Monday, December 15, 2008

A Heart Unmoved, A Spirit Uninspired

I got this article from Al-Jumuah Magazine, may be you know it or you must have read it before. But I wanted to post it here cause it's relevent to todays times and also there are many who cannot afford to buy the Magazine itself.


We grew up in a world of video games , music , songs , commercials and movies . All these were aimed at one thing : to capture our attention and entertain . Those who make such things spend there lives studying how to take hold of the hearts of even those uninterested viewers . This constant bombardment with stimulation of every kind has , in a sense , made our hearts lazy . In order to be moved , there must be flashing lights , charismatic speech , or something otherwise dramatic . The result : our younger brothers and sisters suffer from attention deficit disorder ( ADD ) , we , the Muslim youth raised in America , suffer from what the Qur'an calls: qaswatl qalb or hardness of heart .

This hardness of heart has , unfortunately , left us with a huge empty space in our chest . And this emptiness , we seek to fill with what first seizes our hard-to-hold attention . Often times this may not be what is most deserving of attention but rather , simply what is most readily available and most openly attractive and alluring . Some of us may turn to music or painful obsession , disguised as love . Even those youth who search for an Islamic solution to their emptiness have tended to prefer such Islamic speakers whose speech is more entertaining and captivating to those whose actual message may hold more substance .

This tendency to seek what is on display is discussed in the Surah of Al-Araf [ 7:169] . Allah describes those who came after the Prophets , alayhemus-salam , and die by saying that they chose arada hatha al-adna . Arada literally means , '' that which is on display .'' Here Hatha means '' of this '' and al-adna means , '' that which is lower or closer.'' Thus one of the causes of their ruin was that they chose what was on display even if it was lower . They preferred that which was closer and easier , rather than searching for that which was truer , purer , and more lasting .

The Qur'an does not come with the same flashing lights as does the entertainment and advertisements that surround us today . The Qur'an captures only the hearts of those open to its message , and those willing to strive for the Truth expounded in it . Allah says , '' This is the Book about which there is no doubt , a guidance for those who have Taqwa.'' [2:2] . We know that it requires a great deal of hard work and struggle to embark on the only straight path . And so we often search for easy answers , quick fixes for our painful ailments . We look to other than Allah to fill our emptiness .

Allah knows us far better than we know ourselves . He knows the diseases that overtake our hearts . He knows the emptiness that fills our lives . Allah says , '' And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him , and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein '' [ 50:16 ]. And so Allah , in His ultimate mercy and kindness , has also given us the cure . Allah says , '' Oh mankind , there has come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.'' "Say , 'in the bounty of Allah and in His mercy-in that they accumulate .' '' [ 10:57-58 ] . The true pleasure of the heart , which comes only through the remembrance of Allah , is greater than all else that we can accumulate . It is Allah who calls man to the home of peace . It is crucial to mention here that this is the only home of peace , i.e. , the one in the Hereafter with our Creator . The only source of peace is Allah , subhanahu wa ta'ala . It is vital to understand that there can be no other source of true happiness and fulfillment , in this life or the next . Imam Ibn Taymiyyah explains that the one who does not partake in the Paradise of this life will not partake in the Paradise of the Hereafter .

It is clear to most of us what the Paradise of the Hereafter is . Yet the question remains as to what the Paradise of this life is . How does one achieve true happiness in this life ? The truth is , in this life ; unless one's heart is full with the remembrance of Allah , nothing else can fill them or provide them with true pleasure .

It must become clear to us that a life lived in any other way , for any other cause , with any other goal , is not life , but is death . Allah , subhanahu wa ta'ala , tells mankind , " Oh you who believe answer Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life ; and know that Allah comes in between a man and his heart , and that it is He to which you shall ( all ) be gathered .'' [ 8:24 ] . We must , therefore , understand that all of us are dead except those who believe and truly understand the Reality . Those who are heedless to the truth will face this Reality , and then what they call death will actually be an awakening to the truth that they did not see in their death here on earth .

Thus our hearts will continue to be dead , our lives will continue to be empty so long as we do not understand this truth and continue to search for easy answers in places other than those mentioned by Allah , subhanahu wa ta'ala , and His messenger , sallallahu alyhe wa sallam .