Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest: Lesson 13

Sunday 29 April 2018

Lesson 13: Jealousy, excesses in worldly matters, and curing the contamination of the heart 

  • Recap of lesson 12
    • Goodness, generosity and Bravery are inseparable, why is this?
    • Likewise stinginess and cowardliness are also inseparable
    • The example which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) gave regarding the generous vs the miserly
    • Ibnul Qayyim mentions a principle: Bliss and relaxation in life will convert in the grave and in the afterlife into the same. In a similar fashion, the one whose heart is tight due to him not obeying Allah, then this will turn into torment and punishment in the grave and the afterlife.
  • At times you may find a person whose heart is usually relaxed, you may find him temporarily afflicted with a tight chest on the odd occasion and likewise a person who has a tight chest and has not been granted a relaxed chest may temporarily have a relaxed chest. Ibnul Qayyim says no consideration is given to these temporary factors. What matters is the constant, ongoing characteristic of a person.
    • g. a person who is usually a coward or a miser and on one occasion does something generous or brave, then this does not change his main characteristic
  • List of means of relaxing the chest so far:
    • Tawhid (Islamic monotheism)
    • Huda (guidance)
    • Noor of eemaan (Light of Belief)
    • Inaaba (turning towards Allah in repentance)
    • Ilm (knowledge)
    • Loving Allah
    • Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah
    • Ihsan, kindness and generosity
    • Bravery
  • From the greatest means of bringing about the relaxation of the chest is to remove the blameworthy characteristics or contaminations of the heart
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says these blameworthy characteristic are in reference to envy, jealousy, hatred, having great desire for the world, and being lazy with repentance.
    • Example of water, no matter how pure it was originally, if it becomes contaminated
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says the one who has been afflicted with jealousy, when he sees another person enjoying a blessing he wishes that blessing to be taken away from that person or delivered to him.
    • His soul does not rest, his jealousy torments him
    • He becomes agitated
    • In reality, the one who is jealous, then his condition speaks for himself. It is as though he is saying “O my Lord why did you give so and so such and such blessing”.
    • This automatically will lead to harm, backbiting and slander.
    • Will such a person ever have a relaxed chest?
  • The jealous one is afflicted with long hopes, “Later on in life I will change this and that”
  • All of the effort of the jealous person will be wasted due to his heart being contaminated
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says a short thobe and a thick beard, even though they have been commanded, if behind these things there are contaminations of the heart, then these things will not benefit a person. Rather, these external matters should stem from an inner pure heart.
  • Ibn qayyim says if a person adopts means of alleviating his chest without cleansing his heart from contaminations then the alleviation of the chest will not come about.
  • From among the means of alleviating the chest, is to leave off excessive worldly matters:
    • These matters bring about pain and sadness in the heart of as person
    • Excess looking in matters which Allah has prohibited, even just for tourism, then this will prevent you from looking at what Allah loves such as the Qur’an, Sunnah, learning.
    • Excessive speech, i.e. backbiting, gossiping and idle talk. People who do this see time as cheap, whereas the Muslim should see time as more precious than wealth as it is irreplaceable and your only true asset
    • Excessive listening, g. to music, songs and worthless speech, then this type of behavior will mean such a person will not spend his/her time listening to the Qur’an and learning his/her religion.
    • Excess Socialising, Especially in our time: Nowadays socializing will bring about evil and will take you away from attending classes, learning and sticking to those who will benefit you. One should not become a hermit, however if you cannot find any type of beneficial gathering then being secluded is better than socializing in vain.
    • Excessive eating:e. gluttony
    • Excessive sleeping: This will. NOTE these days a person may set his alarm 07:30 Am for work, but will not set his time/alarm for the Fajr prayer, this is a great sin and some scholars say this type of person is a disbeliever as he has abandoning the prayer.
    • NOTE: if you wasted your time in these excessive matters, then one day you will be old and will be struck with regret that you have lost your time and youth and will never get that time back.
    • However, if it is the case that your heart has remorse due to the guilt of having wasted this time, then how blessed a grief this is
  • Ibn Qayyim says how constrained bitter is the life of a person who has engaged in all of the above, and how blissful is the life of the one who has taken part in all of the means of alleviating his heart
  • The point of all of these lessons is that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was the most perfect of creation in respect to relaxation of the chest, real happiness, elevation of rank and pardoning of sins
  • How much relaxation of the heart and bliss in this life you attain is proportionate to how closely you follow the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
  • When one says “I love the Messenger of Allah”, then this should not be based solely on his personality, indeed his uncle Abu Talib loved him for this reason and this did not benefit him. What is needed is the love that comes from Eemaan (belief).
  • How much Allah will support you and protect you is proportionate on how closely you follow the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
  • Whoever finds goodness (in this world and the next), then let him praise Allah, and whoever finds other than that then let him not blame anyone except his own self

