The Humble I

Knowing, Doing, Becoming

The Soul of Islam is a Vigilant and Mindful Heart

Revelation tells us that muraqabah, vigilance of Allah, is one of the sublimest spiritual stations. We are told too that habituating our heart to such vigilance requires training the heart gradually and step-by-step. Masters of the heart instruct us to accustom ourselves to being mindful and shy of Allah, even if it be for short periods at a time – persevering in this even in our day-to-day affairs, let alone when engaged in acts of worship – until such mindfulness or vigilance becomes part and parcel of our nature; a habit of our heart.

Vigilance, muraqabah, is to be mindful of Allah in all our states, realising that: وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ – He is with you wherever you are. [Q.57:4]

It is to feel His reassuring presence, being aware that: وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ – We are closer to him than his jugular vein. [Q.50:16]

It is to know that nothing is ever hidden from Him, thereby feeling reverently respectful and shy before Him: فَإِنَّهُ يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ وَأَخْفَى – For He knows what is secret, and what is yet more hidden [Q.20:7]

Above all, it is to know that His care, help and loving concern are ever near: وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِي إِذَا دَعَانِي – When My servants ask you about Me, I am near; answering the prayer of the suppliant when he prays to Me. [Q.2:186]

The more we interiorise such core realities of faith, the profounder will be our vigilance of Him, and presence of heart whilst worshiping Him. For a heart in which vigilance of Allah firmly takes root, is a heart that becomes occupied with Him above everything else.

That vigilance of Allah be ingrained and be made a habit of the heart is paramount, in order for its fruits to appear on us. The least of these fruits is that one does nothing, when alone with Allah, that he would be ashamed of doing should a person of virtue and rank be watching him. If, say our spiritual masters, when one calls to mind the fact that Allah sees us, we find a shyness in our heart which prevents us from disobeying Him or spurs us on to obey Him, then something of the lights of vigilance, the anwar al-muraqabah, have dawned on the heart. Eventually, as the heart becomes accustomed to vigilance, and as the awareness of Allah’s nearness deepens within, the heart begins to be totally immersed in Allah; being now raised to the degrees of mushahadah – of worshiping God as though seeing Him.

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4 thoughts on “The Soul of Islam is a Vigilant and Mindful Heart

  1. Yvonne Bloe, on said:

    Very interesting. This opens up the senses to the realisation of God.

    • Abu Aaliyah on said:

      thank you for your comment.

      Indeed, the senses are governed by the inner spiritual heart; and it is the heart that is the main locus of mindfulness and vigilance.

      Bless you.

  2. Ahmed Sameer on said:

    Could you please suggest some method for learning muraqabah?
    Jazak Allah khairan

    • Abu Aaliyah on said:

      Wa alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullah.

      In truth, br Ahmed, this is a question you need to put to someone who is authorised to speak on such matters; one who is a qualified doctor of the spiritual heart who can best provide shari’ah-based spiritual practices.

      For that reason, I’ll be very brief and general in what I suggest:

      Firstly, if you haven’t already, exerts some serious effort in finding someone learned who you can keep spiritual company, or suhbah, with. In this day and age, with all the charlatans out there, such a spiritual teacher, must be one who is also rooted in sound Sunni theology and law, and in their daily practice is thoroughly shari‘ah observant.

      Secondly, in the meantime, some shaykhs have suggested that one sit for a five minutes each day (ideally in a state of wudhu, and in a quiet spot, and at time when the mind is more free of worldly commitments) and recite la ilaha illa’Llah during that time.

      When making this dhikr, let the mind’s eye try to conceptualise that on saying la ilaha (lit. there is no god/deity), that all false gods are being expelled from the heart; that all the aghyar, or things “other” than God, are being cleansed from our soul. And on saying illa’Llah (except Allah), that only Allah and His love is entering our heart and slowly and steadily taking root in it. The fruits of doing this regularly and sincerely will soon show themselves, Allah willing.

      If one has habituated themselves to doing this each day for a month or so, one can increase the time to ten minutes. But it is best to look for good and qualified spiritual companionship.

      Of course, such practices might not have the required spiritual effect if we aren’t observing our daily prayers, or avoiding sins, or guarding against the haram coming into our houses or livelihood.

      We ask Allah for His forgiveness, kindness and enabling grace.

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