Imam Murtadha Gusau
Monday, December 24, 2018
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy
Praise be to Allah, the Everliving, Who does not die, and Peace and Blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and upon all his Family and Companions.
Dear brothers and sisters! Allah the Most High said:
“And abase me not on the Day when (humanity) will be raised up. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except for him who comes to Allah with a pure, clean and sound heart.” [Qur’an,26:87-89]
Frequently, the term “Qalbin Salim” is translated as a “pure, clean and sound heart.” In many of our minds, a pure heart is often connected to a person who commits no sins, who does not err. For most of us, it’s impossible to live a sinless, errorless life. This makes some of us feel like having Qalbin Salim is somewhat an unattainable goal.
But Qalbin Salim wasn’t understood to relate to perfection by Qur’anic commentators. The masters of Qur’anic understanding in fact specified that Qalbin Salim does not refer to a person who commits no sin.
In the Tafsir of Imam al-Baghawi, he explains the heart in this verse to mean:
“Pure from associating partners with Allah (Shirk) and doubts (Shak). As for sins, not a single person is protected from [not] committing them. And this is what most Qur’anic commentators have said.”
So, if Qalbin Salim isn’t specifically for those who are sinless, perfect believers… to whom is it referring?
As mentioned in the Tafsir of Imam Ibn Kathir, according to Muhammad Ibn Sirin:
“The Qalbin Salim knows that Allah is the truth, that the Hour is coming without doubt, and that Allah raises the dead from their graves.”
Ibn Abbas explains that this type of heart:
“Testifies there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah.”
Imam Mujahid and Al-Hasan Al-Basri both agree that:
“It refers to being pure from shirk (associating partners with Allah).”
And Imam Saʿid Ibn Al-Musayyib said:
“It is the heart that is sound; the heart of the believer. Because the heart of the disbeliever and the hypocrite are sick, as Allah says, In their hearts is sickness…” [Qur’an, 2:10]”
Imam Jalalud-Din Al-Suyuti mentions in Tafsir Al-Jalalain that:
“Qalbin Salim refers to a heart, free of shirk and hypocrisy- and that is the heart of the believer…”
Imam Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari mentions it as:
“The heart being sound from doubt in the Oneness of Allah and resurrection after death.”
Imam Al-Dahak mentioned:
“It’s a heart that is sincere.”
Respected brothers and sisters! As we can see from numerous Qur’anic commentators, the “pure, clean and sound” heart isn’t referring to a believer who commits no sins or who is perfect. It is referring to a heart that is free of associating partners with Allah, that believes in Him without doubt and that believes in the Hereafter.
In other words, if you’re a Muslim who worships Allah directly, have no doubt in His existence or that there is a Hereafter, then you already have one part of Qalbin Salim: a sound, pure and clean heart.
But what if you do have doubts? What if sometimes, you have a question that festers in your heart and you feel it is slowly chipping away at your soul? Does that mean your heart is wretched? Does it mean you aren’t a good enough believer?
No! It’s normal to have questions and to need reassurance. Prophet Ibrahim — the Friend of Allah, the one who physically was thrown into a fire that was made cool for him – the Prophet who has seen miracle after miracle coming from Allah —asked Allah:
“My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” [Allah] said: “Do you not believe?” [Ibrahim] said: “Yes [I believe], but to be stronger in faith.” [Qur’an, 2:260]
If someone in Ibrahim’s lofty station is seeking another sign to help his heart feel firm and certain about the truth, then what about you and me? There will certainly be times where we need our faith strengthened, need our questions answered, so that our doubts, concerns and questions can lead us to feel stronger in our own faith as well.
So, is that it? Is that all there is to having a ‘pure’ ‘sound’ and ‘clean’ heart?
There’s another aspect mentioned by Qur’anic commentators and encompassing Qalbin Salim: that of character.
Imam Ibn Ashur explains in his Tafsir that:
“The second part of Qalbin Salim refers to actions that are righteous.”
In Shaykh Tantawi’s Al–Tafsir Al-Wasit, he includes that:
“This term refers to purity from committing ugly actions.”
Imam Al-Qurtubi explains that:
“The second part of the meaning of this term refers to a heart that is free from reprehensible characteristics and that is described with beautiful ones.”
A number of Mufassirun (Qur’an’s commentators) cite the words of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily, this piece is the heart.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Thus, they posit that righteous deeds begin with a heart that is Salim (pure, sound and clean) as this is the center from which all other actions stem.
A heart that is free of jealousy, free of hating a fellow believer without valid reason, free of arrogance, free of self-awe and arrogance, are amongst the qualities which we must all work on if we are to achieve Qalbin Salim.