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Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest: Lesson 12

Sunday 29th Rajab 1439/15 April 2018

Lesson 12: The Kind and Generous vs. the Miserly

  • Recap of lesson 11
    • The Two types of love (beneficial and harmful)
    • When does loving something besides Allah or at the expense of his duty to Allah, become shirk?
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami mentioned the harmful (sadness, loss of perfection etc) effects of loving something/someone besides Allah
    • NOTE: the above harmful love is when someone loves something/someone in a way only befitting to Allah, or with humility, or such that this causes deficiency in his duty to Allah. Natural, normal love towards one’s spouse or child or an inclination towards one’s wealth which does not decline his duty to Allah is not what is meant.
    • How are the above cured?
      • Remembrance of Allah
        • Qur’an
        • Adhkar such as from the Fortress of the Muslim
      • The importance of being kind, Ihsan
    • “Ihsan” literally means to perfect, in this context kindness and generosity is meant
    • The one who is stingy and tight fisted lives a sad and constricted life
    • Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “The example of a miserand an almsgiver is like the example of two persons wearing iron cloaks.” Allah’s Apostle also said, “The example of an almsgiver and a miser is like the example of two persons who have two iron cloaks on them from their breasts to their collar bones, and when the almsgiver wants to give in charity, the cloak becomes capacious till it covers his whole body to such an extent that it hides his fingertips and covers his footprints (obliterates his tracks). (1) And when the miser wants to spend, it (the iron cloak) sticks and every ring gets stuck to its place and he tries to widen it, but it did not become wide. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, also found in Sahih Muslim]
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says from the avenues of alleviating the chest is to be kind to creation and benefitting them with what one can.
      • Ihsan is of two types, literally means to “perfect” and so the first type is to have Ihsan in the worship of Allah, i.e. to perfect it. The second category is Ihsan towards creation, i.e. goodness and kindness towards creation.
    • Being kind and having mercy towards other people and creation is a form of showing thankfulness towards Allah as he is the one who blessed you in the first place and placed you in the position of being able to spend and help others. Therefore one who is in that position, then that act of spending is an act of gratitude towards Allah.
      • Helping others and showing mercy can be in many forms, you can help them physically with a task, you can help someone in need financially, you can put a good word in for someone who needs a reference if you are in a position to do so etc.
      • Therefore the generous is NOT just someone with money; kindness itself is a mercy to others. One can be generous with even just a smile.
      • Examples of such kind and happy people
    • Ibn Qayyim says as for the miser, in whom there is no ihsan, he is the one who has the heaviest chest and lives the most bitter life and possess the greatest amount of distress.
      • Why is this? He has gone against the word of Allah and gone against the fitra (Natural disposition of a human
      • This type of person is in a state of uneasiness, continuously trying to satisfy his greediness and niggardliness, whilst his heart reproaches him all the while, and for that reason he lives in a state of grief as he is unable to extend the hand of kindness to the other servants of Allah.
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says stinginess necessitates and is inseparable from cowardliness, just as generosity and kindness necessitates and is inseparable from courage. Therefore when you see a generous person, know that he is brave and courageous, and when you see a miser know that he is a coward.
    • Recap so far of causes of achieving relaxation of the chest:
      1. Tawhid (Islamic monotheism)
      2. Huda (guidance)
      3. Noor of eemaan (Light of Belief)
      4. Inaaba (turning towards Allah in repentance)
      5. Ilm (knowledge)
      6. Loving Allah
      7. Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah
      8. Ihsan, kindness and generosity
    • Next Part: Ibn Qayyim says from among the means of relieving the heavy and tight chest is bravery, because the brave one has an expanded chest and is someone who is easy going, has a big heart. As for the coward, he has the most heavy heart, no happiness or delight does he experience, he only experiences the pleasure which the animals derive, however he is denied from true happiness of the heart.
    • Principle: the state of your heart whilst in this life, that is how the state of your grave is going to be in the next life
      • Indeed the one who is kind and generous, the bliss which his soul experiences in his life transforms in his grave into a garden, and in a similar fashion the tightness experienced by a miser and coward converts into confinement and torture in the grave.

