"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: nrqazi
Full Name: Naeem Qazi
User since: 25/Nov/2007
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Known as Tazkiyatun Naffs or Nufus

Why is this important?

It is important for us to all focus on this topic for many reasons, the first being to find and follow the path of Quran and Sunnah for salvation in this life and ultimately the hereafter. It is also quite relevant due to the extremism we are facing in the world today as we find some Muslims go from one extreme to another by either their extreme attachment to the dunya (this life) or extreme spirituality where one cuts off almost totally from the dunya and does not care about the anyone but themselves.

The topics in this subject include:

- Introduction to Purification of the Soul –

- Traps of Shaytan

- Diseases of the Heart (Definitions, causes, cures)

  * Anger

  * Back-biting

  * Tale carrying

  * Slander

  * Envy

  * Lying

  * Ostentation (Riya') showing off

  * Love of this world

  * Miserliness / greed

  * Hatred of another Muslim


It would be hard to argue that we have not suffered from any of the above diseases of the heart or that they will not at some point in our lives affect us therefore it is important for us to understand how to deal with these in accordance to the Quran and Sunnah.

Some of the problems we face:


Many Muslims hearts have been penetrated by the materialism we are faced with today, the concept of loving and living this life like there is no other life or accountability after this life;


The Quran mentions in Surah Ar Rum verse 7:


They know but the outer things in the life of this world: but of the end of things (hereafter) they are heedless.


Allah SWT (Subhanahu Wata'ala - The Sacred and The Mighty) first praises the non Muslims that the only things they know are the external factors of this world, the infrastructure, the roads, the planes, technology, etc it’s good to have these factors Alhamdulillah but life is not just about all about the outer things of this world. This so called progress and modernity that is claimed to show a nations success is not the be all and end all of life. Sadly even some Muslims believe that the only way to excel in life is that to equal or challenge this success, but the key thing is to focus on how Allah SWT ends this verse.


Allah SWT says, as for the hereafter they are HEEDLESS (GHAFILOON) they have forgotten Allah SWT, they have forgotten the purpose of life. Again unfortunately many of us have also lost this aspect of our lives. We believe this life is the only life to live for, we put all our focus on this dunya yet how long will we be living here in comparison to the Hereafter (Akhirah)? It shows our hearts are void of spirituality.


In the Quran Allah SWT mentions this in Surah Al Araf verse 179:


And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless


Also in Surah Baqara verse 18:


Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return back to the path


These are verses aimed at people who have become astray from Islam, don’t think that it is the eyes that are blind, it is the heart – the hearts are blind they have become sealed due to their own earnings – earned through evil bad deeds – the heart is the essence of a Muslim because if the heart is corrupt then everything else is corrupted.


The Prophet PBUH (Peace and Blessings Upon Him) said in a Hadith (sayings of the Prophet PBUH): "Lo! Verily, there is in the body a small piece of flesh; if it is good the whole body is good/correct and if it is corrupted the whole body is corrupted; indeed that morsel of flesh is the heart.


A pure heart is one that is full of the love of Allah. It is a heart that naturally fears and loathes falling into sin and even the possibility of falling into sin.


One of the diseases to affect the heart is the path to modernism, for e.g. the concept of assimilation/integration – to give up your religious traits, concepts, symbols (beard, the Hijab, etc) to fit in with the society in order to try and please non Muslims to accept Islam.


Do not neglect the Sunnah to try and appease the non Muslims as Islam will automatically become presentable and attractive to non Muslims if you live it in accordance to Quran and Sunnah!


But if you don’t follow the Sunnah fully then don’t mock it or make excuses to not follow it. You should appreciate your own weakness and aim to rid them by implementing the Sunnah in your life. Even worse is to mock the Sunnah as this leads to disbelief as Allah SWT has warned the people ‘you have committed disbelief after Islam came to you’  


Some people say Islam is inside my heart or my Hijab or my beard it’s all in my heart.


