A Safety Net & Matters of the Heart

Bismillah. This is a continuation our an-Nawawi series. We are on the discussion of hadith #6. I really loved this section. My husband is always telling me about sadd ad-dharaai (blocking the means), but it’s just not the same as coming from a scholar 🙂 As my in laws say: ghar ki gosht aur daal baraabar. (Something like that.) Which basically means that something cooked fancy at home is just like something plainly cooked at a restaurant…because there’s nothing exotic/special about home 😀

This is some beautiful advice that, sadly, many people (including myself) simply think they are too strong to need to follow… And since I loved this section so much, I will just be quoting it out of the book 🙂

“But he who falls into the doubtful matter fall into that which is unlawful.”

This is true for two reasons. First, whoever does not fear Allah and delves into the doubtful matters will eventually fall into the forbidden matters. Actually, it will make it very easy for him to fall into the forbidden matters. Abul Qaasim Qabari once said,

The detestable is a check-post between a person and unlawful matters. Whoever indulges frequently in detestable things will become victim to unlawful matters also. Similarly, allowable acts are a check-point between a person and detestable matters. Whoever crosses the check-post often will commit detestable acts as well.

Second, if someone often delives in the doubtful matters, his heart will be affected and he will lose the light of guidance and piety. He will then be involved in forbidden acts without even know it and he will be blamed for this because he was not cautious in the first place.

Furthermore, the hadith also implies that if a Muslim involved himself in the ambiguous matters, he does not really know if he is involving himself in forbidden acts or not. Therefore, if he actually does end up doing something forbidden, he is deserving to be punished because he was not certain if that act was forbidden or not.

“Like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Verily, every king has a sanctuary, and Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions.”

Don’t you just love parables and analogies? They really illustrate one’s point very well 🙂

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has stated a parable concerning the acts forbidden by Allah. It was the custom of the Arabs that the noble among them would have a specific land for only their animals to graze on, that is, a private grazing land. If another shepherd would bring his sheep too close to this private land, it would be very easy for some of the his sheep to cross over the boundary and to eat from the private land. Therefore, the shepherd would always set some distance between his sheep and the private land, in order to make sure that his animals did not unintentionaly eat from there. In this parable, the private grazing land of Allah refers to the acts that Allah has forbidden.

Allah says in the Qur’an: “Those are the limits set by Allah and do not come near to them.” (al Baqarah, 187)

This hadith is the basis for many of the important principles of Islam. Such as I mentioned earlier – sadd al-dharaai. This refers to prohibiting something simply because it may lead to something more harmful. An example of this would be the probition of dirnking a small amount of alcohol. There may be nothing with the act itself, but it is an act that can easily or commonly lead to something evil.

The Beauty of It

Let’s take a look at the sheer awesomeness of this parable. Imagine yourself that shepherd that is out with that flock of animals. The sheep are grazing; some of the vegetation is trampled on; some it dirtied. And then, a shepp looks up and lo and behold, he sees a much greener piece of land in the adjacent, forbidden field. It must be very temptful for that animal.

Now the shepherd has two choices: he can either avoid getting that close in the first placeor he can keep a constant watch on the animals to make sure none of them stray. Which option is easier and more productive? Suppose that the shepherd loses sight of one for just one minute. Or what if the shepherd needs a break for rest or food?

The Prophet (S), in a very beautiful and moving way, has shown us that the wise person will not take such a risk. He will realize that his only sure way of success is to stay far away from that private pasture. When he does so, he will protect his religion and his honor.

Matters of the Heart

I actually had some really nice material for this section…but I can’t find the notes anywhere 😦 khayr inshaAllah, we’ll just stick to the book…

“In the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be sound, all the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all of it be diseased. This part of the body is the heart.”

The Arabic word “heart” is a word implying that it is a piece of flesh that is light in weight. However, it is great in its strength and importance. Allah distinguishes human beeings from the rest of creatures by our heart and intellect. Allah says: Have they not travelled in the land, and have they hearts wherewith to feel and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” (al Hajj, 46)

Think of the heart of the body as the commander and all of the limbs as soldiers. If the heart is good, then so will be the soldiers inshaAllah. Likewise, you cannot expect soldiers to be good if the leader is corrupt.

A pure heart will contain only love for Allah, love for the things that Allah loves, fear of Allah and fear of engaging in something which Allah hates. Such a heart will abstain from the forbidden acts and acts which are ambiguous. The only heart that will aid a person in the sight of Allah is a sound, whole, submitting heart. Allay says:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ(*) إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ(*)

“The Day  when  there  will  not  benefit  [anyone]  wealth or  children But  only  one  who  comes  to Allah with  a  sound  heart.” (Ash Shu’a raa`, 88-89)

Al-Mudaabaghi explains how this part of the hadith relates to the rest. He says that if a person takes part in the permissble, does not do the forbidden and avoids the doubtful, then his heart will become pure. Similarly, falling into doubtful and forbidden matters makes the heart susceptible to attacks and disease. There is a special dynamic relationship between deeds and the condition of the heart.

There are certain signs that we can look at within ourselves to know if our heart is pure or not. Ibn al Qayyim discusses these signs. Signs of a pure heart would include:

  1. The person considers himself to be belonging to the next world and not this world. He is a stranger in this world and cannot wait to reach his abode in the hereafter.
  2. The person gets upset at himself anytime he commits a sin until he finally repents to Allah.
  3. If a person misses his daily recitation of the Qur’an and dhikr, he is more upset than if he had lost his wealth.
  4. The individual finds a pleasure in worshipping Allah that is much greater than any pleasure he finds in eating or drinking.
  5. When the person begins his prayer, his worries and concerns about this world leave him.
  6. His only concern and worries are concerning Allah and acting for the sake of Allah.
  7. He is more concerned with wasting time and more stingy with his time than a greedy man is with his money.
  8. The person is more concerned with the correctness of the deed than he is with the deed itself.

Alrighty…after reading several of those points, I realize that I do not have a pure heart 😦 Reminders are good for the believer.

Ibn Al Qayyim also lists some signs that indicate illness in the heart. They are:

  1. The person does not feel any hurt or pain when he commits sin or evil deeds.
  2. The individual finds both pleasure in committing acst of disobedience and he finds rest after them.
  3. The person looks after the less important matters and does not care for the more important ones.
  4. The person dislikes truth and has difficulty accepted or submitting to it.
  5. The person does not find comfort in being among the righteous people, but finds a great deal of solace and peace amongst evildoers and sinful people.
  6. The person is suseptible to be affected by misconceptions and doubt.

He is attracted to discussions, debates and arguuments that surround such misconceptions rather than to reading the Qur’an and other such beneficial acts. We see this quite rampant in the Muslim world today 😦

7.  The person may not be affected by any kind of admonition whatsoever. For example, he may listen to an excellent khutbah, but it has no affect on him. This shows that the heart is truly dead.

May Allah purify our hearts and make us amongst those He loves.

The next hadith is  #7: “the religion is naseehah”.

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