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CONNECT YOUR HEART A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Sister Naimah

To be honest, it’s a small miracle to me that I am writing this article right now. In this time, I was drifting away from my religion further and further and could feel my heart hardening until it felt like it had literally turned into a stone. It’s a terrifying feeling and upon reflection, I believe that all of this happened mostly because I was being negligent of my heart.

The Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “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.” (Muslim)

The heart does not distance itself from Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) overnight. It is a slow process. First, you start becoming lazy with acts of worship, delaying Salaah (Prayer), belittling your sins. Then the pleasures of this life become your main concern and certain sins become a habit that you can’t seem to get rid of, until you start feeling like you don’t really have a purpose in life.

I never want my heart to fall back into that state again, and I never want the connection with my Creator to be strained or cut. Recently, working on my relationship with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) and establishing certain habits to keep my heart alive have become incredibly important to me. Each one of us has a heart and even though the physical heart plays a critical role in our day-to-day living, the most important nourishment for the heart is arguably the spiritual one.

Therefore, I pray that my words will inspire you -- and me -- to start working on having a sound heart, InShaaAllah.

Here is what we need to consider…

Your relationship with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)

1. Get to know Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)
The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” (Muslim)

I believe that in order to have a heart that is connected to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa), we need to get to know Him first. How do we expect to build a strong relationship with someone we barely know? Allah gave us multiple ways to do this, one of which is through the Quraan (I will come back to this later). Another way to get to know Him is by spending time learning and reflecting on His Names which we learn from the Quraan and Sunnah.

Know that He is Al-Khaaliq; One who created us and anything we may desire. Know that He is As-Samee’; One who hears every single one of our supplications. Know that He Al-Qadir, the One who is able to do anything, no matter how impossible it might seem to our limited perception. This will help us create our relationship with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) in a positive framework, and make it a relationship that we gladly work on and invest in. So explore, learn and reflect on the Names of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) which are actually His attributes. We know him through His attributes. We say these are His names because Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) Himself states in Quraan:

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“He is Allah, besides whom there is no god, the Sovereign, the Supreme-In-Holiness, the Safe (from all defects), the Giver-Of-Peace, the Guardian, the All-Mighty, the All-Repairer, the Sublime. Pure is Allah from what they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Shaper. His are the Most Beautiful Names. His purity is proclaimed by all that is in the heavens and the earth, and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (al-Hashr 59:24)

2. Firmly hope for His Mercy
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) is not looking for a reason to punish, reject or push us away. He is there for us when no one else is and is looking for reasons to accept us. His Names teach us that He is Merciful, The Source of love (Al-Wadood) and The Source of peace (As-Salaam). However, we often tend to lose hope as soon as we slip up. I believe many times this can even be the reason for why we start losing our connection with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) altogether.

Know that we are human and so is our heart. So at some point, it might break, might not work properly or we might feel a certain emptiness inside. From personal experience, I can tell you that it’s essential that we learn to fill this void by being close to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) instead of trying to fill it with anything else. Be optimistic that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) will accept your repentance. He mentions His forgiveness much more often than His punishment in His Holy Boo -- the Quraan. Every once in a while we all will make a mistake, but it’s vital to immediately catch ourselves and remember Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa). Repentance is a constant process, so it might take a couple of attempts to fully get back on track. But don’t be embarrassed to turn back to Him, no matter the magnitude of the sin, and never lose hope in His infinite mercy.

Physical connection
1. Offering Salaah
The Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “The example of the five (daily) Salaah is like that of a clear-water river flowing in front of your houses in which a person washes himself five times a day – cleansing him from all dirt.” (Muslim)

I was recently blessed with being able to go to Umrah. One of the things that stood out to me the most was how the five daily Salaah were being prioritized in the two holy Cities. When you hear the Azaan (Call for Salaah) in Makkah al Mukarramah or Madinah al Munawwarah, the store owners close their shops. A stream of people – young and old, women, children, and men – rush to the Masjid to get hold of the best places. Many people are already in the Masjid and have been offering Salaah, supplicating and reading the Quraan for hours before. You see people performing Wudhoo (Ablution), not rushing through it, but taking their time while doing so. People prioritize offer their Salaah in the Masjid and also on time. They are ready for Salaah way before the Azaan can be heard. Even outside of the Salaah, I noticed that people structured their day around them and not the other way around. When scheduling to meet up with someone, I often heard phrases like “Let’s meet between Zuhr and ‘Asr” or “Let’s meet after Maghrib” instead of “Let’s meet at 5 pm”.

But it’s not just about offering Salaah on time. What is even more important in my opinion is the quality of our Salaah. When it comes to our heart, there is nothing more crucial than our Salaah. It will be the first thing we will be asked about by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) and if our Salaah were good, then everything else will be good, InShaaAllah. (at-Tirmizi).

(Continued)
 

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