What makes us sin? Is it the lack of faith, the lack of determination to do good and attain Jannah, or is it something intrinsically deeper, something that lies within the depths of our hearts. To sin is to know the truth and make a conscious decision to reject it. It is not considered a sin if you don’t know what you’re doing is wrong, but doing something wrong while having the knowledge has detrimental affects on our souls. To understand the impact a sin makes to our hearts we need to understand and learn how doing something wrong affects us. In a hadith Prophet Muhammad pbuh said:
“Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognizes good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims.”
This hadith is very powerful in that it shows us there are different types of hearts. There is a heart that is completely filled with nur; whenever temptations are presented to it, it deflects them. The second type of heart is one that is weak, if the heart is feelings strong it will sidestep the urge to indulge in a sinful act but if it is feeling weak it will let temptation take over itself. The third and most fatal type of heart is a heart that is completely black, one that is hard and does sin upon sin feeling no remorse. These three types of hearts also determine how alive we are. One that is filled with nur is the most alive, the weak heart is barley alive, and the black heart is completely dead.
In order to change, to become better, to fix a problem one must always understand and realize first that there is a problem. We need to look deep inside ourselves and see which of the three types of hearts we posses. It is only then that we can change the condition that we are in. Our hearts have been in both realms, they have been in the presence of Allah swt. It is He that makes our hearts beat, and they beat saying, “Allah, Allah, Allah”, some 100,000 times a day. It is when the heart enters this duniya that its beat gets fainter and fainter. Shaitan is able to drown out our hearts beat with his evil whispers leading us astray. In Hell shaitan will give a sermon, he will stand up and give a speech. He will tell people that he never made them do anything, that they are in Hell fire not because of him but because of they’re own actions. There is a story of an Imam, Imam Al-Junaid; he wanted nothing else but to face shaitan, to see him and to talk to him. One day as he is walking he sees this old man, a hideous man whose face is shriveled up and upon seeing him his heart trembles with fear. The Imam asks the old man who he is. To which the old man replies, I am the one you’ve wanted to see, I am shaitan. The noble man looks at him and asks him, why did you not bow down to Adam when Allah swt asked you. Shaitan replies back, oh Imam Junaid, how could I ever bow down to any other then Allah. The Imam is taken back by this answer. He didn’t expect shaitan to say something like this, but then in his heart he understands and he says to shaitan, If you truly loved Allah you would have obeyed Him. Hearing this Shaitan runs away for he knows this man has a strong heart and there is nothing he can do.
This story teaches us of the deception of shaitan. He tries to play with our desires making our eyes grow big with greed and lust. Shaitan has the power to whisper into our hearts, but he doesn’t have the power to know what we’re thinking. If we make ourselves stronger, make our hearts purer and purer they will start to beat louder, and louder until the name of Allah is reverberating through our bodies so loud that shaitan is shouting and we don’t hear him. Our hearts are the most extraordinary organs in our bodies; they reach and affect every part of our system. If we have a heart that’s pure, filled with nur (light), pumping our blood, taking it to our arms, our hands, our eyes, our brains, we will have that nur spreading all through our bodies. If our hearts are blackened then that filth that sludge will travel in our blood stream affecting our tongues, our eyes, our brains. We should strive to become an Ummah free from impurities, an Ummah whose heart beats pure with the dkhir of Allah so that when we return to Him our hearts wont feel out of place but will instead be welcomed back in pure happiness.
We all need to learn how reading the Quran, praying, giving charity, fasting all these things help strengthen our hearts. How they add more and more armor to our hearts protecting them from the perils of this duniya. InshaAllah I will write a more in depth article on ways to protect the heart. Until then, May Allah forgive us all, May He protect over us and guide us. Whatever mistakes I made are mine and I ask Allah to forgive me for them. May He make us all people of truth and not hypocrites. May He guide us and put nur into our hearts.
– Omar Malik
* My knowledge from this came from an extraordinary lecture by Sheik Hamza Yusuf I would urge everyone to listen to it, it is truly amazing — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8JjWMogA_Y