The Humble I

Knowing, Doing, Becoming

What Matters at Heart

IMG_4337‘A servant is not afflicted with any chastisement greater than a hard heart and of being remote from God.

‘Hardness of the heart comes about by four things, when the level of need is exceeded: eating, sleeping, speaking and socialising.

‘Hearts that are attached to carnal passions are veiled from God to the extent of these attachments.

‘Hearts are God’s vessels upon His earth. Those most beloved to Him are the ones that are the softest, purest and most affable.

‘Their hearts are immersed in the world. If they were occupied with God and with the Afterlife, then they would contemplate over the meaning of His words and creational signs, and would have returned with the profoundest wisdoms and most astonishing benefits.

‘If the heart is nourished upon God’s remembrance (dhikr), quenched with meditation (tafakkur) and cleansed of blemishes, it will witness great wonders and be infused with deep wisdom.

‘Love of God shall not enter a heart in which there is love of this world, save as a camel passes through the eye of a needle.

‘The heart falls ill as the body does; its cure is in repentance and a spiritual regimen. It gets tarnished as a mirror does; its polish is dhikr. It feels exposed as the body does: its robe is piety (taqwa). It hungers and thirsts like the body does: its sustenance is gnosis, love, repentance and divine service.

‘The heart has six places in which it roams – there being no seventh. Three of these are lowly and three lofty. The lowly are: a world that entices it, an ego that nags at it; and a Foe who seductively whispers to it. These are the places where lowly spirits constantly roam. The three lofty things are: knowledge by which it gains clarity; an intellect with which it is guided; and a deity [God] to which it is devoted in worship. So these are the places wherein hearts wander.’1

‘Seek your heart in three places: where the Qur’an is recited; in the gathering of dhikr; and in times of seclusion. If you don’t find it in these places, then ask God to bless you with a heart. For you have no heart!’2

1. Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Fawa’id (Makkah: Dar ‘Alam al-Fawa’id, 2009), 142-4.

2. ibid., 218.

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15 thoughts on “What Matters at Heart

  1. Ali Shah on said:


  2. zahid sheikh on said:

    What could be more nourishig than the Dhikr of. Allah. A very timely reminder.Jazak Allah Abu Aliyah.t

    • Indeed, as Ibn Taymiyyah said: ‘Dhikr is to the heart what water is to a fish; how long can a fish survive out of water!?’

      Jazakallahu khayran br Zahid. May Allah grant you sound health and an illumined soul.

  3. So beautiful, masha’Allah, may Allah reward you!

  4. want to share some article in the blog specially this one…

  5. Ummaadam on said:

    JazakAllah kher sheikh.

  6. sheikh any tips on how to have hudoor during dhikr?

    if im walking somewhere and i have a counter im making dhkir with my toungue but my mind is elsewhere, will the dhikr have the effect. e.g i like to make a lot of tasbeeh of astagfirullah all day long but a lot of it isnt concentrated dhikr because im working or travelling etc etc only when i sit on prayer mat do I have more attentiveness.

    when i say effect i mean, cleansing of the heart, pleasure of allah

    • Having presence or hudur in our dhikr is usually something that happens in stages and degrees.Shaykhs of suluk emphasise consistency as one of the key factors. With consistency, they say, Allah will eventually lift the dhakir from making dhikr with inattentiveness, to making dhikr with attentiveness, and then wuth hudur.

      Another thing that helps is that in our day to day lives we should try to train our hearts to see the af’al al-rabb – the divine acts; that Allah is the doer in all things. This, as Shaykh Jalil Ahmad Akhoun mentioned to me, is a powerful means to instilling hudur in the heart.

      As for dhikr without attentiveness (dhikr with ghaflah), as Ibn Ataillah has said, that having ghaflah in our dhikr is better than having ghaflah of dhikr.

      For any deeper advice, please do consult a qualified murshid or shaykh of suluk.

      And Allah knows best.

  7. usman on said:

    jazakallahu khairan shaikh.. may Allah reward ur effort. can one make dhikr such as subhanallah wabi hamdihi subhanallahil azeem any time of d day ?

    • Barakallahu fikum. Yes one can make such dhikr any time of the day. But if there are any sound hadiths that encourage or specify this dhikr for particular times or occasions, then doing it at that time becomes even more virtuous and rewarding.

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