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Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest Lesson 11:

Saturday 22 Rajab 1439/8 April 2018

Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest

Lesson 11: Curing the heart, the Effect of making Dhikr of Allah often and the Importance of being kind

  • Recap of Lesson 10
    • Ibn Qayyim says a person in whose heart the love of Allah has settled, then such a person’s chest becomes tight only when he sees the people who are idle, lazy and heedless in returning to Allah, those who do not relish in his Worship become an eye sore and mixing with them troubles him as though he has been struck by a fever.
    • Ibn Qayyim says from the greatest causes of suffocation of the chest is to turn away from Allah and the heart being attached to someone/something other than him, and being heedless of his remembrance
    • Permissible forms of love, e.g. loving one’s spouse, child or loving someone for the sake of Allah
    • However, it is possible that permissible love can go beyond bounds such that a person end’s up loving something/something more at the expense of loving Allah, then it becomes impermissible. E.g. someone loving his business or someone at the expense of his duty to Allah. This is impermissible but not shirk.
    • There is another degree of impermissible love where someone loves someone or something and shows lowliness/humility, then this becomes shirk (Associating partners with Allah).
  • Why is shirk the greatest of crimes?
    • Because Shirk decreases love of Allah, and love of Allah is the spirit of Eemaan (Belief) and without Eemaan the heart becomes dead
    • A person who commits shirk has shared the love that was only belonging to Allah, he has divided it amongst others
  • Ibn Qayyim says that love is of two types:
    • One form is the love that is paradise on earth, delight and nourishment of the heart, life and cure of the soul, indeed this is loving Allah with all of one’s heart
    • The second form is the torture of the soul, the sadness of the spirit, the imprisonment of the heart and the tightness of the chest. Indeed this is to love others besides Allah, with love that belongs only to him
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says that whoever has been given love for Allah with all his heart, then he is the one who is in a paradise in this world and will enter the Paradise of the Hereafter. Whoever dies upon that state then it is hoped that he is upon good.
  • When a person loves Allah with all his heart, then the creation becomes like inanimate objects since he/she realises nothing can harm or benefit him in and of themselves. He/she realises that the command is ONLY in the hand of Allah and turns ONLY to Allah for whatever need.
  • When a person loves someone/something other than Allah (in an impermissible way), then his heart becomes weary, bitter, and tight.
    • NOTE: This is referring to impermissible love, whether or not shirk is present, see above.
  • Ibn Qayyim says that Allah has created the sons of Adam and has given them a state of completion to each of their faculties and organs (e.g. the eye and sight), and that when such a part of him loses its completion, then the person feels uneasy about that. Ibn Qayyim says the king of all the organs is the heart and was created in order to recognise and remember its creator, to love and hate for its maker, and that when it loses its completion and perfection such a heart becomes agonised.
  • So how do we cure the heart?
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami this is via the Prophetic medicine and that ordinary medical knowledge (anatomy, physiology etc) is not sufficient as medical doctors themselves are sometimes afflicted with diseases of the heart.
    • The cure is to become preoccupied in the remembrance of Allah
    • One can learn about and study his religion, the sayings and life of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), what dua to make when you eat food or go to the mosque etc.
    • Making dhikr (remembrance) often means you will not forget Allah
  • NEXT PART: From the means of bringing relaxation of the chest is making Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah in all situations. Likewise, being heedless is a potent means of tightening the chest
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says making dhikr of Allah is easy for those whom Allah makes it easy for
    • It is physically easy, yet only a few people do it
    • For example, there are specific adhkaar (remembrances) for different situations e.g. when waking up, going to bathroom, eating, wearing new clothes, going out of the house, going on a journey, going to the mosque etc
    • The book “Fortress of the Muslim” is a good book for dua and Dhikr.
  • What is the best way of making Dhikr?= Reciting the Quran
  • When a worldly issue makes you busy, you will not find any type of comfort or company except when you go back to remembering Allah. Being heedless of Allah
  • What are the causes of becoming absent-minded from remembering Allah?
    • being attached to money, wealth, etc
    • Turning away from Allah
  • Recap so far of causes of achieving relaxation of the chest:
    • Tawhid (Islamic monotheism)
    • Huda (guidance)
    • Noor of eemaan (Light of Belief)
    • Inaaba (turning towards Allah in repentance)
    • Ilm (knowledge)
    • Loving Allah
    • Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah
  • NEXT PART: From the means of bringing relaxation of the chest is being kind, generous and benevolent towards other humans as well as towards creation (e.g. animals)
    • Indeed the generous and kind person has the most relaxed form of chest and has the most pleasant spirit
    • Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Wealth does not diminish by giving Sadaqah (charity). Allah augments the honour of one who forgives; and one who serves another seeking the pleasure of Allah, Allah will exalt him in ranks.” [Muslim, Riyad as-Salihin]
  • Next week insha Allah: What does Ibn Qayyim say about the generous person vs. the stingy person?

