In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
I am a diabetic and know it. Thus I seek treatment at a nearby community clinic and was given metformin which is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels. I too was given glibenclamide which is a sulfonylurea antidiabetic agent, a class of drugs used to treat type II diabetes mellitus.
Well, that is about ones physical illness - we could detect them (there are signs regarding them) and proceed for treatment at government or private hospitals and clinics but many among us do not realized that we have had for a long time suffered 'sickness of the heart'.
Before proceeding on the topic; it is timely for the writer to wish readers a happy new year, insya-Allah, hopefully in discussing 'sickness of the heart' might help in 'transforming a new me' in 2022 and 'insya-Allah' (God Willing) in the years ahead.
'Sickness of the heart' is resulted from the failure of human beings to safeguard seven parts of their bodies. Scholars said if we are able to control 'two openings' in our body that are the mouth and private parts, 'insya-Allah' we would be safe in this world and Hereafter.
The importance for us to guard our mouth (sometimes mentioned as tongue) and six other parts of the body was taught and discussed at length by one of the greatest Islamic scholar in the field of 'tasawuf' (way to be closer to Allah SWT, mysticism), Imam Al-Ghazali (Abu Hamid al Ghazali Rahimahullah,1058 – 1111).
For example in his 'Bidayatul Hidayah' it was mentioned that we should look after our body, especially after seven parts of our body; for 'jahannam' (hell) has seven doors and for every door there is a part categorized. And these doors are not specified for any person except that person who disobeys Allah Ta’ala with these seven body parts. They are the eyes, ears, tongue (mouth), stomach, private parts, hands and legs/feet.
Three of the seven parts of our body mentioned are on the face - the eyes, ears and mouth - and as for the stomach too food that enter our body must be first filled inside the mouth. So as for our face, we must be very careful with what we do with the organs on it, because we would be answerable to Allah SWT to what we did with them.
True, a hospital or a clinic is place for us to treat our physical illnesses such as diabetes which I was diagnosis some 15 years ago, fever, broken limbs, and other disorders of our internal organs such as the kidney, liver and heart.
Physical illness of the heart could be treated at hospitals but are there 'hospitals' to treat 'sicknesses of the heart' such as having negative traits like boasting, being greedy and having selfish attitudes .
"Unfortunately, there's no hospital to treat sicknesses of the heart," said an 'ustaz' who lectures weekly at a 'masjid' near my house.
"This is a big problem, our society or perhaps every government of the world only provides facilities to treat physical illness such as fever and injury in clinics and hospitals but there's almost no place to treat 'sicknesses of the heart' such as being greedy, selfish, envious, jealous, arrogant; proud, pretending, liking to show off and so on.
"The problem is that we do not even know if we have been infected by 'these sicknesses'...only some people realize they are affected with these negative traits, and only a few people try to 'cure' themselves from 'these diseases'."
The 'ustaz' said, for the physical illness, we can feel them; if we feel unhealthy, for example down with fever, cold or have problems with our internal organs such as our hearts (symptoms shown such as having difficulty in breathing) then we could go to a clinic or hospital for examination and have treatment.
But who knows they have 'hearts which are sick'? How could we know that we have 'problematic hearts'? How are we to know that greed has overpowered us; we are greedy for money, greedy for power and fame, greedy for everything. How are we to know that 'other bad traits' such as arrogance, pride and jealousy have affected our hearts and become a part of us?
The 'ustaz' gave some of the ways to know and realize the negative traits inside us and that would be by attending learning circles of knowledge gatherings such as 'tazkirah' and 'kuliah' (lessons) at
'masjids', reading and learning the Qur'an, being awake at the wee hours of the night to do some reflection, saying the 'tahajud' recommended prayers and to get into personal touch with 'truthful' religious teachers who could point out our inner bad characters.
"And pious and sincere persons around us such as our fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children and even friends, could tell us about our bad traits, for example a very good friend telling his friend that he had gone the crooked way such as by being too 'bossy' or ignorant in the office. Of course only a sincere person, for example between a husband and a wife, would have the courage to tell us about our bad traits.
"After knowing that we 'are down' with 'sickness of the heart', are there 'hospitals' to treat them?"
The ustaz said, there was no such hospital; after realizing the bad side of us, we have to do some 'mujahadah' (struggle to overcome desires or engage in a spiritual struggle) to cleanse ourselves from the bad traits.
"Again, we have to learn or have knowledge on our 'nafsu' (nafs or desires) from the lowest rank that is 'ammarah', 'lauwammah', 'mulhamah', then 'muthmainnah', 'radliyah', 'mardliyah' and 'kamilah' being the highest that was attained by the Prophets.
"Reaching the 'muthmainnah' level is good enough because in Surah Al-Fajr (The Dawn, 89: 27-30), Allah SWT says with the meaning; '[To the righteous it will be said], "O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], And enter among My [righteous] servants, And enter My Paradise."
Being unable to control our anger is in the category of ''lowest nafs' - 'ammarah' - so after following some lessons about 'sickness of the heart', I tried my best to contain my anger during 'the parking incident'.
To be successful in this world and the Hereafter you have to have 'sabar' (patience); isn't this mentioned in Surah Al-'Asr (The Declining Day, ayah 1-3) with the meaning: "By the declining day, Lo! Man is in a state of loss, Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance."
And to those still with 'nafs ammarah' such as being greedy for power, fame and position and being selfish, let us begin correcting ourselves before it is too late and when we are 'six feet underground' (dead).
Unfortunately, there is no hospital to treat 'sicknesses of our hearts'...so we must begin with pleading to Allah SWT to show us His true path as we read 'Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem' (Guide us on to the straight path) at least 17 times during our 'solat' (prayers).
'Insya-Allah', He will guide and show us the way to lead a life with us at least commanding 'nafs muthmainnah' which would enable us to enter His Paradise. Ameen.