By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
23 October 2021
Purification of Soul and Heart Is the Most Effective Mean to Attain Nearness and Knowledge of God Almighty
1. The major goal of the Prophets and Messengers' (peace be upon them) arrival was to purify people's hearts and connect them to God.
2. The Quran and Sunnah teach us that our success in the afterlife is contingent on the purity of our hearts in this world.
3. Purification of the heart was one of the first orders given to Pharaoh by the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
4. The Prophet Abraham's (peace be upon him) purity of heart is one of his defining characteristics.
5. We must keep in mind that on the Day of Resurrection, we will be judged according to the purity of our hearts and the righteousness of our deeds
Nearness to God Almighty is not only difficult but also impossible without passing the thorny valley of the soul (Nafs), and the purification of the soul and heart is the most effective means of attaining nearness and knowledge of God Almighty. The major goal of the Prophets and Messengers' (peace be upon them) arrival was to purify people's hearts and connect them to God. Since the early phases of the revelation in Mecca, the demand to purify our hearts from sin has been a vital Islamic doctrine. This is referred to as "soul purification" (Tazkiya al-Nafs).
Allah said, “He has succeeded who purifies it [the soul], And he has failed who instils it [with corruption]” (91:9-10)
God Almighty also said: “The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children But only one who comes to Allah with a pure heart” (26:88-89)
These passages teach us that our success in the afterlife is contingent on the purity of our hearts in this world. Spiritual sins such as greed, malice, envy, arrogance, and worldliness must be cleansed from our hearts. In their place, spiritual virtues such as generosity, compassion, kindness, humility, and asceticism must be adorned in the heart.
Purification of the heart was one of the first orders given to Pharaoh by the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Allah said, “"Go to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. And say to him, 'Would you [be willing to] purify yourself” (79:17-18)
The Prophet Abraham's (peace be upon him) purity of heart is one of his defining characteristics. Allah said: “And indeed, among his kind was Abraham, When he came to his Lord with a pure heart” (37:83-84)
What can we do to purify our hearts? One of the most effective ways to purify our hearts is to make honest supplications and prayers in a prophetic manner. Allah said, “He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself And mentions the name of his Lord and prays.” (87:14-15)
When we praise Allah and seek forgiveness for our sins, we lose our arrogance and become humble. When we pray for Allah to guide others, our hearts become cleansed of hate and animosity, and we learn to love others for the sake of Allah. When we remember the Hereafter and the Day of Resurrection, we become less devoted to the world and more willing to aid others.
Every morning and evening, the Messenger of Allah would purify his heart by offering supplications and prayers in this manner.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Hazrat Anas Ibn Malik, “O son, if you are able to erase any rancour from your heart towards anyone every morning and evening, then do so”. Then he said, “O boy, that is my tradition, and whoever revives my tradition has loved me, and whoever loves me shall be with me in Paradise”. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2678)
The purpose of ritual prayer is to keep us from committing crimes and immoral acts. Allah said: “Recite, what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (29:45)
Giving in charity and doing nice things for others is the next approach we can employ to purify our hearts. Allah said, “But the righteous one will avoid it - [He] who gives [from] his wealth to purify himself” (92:17-18)
When we give away our possessions in charity, it cleanses our souls of worldliness and envy for what others have, and it gives us hope for our good deeds to be remembered in the Hereafter. Charity entails not just donating money, but also your time, effort, and labour, as well as a smile or a nice word.
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Every good deed is charity. Verily, it is a good deed to meet your brother with a smiling face and to pour what is left from your bucket into the vessel of your brother.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1970)
When a Muslim commits a sin, a stain appears on his or her heart, which can be cleansed via repentance and good works.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
A black mark appears on the believer's heart when he commits a sin. His heart will be polished if he repents and abandons the sin and seeks forgiveness, but if he continues to sin, the blackness will grow. That is the covering mentioned by Allah in his Book: No, but they have a covering over their hearts because of what they have earned. (83:14) (Sunan ibn Majah 4244)
As a result, until the heart is purged of sin, a Muslim must continue to do supplications, prayers, charity, and good deeds. To summarise, a Muslim's salvation is contingent on the purity of the heart and soul from vices and the adornment of the heart with virtues. Purification is attained through making earnest supplications, prayers, and charitable acts for others. We must keep in mind that on the Day of Resurrection, we will be judged according to the purity of our hearts and the righteousness of our deeds.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather He looks at your hearts and actions.” (Sahih Muslim 2564, Grade: Sahih)
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