted to Allah's command to bow to Adam (AS) I without question. 90

The pure heart cannot love Allah and disobey His commands at the same time. We must live our lives wholly within the teachings of Islam as contained within the Qur'an and Sunnah. The obligatory acts in Islam in themselves provide cures for many diseases. Salah is a cure for the disease of heedlessness(ghafla), zakat is a cure for the love of this world and miserliness (al-wahn and bukhal; the fasts of Ramadan are a cure for the diseases of desire (shahawat), while Hajj, if performed with sincerity, is the ultimate cure for all diseases of the heart. 91 In addition, the supererogatory acts, such as nafl salah, sadaqah and dhikr, will cleanse those sins that we have inadvertently committed and prevent us from sinning further. In order to perfect our worship, we should continually seek knowledge and learn about the lawful, unlawful and the doubtful.

Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and honour blameless, and he who indulges in doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware! In the body there is a piece of flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The most perfect worship of Allah comprises a balance of duties towards Allah (huquq Allah) and duties towards fellow human beings (huquq al-ibad). They are both equally important and worship is not complete if one is neglected at the expense of the other. Salah (which is from huquq Allah) is always mentioned together with zakat  (which is from huquq al-ibad)  in the Qur'an to emphasise this point.

Spending in the way of Allah encompasses more than merely fulfilling our zakat obligations annually. It is when we truly give of the things that we love purely for the sake of Allah that we can achieve taqwa (Allah-consciousness).

Take provision; but the best provision is the taqwa of Allah. So have taqwa of me, O people of intelligence. (Surah AI-Baqarah: 197)

It is for this reason that in the Qur'an the word taqwa almost always appears with the phrase infaaq fi sabeel illah (spending for the sake of Allah).

As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him, And believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient. And gives the lie to Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path for evil. (Surah Al-Lail: 5-10)

The few simple words of the following hadith, narrated by Abu Huraira, give us the basis on which to conduct our lives so that we can, insha'Allah, achieve Qalb Saleem.

The Prophet (SAW) said, "I testify to three things; that giving sadaqah does not decrease your capital; when the slave forgives his brother for the sake of Allah, Allah gives him honour and whoever humbles himself before Allah, Allah will raise his degree." (Muslim)


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Important information on Position of Music status in Quran and Hadith and Scientific reasoning

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