Acts of Heart
Part 7: Vital Signs of a Healthy Heart

What are some signs of a pure heart by which one can measure the sincerity of his or her own intentions and attitudes? In everyday life we like to judge how closely we are conforming to the highest standards. As committed Muslims, it is natural that we would want to evaluate our spiritual hearts: How pleasing might we be to Allah? What are some vital signs of our heart health known to please our Lord?
In Part 3 we discussed Trust in Allah; Love of Him, His Messenger and His community; and a Truthfulness in all aspects of our behavior, serving as signs of a clean and pure heart. The following are other characteristics highly promoted in the Quran and Sunnah as essential for a successful Muslim, one who pleases Allah and one who is pleased with Him.
[But unto the righteous God will say,] "O you human being who has attained to inner peace! Return unto your Sustainer, well-pleased [with Him and] pleasing [Him]: enter, then, together with My [other true] servants; yea, enter thou My paradise. [Surah Al-Fajâr, 89:27-30]
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Gratitude is apparent when the servant responds to the favors of Allah bestowed on him. He shows it in his heart by having belief in Allah, on his tongue by thanking Allah and in his limbs by worshipping Allah.
A person shows gratitude while being patient as a means to receiving from Allah what he/she needs or wants. Showing gratitude could be through acts of the heart, tongue or limbs.
The deepest meaning of gratitude is to use the favors of Allah in obedience to Him.

Patience is indicated when one leaves off complaining to those other than Allah, for the trials he undergoes in life. Do voice your complaints, but to Him alone; leave off complaining to those other than Him.
Allah said:
"Indeed the steadfastly patient will be given their reward without accounting [i.e., without limit]." [Surah Al-Zumar, 39:10]
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
"Whoever remains patient Allah will bestow patience upon him, and no one is ever given anything better and more generous than patience." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Umar said:
" I wasn't tested with a trial except that Allah had four favors over me: that it [the testing] wasn't in my religion, that it wasn't greater [than I could bear], that I wasn't deprived from being pleased with it [that testing], and that hopefully I would be rewarded for it."
Consider these Levels of Patience:
1) To stop voicing your complaint, and at the same time you are no longer displeased with what Allah has brought to you. This is the minimum level of Islamic patience.
2) No longer to complain and at the same time you are pleased in spite of an undesirable situation. This is an improved level of patience.
3) To accept what Allah has brought to you; in fact, you thank Allah for being tested. This is the highest level of patience.
Patience can be understood as applying to two categories:
1) Physical patience. This category is sufficiently straightforward and is not discussed here.
2) Psychological patience. This type of patience entails resisting one's own natural desires and inclinations.
When one is oppressed and supplicates against the oppressor, that means that he has thus, in effect, tried to avenge himself and to take his right on his own terms. He hasn't been patient with Allah —on Allah's terms, and in Allah's timing.

Every Situation a Servant Faces in this World Belongs to one of these Psychological Categories:

1) What agrees with his desires. In this case a person needs to be patient in fulfilling the right of Allah in it by thanking Him and not using it to disobey Him.
2) What contradicts his desires. Consider these three types:
· To be patient in obeying Allah. It is mandatory to do that which is an obligation (fard) and it is praiseworthy (mustahabb) to do that which is supererogatory (beyond what is required, but rewardable when one chooses to do it).
· To be patient in abstaining from disobeying Allah. It is mandatory to leave that which is unlawful (muharram) and it is praiseworthy (mustahabb) to leave that which is disliked (makrûh).
· To be patient during the trials brought upon a person by Allah —accepting that nothing happens without the permission of Allah. It is mandatory to keep one's tongue from complaining, to stop the heart from objecting to what Allah has decreed and to keep the limbs from doing what is displeasing to Allah, such as mourning, slapping the cheeks and tearing the clothes. It is praiseworthy (mustahabb) for the heart to be pleased with Allah's decree.

Patience and Thankfulness
Who is better: the rich person who is thankful, or, the poor person who is patient?
· If the rich person spends his money in obedience to Allah or saves it for that, then he may be better than the poor person.
· If the poor person spends most of what little money he has in that which is permissible, then he is better because of his patience in having little.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
"The one who eats and is grateful is like the one who fasts and is patient." (Ahmad).

To be satisfied with what Allah has decided for a person is to be pleased and content with something after it happens.
· To be pleased with the Decree of Allah is from the highest levels of those who are brought close to Allah, and is from the fruits of love and trust.
· To supplicate to Allah to remove something that is harmful does not contradict being pleased with Him.
Submissiveness and a humble demeanor (Khushû') is the glorification of Allah through sincere humility in a person's heart.
Hudhaifah said:
" Be aware of the humbleness of the hypocrites." Whereupon it was said to him: "What is the humbleness of the hypocrites?" He said:" For you to see a body in the state of humbleness while the heart is not."
He also said:
"The first thing you are going to lose of your religion [in later times] is humbleness."
For any act of worship in which humbleness is an essential part of it, its reward is according to the person's degree of sincere humility in which this act is done, such as in prayer.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said about the one who performs his Prayer:
...that he may be rewarded for only a half of its full intended value—or a fourth, or a fifth... or a tenth. In fact, it may happen that a person may not get any reward for his Prayer due to a total lack of sincere humility in his heart.
Prayer is intended to be of benefit to the worshipper. When one draws near to Allah, he is more likely to be satisfied with the Decree of Allah. Nearness to Allah is the time to ask for relief from harm and His reward for one's suffering.
The fact that the Prayer is mandated to be performed by the Believer every day —at five various points in time—should inform the Believer that he has great opportunity to be rewarded for this familiar act of connecting to Allah in the manner that Allah has prescribed.
When any prescribed act is completed with khushû', there is a great potential for multiplied reward. Satisfaction with pleasing Allah goes hand-in-hand with Allah being pleased with us.
I would like to acknowledge my debt of gratitude for assistance in writing this article to Al-Azhar University graduate, Mr. Ahmed Nagy, now Director of the online Firdaws Academy for English language teaching of the Qur’an, Arabic language and Islamic Studies where the author is a tutor.