Purify Your Heart
Bint Nadeem Attariyya
Jamiat al-Madinah Faizan-i-Abu Hurayra
Few would dispute that, despite bathing, the unavoidable buildup of sweat and dirt means we need to clean ourselves again by the next day. In the same vein, our homes, even with diligent cleaning and attention to details such as cobwebs and clutter, can find themselves in disarray by the close of the day.
Despite this, we never stop bathing, taking showers or cleaning our homes. Why is this the case? We know if we stop washing ourselves, lice will infest our hair and our bodies will gather dirt and emit bad smells. We know if we stop cleaning our homes, they will eventually become unsuitable to live in. As a result, we give importance to cleaning ourselves and our homes, as we should.
Neglecting to purify the most important thing
Our heart is something we pay little to no attention to purifying. The same principle previously discussed also applies to this; if the heart is kept pure, it shall feel inclined towards acts of worship and draw deep-rooted satisfaction from them. A pure heart not only compels one to perform the obligatory salah but also inspires voluntary prayers. It grants an individual the privilege of standing in Tahajjud during the quiet hours of the night.
The heart becomes dull and sullied if not kept clean. It then does not feel inclined towards any form of worship, be it voluntary or obligatory. An individual with a hardened and dull heart struggles to engage in worship and progressively develops a stronger tendency for sin, until it is completely fettered by carnal desires and sins. Compounding the issue, words of wisdom and righteousness barely resonate with such a heart.
We should ensure to keep our hearts pure and clean, and pay more attention to this than we do to our bodies and homes. Let us now discuss how the heart becomes dark and what we can do to purify it.
What leads to a sullied heart?
Our master Abū Hurayrah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates that Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once explained:
When a believer perpetrates a sin, a black dot appears on his heart. If he repents and seeks forgiveness, a light is created in it. If he continues to sin, the black dot grows, until the heart is covered in the rust, which Allah mentions in the Quran, “Not at all! Rather, their earnings (i.e., their sins) have caused rust upon their hearts.”
The heart becomes rusted and dark from the effects of sin. We ourselves commit many sins daily, if we were to reflect upon this. Mocking others, backbiting, and hurting feelings; these are but a few of the many sins we indulge in. By continuing to sin and not repenting, black dots are placed upon our hearts. When it comes to cleaning our bodies, clothes, the things we use or our homes, we spend money and exert great effort. If only we paid greater attention to purifying our hearts.
How to purify the heart
How to go about purifying the heart is mentioned in the previous Hadith. If a sinner repents and seeks forgiveness, his heart begins to shine.
We should not only repent just after we know we have sinned. One should repent and seek forgiveness from Allah constantly, for there are numerous transgressions we commit unknowingly throughout our day. A person may not watch films or listen to music, and offer all their prayers on time, yet still be victim of this. Backbiting, tale-telling, suspicion, arrogance, causing emotional harm to others or denying someone their rights; these are examples of sins a person commonly commits whilst being completely unaware of doing them.
Consider repentance and seeking Allah’s pardon as a duty. Atone for your sins daily and ask Allah to forgive you. The more we repent, the more our hearts shall shine brightly with purity. The purer they are, the more delight, inner satisfaction and peace we shall derive from our acts of worship. Not only this, but a person with a pure heart constantly longs and yearns to worship his Lord further.
While the purity of body and clothing embodies a person's external beauty, the purity of heart illuminates the elegance of their actions. Moreover, seeking Allah’s forgiveness also renders the difficulties and tribulations of life easy for an individual, as mentioned by the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم: “Whoever consistently asks for forgiveness, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, grant him relief from every anxiety, and will provide for him from where he did not imagine.”
May Allah save us from the filth of sin, and may He afford us ability to keep our hearts pure.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم