Wanting guidance is sometimes not enough, are we fulfilling the prerequisites to receive it?
By Aysha Abrar
What does the Qalb (heart) mean?
The heart in Arabic is called qalb. The word qalb comes from the root word ‘Qalaba’, which means to flip or something that turns around and about and upside down. SubhanAllah, how true this is.
The nature of our hearts is that they are constantly changing, this is the normal state of our hearts. Allah uses qalb in the Qur’an to refer to the diseases of the heart.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says in the Qur’an:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
In understanding this verse, there is a wisdom that can be understood only when experienced. We understand through this verse that we need to work on our hearts every single beat of our time in this world. Because the heart is in constant movement physically and spiritually we know that we should keep it under check. Every deed we do is connected to our heart. The reward of our deeds is complementary to our intentions.
On the authority of Ameer ul-Mu’mineen (the Commander of the Faithful), Abu Hafs `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiAllahu anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah(صلى الله عليه وسلم) say: “Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended. Thus he whose migration (Hijrah to Madina from Makkah) was for Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) , his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated. *
Turn your heart back to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)
One of the meanings of Qalb is ‘to flip’. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) knows that His slaves sin and repent and sin again. He knows the states of our hearts. He knows we need Him and he does not need us. We are His slaves and He is our Master. A slave can turn back only to His Master when he is in pain, in distress, when he is helpless. We should turn back to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in times of happiness and in distress and seek His help in all our affairs because He is the only one to whom we belong and return.
وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا
And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has said in the Qur’an to turn back to Him and seek His forgiveness. Have you ever wondered why? How do we say sorry if we have hurt or disobeyed our parents? We are not at peace when we have wronged them, we keep thinking about it the whole day, our conscience does not allow us to concentrate elsewhere and we are disturbed.
It is hard saying sorry but we should actually put an effort and make an attempt to call or talk to our parents and seek their forgiveness.
We turn back to them to mend the relationship and promise never to repeat the mistake again. We value this relationship and the relationship with our Creator is most treasured and the most divine. Allah is constantly reminding us repeatedly in the most loving manner to mend this relationship with Him, through His Divine speech in the Qur’an. We know that Allah is watching us and He knows what our hearts yearn for. When we consistently put an effort to read the Qur’an and ponder over it, we will understand what Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is telling us. This is how He will guide our hearts.
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.
“..He will guide his heart..”
When we read the verses from the beginning, we realise how they are sequentially connected, SubhanAllah! This order indicates that it is only when we turn back to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in repentance, focus our heart towards Him, love Him, seek His help and be determined that we will grow closer to Him by all means — that is when our heart is opened to receive the guidance from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is ever Merciful, more than our own mother, but unless we allow the light to enter our heart by the will of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), we are losers. Do you know that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) wants you to turn back to Him ‘first’ and seek His forgiveness so that He may forgive you? He is the Lord of the Alameen, the heavens and the earth. Why don’t we prostrate to Him and seek His Mercy upon us? Instead, we look for people to help us immediately when we are in trouble.
If we knew a king who said, “Come to me first if you are in difficulty and I will solve your problems” would we hesitate to run to him for help? Of course not. We know that He is the King and He has the power to ease our difficulties.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is the king of all kings and He has asked us to turn back to Him for anything and everything. For even the smallest and silliest of problems we should seek His help. He is the Most Powerful. He says “Be” and it is. Unless we learn to always turn back to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) first we cannot be successful in this world and the Hereafter. Rather than relying on His creation for help and seeking their guidance which may or may not be correct, seeking Allah’s help opens our hearts to receive the light and therefore, the distinction between right and wrong.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْقَانًا وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your evil deeds and forgive you. And Allah (is) the Possessor of Bounty, the Great.
Unless we fulfill the rights Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has over us, we cannot expect to be given our rights by His creation. For once, talk to Allah in your prayers, make dua, cry to Him and see how the world changes around you. This is the light when you feel at ease after prostrating to your Lord even when your situation is intolerable.
It is because Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has guided your hearts!
* Sunan An Nasa’i : The Book of Purification : Grade Sahih (Darusallam) Arabic/ English book reference: Vol 1, Book 1, Hadith 75