How can we achieve a Qalbin Salim? Here are a few suggestions:
As related to the faith in Allah and certainty of the Hereafter:
- Find aspects of Islam that help our hearts feel firm on the reality of Allah and the reality of the Hereafter. For example, the natural world miracles of the Qur’an and the Prophesies of the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him).— How could the Prophet (Peace be upon him), someone who was illiterate, who had no formal study and who certainly did not have any present-day technologically advanced tools in the middle of the desert over 1440 years ago, state scientifically-sound concepts that range from astronomy to botany to zoology to embryology and so much in-between as related in the Quran? — How could he (Peace be upon him) have predicted what would happen after his death, only for those Prophecies to come true not only once, but over and over? These are not the actions of a human who was [Allah forbid] crazy or simply passionate about a cause. These are signs from the Divine.
- Contemplation: Spending time in nature, considering the vastness of the power of Allah and the greatness of His creation.— Contemplating the incredible and complex nature of the human body and brain.
— Contemplating the miracle of life: how a human is born out of combined liquid!
How could any of this exist randomly, without His perfect power?
- Self-reflection: Considering all the miracles, the bounties and the blessings that He has bestowed upon us.
— How many times have we been saved from something, only to realise it was undoubtedly by Allah’s mercy?
— How can we deny His special attention to each and every one of us when we reflect on the intricacies of our lives?
- Questions: If a person has a question that’s plaguing the heart and blocking the ability to feel certain of Allah and the Hereafter, seek the answer from those who are qualified to respond. If the answer isn’t satisfying, continue to search. Sometimes the way one person explains something to us might not make sense, whereas the words of another may click.
- Always make Duʿa for Allah to keep our hearts firm. Amongst the most voiced Duʿa of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was:
“Ya muqalib al-qulub, thabbit qalbi ala dinik.”
“Oh Turner of hearts, keep my heart firm on Your religion.” [At-Tirmidhi]
As related to character:
Improving our characters is an ever-evolving process; this is a journey that takes a lifetime. Here are just two ideas on how to begin the process of character purification:
— Write a list of beneficial characteristics we believe we have, as well as characteristics we need to improve on.
Take one characteristic in each category and develop a plan for enhancing one positive characteristic and working on one negative characteristic over a specific time period.
What are ways I can be a better parent to my children when they irritate me?
What are ways I can be a better child when my parents frustrate me?
How can I work on the arrogance that creeps into my heart?
How can I want for my brother or sister that which I want for myself, without being jealous or envious of what Allah has blessed them with?
— Increase in my Duʿa and Zikr, asking Allah to purify my heart, hoping that purification will affect my character. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would look in the mirror, he would say:
“Allahumah, ahsanta khalqi, fa’ahsin khuluqi.”
“Oh Allah, You have perfected my creation, so perfect my character.” [Imam Ahmad in Musnad]
Our hearts don’t need to be perfect for us to validly expect that we can come on the Day of Judgment with Qalbin Salim. Instead, Qalbin Salim means having certainty in Him and in the Hereafter, worshipping Him directly and without partner, and striving to improve our characters throughout our lives by doing righteous deeds that are pleasing to Him. And when we mess up: go back to Him, repent and seek His forgiveness and help in improving. It’s a lifelong process, but In Shaa Allah in the end, if we strive, we will all be counted as those who spent their lives seeking to attain Qalbin Salim (sound, pure and clean heart).
Dear brothers and sisters! Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) also tells us that Allah the Almighty makes every child born on Dinul-Fitrah.
And this is the Dinul-Fitrah that creates a love for Dinul-Islam.
According to some Islamic scholars, Allah the Most High has given every child a Qalbin Salim (a sound, pure and clean heart).
Whenever some person wants to disobey Allah the Almighty, that person has to first hurt or destroy his sound, pure and clean heart (Qalbin Salim).
However, if the person truly repents, then his injured heart starts to recover and it takes some time to be fully recovered but if he keeps disobeying Allah the Almighty, his heart is so much injured that it gets killed completely in the process of disobeying Allah the Most High.
And when heart is killed, then person dies. In the same way, when we keep disobeying Allah the Almighty, our sound, pure and clean heart (Qalbin Salim) is so much injured that our soul dies too.
In short, if person has a Qalbin Salim (sound, clean and pure heart), he cannot disobey Allah the Almighty.
If person wants to disobey Allah, he will first have to injure or kill his own Qalbin Salim (his sound, pure and clean heart).
Once, a person will disobey Allah the Almighty, his heart will no more remain sound, clean and pure heart (Qalbin Salim).
Allah the Almighty is so High that none of us can disobey Him except we will have to first kill our own souls.
Disobeying Allah the Almighty is nothing but actually a self-abuse and self-killing (Suicide).
Allah the Most High said:
“And (O my Lord) do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected – The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children – But only one who comes to Allah with a sound, pure and clean heart (Qalbin Salim).” [Quran, 26:87-89]
And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.