Healing and Purifying the Heart
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sal) said: “In the body of man there is a piece of flesh. If it is healthy, the whole body is healthy. This piece of flesh is the heart.” The heart is most important, as it is the seat of man’s reality, of his personality and character. The heart’s health depends on faith. Health comes through sincerity, illness through hypocrisy. Health comes through love of Allah, illness through love of Dunya. Health comes through contentedness, illness through greed. Health comes through gentleness, illness though anger. Health comes through the remembrance of the Lord, Dhikr, illness through heedlessness, forgetting Allah. Health means being with Allah, illness means to forget Allah and to be with Shaitan.
There are so many spiritual illnesses of the heart: Hypocrisy, Shirk (Polytheism), showing-off, pride, greed, envy, jealousy, hatred, stubbornness, love of this world, egoism, lying, back-biting and bad intentions. Whoever has any of these characteristics is ill and in need of treatment. The Prophet (sal) came to cure hearts. There was no illness, physical or spiritual, which he could not heal. He cured his Companions, the Sahabas, and raised them in rank, so that they became like stars in the sky. Then the Sahabas became doctors themselves and cured others. Those who followed them, the Tabiyin, became healers, too, and so on until today. Every Saint, inheritor of the Prophet, has the ability to give medicine to people for physical and spiritual illnesses. If anyone wants to know about the condition of his heart, he must go to someone who knows. But nowadays, people are so proud that they think they can cure themselves. They accept neither Saints, nor scholars, nor other people of knowledge. But even a chiefdoctor calls another doctor for help when he is ill. He doesn’t stand in front of a mirror and cure himself. And it is a Divine Order to consult those who are always in the Divine Presence, because the answers that come to their heart are sent to them by Allah Himself.
Moulana Sheikh Nazim gives the antidote for some of the Major bad characteristics of our egoistic self below:
Who is a real doctor? He is the one saving people from bad characteristics, giving them good attributes. Ordinary physicians save people from temporary death, but bad character may cause eternal death. As much as people are not interested in eternal life, so many troubles are raining on them. As much as they are interested in eternal life, troubles will go away.
Pride & Arrogance
Don’t look down upon anything or anyone. The ego only loves itself. It is Kafir, not accepting Allah, and it wants to be sitting alone on the Throne. Your ego is telling you that you are number one that nobody is like you. It is telling you that you don’t have to listen to anyone, that you are strong and know everything, and that you are your own Sheikh. And the ego is lying to us. Who is the Sheikh? He is that one who teaches you about Allah and His Prophet. How you can know by yourself? But they don’t want to accept a teacher, these Wahabi people. And whoever doesn’t accept a Sheikh, , an Imam, a guide, his teacher is Shaitan.
Always our egos are asking to show themselves as bigger; as much as possible. Shaytan is always putting his magic mirror in front of people. "Look you are such a big one, from up and down also. Hmmmm." "Really? I am that one?" Pride is of the way of Shaitan. Allah Almighty asked him to take Adam (alai) as his Master. He rejected this. He said “I won’t accept Adam (alai) as controller over me. I won’t accept any one to be above me”. That is the pride that destroyed Shaitan or Iblis. He thought He is the most knowledgeable and did not seek for Guidance whereas over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing (Quran 12:76).When you say something to the Nafs, he misunderstands, he fights with you. He argues with you. He can't carry a word of advice. He says: Do I need an advice? I don't need any advice. Indeed it is the pride of Man’s nafs, that forced him to commit a sin.
To say that ‘I am something’ is a sign of disbelief that Allah Almighty never likes and retards our progress towards the heavens. The highest honor in the Divine Presence is to declare that I am nothing, O my Lord. Your ego will cheat you by saying “You are someone! No one can reach to you as you are praying, making Dhikr, as you are knowing more, and doing more…” . and you think that you have reached something, and you ultimately find out that you have reached nothing.’
Hazrat Bayazid Bastami, as he was passing in a street, a puppy, a dog, little dog. As he was passing by in his spiritual majesty, that poor dog ran across the Hazrat, was baffled! However that great saint, Sultan ul-Arifin stepped aside, giving way to the dog and that dog went by. His mureeds (disciples) were astonished and bewildered. They asked, What is the wisdom in this? He said, "Ay yaran, O beloved friends, that animal, as it was walking towards me, said to me, 'Ya Bayazid, don't be proud! The One who created us in the realm of creation, dressed you with this attribute, with this aspect. He dressed me with this aspect. I appear as a dog in this realm, you appear in human form. Praise and give thanks to your Lord, who created you a human. Don't gaze at me in arrogance.
Whoever is conquered by his anger, he is a useless person and cannot be a servant of Allah Almighty. This is because when he is angry, he will leave all things for his anger. It means that his ego is ordering him. He is under the command of his ego, and he cannot obey his Lord.
You have no right to be angry with another person. You must turn your anger to your own egos! You must think, "If I am all right, then all things will be all right with me. If I am not all right, then people will not be all right with me." So, we will be angry and fighting our egos only.
Anger is the worst character. When Anger grows: it is like an ocean for all bad characters. If you can dry up that ocean, no more bad characters can live in it – finished.
