A Profound Saying of Ibn Qayyim

Ibn Qayyim said: ‘When the slave wakes up as the night encloses him and his only concern is Allah and how to please and obey Him, then Allah takes upon Him to fulfill all of his needs and remove from him all that causes him anxiety. Allah also makes his heart free to love Him only, his tongue free to remember Him only, and his body free to serve Him only.

However, when a salve of Allah wakes up when the night encloses him and his main concern is the world, Allah will make him bear the burdens of anxiety, grief, and hardship. Allah will entrust him to his own self and He will make his heart busy, sealing it from His love since it will be preoccupied with love for creation. Allah will keep his tongue from remembrance because it will be engaged with His creation; his body will be kept from obedience since it will be enslaved by its desires and services. And he will toil like a beast of burden toils in the service of another. And all who turn away from the worship, obedience and love of Allah, will be put into trial with the worship, service, and love for creation.’

Allah (the exalted) says:

“And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah) we appoint for him Shaitan (Devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him.” (Quran 43:36)

Ibn Qayyim continues to say:

‘Seek out your heart in three situations; First, when you are listening to the Quran. Second, when you are part of a gathering of remembrance. Third, when you are alone and away from the world and its distractions. If you cannot find your heart in these three situations, then ask Allah to bestow upon you a heart, for indeed you are bereft of one.”

Source: Gems & Jewels. Published by Darrussalam.

State of the Heart

Our scholars mention a feeling of absolute contentment that resides in their hearts but remains impossible to convey through words. Hence we find them calm and composed upon the greatest of afflictions and during the gloomiest of times. It is as if they glance into their hearts and find within their souls the assurance of Allah through the words of our Prophet (Peace be upon him); “Strange is the case of the believer. If good comes to him, he is thankful to Allah and that is good for him. If evil befalls him, he endures patiently and that is better for him.”[1] Consequently, they are the ones who believe with their life that if something reached them, it was not going to escape them, and if something escaped them, it was not going to reach them.[2]

Verily, if the kings were to realize the state of such hearts, they would give away their kingdoms in hopes of achieving a small portion of such a feeling. However, such a fruit is not bought or sold but rather sowed in the heart and nourished through the continuous submission to Allah and his messenger (Peace be upon him). Only through this servitude of the heart can the person purify it from the greed of this world and the calamities that surround its news.

Allah has raised the status of the heart and honored it by choosing it as the platform of revelation and making it a container of His remembrance. The noble Quran attests to this fact through its verse, “…for surely he [Angel Gabriel] revealed it to your heart by Allah’s command.”[3] And at another place the Quran links the prosperity of a soul with the purification of the heart by saying “But those will prosper who purify themselves.”[4], and it calls such hearts as ‘Qalbun Saleem’ (Sound heart).[5]

Only when the heart is clean from the desires of this world and protected from ills of greed, envy, pride and the likes, can the carrier of that heart feel a blessing within. And once this light is planted within the soul, the heart becomes fulfilled and satisfied in terms of the worldly affairs, but thirsty and yearning in matters of the hereafter. So, you will not find such a person willing to trade this light for the benefit of this life, for he knows that his possession is greater than the world and everything in it. For verily, his possession is the pleasure of his Lord in this world and expectation of reward and mercy in the next.

[1] Sahih Muslim

[2] “On the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, who said : One day I was behind the prophet and he said to me: “Young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” (Tirmidhi)

[3] Quran 2:97

[4] Quran 87:14

[5] ‘But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart’ [Quran 26:89]