“There Are Times Where My Heart Feels Clouded”
‘There are times where my heart feels clouded (innahu la yughanu ‘ala qalbi); and I seek Allah’s forgiveness a hundred times a day,’ said the Prophet, peace be upon him.1
Istighfar or “seeking forgiveness” of Allah is not simply confined to when we commit sins. Rather, courtesy (adab) towards Allah requires us to feel a sense of shyness (haya) before Allah on account of committing what He considers disliked (makruh) too; even when no sin has been committed. At a loftier level of faith, those who are distracted from Allah, even if momentarily, see this a lack of adab and a sort of transgression, for which istighfar is to be made.
Imam al-Nawawi holds that one meaning of the “cloudiness” mentioned in the above hadith refers to the Prophet’s continuous dhikr, and heart’s focus and presence with Allah, being interrupted – albeit, for brief moments – out of having to occupy himself with the affairs of the ummah and the welfare of the people. He writes: ‘Its cause is his being preoccupied with the affairs of the ummah and its welfare; waging war against the enemy and their harms; winning over hearts; and other such things. Even though such matters are from the greatest acts of obedience and the best of deeds, it is still a come down from the even more loftier degree and higher station of his being present with Allah, exalted is He, spiritually witnessing Him, being vigilant of Him, and being emptied of everything else beside Him. Hence he sought forgiveness.’2
Thus, how can we not feel a sense of shame before Allah when we are immersed in his graces, day in, day out, yet use them in acts of sin and disobedience to Him. Shaykhs of suluk urge us to have a daily recitation (wird) of istighfar which we recite with the above thought in our hearts. Istighfar one hundred times in the morning, and again towards the day’s end, is a good beginning, they say. One such way of carrying this out is to earnestly repeat: astaghfiru’Llaha wa atubu ilayhi – “I seek forgiveness of God and repent to Him.”
The Prophet, peace be upon him, mentioned that Allah, exalted is He, said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and place your hopes in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done and shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.’3
Another hadith states: ‘Whosoever takes to seeking forgiveness [of Allah], Allah shall appoint for him a way out of every difficulty, a relief from every anxiety, and provide sustenance from where he never expects.’4
Rabbighfirli wa tub ‘alayya innaka
1. Muslim, Sahih, no.2702.
2. Sharh Sahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1995), 17:20.
3. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, no.3540, saying that the hadith is hasan sahih.
4. Abu Dawud, Sunan, no.1517; Ibn Majah, Sunan, no.3819.
today is a bad day for me…..my daughter wants nothing more to do with me. i am at the airport leaving France for a few days …..and despite saying some terrible things..we both did…i still forgive her and hope she forgives me for her children’s sake..it has been a long hard journey and i pray for that respite every day..for her..her children and for myself and other family…..this has been a mess..i feel 200 years old today…..!!…so i am seeking God’s forgiveness…..which will help me..xx
May your affairs be facilitated; may hearts be healed.
thank you..we are getting back on course…like being in a starship where the headings were not synchronised….but we are attempting to get that put right.xx
Imam al-Shādhilī (Allah have mercy on him) said: ‘I heard related to me the words of the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be blessings and peace), “Indeed my heart becomes veiled, and I ask forgiveness of my Lord seventy times a day”, and could not understand what it meant. Then I had a vision of the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be blessings and peace), and he said to me: “O blessed one! That is the veil of light, not the veil of contingent things!”’
يا مبارك ذاك غين الانوار لا غين الاغيار
Even though it is not one of the six views mentioned in al-Nawawi’s commentary (along with the one cited above, the other five describe the “cloudiness” as being:  momentary gaps in his dhikr; [ii] being informed about the condition of some of his ummah after he leaves them; [iii] tranquility; [iv] reverential fear or khashyah; and [v] the purity of the heart being ever so slightly tainted.), it is still something to marvel at.
And Allah knows best.
Reblogged this on ~ Ash-Shams ~ and commented:
Astaghfiru’Llaha wa atubu ilayhi – “I seek forgiveness of God and repent to Him.”
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah brother Abu Aaliyah
Alhumdullilah I have found tremendous benefits in you articles. May Allah azza wa jal accept from you. Allahumma zid fazid
I forward your messages to friends and family but sometimes I don’t mention your name (I never claim them to be written by me). Its just that people sometimes get in to names and say I would not take from so and so, therefore depending on the people I send articles to, I avoid mentioning the author.I hope that is fine by you.
Wa alaykum al-salam wa rahmtaullahi wa barakatuhu.
Amin to your dua’s; and may Allah grant you increase in goodness too.
If you feel there is an overriding benefit in not mentioning an author’s name, giving priority to the message over the messenger so to speak, then I have no objection to it. May Allah reward you for your concern for peoples’ guidance and welfare; and may He grant us insight into how best to disseminate this din to the hearts of His servants.