When The Heart Worships....
As muslims we tend to focus more on the physical worships that we are supposed to perform. Since young ages they teach us to pray, to fast, to not drink alcohol ...
Of course, these are all beneficial and compulsory worships but there's a deeper and more important facet of Islam that we may be missing or not focusing on as much as we should.
And that is the worships of the heart, a couple of worships that when performed help us build that bond with God that is the main purpose and therefore we start doing other worships for the right reasons and with deeper purposes.
Moreover, heart worships are more fulfilling to the human heart as they are the right and healthiest thing to feed your heart, because whatever you fill your heart with becomes your master.
:قال علي رضي الله عنه
لقد سبق إلى جنات عدن أقوام ما كانوا بأكثر الناس صلاة ولا صياما ولا حجا ولا اعتمارا لكنهم عقلوا عن الله مواعظه فوجلت منه قلوبهم واطمأنت إليه نفوسهم وخشعت له جوارحهم ففاقوا الناس بطيب المنزلة وعلو الدرجة عند الناس في الدنيا وعند الله في الآخرة
So today I wanted to shed light on some of the most important ones of those worships of the heart:
I have just read (and LOVED) this book by Ibn Al Quayyim called: ''The Garden of The Lovers'' in which he states that love varies from infatuation as the minimum value of love to worship as the maximum and in between there are other values like affection and adoration...
And so whenever we are due to make a choice between two things, we need to weight our love for each and follow that of which love is heavier, and that of which love is more beneficial to us.
With this in mind and with practice, we start to choose God`s later and lasting rewards over instant and ephemerial pleasures that sins may offer us.
Because God`s love (worship) is heavier than the love of sins (mere desire/infatuation).
And when we nurture our love for God we start choosing Him over everything else.
‘Whoever has the following three qualities will have the sweetness of faith: The one who loves Allah and His Messenger (saas) more than anything else; the one who loves a person purely and solely for Allah’s sake; and the one who hates to return to unbelief after Allah has saved him, as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire.”
Prophet Muhammed PBUH. (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
And so what happens is that our worships start being driven by love not by obligation alone or habit.
“…righteous is he who…gives his wealth, for love of him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy…" -Q2:177
For greater insight on this topic I highly recommend the book. In arabic it`s روضة المحبين لابن القيم.
Fear & Hope:
These two worships should be performed equally.
Some scholars said “Whilst the slave is on his path towards Allah, he is like a bird with two wings which it requires to fly properly and maintain its balance with; these 'wings' are hope and fear. A shortfall in either of the two makes the bird lose balance, and missing both signifies the death of the bird.”
We need to have hope that our God is forgiving of our sins but not have too much hope that we stop doing all good and only rely on God`s hope to succeed and at the same time we should fear his threat for the disbeliever and the sinner but not let that fear keep us from living altogether and lock ourselves up and deprive from everything.
The circle of the allowed is bigger than that of the forbidden.
Anas reported that the Prophet PBUH entered upon a young boy who was dying. The Prophet PBUH asked, "How are you?" The boy replied, "O Messenger of Allah, I am in between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins." The Prophet PBUH said, "The like of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he feared."
Intentions & Sincerity:
Prophet Muhammet PBUH said: "Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for."
This is by far one of the most important and basic Hadith in Islam, it is a great rule that reminds us that we can get rewarded for everything we do if only our intention is set for God`s sake.
If we salute a stranger in the elevator with the intention that we are doing a good deed or we help someone lift their heavy luggage with that same intention then we are granted a reward.
Turn your habits into worships with a simple and sincere intention in your heart.
Equally, if we pray or fast with the intention of showing off or any intention other than a sincere want in pleasing God`s will or serve one of the many purposes Islam came to spread (like kindness and knowledge and so), then our worship will go to waste.
It is important to note that in Islam we have two conditions so that a deed might be accepted:
- Righteousness: which means that we should only worship God according to how He and His prophet taught us to (i.g.: we pray like the prophet taught us without adding nor substracting a move on our own);
- Sincerity and good intention: Unless you do what you do for God`s sake and solely so, then no matter how much time and energy you spend in worship and hard work, it won`t be considered and you may even be punished by it if you do it with the intention to show off or you do it for someone else other than God.
I believe that one of the best ways to achieve and nurture all these worships is knowledge.
Knowing God, his creations, the rules of the universe, the religion he set us and its benefits on the human heart and life.
I believe the more we know Him and the more aware we are of His magnificence, the more we will love Him and therefore find it easier and more pleasurable to worship Him.
The more we know Him the more ashamed we will become to sin and to not perform worships as they are ought to be performed.
So instead of trying too hard and failing at praying or fasting or doing any other physical worship, work on your heart first, build that bond between you and your Lord and worship will then come easy.
Here are some good videos on the topic: