Our world can be viewed from the lens of a trial; in both good times and bad, the potential to develop cynicism and callousness exists. It is our duty as Muslims to always remain vigilant such that we do not forget Allah Most High’s blessings and mercy. For this purpose SeekersGuidance scholar Shaykh Abdullah Misra chose the documented work of Imam Khatib al-Tabrizi; Mishkat al-Masabih (The Niche Of Lamps) to deeply explore the topic of a soft heart. Imam al-Tabrizi gathered sayings and practices of the Prophet (hadiths) found in the six canonical books such as Bukhari, Muslim and others on a multitude of topics.
A soft heart is one that has not fallen into despair and whose intimate relationship with Allah Most High and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is safeguarded. Throughout this nineteen article series, Shaykh Abdullah explains each hadith focused on softening the heart.
This article is based on a series of online podcasts by Shaykh Abdullah Misra – called When Hearts Grow Hard.
Hardness of the Heart is an affliction that happens to everyone at some point in their life, but what exactly is this hardness? We may feel a sense of despair when experiencing different life events such as illness, loss of wealth, and even uncertainty in a pandemic. We become selfish and lack a sense of empathy as our only concern is this worldly life, when instead, we should be striving for the Hereafter.
The heart is cured by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in numerous hadiths. These are the heart softeners which open our souls to the Divine Wisdom of our Creator, Allah Most High. Our means of reaching Allah is through the heart, and it must be purified before His guidance can penetrate it.
Five Hadiths on the Reality of this World
- The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There are two blessings that most people are cheated from good health and free time.” (Bukhari)
In our youth, we are unencumbered with responsibilities, and as a result, we have more free time. Instead of wasting it on social media, partying, or idle talk, we are encouraged to seek beneficial knowledge that will lead us to Paradise. Free time is a resource that is limited, and it parallels good health. A person in retirement has more free time but lacks the good health of one’s youth. One may want to spend more time in the remembrance of Allah but is not always physically able due to illness in old age. We must not cheat ourselves of the limited blessings of free time and good health.
- The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) narrated, “ I swear by Allah this world compared to the Hereafter is like if one of you dipped his finger into the sea; let him see how much water he comes back with.” (Muslim)
This world, dunya in Arabic, is the lowest form of life because it is temporary, compared to the Hereafter which is everlasting. The scholars have mentioned that life in this world is a fleeting moment, like an hour of time. We must strive to make it an hour of obedience and worship to Allah.
- The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by a dead lamb that had no ears, and asked, “Which one of you would like to have this for a silver coin?” Those present said, “We wouldn’t want that for anything!”. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “ Then I swear by Allah, this world is more insignificant to Allah than this carcass is to you all.” (Muslim)
All the affairs in this world are meaningless to Allah Most High – yet man obsesses over the pursuit of wealth, love, or fame. Allah in His infinite wisdom taught us the Hereafter will never end, and we must aim for Paradise with our good deeds.
- “This world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). (Muslim)
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was blessed with the brevity of speech, containing meanings that have a lasting impression. As Muslims, we do not indulge our base desires as this can lead to immoral behavior and consequently punishment in the Hellfire. Disbelievers view a Muslim’s life as restricted, akin to a prison. A disbeliever is ungrateful for Allah’s blessings and pursues the forbidden pleasures of this world, which give him a false sense of happiness like a paradise. Our goal, as Muslims, is to please Allah Most High, even if we must sacrifice our inner desires.
- The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “ Allah does not deal unjustly with a believer for even one small good deed; for it, he is given good in this world and rewarded for it in the Hereafter also. As for the ungrateful disbeliever, he is given things in this world as a reward for the good works they did for Allah’s sake, until they reach the Hereafter without a single good deed to be rewarded for.” (Muslim)
A Muslim is rewarded in this life and in the Hereafter for any single good deed that he has performed, whereas a disbeliever is only rewarded in this life for any good he has done. The ingratitude of the disbeliever for Allah’s bounties will lead him to doom on the Day of Judgment.
In conclusion, we must not take our good health and free time for granted and understand that Allah Most High created us to obey and worship Him. This world is insignificant compared to the permanent abode of the Hereafter. By heeding the advice of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), may Allah guide us to soften our hearts, so we can accept His Divine guidance.
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