Every human is a soul within a body. And the same way our body needs healthy, nutritious meals to stay alive, our soul needs purification from time to time so that it can stay true to its purpose on earth.
Purification of the soul is a bit like exercise and detox for the body. You wake up every day, do some cardio, stretches, etc., then you take a healthy cup of tea and lots of water. These actions purify your body, keeping you in a healthy shape.
But when you purify your soul, you wake up every day to fill your soul with what makes it shine brighter in the eyes of Allah (ta’ala).
“The clever person is the one who subjugates his soul, and works for what is after death. And the incapable is the one who follows his desires and merely hopes in Allah.”
Signs of a Soul that Needs Purification
Every Muslim needs to purify their souls every day. The same way that we take care of our bodies every day is how we should do the same for the soul.
But how do you know when your soul is in dire need of purification? How do you know when your soul is steering off its chosen path?
A few signs are:
- You feel no remorse when you commit a sin
- You find it difficult to observe any salah
- You do not pay attention to obligatory and non-obligatory acts of worship
- You mock those who call you to do good
- You hardly read the Qur’an
- Haram becomes easy for you and halal becomes difficult
- You do acts of worship to show-off
These are some of the signs that your heart is not really in the right place that your Creator has created it for, and that you need to purify your soul.
Daily Purification Exercise
They say that the first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. If you feel within you that there is a need to purify your soul, here are daily actions that you can engage in.
1. Make Sincere Intentions
Actions are judged according to intentions in Islam, and for us, the first step to purifying our souls is by purifying our intentions.
Ask yourself this every time you want to do something: why am I doing this?
Every time you want to do a good deed, ask yourself why you are doing it, and who you are doing it for. Make your actions sincerely for the pleasure of Allah (ta’ala) alone and you will find that your soul becomes lighter.
That reality check, that soul search, helps you to direct your actions towards the pleasure of Allah (ta’ala) and avoid showing off and other illnesses that weigh heavily on your soul.
2. Read the Qur’an Often
Have you ever watched a reciter of the holy Qur’an fall into tears during a recitation? I used to wonder what they read that made them so emotional, and I would often want to check that verse out to see what Allah (ta’ala) said that may have made a grown person cry publicly.
I thought I didn’t have these tears because I am not a native speaker of Arabic. But I have come to realize that it is not about how well you speak Arabic, rather, it is about how much you make the Qur’an your companion.
Read it every day. Then read it some more. Read the tafsir of the Qur’an and listen to scholarly explanations of the verses if possible. The more your soul yearns to connect with the Qur’an, the more your soul is purified from impurities that harden the soul.
3. Talk Less
“Do not talk too much without remembrance of Allah. Indeed, excessive talking without remembrance of Allah hardens the heart. And indeed, the furthest of people from Allah is the harsh-hearted.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi)
One of the ways that we gather impurities onto our soul is from what we say. The more you talk, the higher your chances of saying things that are inappropriate. But when you reduce your speech, you almost always end up being that person that says fewer but highly impactful words.
The Prophet (saw) never said anything except it was beneficial. And we can see why from the hadith above. Refrain from arguing excessively (either online or offline), and making hurtful jokes in the name of “bants”.
4. Reflect More
The holy Prophet (saw) was known for retreating into the cave of Hira to reflect. It was on one of such occasions that angel Jibril first appeared to him with revelation. If there is one thing that helps you purify your soul extensively, it is sitting down in solitude and reflecting.
Sit by yourself in the early hours of the day, as the world sleeps on, or late at night as the world retires for the day. Think about life, about Allah (ta’ala), His creations and the reason for your existence.
Ponder on the words of Allah (ta’ala) and let your soul be purified by the truth of the Qur’an.
5. Hold Yourself Accountable
If you look at most of the signs of a hardened heart above, you will notice that what is most common is that a person ignores their duties as a Muslim. But we should hold ourselves accountable for our actions every day.
When you sit in the quietness of your own space, reflecting on life, and also reflect on your actions and sincerely call yourself to account on the bad that you may have done.
Instead of blaming shaytan or other people for your actions, hold yourself accountable and inspire yourself to do better.
6. Keep Good Company
“A man follows the religion of his friend; so, each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
The people you hang out with are important to the purification of your soul. If you are around those who glorify Allah (ta’ala) every chance they get, that habit will rub off on you. But if you spend your time with people who openly commit sins without remorse, that fragrance of sin will rub off on you.
To purify our soul is to clean it with deeds and actions that are pleasing to Allah (ta’ala), and it is to wake up every day asking ourselves how we can stay true to our purpose in life.
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