Al-qalb (the Heart)

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Praise be to Allaah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allaah guides, none can lead astray, and whomever Allaah leaves astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The Prophet of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wears out, so ask Allaah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (REPORTED BY AL-HAAKIM IN AL-MUSTADRAK, 1/4; SEE ALSO AS-SILSILAH AS-SAHEEHAH, 1585. AL-HAYTHAMI, MAY ALLAAH HAVE MERCY ON HIM, SAID IN MAJMA’ AZ-ZAWAA’ID, 1/52: “IT WAS REPORTED BY AT-TABARAANI IN AL-KABEER AND ITS ISNAAD IS SAHEEH.”)

The heart is called Qalb in Arabic because it changes so quickly and frequently (Taqallub – alteration, variation, ups and downs). The Prophet of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The heart [Qalb] takes its name from its constant changes [Taqallub]. The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.” (REPORTED BY AHMAD, 4/408; SAHEEH AL-JAAMI’, 2364).

According to another report the Prophet of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The likeness of the heart is that of a feather in an empty plot of land, being blown over and over by the wind.” (REPORTED BY IBN ABU ‘AASIM IN KITAAB AS-SUNNAH. NO. 227. ITS ISNAAD (CHAIN) IS SAHEEH (AUTHENTIC), SEE THILAAL AL-JANNAH FI TAKHREEJ AS-SUNNAH BY AL-ALBAANI, 1/102)

Man’s heart changes constantly, as the Prophet of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, described: “The heart of the son of Aadam changes more quickly than a pan of rapidly boiling water.” (Saheeh: Thilaal al-Jannah, 1/102), According to another report: “It changes more than a pot of rapidly boiling water.” (REPORTED BY AHMAD, 6/4; SAHEEH AL-JAAMI’, NO. 5147)

Allaah is the One Who turns hearts around and controls them. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, may Allaah be pleased with them both, reported that he heard the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say: “The hearts of the children of Aadam are as one between the fingers of the Most Merciful, and He turns them in whatever way He wills.” Then he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “O Allaah, Controller of the hearts, direct our hearts to obey You.” (REPORTED BY MUSLIM, NO. 2654)

No one will be saved on the Day of Resurrection, as Allaah Says (what means): {except him who brings to Allaah a clean heart [free from shirk and hypocrisy].} [QUR’AAN 26:89]

Some people are doomed, and Allaah defined in his Saying (which means): {those whose hearts are hardened.} [QUR’AAN 22:53] while

The promise of Paradise is for a certain class of people He defined Saying (what means): {who feared the Most Beneficent [Allaah] in the Unseen, [i.e., in the worldly life, before seeing and meeting Him], and brought a heart turned in repentance [to Him].} [QUR’AAN 50:33]

So the believer must check his heart, find out the nature and cause of the problem, and start treating it straight away, before it overwhelms him and destroys him. The matter is of the utmost seriousness, for Allaah The Almighty has warned us against the heart that is hardened, closed, sick, blind and sealed.
What he meant is that faith wears out in the heart just as clothes wear out and become old. The heart of the believer is sometimes overwhelmed by clouds of sin, and so it goes dark. This is the picture drawn for us by the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in an authentic Saheeh Hadeeth: “There is no heart that is not covered by a cloud like the cloud covering the moon when it is shining, and so it suddenly goes dark, but when it [the cloud] goes away, it shines again.” (REPORTED BY ABU NU’AYM IN AL-HILYAH, 2/196; AS-SILSILAH AS-SAHEEHAH, 2268).

Sometimes the moon is covered by clouds, which conceal its light, but after a little while they go away, and the light of the moon comes back to light up the sky. In the same way, the heart of the believer is sometimes covered with dark clouds of sin, so its light is veiled, and the person finds himself lost in darkness, but when he strives to increase his Eemaan and seeks the help of Allaah, that cloud goes away, and the light comes back to shine in his heart as before.

We ask Aallah to strength our heart with faith.

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