"You may say, 'How? If a man sees a wrong thing, mustn't he get angry?' Yes, I agree with you. But first, I would say to you, why are you not angry with yourself, your nafs? If you are seeing wrong things and getting angry, you should look first to yourself, to your ego! Be angry with it! Punish it for your wrongdoings! For bad speaking, for looking to haram; why are you not punishing yourself? It is easy to punish another, too easy. It is easy to kill others; kill, instead, your ego! When you are angry make a new wudu, and say three times 'Shahada,' and seventy times 'Astaghfirullah.' This is your punishment!
A brother asked, "What do you do about children who misbehave? Sometimes they can make you get very angry."
Shaykh Nazim said, "You may give them 'tarbiya,' which is to educate them with good manners. Also, 'taqlib'; to make them fear your speaking. It is like acting; a fierce voice, but inside you are not getting angry. You may also spank them, but never in anger. Anger is prohibited!"
Another question: "If you are in Jihad, if you are at war, is it also better to fight without anger?" The Shaykh answered, "Without anger." This brought him back to his original topic: "Anger is for Allah. It must be in Jihad, in war, but that anger is not for yourself: It is for Allah. Our Grandshaykh told the story of Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), which may educate us on that point:
"Once, during the Holy war in the time of Rasul-ullah (peace be upon him), Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was fighting with an enemy soldier during a fierce battle. This soldier was a huge man, a powerful wrestler, and it was a difficult fight. Suddenly, Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) managed to disarm his opponent. He flung him to the ground and raised his sword to kill the man. Just at that moment, as the sword was about to strike, the fallen soldier spat into Sayyidina Ali's face! Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) lowered his sword, and looked at his enemy. 'Get up!' he said. 'Get up! I cannot kill you!' The enemy soldier was dumbfounded. 'Why are you not killing me, Ali?' he asked. 'Why are you leaving me like this? Am I not your enemy?' Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) spoke: 'It is because I became filled with my ego's anger that I cannot kill you! Before you spat in my face, I was fighting with you for the sake of Allah. But, when you spat on me, I became angry for the sake of my ego! Therefore, I cannot kill you! You may go.' These words reached the fallen man's heart. 'O, Ali!' he cried, 'You are on the right way! Please take me to your Prophet (peace be upon him)!' Then, the soldier was taken to Rasul-ullah (peace be upon him), and, at the Prophet's hand, he entered Islam." "Therefore," said Shaykh Nazim, "if your anger is like this, if you are like Sayyidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), then you, too, may be angry. If your character is not like that, you must keep it to yourself!"
One of Islam’s major goals, which is realised best through following the spiritual path of Sufism, is to make a love-current pass through people’s hearts. When this love passes through hearts it eliminates all envy. Envy precludes real love, and real love and true religion, likewise, preclude envy. All true religion must instruct its followers how to uproot envy, as it is one of the ego’s worst characteristics - so bad, in fact, that it has been named “the Mother of Sins,” as the first of all sins resulted from envy. That sin, of course, was Satan’s refusal to bow down to Adam when Allah ordered him to do so; and that refusal was a result of Satan’s envying Adam for his having been made the deputy of Allah on earth and the “crown of creation”. Because of this, every Prophet right down through the ages to the Seal of Prophets, Muhammad, (Peace be upon them all) has denounced envy and warned his followers in the strongest terms to avoid it. They knew, and tried to teach others, the facts about envy; whoever is envious loses his faith. Do you think that a young plant can survive if acid is poured upon its roots instead of water? No, that young plant will be annihilated, and envy is more harmful to faith than acid is to that young plant.
Shaykh Muqtadee says, “Jealousy is when you ask for good things to go away from another person.” For example, when a man gets a new car, the jealous person will wish for the car’s owner to wreck it or drive it off a bridge. If the accident happens, the jealous man will gloat. So many sins derive their power from envy. Envy encourages people to harm other people; to kill, to burn, to rob, to loot - that is the fruit of the envy tree.