Islam is not just inside the heart as it is also through actions. Islam is holistic where it is more than just one concept.  To say Islam is in my heart is a shortcut but will not work. You must link the heart to your actions otherwise you can say I have prayer in my heart but do not perform the actions to pray.


This brings us to the essence of the purification of the soul.


Allah SWT created humans in 3 components/parts:


  1. Soul
  2. Intellect or Mind
  3. Body

The first part includes matters concerning the Soul which is known as the Ruh or Naffs in Arabic and we have little knowledge of this as mentioned in the Quran:

                       They ask you [O Muhammad (PBUH)] concerning the Ruh (Soul). Say: 'It is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given very little.”  [Al-Israa 17: 85]


The second part is of intellect, the rationale or the mind known as Akal in Arabic. It is by this Allah SWT distinguished man from all other creatures as we humans have been given this freewill to choose and distinguish right from wrong.

Third part is the body or the badun as known in Arabic.

When joined together these 3 components create a creature called the human or Insaan in Arabic.

Allah SWT has also connected the 3 components of our religion (Deen) which are Islam, Iman and Ihsan to these 3 components.

Allah SWT has made Iman the inward belief system for the benefit of the intellect, Islam the outer action for the benefit of the body and Ihsan for the benefit of the soul.

  1. Soul – Ihsan
  2. Intellect – Iman
  3. Body –Islam

This can be seen clearly in the Hadith narrated by Muslim:

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab reports: One day when we were with Allah's Messenger (PBUH), a man with very white clothing and very black hair came up to us. No mark of travel was visible on him, and none of us recognized him. (Note emphasis on the description of this man’s appearance to affirm this man was unknown yet no sign of travel). Sitting down beside the Prophet (PBUH), leaning his knees against his and placing his hands on his thighs, he said: “Tell me, Muhammad, about Islam.” He replied: “Islam means that you should testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (PBUH) is Allah's Messenger, that you should observe the prayer, pay the Zakat, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to go there.” He this man said: “You have spoken the truth.” We were surprised at his questioning him and then declaring that he spoke the truth. He said: “Now tell me about Iman.” He replied: “It means that you should believe in Allah (SWT), His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you should believe in the decreeing both of good and evil.” Remarking that he had spoken the truth, (note, Islam is related to outer actions such as 5 pillars whereas Iman are related to inner belief) he then said: “Now tell me about Ihsan.” He replied: “It means that you should worship Allah (SWT) as though you see Him, for He sees you though you do not see Him.” He said: “Now tell me about the Hour.” He replied: “The one who is questioned about it is no better informed than the one who is asking.”  (Note this is about the time of the hour which none but Allah SWT has knowledge of it with the hour being the day of judgement – this shows that knowledge of the unseen (ILM GAYB) is only with Allah SWT) He said: “Then tell me about its signs.” He replied: “That a maid-servant should beget her mistress, and that you should see barefooted, naked, poor men and shepherds exalting themselves in buildings.” (Note, take a look today in Dubai, Saudi and other Arab lands the tallest buildings in the world) [Umar] says: He then went away, and after I had waited for a long time, [the Prophet] said to me: “Do you know who the questioner was, Umar?” I replied: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “He was Gabriel (Angel) who came to you to teach you your religion.”

So after reading this Hadith we can see that Islam is linked with our outer actions, Iman with our inner belief system and Ihsan with perfecting worshipping Allah SWT as if you see him even though you cannot see Allah SWT.

One can’t have one without the other 2 as e.g. Islam isn’t valid without Iman as they encompass each other.

Just to recap Allah SWT has made Iman the inward belief system for the benefit of the intellect, Islam the outer action for the benefit of the body and Ihsan for the benefit of the soul.

If someone is ill where do they go? They go to the doctor/hospital right, and most people will know the emergency number to dial such as 999 or 911 etc to get emergency medical aid. So why is it that if one has a problem with the body they know what to do but when it comes the diseases of the heart and soul they are lost, most don’t know where to go or what to do.

This is a big problem we face today in the Ummah (Global Muslim community) so if someone does not take care of all 3 components then there will be an imbalance in their life.