 

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Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest : Lesson 10

March 25th 2018

Lesson 10: The One who loves a thing/person besides Allah becomes imprisoned and tortured by it

  • Brief recap of previous lesson:
    • Ibn Al-Qayyim says from among the means of bringing about relaxation of the Chest is Inaaba (turning to Allah in repentance) and to love Allah with all your heart;
    • Different forms of Love, which is permissible and which is impermissible?
  • Love for Allah expands the chest in spite of the difficulties one may face in life
    • Look at the example of the life of Ibn Taymiyyah, see Lesson 5
    • Look at the statement of Shaikh Muqbil, see Lesson 9
  • Ibn Qayyim says a person in whose heart the love of Allah has settled, then such a person’s chest becomes tight only when he sees the people who are idle, lazy and heedless in returning to Allah, those who do not relish in his Worship become an eye sore and mixing with them troubles him as though he has been struck by a fever.
    • Everyone makes mistakes, the type of heedless people mentioned here are those who do not turn in repentance to Allah
    • Why do such righteous people feel like this? because they realise it is not possible to guide everyone and so their heart becomes uneasy
    • For that reason you will find that prison was a form of seclusion for the likes of Shaykh ul Islam Ibn-Taymiyyah
  • Ibn Qayyim says from the greatest causes of suffocation of the chest is to turn away from Allah and the heart being attached to someone/something other than him, and being heedless of his remembrance
    • Whoever loves something besides Allah in a manner only befitting Allah (or in an impermissible form), then his heart will be agonised by it, his heart will be imprisoned by it and as a result of this no one will be in a more bitter and ill-tempered state than him
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami  says Ibn Qayyim mentions a disease in order to describe the cure
  • Turning away from Allah could lead to apostasy
    • Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abdulwahhaab mentions that among the nullifiers of a person’s Islam is him/her turning away from the religion (NOTE: there are different levels of turning away, not all of them lead to Apostasy)
    • The proof for the above is the verse : “And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord, then he turns aside therefrom? Verily, We shall exact retribution from the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.).” [Surah Sajdah (The Prostration) verse 22]
    • Turning away from the religion of Allah to the extent that someone does not raise his head to study it may form  a basis for apostasy
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami  says the one who becomes infatuated with his Imam (e.g. sufi “pir”), to such an extent that this love carries humility and debasement, then this is Shirk (associating partners to Allah, Polytheism) as only Allah deserves to be loves in this way
    • Shirk is the greatest sin of all in Islam
    • This is because Shirk decreases and makes imperfect the love of Allah
    • A person who does Shirk such as this, but claims to have eemaan, then this is merely superficial eemaan
  • Ibn Qayyim says that the one who loves someone/something, at the expense of being obedient to Allah, and turns away from Allah, then he will be tortured by it, grief and sorrow will eat away at his/her soul.
    • Note, this is not the natural love that is mean here e.g. loving one’s child etc
    • What is intended is love which goes above and beyond natural inclination to such an extent that the person obeys
    • The person will be tortured in three different stages
      • When they are in pursuit of that thing/someone (e.g. a person, or money etc), their heart is restless and does not experience joy
      • When they finally obtain that thing, then he/she heart obsesses and agonizes over how to keep hold of it, being fearful of losing it
      • The final pain, that one day that desired thing/person will leave him/her, either while they are still alive, or at their deathbed.
    • In the grave, such a person will realise that they will never regain that desired thing/person
    • He loses the aid of Allah
  • Ibn Qayyim says again that love is of two types:
    • One form is the love that is paradise on earth, the nourishment, life and cure of the soul, indeed this is loving Allah with all of one’s heart
    • The second form is the torture of the soul, the sadness of the spirit, the imprisonment of the heart and the tightness of the chest. Indeed this is to love others besides Allah, with love that belongs only to him.

 

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