But how, exactly, can one get over his envy? For every illness there is a doctor, a specialist, who knows very well how to deal with that disease - and there are spiritual doctors who can deal with envy. If you follow such people as never carry envy in their hearts, their state may pass through to you too; but if you follow ill people their illness may infect you too. For what reason does envy spread through mankind like wildfire? Love of this life is the reason. Those who love this life envy others their portions of it. This is why the Prophet said, ”Love of this life is the source of every sin.” It is very foolish indeed for believers to carry in their hearts envy of people who devote themselves solely to the pursuit of this life’s pleasers. If one claims to believe in eternal life, in unending paradise and hell, how can he throw himself into hell? People talk and think like this; “You have a car while I have none. You have a good car while mine is an old jalopy. You live in a mansion while I live in this dump. Your wife is beautiful while mine is plain. You are strong and handsome while I am scrawny and ugly.” And even people, like those professionals, who have so much of this world’s enjoyments, envy those possessing still more than they. No greedy person can ever have all that he may want, for he might be the richest but not the handsomest and the handsomest and the richest but not the smartest. Even if he had all that he could want, and personified all that anyone could ever envy, eventually old age would rob him and he would envy those still having youth. Every believer must know that this world is not for anyone, but for everyone. Once he has understood this wisdom he keeps quiet and keeps himself in peace, far away from disturbances, troubles and problems. He who knows that the world is not for anyone but for everyone will be at peace with himself and will be free of envy. At that time he will no longer ask himself; “Why has that person been given so many things while I have not?” No, there is nothing in this life for any one person; this life is for everyone,….. you will use things and then give them to the next in line and to the next and so on. Therefore there is no wisdom in envying anyone for anything. You must be vigilant so as not to kindle that fire in your heart. One day he asked Moses (peace be upon him) to pray to Allah to give him a cow. Moses (peace be upon him) agreed and asked his Lord to send that poor fellow his cow. Allah Almighty answered, “O Moses! Tell that man to pray for his neighbour, and I shall give two cows, one for each of them!” So, Moses (peace be upon him) went back to the poor man and told him what Allah had said. “If my neighbour gets a cow,” replied the indignant man, “then what would I want one for!” This story shows us the nature of jealousy. That man wanted good things for himself alone. Not only did he not care for his neighbour’s needs but he actually went out of his way to prevent the other man’s happiness. Give happiness to people and you will be happy. If anyone wants to be happy by himself only, he can't; he will never be happy. But if he is going to share happiness with all, he will be happy.
Perhaps you have a donkey, and so you don’t need to worry about paying high petroleum prices, all you need is straw, and straw is very cheap; and what’s more your donkey will go a long way on a little straw! You will get many miles per bale from your donkey, much cheaper to run that even a Volkswagen, and fewer mechanical problems! Even if you have only a donkey, you must be proud to ride it down the street instead of riding in a Rolls Royce. You must think that no one has ever been given what you have been given – and it is true.To think like this is the second important medicine against envy – to be thankful, truly thankful, for having what you have and to prefer it to all else. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an; ”And very few of My servants are truly thankful.” You can be among the truly thankful only when you prefer your portion, and be it very humble, to all others. This thankfulness is a higher degree of righteousness than patience, for many, many people can be patient. A patient person may still be envious but he just bears with his lot and suffers through it without complaining. He who has attained to real thankfulness of the highest degree truly recognises Allah’s beneficence toward him and is not deluded by the vanishing treasures of people who are destined for ‘basement flats’.
A truly thankful man says; ”What I have been given, no one has ever been given, not even the Prophets.” And this is true, since all of what the Prophets taught has been passed down to us. The knowledge of all Prophets, Saints and good people – all of it He has given into our innermost heart of hearts, where the Greater Universe is to be found; a universe inside of which this whole material creation may disappear for its insignificance, like a pebble in an ocean. To that Universe we must look to find what we have been given, but foolish mankind always looks outside and envies. Some people may even be so foolish as to look at the treasures which Allah has granted them and yet make no effort to take the keys that open those endless treasures, holding instead to their petty envy. Look to the treasures He Almighty has given you and take them to yourselves. Allah Almighty says; ”I am the Opener (al Fattah) take the keys to your treasures – approach and take them”. Instead we prefer to run away from Him.
(Therefore) “There is no jealousy in Paradise!” If in those last moments unbelievers will believe, they will enter their private stations in Paradise that were granted to them in pre-eternity. Their stations differ from the stations granted to those who believed before arriving at their deathbeds, but each person will be content with his station and enjoy it, and each one will consider Allah’s grant to him as having been the greatest. No one will be sorry that he is at the station he is at and not at another — no envy or displeasure. Everyone must return finally to his ‘Heavenly Headquarters’ — that is the meaning of the Qur’anic verse: “Verily we belong to Allah, and verily to Him is our return.” So many things may occur between those two ends of our journey, but we must ultimately return to our Divine Stations in the Divine Presence.
Do you think (a synthetic) diamond is the same as a real diamond? But from far away you may say both of them are diamonds, but no, never!
One of the biggest awliya in the Islamic world, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi (q), was saying, "O People! Be as you are showing yourself to people; don't cheat them, don’t use two personalities. Use one personality and your real person is going to be in your spirituality. But you are not using; you are hiding your real being and showing yourself (opposite to) that. That is haraam. Be as you are!" Don't use two personalities you may cheat (lie to) people but you can’t cheat the Lord of Heavens, you can’t cheat heavenly beings, no! About those who cheat people, the Seal of Prophets (s) is saying, "That one is not from my nation." That is a very heavy warning from Prophet (s)!
People now are trying to show themselves not as their real personality, but they are asking to cheat people using two personalities: one keeping for themselves (private behavior), and one when they are dealing with people. They are using their second personality for the sake of Shaytan. That person may show, "I am so trustworthy. I am like good," but when reaching his target he removes his mask and shows who he really is, taking power from people and cheating them. That is the worst shaytanic characteristic that all prophets warned against, saying, "Beware of Shaytan, because he is trying to make people use two faces!" Cheating people caused the whole world to fall into such a crisis. It is not really an economical crisis; it is a crisis of our characteristic, (that changed good character to bad). ِ