A light and essential read on the heart which clearly explains the function and purpose of a heart and how we as Muslims are supposed to safeguard it. I think there are many books currently that address the purification of the heart and soul, but I personally enjoy this one where it heavily emphasizes the heart’s rights in relation to Allah and highlights plenty of verses from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
When one is attached to this world, its pleasures & pursuits, the attachment occupies a great portion of the heart, which was created to be attached to Allah. Hence, it distracts the person from the higher goals of attaining closeness to Allah, righteousness, & Paradise. This is why He warns us, saying:
“O you who believe! Do not let your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And those who do so will be the losers.” (63:9) “The mutual competition for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things), until you visit the graves.” (102:1-2)
Though Muslims are certain of the fact that this world will perish, most of them have not internalised this reality & its implications in their hearts. They are instead preoccupied with their worldly desires & goals, not realizing the insignificance of this world.
The Prophet S.A.W once passed by a dead goat which had either very small or mutilated ears. The Prophet took it and asked his companions, “Which of you would like to have this for 1 dirham?” They said, “We don’t want it. What would we use it for?” He said, “Would you like to have it for free?” They replied, “Even if it were alive, we would find it defective, since it has small ears. What do you think now that it’s dead?” Allah’s Messenger then told them, “By Allah, the world is more insignificant to Allah than this dead goat is to you.” (Muslim). Realizing this would help us implement the Prophet S.A.W.’s statement: “Be in this world like a traveller or a wayfarer.”
Title: A Commentary on Ibn Taymiyyah’s Essay On the Heart
Author: Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Year of Publication: 2014