We will deal with a comprehensive plan for the treatment of the heart. This is the last disease.
If we look at the 7 deadly sins:
We notice that he covered the first five but not gluttony and lust by themselves. He deals with Shahwa (gluttony and lust) as causes but not diseases in themselves. This is because these are both fitrah inclinations. Even in the Catholic tradition they are the last two, because they aren’t considered as bad as the rest. Gluttony is fuel for lust. Imam Al Ghazali covers these two extensively in his book “Breaking the Two desires” by Abdul Hakim Winters (translation). This is an excellent book, that’s highly recommended as an addition to this course. The point is to balance those two, control them, and not completely eliminate them.
General Treatment Plan for the diseases of the heart
The treatment plan that’s comprehensive is to prohibit the self from what it desires coupled with hunger. Vigilance in the night, silence and Meditation. Prohibiting the self from what it desires, “None of you truly believes until his hawaa is in accordance with what I have brought” a hadith. This incorporates prohibiting the self until it no longer desires disobedience.
“The nafs is like an infant if you neglect it, it will grow loving to suckle and if you wean it, it won’t want to”. In Israel they did a study and discovered that there is an increase in IQ by 3 points for every month a baby was breastfed! Also the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said “Beware of the wet nurse who is not intelligent, because she nourishes the brain”. Halima (The Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said wet nurse) was very eloquent, in the hadith she narrated she uses very difficult words, that ulamaa spent a lot of time on their commentary with.
The one who fears Allah and prevents his self from doing what it desires acquires self discipline. In this culture all the self help books are for people who can’t control themselves. We have prayer, fasting, cleanliness, and all these are related to learning how to discipline ourselves.
The way to do that is:
The stomach is the key impulse for most people. One of the Salafi said “For me to raise my hand from the plate while I am still hungry, is better than staying up all night in prayer”. Some people get really mad when they don’t get their food fast enough.The infantile nafs- A baby cries for food and the minute it gets the breast it goes into this state of relaxation. It’s the same reaction with people who are controlled by their stomach. You will not die if you miss a meal! The early Shuyukh focused on hunger more than anything else.
A man who from Yemen from the Banu Hanifa tribe came to the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) house and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) offered him a bowl of milk. The man drank it, and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) offered more, and the man drank it, until he drank a full seven bowls. The next day, he became Muslim, and when he was offered a bowl of milk, he only drank one, to the surprise of the Sahaba around him. So they asked the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) what caused the change and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied “The Kafir eats from seven intestines, while the believer eats from only one”.
People eat a lot more meat nowadays than ever before. People used to eat it only once a week, and sometimes only during Eid days! In the modern culture people are like animals they literally graze. People snack all the time, and convenience stores are around every corner. The average American has twenty food contacts a day! People are encouraged to eat smaller meals throughout the day. But traditionally there are set times for meals, and there was discipline.
In the American army there now hot food, they put water in it, and the food heats up. There is no fortitude whatsoever, for every man in the field he needs at least 17 to back him up. The Muslims can deal with shortage, just because of fasting. It’s sad though, because Ramadhan has become a feast for some people, all night long. There’s more barakah in eating food together from one plate.
Sh. Khatri when he returned to Mauritania from abroad was asked what was the most surprising thing he noticed and he said he was shocked that people ate from separate plates! The Mauritanians couldn’t even grasp that idea…what do you mean separate plates? He said many a time he was embarassed because they put a big plate and he would start eating from it, and people would come with their smaller plates. If the food is nutritious then you need less of it, junk food makes you eat more.
2. Vigilance in the Night
To bring the heart to life give the night sometime even if it is just two Rakaats. In this age where its harder to get up, its better to get up even 5 minutes before fajr consistently then to try and do an hour one day and then skip a couple of days.
When the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to Madina he gave a Khutba in Masjid Quba “Give greeting (spread peace), feed people, and pray at night when others are asleep and you will enter Jannah”. Very simple advice, if we were all to follow it, we would be in a much better place.
We have to be careful though, there was a woman who used to pray at night, give sadaqa, etc but she was mean to her neighbors and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said “she is in hell”.
Tahajjud is a big thing, and Allah has encouraged that for His believers. It is good to have a steady practice. It is also good to do the shorter surahs with great rewards, to try and get as much rewards as possible.
If you practice every night, and you wake up late one night, it’s okay to do your prayers before you pray fajr (as long as it doesn’t make you late for fajr).
