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24 Feb. 2012      

To achieve excellence in life, Satan’s devious ways must be identified and monitored. This is because Satan is always looking for opportunities to attack and destroy the purity of our hearths. According to Imam Al-Ghazali, among the devil’s weapons are as follows:

 

  1. Anger
  2. Lust
  3. Greed and envy
  4. Satiation with food
  5. Love of adorments and properties
  6. Over dependence on humans
  7. Recklessness and impetuousness
  8. Love for dinar, dirham and gold (money)
  9. Stingyness and miserliness
  10. Fanatism to one’s own sect and group
  11. Thinking about the substance, nature and the acts of God, without the necessary knowledge
  12. Distrust of other Muslims

 An excellenct heart is one that is clean and pure. When the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was asked who was the most excellent, he replied:” Everyone whose heart is clear of pollution (makhmum al-qalb) and whose tounge is truthful.” On being told by his companions that they understood “whose tongue is truthful,” but not makhmum al-qalb (the heart clear of pollution), he replied:” The pure heart is one with no deceit, extremism, treachery, iniquity and envy.” (Ibn Majah) 

Satan is afraid of pure hearts. The Prophet once said:” When Umar al-Khattab walks along an alley, Satan chooses to walk another way so that his path does not cross with that of Umar.” (Bukhari and Muslim). Satan was scared because taqwa shone brightly in the heart of Umar al-Khattab. 

When the heart shines, Allah inspires it with various knowledge and guidance. Among the inspirations that may be granted is the believer’s intuition. With respect to this, according to Imam Tirmidhi, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said:” Fear the intuition of a believer because he sees with the light of Allah.” 

For instance, according to history, one day, Anas bin Malik saw a woman and was captivated by her beauty. Soon after, he met Uthman bin Affan and Uthman said:” A man with the signs of fornication in his eyes has entered this place.” Anas was surprised and immediately asked:” Are there any more revelations after the Prophet’s death?” Uthman answered:” No, but what we have are the inner vision of the heart and correct intuition.” 

This intuition of a believer was also manifested by Caliph Umar Al-Khattab in Madinah. While delivering a speech, he suddenly said:” O Sariah, go to the hill, to the hill.” Although Umar was in Madinah, he could see the Islamic army, led by Sariah, was loosing a battle and that battle was faught far from Madinah. He straight away instructed Sariah to lead his army to a hill. According to Sariah, he could clearly hear the voice of Umar, and immediately carried out the order and became victorious after that. Yes, these inspirations are given by God only to those with a pure heart. 

To ensure that it keeps shining, the heart needs to be polished. When this task is ignored, the heart will die a spiritual death. According Ibrahim ibn Adham, there are eight things that will lead to the spiritual death of the heart:

  1. You know your obligation to God but do not fulfil it
  2. You read the Qur’an but do not implement its commandments
  3. You love your Prophet but you ignore his sunnah
  4. You are afraid of death but do not prepare for it
  5. You know that Satan is your enemy but yet you follow his commands
  6. You are afraid of hell but you continue to commit sins
  7. You want to attain paradise but do not perform good deeds
  8. You forget your own shortcomings but highlight the shortcomings of others. 

Thus, to succeed, we need taqwa. It helps the heart to shine continuously. Allah said in the Surah of At-Talaq verse 2-3:” Whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him (taqwa), He will provide a way for him to get out from every difficulty. He will provide him sustenance from sources he never could imagine.” According to Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, this verse is “The greatest problem solving formula in the Qur’an.”

(Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)