This is why you may find some people focus only on their intellect such as Islamic creed and belief system but don’t take care of the purification of their soul, others may pay too much attention on their outward actions of Islam yet their hearts are devoid of any concentration or humility towards Allah SWT.  That is why we have to pay attention to all three and we need to be holistic to take care of our Deen.

Ihsan literally means perfection – so in this context it means to perfect or make good your actions for the sake of Allah SWT.

How to achieve Ihsan – it is done by worshipping Allah SWT like you can see Allah SWT even though you cannot see Allah but Allah SWT can see you

Obligatory portion of Ihsan – every Muslim must achieve – it is to be sincere in your actions and according to the Quran and Sunnah

For an action to be accepted it has to have the right intention – it has to be from the way of the prophet PBUH.

It was narrated in a Hadith that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radi Allahu anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) say: ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.’” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

The second condition is that the action should be in accordance with the only way which Allah has prescribed for worship, which is by following the Prophet (PBUH) in the laws that he has brought. It was narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e., Islam, Sunnah), will have it rejected.” [Sahih Muslim]

Extra Ihsan which is the recommended part is to perform ones action in the station of Muraqaba. This being the stage of knowing that you are being watched by Allah SWT. Remember if you do not see him, know he Allah sees you – being aware of this achieves the stage of Muraqaba

The highest stage is known as Mushahadah which is like worshipping Allah as if you see Allah although one cannot see Allah in this life but one can recognise his existence through his names and attributes.

The reality of certainty can be split into three levels:

  1. Ilmul Yakeen- Certainty of knowledge
  2. Aynul Yakeen- Certainty with the eye
  3. Haqul Yakeen- Certainty with reality

An example of this: If someone mentions to you about a special fruit that you can only get in a certain country which you have not ever seen or tasted you may or may not believe them. However if they are someone truthful and someone you trust the chances are you will believe them. This level of belief is known as Ilmul Yakeen- Certainty of knowledge.

If you were to take a flight to this country and actually see the special fruit with your own eyes then this level of belief is known as Aynul Yakeen- Certainty with the eye.

Now if you were to taste this special fruit you would achieve Haqul Yakeen- Certainty with reality. This level or stage is the one where one has no doubt and worships Allah with so much devotion and trust that no matter what problems and sufferings life throws at them, they will continue to worship Allah and avoid even going near sins out of the love of obeying Allah and fear of Allah SWT punishment.

If one is to relate this to their Salat (Prayer) then imagine when you stand and pray, know Allah is watching you even though you cannot see him to attain the level of Muraqaba and to get to the stage of Mushahadah you need to be worshipping Allah SWT as if you see Allah SWT although you cannot.

This witnessing of Allah is created by the effect of Allah SWT attributes in his creation and the more a person’s certainty that Allah SWT is watching them the higher their level of Ihsan.

Highest level of Ihsan is at the stage of Mushahadah – worshipping Allah SWT AS IF you see him.

How can you attain this level?

You should magnify Allah SWT names and attributes in everyday life and attain great knowledge of them, by actualising and realising that Allah SWT knowledge encompasses all things. For example you feel shy to uncover your private parts even in seclusion knowing Allah is watching you.

“Allah is more deserving that you should feel shy before Him than people.”
This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Also connect things that occur in the creation of Allah with the name and attributes of Allah SWT.

E.g. with food we eat – connect with Allah SWT name of Al Razzak – the one who sustains giver of sustenance

Another example is of the mother feeding her baby in the middle of the night. This should remind you of mercy, and then think of the Mercy of Allah SWT which is far greater than any humans. Allah SWT loves us more than the love of a mother to her child.

Another example, if you see someone committing a sin it should remind you Allah SWT is severe (Shadeed) in punishment yet also most forgiving and most merciful (Ar Rahman & Ar Raheem).

If someone is blessed with a baby then also remember Allah is the one who gives life, and if someone dies you remember Allah SWT is the one who causes death.

There are countless other examples of Allah SWT names and attributes that the one who wishes to get closer to Allah can use to relate in their everyday life to attain higher Ihsan.

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