- Fazliah Abdul Latiff
Protect Your Love
The heart is beating, but the soul is dead. Some go through their daily activities being consciously aware of what Muslims should oblige to. We know what we should be doing in our minds, but our hearts do not feel at peace when performing our prayers nor do we look forward to increasing our acts of worship. There are lingering questions on why we pray; there are times ill thoughts are harboured towards brothers or sisters and sometimes, anger creeps in easily.
What has happened?
We take our faith (iman) for granted. Yes, we trust that Allah grants what is best for us, but where is the effort? We think that just because we are Muslims, everything will work out fine. Has it dawned on us that Allah, the Possessor of everything, can take our iman at any time?
Iman is indeed a ni’mah (blessing) from Allah SWT. Only when we realise that, will we be grateful to Him. Iman cannot be inherited from our parents nor can it be purchased. It has to be earned and we must work hard to attain the highest level of iman to our best of our ability.
The iman resides in the heart. Our heart is vulnerable to provocations of Syaitan’s whispers and to our desires. We need to guard our heart from such invasions so as to not transgress from Allah’s Path. Naturally, we want to protect our iman - a priceless treasure that is worth defending.
Do you remember that special present you received from your loved one? You made sure it is meticulously maintained. You take special care of it because it is meaningful and precious. Likewise, Allah presented to us one of the most beautiful faculties, which is the heart. We have to honour this gift from Allah by protecting it.
Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, an American convert and a world-renowned Islamic scholar who dedicated himself in the revivalism of traditional Islamic studies in the West, juxtaposed the spiritual heart to the physical heart. The physical heart is the most vital part of the body. It ensures the continuous pumping of blood through the circulatory system. Look at where Allah placed the heart. He put it behind the sternum, a flat, dagger shaped bone located in the middle of the chest. Along with the ribs, the sternum forms the rib cage that protects the heart. SubhanAllah, we need to reflect on the Beauty and Wisdom behind Allah’s creations!
So we ask ourselves, what have we done to protect our heart?
In one of the hadiths reported by An-Nasaa’ee and At-Tirmidhi,
“When the servant performs a sin a black spot appears on his heart, and if he seeks forgiveness this black spot is removed, and if he returns to sin the black spot grows until his heart becomes black, and this is the ‘Raan’ about which Allah spoke, ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the covering of sins (raan) which they used to earn.’” (Al-Qur’an, 83:14)
From this hadith, we sense that we will always struggle to keep the heart as pure as possible. If the physical heart is exposed to viruses, it starts weakening which will adversely affect the functions of the other parts of the body. Similarly, if we allow our spiritual heart to be exposed to sins and do not cleanse it by the constant remembrance of Allah, then our iman will falter.
Our beloved Prophet SAW said that
“Indeed in the body there is a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound. If it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. It is the heart.”
To preserve the love for our Creator, the spiritual heart needs to be protected from one’s evils as well as the evils around us. Have we then done enough to protect our heart?
When we fall in love, we always find a reason to justify our feelings. We can love someone for a variety of reasons.
One of the reasons we do not realise our love for our Creator is because we have yet to know Him well enough. Allah has showered upon us so many blessings. Yet, we take them for granted, sometimes forgetting to express our gratitude. We need to start reflecting on our attitude towards everything that He has bestowed upon us. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“And if you were to count Allah’s favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Get to know Allah by realising what He has provided for us. Only then, will our iman be strengthened and we would love Allah’s deen for us even further.
Why do we do things for the ones we love? We do it to express our gratefulness to them. On other occasions we do it because we feel the need to reaffirm our love for them. So be grateful to Allah SWT by worshipping Him. Reaffirm your love for Him by hastening towards doing righteous deeds to His creations and continue to struggle to seek His Pleasure.
Everything we see, hear, say and do will affect our iman. So let us go all out within our means to protect our heart and the love for Allah.
“Faith wears out in the heart of anyone of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your heart.”
Ask ourselves why we love. Do we love X because of his character or what he did? Do we love Allah? Why do we love Him? Constantly remind ourselves the reasons why we love. That way, we would want to keep the love alive.’
In any relationship, communication is one of the keys to developing a beautiful relationship! Our prayer is not a mere monologue, but rather a dialogue. A hadith qudsi reminds us that when we recite the Al-Fatiha, Allah responds to our every ayat. When we recite Alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alamin, Allah responds, “My servant has praised me.” When we recite Ar-rahmani r-rahim, Allah responds: “My servant has extolled Me.” When we perform our prayers, we are actually talking to Allah. When we read the Qur’an, Allah is talking to us! In Surah Al-Asr, Allah swears by time and man is in the state of loss, except those who believe and do righteous deeds and counsel each other to Truth and counsel each other to be steadfast. When we read this, we ask ourselves, are we in the state of loss mentioned by Allah? Have we been doing righteous deeds? When was the last time we shared about Islam with someone? For the relationship to stay strong, communication is important.
Surround ourselves with people who remind us of Allah SWT. Who we hang out with matters. When we meet our friends, what does our topic of conversation usually revolve around? It is possible to converse about something we observe in the media and parallel it with the stories of the Prophets and the Companions or the messages that remind us of the greatness of Allah SWT. This is the support system to keep our iman going.
Be consistent! In a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, Rasulullah SAW said that “The deeds most beloved by Allah are those which are done consistently, even though they are few.” It would be easier to maintain our momentum if we read a few verses of the Qur’an everyday instead of reading many pages of the Qur’an once a week. The point is to engage in deeds as regularly as we can, although it is small in quantity. It may seem tiny to us, but in Allah’s Sight, it could be magnificent! Consistency in deeds coupled with sincere intention to please Allah would bring us closer to Him, InshaAllah!
In Islam, we should never confuse difficulty with impossibility. Allah creates us thus He knows what we are capable of. Would He ask us to do something that we cannot do? When He commands us to do a certain deed, it is the best for us. Love needs commitment and understanding. Be committed to Allah’s deen and aim to understand it.
For the love for Allah SWT to continue, we need to start paying more attention to our hearts. Value this gift that Allah has honoured us with. The heart, or qalb in Arabic, means something that turns around and upside down. It is natural that our hearts are constantly changing. This means it is true that our iman can be like a rollercoaster! There are moments we experience a high level of iman and other times, a low level of iman. Seek help in Allah when we realise our iman is low. Allah comforts us in the Qur’an to be patient and persevere in prayer. Trust that Allah will help us. Our Beloved Prophet SAW taught us a beautiful du’a: “Oh Allah, the Turner of hearts, make my heart steadfast and firm upon Your deen.”
If we value our iman, we must protect our love for Allah SWT.
This article has been edited for the online platform.