The secret to a tranquil heart

Like the needle of the compass faces North when at rest, so the heart of the Mu’min faces in the direction of Allah Most High’s obedience and pleasure. In the obedience of Allah Most High do we find our peace, contentment and happiness.

When a compass is moved or shaken, we observe how the needle is disturbed and begins to move restlessly this way and that way – as if agitated. When it is placed down, it continues to move about until finally it finds its rest in the direction of North.

SubhanAllah! We should take lesson from this.

When the heart of a Mu’min is shaken with sins, with disobedience to Allah Most High, then the heart’s Sukoon (tranquility) is disturbed. The heart is in a state of restlessness and anxiety until the person sincerely repents. On sincere Taubah (repentance), the heart settles back in Allah Most High’s pleasure and once again enjoys its Sukoon.

Our Sheikh, Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Allah have mercy on him) would say that Sukoon is an exclusive bounty and gift for the Muslim. It only descends on the heart of a Believer, with the condition that there is obedience to Allah Most High and abstinence from sins.

Not only do sins disturb and disrupt the tranquility of the heart; it blemishes the heart with ugly black marks.

Rasulullah (1) explained: “When a Mu’min (believer) sins, a black dot appears on his heart. If he repents and seeks Allah’s forgiveness, his heart becomes cleansed and polished. If he continues to commit more and more sins (without repenting), the spot continues to spread and ultimately covers all of his heart.”[1]

I have given the following analogy many a time: The person who is wearing a white Kurta and he is always conscious of his cleanliness, will be very uneasy and uncomfortable if a drop of black ink falls onto his Kurta or if food stains his Kurta. He will make haste to wash it off immediately – because the stain of ink spoils the whiteness of his Kurta.

This is the condition of the Mu’min who is obedient to Allah Most High. His heart is like a white garment or a white sheet. The moment he falls into any sin, mistakenly, he senses the dark, black spot of sin on his white heart. He is very uneasy, uncomfortable and unhappy and immediately seeks to clean his heart with sincere Taubah.

We find those who work in garages generally wear dark overalls. This is because they handle oil and grease and their work requires clothing which is practical. Because the clothing is dark, if more oil and more grease soils and stains the overall, the person will not really be aware of it and will not be bothered because his garments are dark in color anyway. So, any amount of oil and grease and dirt may soil his clothing, but it is not really apparent and does not worry him.

Similar is the condition of the person whose heart is already soiled and dirtied with sins for which no Taubah has been made. More sins do not affect him because the heart is already dark and black.

This does not mean that a person sits content with such a heart. It is absolutely necessary that he quickly begins a full scrub and wash of his heart with Taubah and Istighfaar.

Sincere Taubah, Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah) and the effort in the direction of obedience to Allah Most High will most certainly remove all the blackness and dirt of sins from that heart. The heart will then be in its original state of whiteness and cleanliness, Insha-Allah.

Nabi (ﷺ) taught us a Dua that facilitates this washing and purification of the heart:

“O Allah, wash off my sins with the (melted) water of ice and snow, and purify my heart of sins, even as white clothes are cleansed of filth.”

Maulana Shah Abdul Ghani Saheb (Allah have mercy on him) had explained that the quality of ice is its coolness and the outward characteristic of snow is its whitenessThus, the whiteness removes the darkness of sins and the coolness eliminates the heat of sins. Subhan Allah!

Nabi (ﷺ) used the word ‘white’ cloth because black cloth does not make apparent the stains or marks of dirt. White clothes reveal the slightest trace of dirt.

Together with sincere Taubah, it is essential to dissociate oneself from bad company and bad environments and to seek out good and pious companions who will encourage and inspire in the direction of obedience to Allah Most High and Rasulullah (ﷺ), as well as find and keep to those environments which make easy practising on Deen.

Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi (Allah have mercy on him) had related an incident of a tanner who was one day passing by some perfume shops. Since most of his time was occupied with tanning animal skins, he was used to strong bad smell. While passing the perfume shops, the pleasant fragrances did not agree with him and he fell down unconscious.

The people around him made every effort to revive him but no one was successful. When his brother was informed, he went to where the tanner lay unconscious and on smelling the fragrances wafting in the air, he understood the cause of his brother’s condition. He immediately went away and returned after a while, bringing in his sleeve, some feces of a dog. He held his sleeve near his brother who was revived immediately.

All were astounded and bewildered as to what was so effective and so helpful in reviving the tanner, when there were so perfume shops in the vicinity and all sorts of fragrances were used in the effort to revive the tanner.

This is just a story but with great lesson.

That person who spends his life in sins, becomes accustomed to dirty environments and dirty deeds. Good deeds are unfamiliar and foreign to the person. The person can even reach a stage where there is an aversion to good and thus, he stays far away from those places and gatherings where the perfume of Allah Most High’s love is distributed and shared.

Our Shaykh,  Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Allah have mercy on him) had explained that like the tanner, the sinner is unable to appreciate the gardens of Allah Most High’s remembrance. However, if the person is sincere, makes the effort, and begins to spend time in the environments of purity and virtue, then a time will most certainly arrive when the person will acknowledge, and with great regret, that his life was wasted in filth and evil. Now that he is accustomed to and enjoys the fragrance of Allah Most High’s love in these beautiful gatherings, he does not ever want to return to a life of sin.

May Allah Most High grant us the Taufeeq of sincere Taubah and enable us to appreciate the opportunities to attend the Majaalis of Deen and enjoying the beautiful gardens of Zikrullah and maximizing on this.

[1] Tirmidhi

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