Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Heart and Divine Illuminations

Allah created man and made man the best of creation. He is the best of creation because He has the ability to gain the Ma’rifat of Allah. This Ma’rifat (realization) is gained by the heart. The heart has the knowledge of Allah. The heart strives to gain the pleasure of Allah, it strives to gain proximity to Allah Ta’ala. The other organs are all followers and at the service of the service of the heart. If the heart is saved from “Ghairullah” – people and things that drift you away from Allah – it is accepted by Allah and if it is attached to Ghairullah it is rejected by Allah. If an effort is made on the purification of the heart it gains the pleasure of Allah. On the other hand, if it is left to be polluted with sin and disobedience it is rejected and inflicted with hardships. In reality, it is the heart which is obedient to Allah. Deeds and Ibadah are the fruits of the heart’s obedience. It is the heart that transgresses the limits of Shariah and the actions of man in transgression is the result of the heart’s transgression. If man recognizes his heart, he recognizes himself and if he fails to recognize his heart, he fails to recognize himself, he fails to recognize Allah Ta’ala. Unfortunately many are ignorant in regard to their “nafs” and heart.

Oh my Muslim brothers and sisters, Allah Ta’ala is in control of our hearts. He directs it in whichever direction He wills. He inspires the heart and removes from the heart what He wills. Allah Ta’ala says:

“But Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts.”(49: 8).

“And whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart.” (64: 12).

“And (as for the believers) Allah has put affection between their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have produced that affection, but Allah has produced it.” (8: 64).

The condition of the Arabs is explained in this last verse. The Arabs’ nature was ingrained with prejudice, national pride, jealously etc. Allah sent our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and they brought faith in Islam and followed the teaching of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). This resulted in their heart growing in affection and unity. The prejudice and jealousy turned into love and brotherhood. This is sufficient proof that Allah is in control of the hearts of man. He turns it in whichever direction He wills. 

It is Allah who inspired patience and fortitude in the hearts of the “people of the cave”. They sacrificed the pleasure and comfort of their homes and went into seclusion into a cave for safeguarding of their Deen. Allah says “And We made firm their hearts when they stood up and said, “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Never will we invoke besides Him any deity. We would have certainly spoken, then, an enormity.” (18: 15).

Allah Ta’ala describes their conversation in the following manner. “Then seek refuge in the cave, your Rab will spread for you of His mercy and dispose of your affair towards comfort and ease.” (18: 17).

Allah Ta’ala says regarding those who love for His sake. “As for such, He has written faith upon their hearts and has strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him…” (58: 23).

Allah Ta’ala says regarding the Mushrikeen (that is, those who ascribe partners in worship to Allah) who had gathered an army to fight the Muslims. “We shall cast terror into the heart of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority...” (3: 152).

Allah says regarding those nonbelievers who refused to accept the Quran. “Will they then not meditate on the Qur'an, or are there locks on the hearts?” (47: 25).

It is reported that when Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) read this verse a young Sahabi from Yemen remarked. “Their hearts are sealed until Allah removes the seal.” Hazrat Umar (ra) kept this young Sahabi in mind and when Hazrat Umar (ra) was made a Khalifa he took assistance from this Sahabi (ra) in matters of government. Allah Ta’ala says in the Quran: “And whomsoever it is Allah’s will to guide, He expands his heart to Islam; whomsoever He desires to lead astray, He makes his breast narrow, tight, as if he were climbing to the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.” (6: 126).

When Allah wishes to bestow one with Hidayat (guidance), He creates a “Nur” (light) in the heart with which one is able to recognize and accept the truth. It is reported that when the above verse was revealed, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) was asked regarding the “expansion of the heart”. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) replied: “This is the type of “Nur” that Allah creates in the heart of the believers, which then creates a manifestation of the truth. As a result, truth is easily accepted.” It was then asked:“What are the signs of these manifestations?” Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) replied:“Preparations for the hereafter and casting aside the desires of this world are the signs of “Nur” (Light)”. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) often made the following dua“O my Allah, create “Nur” (Light) in my heart.” Ameen.

Allah says “We turn their hearts and their eyes.” (6: 111). “And know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart.” (8: 25). Some Mufassireen (Interpreters of the Quran) have said that once Allah come in between man and his heart, man, therefore cannot be a believer or nonbeliever but with the permission of Allah Ta’ala. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has said: “The hearts of men are in the control of Allah’s two fingers, He may turn it in whichever direction He wills.” Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) recited the following dua (supplication): “Oh Controller of hearts, keep my heart steadfast on your Religion.” Ameen.

A Sahabi (ra) asked: “Oh Messenger of Allah (pbuh), we have brought faith in all that you have brought; do you have any fear regarding us?” 

Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) replied in the affirmative saying: “The hearts of man are in Allah’s control, He keeps some on the straight path and others astray. Therefore we should pray to Allah to keep our hearts on Hidayat and save it from going astray. He should bestow us with His special favours and bounties. He is magnificent in His blessing.”

Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) knew the different conditions the heart becomes attached to, and how quickly the heart becomes affected to various conditions and the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was also well aware that the heart is completely out of man’s control. This realization of the heart’s conditions is only known to man of great foresight and insight. This realization is only acquired by people who ponder on the conditions of the heart and strive to gain the realization of Allah.

For today I end my sermon here. I pray to my Allah, may Allah give me the Tawfiq to continue this sermon on the same topic next Friday, Insha-Allah. May Allah continue to illumine us with His Light and enable the seekers of truth also to perceive this Light and derive the best out of it. Ameen.

 - Extracts from the Friday Sermon of September 19, 2014 delivered by the Khalifatullah (atba)