Diseases of the Heart
Extract from the book:
Diseases Of The Hearts & Their Cures
By Sheikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
The hearts are of three types:
1)The correct heart that is secure from all desires that oppose the command of Allaah and His prohibitions, and it is secure from all doubts that contradict what He informs. Just as it is secure from worshipping anything else besides Allaah and from seeking judgement from any person other than His Messenger.
2)The dead heart, this being the opposite of the correct heart containing no life, neither knowing its Lord nor worshipping Him.
3)The heart that has some life but also has defect. So it contains love of Allaah, faith in Him, sincerity and trust towards Him from those things that are essential to it remaining alive. It also contains the love of vain desires and preferences for them, despicable morals and manners from those things that cause its death, and it is constantly wavering between these two condititions.
So the first type of heart is the living humble, soft and gentle heart.
The second type is dry, harsh and dead heart.
The third is the heart which is diseased, it can either be made secure or have its destruction sealed. All of the diseases of the heart are founded upon desires and doubts. The life of the heart and its illumination is the cause of all good to be found in it and its death and darkness is the cause of all evil to be found in it.
The heart can never be alive and correct except through cognisance of the truth and loving and preferring it to everything else. There can never be any happiness or joy or correction for it unless it makes its sole object of worship and desire Allaah alone. This can never be perfected except through purification of the heart, repentance, and its relinquishing itself from all types of false loves and despicable manners. This can never be attained except through striving hard against one’s soul that incites towards evil, and bringing it to account, and combating the satans from amongst men and jinn: from the human satans by turning away from them and combating their evil with good; from the satans from amongst jinn by holding oneself from them through rememberance of Allaah the Exalted, and seeking refuge with Him from them.
The heart becoming defective and weak revolves around two basic matters: the curruption of knowledge and the corruption of intent, and these in turn lead to two destructive illnesses-anger and misguidance. Misguidance being the end result of corruption of knowledge and anger being the end result of the corruption of intent. So these two diseases are the lords of all the ailments that afflict the heart. Its cure lies in guidance based on knowledge. Guidance based on knowledge is to know the Truth and to follow it. The whole of the Qur’aan is a cure for these two diseases and others and it contains perfect guidance.
Allaah, the Most High, said: “There has come unto you an exhortation from your Lord, a healing for that which is in your breasts, a guidance and mercy for the believers.” [Surah Yoonus (10):57].
“O you who believe! Answer the call of Allaah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life, and know that Allaah comes in between a person and his heart. And verily to Him you shall be gathered.” [Surah al-Anfaal (8):24].
“He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living.” [Surah ar-Room (30):19].
Allaah, the Most High, informs us:
“Those who reject our signs are deaf, dumb and in darkness.” [Surah al-An’aam (6):39].
The Four Poisons Of The Heart
Extract from the book: The Purification Of The Soul
[compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali]
You should know that all acts of disobedience are poison to the heart and cause its sickness and ruin. They result in its running off course, against that of Allaah, and so its sickness festers and increases.
Whoever is concerned with the health and life of his heart, must rid it of the effects of such poisons, and then protect it by avoiding new ones. If he takes any by mistake, then he should hasten to wipe out their effect by turning in repentance and seeking forgiveness from Allaah, as well as by doing good deeds that will wipe out his wrong actions.
By four poisons we mean:
1) unnecessary talking,
2) unrestrained glances,
3) too much food and
4) keeping bad company
Of all the poisons, these are the most widespread and have the greatest effect on a heart’s well-being.
“The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right, and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right.” [Anas in al-Musnad]
Staring and gazing without restraint is disobedience to Allaah: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that is more purifying for them. Surely Allaah is aware of what they do.” [24:30] .
Too much food:
The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strength of intellect, humility of the self, weakness of desires, and gentleness of temperament. Immoderate eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities. Al-Miqdam Ibn Ma’d Yakrib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (salalaahu ‘alayi sallam) say: “The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allaah than his stomach. A few moesels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing.”
Keeping Bad Company:
Unnecessary companionship is a chronic disease that causes much harm. How often have the wrong kind of companionship and intermixing deprived people of Allaah’s generosity, planting discord in their hearts which even the passage of time-even if it were long enough for mountains to be worn away-has been unable to dispel.
Companionship: Four categories
A servant should benefit from companionship. In order to do so he should divide people into four categories, and be careful not to get them mixed up, for once one of them is mixed with another, then evil can find its way through to him;
The first category are those people whose company is like food: it is indispensible, night or day.
The second category are those people whose company is like a medicine. They are only required when a disease sets in.
The third category: are those people company is harmful. Mixing with this type of person is like a disease, in all its variety and degrees and strengths and weakneses.
Associating with one or more of them is like an incurable chronic disease. You will never profit either in this life or the next life if you have them for company.
The fourth category are those people whose company is doom itself. It is like taking poison: its victim either finds an antidote or perishes. Many people belong to this category. They are the people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) and advocate other beliefs. They call what is Sunnah a bid’ah and vice-versa.
“Every person has a pledge for that which he has earned.” [Surah at-Toor (52):21]