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7 Conditions to purify your Heart in Ramadhan

 

Seven conditions that we, as Muslims must possess for our hearts to be saleem (Healthy & Sound).
By Imam Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (ibn Al-Qayyim) rahimahullah.

The heart is the seat of Iman, or faith. The heart is the source of all righteous action. Purity (Tazkiya) of the heart shows itself by transforming knowledge into action.
Sickness of the heart shows itself by meeting reminders with heedlessness.

In His mercy, Allah has sent Ramadhan to us to purify our hearts. Though we may lose sight of it, during Ramadhan while our bodies are fasting, our hearts should be feasting.
In this celebration of self-restraint, we should also be celebrating a degree of nourishment for our hearts that we do not normally find the rest of the year.
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1) In this month, we must establish a sense of belonging to the next world.

Allah is detaching us from these things (eating, drinking, sleeping or copulating) so that we can begin to understand what He & His Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wasallam are telling us — that to continuously pursue pleasure, is to chase something that will escape from u as soon as u catch it, & will cause a person to forget their return to Allah.

The Messenger of Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi WaSallam said:
“The example of the
material world & I is that of a traveller.
Traveling in the afternoon heat, he
stopped to rest under the shade of a
tree for some moments. Then, he rose
& left it.”
Tirmidhi, Ahmad (Hasan)

2) Our hearts must begin to feel remorse & anguish upon committing sins.

The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu alayhi wasallam said:
“Beware of sins which are treated as
being minor, just like a people who
encamp in the centre of a valley, so
someone brings a stick of firewood &
someone else brings a stick until they
are therefore able to bake their bread.
Likewise sins which are treated as being
minor & for which the person is taken
to account will destroy him.”
(Ahmad)

‘In essence because we are fasting we begin to magnify each sin as something that stands between us & our worship of Allah & prevents us from progressing in our quest to come nearer to Allah.
If we thought of each sin as something that would destroy our relationship with Allah, & bring about His anger, we would never commit such acts.

Allah is not in need of anything from His creation. It is we who are in need of every good deed we could possibly accumulate in this world.
We cannot ignore the affect committing sin (without striving against it) has on our hearts.

3) During this month, we must begin to place value where it truly is —

We must begin to feel that the remembrance of Allah is worth more than any material wealth.
A healthy heart is that the person is more upset if they miss their daily recitation of Qur’an or Dhikr than if they lost wealth.

If wealth is more dear to us, then that indicates we do not see this Dhikr as essential –we do not have an attitude that our relationship with Allah is in need of maintainence & indeed improvement.

Can we place a value on the remembrance of Allah? How much would someone have to offer us to make us leave reading the Qur’an during the days of Ramadan. Or if we are
not doing it — think how much money it would require for us to begin to do that. If someone were to offer $50 for us to finish a Juz’ (a 1/30 th part of the Quran) each day would we do it? Would we FIND the time even though we say we might not have it? If so then that means that the enticement of money has a greater effect on our hearts than the reward of Allah.

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4) We must take pleasure in acts of Ibadah —

We should feel joy, & peace that our days & nights are being spent fulfilling the purpose for which Allah has created us.

A heart that is saleem finds greater pleasure in worshipping Allah, than in food & drink.

We all know the pleasure we feel upon having good food. We have a desire to eat more –
Have we ever had this same pleasure to come from an act of Ibadah.

We all know that the things we love are the things we do best. And if we have never considered loving our Salah or loving the Fasting of Ramadan, it goes without saying that these acts of worship are probably among the worst things we do with regards to the care we put into them & their resulting quality.
If we have felt joy from our acts of worship before, ndyet food is still more pleasurable, then that means our hearts are in a constant state of emptiness.
The hearts are put at rest
when they are fulfilling the purpose of their creation — when they are aware of their lord & are looking forward to meeting Him.

We are trying to satisfy our hearts — an entity
which is not physical — with a pleasure that is purely physical & extremely fleeting. Though this may distract us, it will not complete us, will not satisfy our hearts — & perhaps this is why we must eat so much. Because we are trying to use the food to fill a void that cannot be filled by something material.

Allah says in Surat Ar-Ra’ad:
Verily in the remembrance of Allah
do the heart’s find rest
[Ar-Ra’ad 13:28]

Are we finding rest worshipping Allah in this month of Ramadan?
Are we finding satisfaction or are we finding our empty stomachs again & again throughout the day — counting down the hours until we can eat again. Are we finding
pleasure standing before Allah in Tarawih — if we are doing it at all?

If food is more pleasurable, more desireable to our hearts than Ibadah, that means we have an addiction – it means that our fleeting physical pleasure has a greater place in our heart than the worhsip of Allah.

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5) Fasting should show us the importance of doing acts of worhsip with sincerity.
The person is very concerned with doing deeds solely for the sake of Allah.

Fasting with sincerity is abstaining from sins as well.
Is it a sincere fast if we are still committing acts of disobedience thinking that no one sees us? Are we just abstaining from food because everyone else is?

The Messenger of Allah, Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam said:
“What I fear for you the most is the
minor shirk, that is ar-riyaa.
Allaah will say on the Day of Judgement
when He is rewarding the people for
their actions: Go to those for whom
you did riyaa for in the world then see
if you find the reward with them.”
[ Ahmad)

We must search within ourselves & find that sincerity — if we cannot find it while fasting — an act that is solely between us & Allah, we will not be able to find it the rest of the year doing acts that are seen by the people.

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6) During Ramadan we must revive our humility in Salah

A heart that is saleem, is that when we stand up for prayer, our worries & concerns leave us.

— we must find a way to put everything out of our minds except Allah. If we are fasting the whole day, Insha’Allah remembering Allah & then when it comes to Salah we are still distracted, it means our hearts have been infected by a disease.

Now for most of us we commonly experience the opposite phenomenon – that as soon as we make our takbeer every thing that we had not been thinking about suddenly comes to
the front of our mind. Aиϑ to some degree this is unavoidable, but we must feel a sense of danger if this occurrence is a characteristic of the majority of our Salah.

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

“So woe to those whose hearts are
hardened against celebrating the
praises of Allah. They are manifestly
wandering (in error)! ….”

Surah 39. Az Zumar ayat 22-23)
If our hearts were softened to Allah’s remembrance, to hear the takbeer would be a very affecting thing – we would have humility that would bring our hearts above this influence.

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7) We must begin to take advantage of our time, especially during Ramadan, as an opportunity to do acts that will be pleasing to Allah.

We cannot afford to waste time, or spend it idly.

One who has a healthy heart is more stingy about wasting time than the greedy or stingy person is about their wealth.

The Messenger of Allah SallAllahuAlayheWaSallam said:
“The two feet of the son of Aadam
will not move from near his Lord
on the Day of Judgement until he is
asked about five (matters):-
1) about his life – how he spent it;
2) about his youth – how he took
care of it;
3) about his wealth – how he
earned it;
4) & where he spent it;
5) & about that which he acted
upon from the knowledge that he
acquired.”
[at-Tirmidhi]

“There are two blessings which
many people lose: health & free
time.”
(al-Bukhari)

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