The Ill Within Our Hearts


وَإِنَّ فِي الْجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً إِذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ، وَإِذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ‏.‏ أَلاَ وَهِيَ الْقَلْبُ ‏

In a portion of a hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) said that, “There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 52]

If we reflect upon this hadith, it tells us that the heart is one of, if not the most invaluable organs within our body. Any negative change to it can harm the entire body, and its correct reformation has the power to restore the entire body. This also means that we are required to take care of it and not let it get spoiled; but if in any case it does, then we must try our level best to mend it. 

This begs the question: How do we know that our hearts need mending in the first place? 

A good way of testing the state of our hearts is looking at our thoughts, behaviour in different situations, and our ongoing habits, as they are a reflection of what’s inside us. Listed below are some good indicators that we are in need of reformation:

  • Having ill feelings towards others

There are times that we may feel jealous of others in their happiness and success, or we may find joy in their failure. Or we may find ourselves suspicious of others where we unduly question their actions and also their intentions. If these thoughts and feelings become persistent, we may end up finding ourselves talking about others in their absence. If backbiting is a constant in our lifestyle then it’s a sign that our hearts need a lot of attention as it is a major sin.

  • Consistent negative thoughts about ourselves

There might be days where we don’t feel our absolute best, so we end up looking down upon ourselves whether it is our looks or our achievements. If we’re in a consistent state of doubting ourselves to the point where there’s a pattern of self-sabotaging behaviour-  such as negative self-talk (to ourselves or others), giving up, constant sulking, etc, then we must realize that there is a problem that needs resolve.

  • Ingratitude about our present

We’ve been blessed with a lot in our lives, but as humans we have a tendency to lose sight and also forget. Living through a time where haste has become so common and is the most accepted way of living, it is so normal to get pulled into a fast-paced dimension where our own habits and actions become completely mindless. The worst part of it all is that it is led by greed; perhaps by our need to be better than others, and followed by thanklessness and depression.

  • Uncertainty about the future

While knowledge of the unseen is only with Allah (), we are required to have a positive supposition of Him and keep a firm belief in what He has decreed for us. Unfortunately, many of us not only lack knowledge and proper understanding of what Qadr (decree) is, but also yaqeen (certainty) in it.

فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ

“In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.” [2:10]

Allah () tells us in the Qur’an that hypocrites are the ones who carry diseases in their hearts, and their diseases are increased because they constantly lie. Oftentimes, our greatest problems stem, not from lying to others but lying to ourselves because we fear our own faults. If only we realize that we have been blessed with this lifetime to work towards improving ourselves to gain a spot for ourselves in the eternal bliss, our Jannah, then we would learn to be more truthful and would be able to reset our priorities. 

Writer: Asma Khan