There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Every Muslim needs to be on the journey of constantly seeking to purify their hearts. To rid the heart of negative influences, distractions, and fill it with all that is pleasing to Allah (ta’ala) so that we can successfully fulfill our purpose in life.
If you want a heart that yearns for its Creator and is attracted to all that is good, then these are some recommendations of things that we can do to purify our hearts, In sha’a Allah.
Recite the Quran
When we seek to purify our heart and endear it towards that which is pleasing to Allah (ta’ala), few things work like reciting the Quran.
Reading the words of Allah (ta’ala) brings Him to the forefront of your mind. It reminds you of His promises, His oneness and His supremacy. If you’ve ever gotten emotional while listening to the Quran being recited, you know the feeling is the same when you recite to yourself.
It doesn’t matter if you stumble during your recitation, and it doesn’t matter if you need a translated Mus’haf to understand the words. As long as you recite the Quran daily with sincerity and true intentions, you will find that your heart gets softer as time goes on.
Visit the Ill
It is easy to take blessing of good health for granted when you have it. We sometimes get sucked into the monotony of our daily lives that we don’t realize what a massive blessing we have been granted to wake up daily and be in good health.
When you find your heart becoming less aware of the goodness from its Lord, go visit someone at the hospital. Walk down the corridors, have a peek into the emergency area and you’ll be confronted with the realization that your Lord is merciful.
Anyone of us can be tested will ill health at any time. But when we are in a state of good health, seeing those who are ill will move your heart towards Allah (ta’ala).
“Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.’” (Ibn Majah)
Accumulating sins is one of the reasons why our hearts become hardened. You commit a sin so often that it becomes normal to you, and one could continue in this manner till they no longer see the need to repent.
That’s when the heart becomes hard and in need of repentance. To purify our hearts, we should add constant repentance to our daily religious activities. Seek the forgiveness of Allah (ta’ala) from sins big and small, known and unknown.
We will notice that the process of sincerely seeking forgiveness from our sins helps us become more aware of the things we do wrong and the need to stop doing them.
A pure heart is aware of the wrongs it has committed, and is sincere towards repentance.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Verily, when the slave (of Allah) commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. When he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns, it increases until it covers his entire heart.” (Tirmidhi)
Reflect and Ponder Often
Before the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was called to prophethood, he used to go to the cave of Hira to reflect and ponder.
He physically removed himself from time to time from the hustle and bustle of life, and reflected in the cave.
That’s our own version of “unplug and recharge” in this century. Anyone who does not take out time to reflect will find it difficult to purify their heart.
We do not have to move into a cave. Your reflection time could be as simple as sitting by yourself for fifteen minutes after the fajr salah, going into an unoccupied office during your lunch break, or having a few hours by yourself while your spouse watches the kids during the weekend.
Whatever style we choose, it is important that we carve out these minutes to help us reflect on our faith, the creations of Allah (ta’ala), and our purpose in life.
These few minutes taken often will help us step back from the hustle and bustle of our lives and give our hearts the chance to connect with our Lord.
“Those who believe and find peace in their hearts from the contemplation of God: Surely there is peace of heart in the contemplation of God!” (Quran 13:28)
Visit the Graves
Nothing is as humbling as death. Whether the dead is close to you or just a person on TV, the finality that death brings calms and reminds us of the reality of our existence.
Visit the graves of those who have passed on and reflect upon their current situation. They have left all that they loved in this life and proceeded into a life that the rest of us know nothing about.
Merely looking at these rows of heaped sand and headstones should help us in the journey to purifying our hearts. Because as we look at the dead lying beneath the soil, only one thought will come to mind- that one day, it will be our turn to lie under the soil.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Visit the graves, for they will remind you of the Hereafter.” (Ibn Majah)
Take care of your heart in relation to your faith, purify it with all that is good, and you will be on the path to having a heart that seeks to move nearer to its Lord, In sha’a Allah.
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