In Part III of this series, we touched upon the signs and blessing of a soft heart. So how does one develop a soft heart? And how is the state of our heart related to Ramadan? Read this article to find out.
First, let’s look at practical ways to develop a soft heart – one that is mindful of Allah at all times.
#1 Thank Him
This may seem easy, but is difficult to put to practice. For example, how often have we woken up and thanked Allah first thing in the morning? We usually tend to rush and grab our cup of coffee or have our breakfast and move on to do our usual chores, isn’t it? When was the last time you really thanked Him?
#2 Praise Him
Praising Him in happy times is easy, but you need to condition yourself to praise Him and His decree even when you don’t understand why you are being put in difficult trials. When Allah sees that you are *trying* to remind your heart that He is sufficient in controlling your affairs, you will see how Allah lifts the veils of burden and difficulty away from you.
Being in a constant state of praising, thanking and seeking Allah’s forgiveness will automatically start removing the stains and sins away from your heart. You will see the light of faith enter upon your heart, turning the heart which was once rusty, black and hard, into something that is allowing the beacons of imaan and love of Allah to enter and shine upon it.
Your heart – how it feels, the emotions it houses, whether it is upon guidance and faith- is ultimately in Allah’s control.
Abdullah b. Amr b. al-‘As reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes. Then Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 0 Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Thine obedience. [Saheeh Muslim The book of Destiny Book 33 Hadeeth 6418 (English Translation)]
Therefore, in order to have a sound, soft and attentive heart, beg Allah, the turner of hearts, to keep your heart basking and brimming with goodness, peace, imaan and love. Never underestimate the power of dua!
How is your companionship? Do they remind you of Allah? Do they push you to do good deeds? Do they prohibit you from doing useless things? Friends have a strong impact on your heart. If you are being involved in a friends circle that includes a lot of vain talk, know that it’s very easy for your heart to harden, because speech that involves and revolves around everything other than Allah for a long time will make it hard and dark, removing any traces of faith that can exist within it. You will slowly find yourself drifting away from the sunnah deeds, and then shunning the fardh as well – it does not happen overnight – but it happens! So pay a close attention to your surroundings. A friend who reminds you of Allah and the Quran will have a different effect on your mind as opposed to a friend who is gossiping, backbiting, talking ill about others or discussing about the latest music in town.
This is your fundamental connection with Allah swt – how will you have a pure heart when you shy away from prayer? Read here for more.
#6 Race to goodness
When you are in a constant state of seeing what good deeds you can collect against your name, your heart will automatically incline towards positivity and goodness because what you allow your mind to think will inspire your limbs to action. Ultimately, positive actions will have an effect on your heart, making it soft, gentle and receptive to goodness around it. It’s a powerful cycle:
The intentions (niyyah) and emotions in your heart which,
Inspire your mind to think about goodness, which in turn…
Force your hands, legs and tongues to indulge in good deeds that please Allah.
The same can be said for negative thoughts. When your heart is housing envy, jealousy or malice, your mind will only harbor negative thoughts towards everyone around you, in turn making you waste time and indulge in deeds that don’t benefit your dunya or akhira. In short, what you allow your heart to feel has a direct impact on your deeds.
As Allah says,
“…So race to [all that is] good. Wherever you may be, Allah will bring you forth [for judgement] all together….” (Surah Baqarah, Ch. 2, Verse: 148)
It does not matter how far away from Allah you’ve been. This is your turn to race towards doing good deeds, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
Ramadan and a Soft Heart?
So how is all this related to Ramadan, you might ask.
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Surah Baqarah, Ch. 2,Verse 183)
See the correlation between fasting and taqwa? Isn’t it beautiful how Allah makes the entire month of Ramadan a means for us to attain taqwa? A soft heart is receptive of Allah’s signs, and is already rushing towards the station of taqwa. So, what better way to welcome Ramadan than with a soft heart?
Start putting the aforementioned points into practice and you will see how transformational your Ramadan will become.
Suddenly, praying salah will not be a chore anymore. You will feel the desire to pray your tahajjud and taraweeh too.
Your heart will yearn to open the book of Allah and read what He has to say.
You will not find your spirit dropping halfway through Ramadan. Rather, with every day that passes, you will find yourself driven with more passion and enthusiasm to make the most of the blessed days as they are slowly coming to an end.
Repenting, maintaining good company and rushing to do good will become effortless.
These deeds are super powerful in keeping Satan at bay, which can only mean one thing – Jannah is closer to you, your sins are lesser, your taqwa is stronger, you’ve not wasted time and are always on a lookout to do deeds that please Allah. Thinking about Allah and what He loves will become second nature. A combination of these will build your taqwa in unbelievable ways.
By the end of Ramadan, you would have not only collected a magnanimous number of good deeds because your heart is in a constant state of dhikhr, dua and tawbah, but you will realize how close you are to Allah. This month can truly mark the beginning of a change in your state of imaan and taqwa for the rest of the year, and inshaAllah for the rest of your life too.
Don’t wait for the month of Ramadan to begin in order to develop taqwa – rather, develop an attentive heart that is already racing to do good deeds. It will be easier for you to make the most of the blessed days of Ramadan. Once Ramadan begins, your mind and heart will find it easy to reach a high station of taqwa, in turn, making you of the mutaqeen, which is the sole purpose of Ramadan as Allah says in Surah Baqarah!
Over to you – how are you preparing for the month of Ramadan? Share with us in the comments section.
Related Video – What is Taqwa – Dr. Zakir Naik