If women can’t pray it is acceptable to do dhikr, read beneficial books, meditate, duas etc. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) remarked on Abdullah bin Umar (radhiallaahu anhu), “what an excellent man would that he prayed at night”. It doesn’t mean he would be an excellent man if he prayed. It means he is a good man, and how much better would he be if he prayed. When Abdullah heard that, he never left night prayers from that day on.
Aisha (radhiallaahu anha) said “The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prayed so much until his feet cracked and were swollen.” She asked him “why do you do this and Allah has forgiven you all your past and future sins?” the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied “Should I not be a grateful servant?”
“Whoever seeks high things will spend his nights awake”. The best time is to divide the night into six parts from Maghrib to Fajr and the last sixth is the best time to get up and pray Qiyam. So if Maghrib is at 6pm and fajr at 6am, the best time would be 4-6am.
Any time after Isha is considered Qiyam. Those with a heavy liver is harder for them to get up after they fall asleep, so it is okay to pray before they go to bed. It’s actually easier to wake up at 4am because the sleep right before fajr is the heaviest. The hikma is that Allah wants us to wake up when it is difficult to break out of sleep.
Ten Rakaahs is considered best. It’s actually better to do witr right after Isha unless you are very consistent in waking up. Sayidna Abu Bakr (radhiallaahu anhu), although he woke up, he still preferred to pray witr before going to bed.
The best thing to do is to sleep and then wake up, because it is harder, (Mujahadah).
The Shaytaan binds three knots in the back of our heads at night and whispers “you have a long night ahead of you”. If you wake up and say dua, the first knot is untied. If you do wudhu, the second is untied. If you pray the third is untied and you are freed from the binding of shaytaan.
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said “If you sleep all night shaytaan urinates in your ear”. Some Ulamah take that to be literal (we are warned not to make the literal into metaphoric unless it is necessary). Some say it mainly means shaytaan prevents us from doing good at night.
May Allah give us Tawfiq to keep vigilance for Him at night (Amin).
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to read the last part of Suratul Imran when he woke up at night (from ayah 190- to the end). Murattul Hajj used to wake up 4-5 hours before fajr!
The thing that prevents us from waking up for Qiyaam is our sins. Waking up is a gift from Allah, and our sins take that away from us.
One righteous man was deprived of Qiyam for 40 days for saying something about someone he shouldn’t have.
Witr should preferrably be the last prayer, but if you aren’t sure you are going to wake up,its better to do it right after Isha before going to bed.
Sh. Habeeb “Go the path of ease with yourself in order for you to move along with yearning. Two Rakaats performed by a lover is better than 100 done without love. It should all come from yearning for Allah’s pleasure”.
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said “Whoever was given silence is given much wisdom”. Imam Shafi said when he was in a gathering and needed to say something he would first look into himself and determine what his intention was if it was to show off, he didn’t say anything.
Imam Shafi said that he never had a debate with someone without praying that the truth will be manifested on the tongue of his oponent, so that he would submit to it. Subhana Allah!
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) didn’t like chatterboxes. Imam Malik said of his student “he is a good man, except he speaks a month worth of talking in a day”.
It’s a good practice. There are different ways to meditate: we can reflect upon Qiyama, or the Divine names of Allah and His attributes, upon our blessings, our death, our life.
Keeping the Company of Good people
Imam ibn AtAllah said “don’t take as a company someone whose state does not elevate you and whose speech does not guide you to Allah subhanahu wa t’ala.” A good person can help change your focus even when you are gloomy to be more grateful to Allah.
Sidi Abul Hassan said “Whoever tells you to go to the world has cheated you….” One thing we have to remember is that we will die anytime. If you have a salesman who offers you two houses. One, he tells you is temporary, it can vanish at any time. The other is permanent, beautiful but is more expensive. Which one would you choose to invest in? The Akhirah is bought by saving your soul.
Abul Hasan continued “And the one who tells you to do a lot of good deeds has exhausted you, but the one who indicates the contentment of Allah has guided you”. To finally take refuge in the one to Whom all affairs are returned to.
The only real cure to these diseases is going to Allah with complete submission and plea with Him to change your condition.
Teach the ignorant one to guidance.
You have to be like someone who is drowning or one in a barren desert with no other recourse but Allah.
Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl said his guidance came on a boat. He was with some Habashi Christians, and waves were rocking the boat. So Ikrimah called to his idols for help. The Habashi laughed at him “You are calling an idol all the way in Makkah to help you here at sea?” Ikrimah realised the foolishness of that, and Tawheed entered his heart at that moment. He realised only Allah could help him.