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  1. #1
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    What are the means for the opening forth of one's heart? | Nawwās al-Hindī

    بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
    WHAT ARE THE MEANS FOR THE OPENING FORTH OF ONE'S HEART??


    “The state of the slave in the grave with regards to joy and torment, freedom and imprisonment, is similar to the state of the heart within the breast (in this world).”



    أَسْبَابُ انْشِرَاحِ الصَّدْرِ


    THE MEANS TO OPENING FORTH ONE'S HEART

    A brief article compiled by:

    Abū ʿAbdir-Raḥmān Nawwās al-Hindī


    بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم


    All Praise be to Allāh, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allāh from the evil of our own souls. Whomsoever Allāh guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allāh leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allāh alone with no partners and I bear witness that Muḥammad is His slave and Messenger.


    To proceed:
    Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى says in His Noble Book,

    أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ
    "Have We not opened your breast for you...”
    Ash-Shar 94:1

    Imām Ibn Kathīr
    رحمه الله states in his explanation to this verse: "This means: We illuminated it, and We made it spacious, vast and wide."
    This is as Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى says,

    فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ
    "And whomsoever Allâh wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islām."
    Al-Anʿām 6:125

    And just as Allāh expanded his chest, He also made His Law vast, wide, accommodating and easy, containing no difficulty, hardship or burden".

    Also Imām Ibn Kathīr رحمه الله states in his explanation to this above-mentioned verse,
    فَمَن يُرِدِ اللّهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلإِسْلاَمِ وَمَن يُرِدْ أَن يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاء كَذَلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
    And whomsoever Allâh wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islâm, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allâh puts the wrath on those who believe not.
    Al-Anʿām 6:125

    He, Ibn Kathīr
    رحمه اللهsays that "Allāh says,
    “And whomsoever Allāh wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islām;”
    He makes Islām easy for him and strengthens his resolve to embrace it, and these are good signs like the statement of Allāh in other Āyāt such as:
    أَفَمَنْ شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ مِنْ رَبه
    Is he whose breast Allâh has opened to Islâm, so that he is in light from His Lord (as he who is non-Muslim)?
    Az-Zumar 39:22

    And Allāh
    سُبحانه وتعالى says:

    وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُون
    But Allāh has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts, and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience hated by you. Such are they who are the rightly guided.
    Al-Hujurat 49:7

    Ibn ʿAbbās
    رضي اللّه عنـه commented on Allāh's statement:
    “And whomsoever Allāh wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islām;”
    "Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى says that He will open his heart to Tawḥīd and faith in Him.''

    This is the same as that which was reported from Abū Mālik and several others, and it is sound.
    Allāh's statement,
    “And whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted,”
    refers to the inability to accept guidance, thus being deprived of beneficial faith
    “...as if he is climbing up to the sky.”
    due to the heaviness that faith places upon him.

    Saʿīd bin Jubayr commented that in this case, "(Islām) makes every path in his heart impenetrable.''
    Al-Ḥakam bin Abān said that ʿIkrimah narrated from Ibn ʿAbbās that he commented on:
    “...as if he is climbing up to the sky”
    "Just as the son of Adam cannot climb up to the sky, Tawḥīd and faith will not be able to enter his heart, until Allāh decides to allow it into his heart.''
    Ibn Jarīr commented: "This is a parable that Allāh has given about the heart of the disbeliever, which is completely impenetrable and closed to faith. Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى says, the example of the disbeliever's inability to accept faith in his heart is due to it being too small to accommodate it, as is the example of his inability to climb up to the sky, which is beyond his capability and power.''
    He, Ibn Jarīr also commented on Allāh's statement,
    "Thus Allāh puts the Rijs (wrath) on those who believe not."
    Allāh says that just as He makes the heart of whomever He decides to misguide, closed and constricted, He also appoints Shayṭān for him and those like him who refused to believe in Allāh and His Messenger. Consequently, Shayṭān lures and hinders them from the path of Allāh. ʿAlī bin Abī Ṭalḥah reported that Ibn ʿAbbās said that, Rijs, refers to Shayṭān, while Mujāhid said that it refers to all that does not contain goodness. ʿAbdur-Raḥmān bin Zayd bin Aslam said that, Rijs means `torment'.
    -End of the speech of Imām Ibn Kathīr-





  2. #2
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    I state with regards to the explanations of the verses mentioned above by Ibn Kathīr and the Salaf (pious predecessors) that it is very clear to us that the only means for one's heart to be opened up for a healthy, happy, spacious, life along with its enjoyment, pleasures, joy, bliss, delight, expansion and rest: is to believe in Allāh and implement His orders with total submission to Him alone سُبحانهوتعالى.
    Also Allāh tabāraka wa taʿāla says in His Noble Book,

    الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
    "Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh – Islâmic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allâh, verily, in the remembrance of Allâh do hearts find rest".
    ar-Ra'd 13:28
    Also it is narrated by Abū Musā رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُthat the Prophet said:
    «مَثَلُ الَّذِي يَذْكُرُ رَبَّهُ وَالَّذِي لاَ يَذْكُرُ رَبَّهُ، مَثَلُ الحَيِّ وَالمَيِّتِ» رواه البخاري
    "The example of the one who remembers his Lord (Allāh) in comparison to the one who does not remember his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead one."[1]
    This is the parable given by the Messenger of a person whose heart has life and to that of a person whose heart is dead. Indeed, true life is the life of the heart, but most human beings do not understand or are headless to this fact, except for a few who look for the means by which a heart attains health, wealth and true happiness. WAllāhul Mustʿān!
    By the favor of Allāh, when I was preparing a Friday khutbah and collecting evidences for the title "THE MEANS TO OPENING FORTH ONE'S HEART", I came across an attractive speech of Imām Ibnul-Qayyim رحمهالله in his treasured book, "Zādul-Mʿād fī Hadyi Khayril-ʿIbād" wherein he mentioned some very important points under the chapter: "THE MEANS TO OPENING FORTH ONE'S HEART." As a result of this finding, I wanted to share this with my brothers as a reminder for all of us, hoping that our Lord may benefit whomever He wants with it, سُبحانهوتعالى. I have also corrected the translated speech of Imām Ibnul-Qayyim رحمهالله in English and verified the authenticity of some aḥādīth. I ask my Lord to grant us Ikhlās, open our hearts to receive the truth and make it easy for us "The means to opening forth our hearts."
    For verily all praise due to Allāh Rabbul-ʿĀlamīn!

    Written by: Abū ʿAbdir-Raḥmān Nawwās al-Hindī as-Saylānī
    The 10th, Night of ʿĀshūrah, Muḥarram, 1438


    [1] aī al-Bukhārī 6407



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    The Means To Open Forth One’s Heart | Ibnul Qayyim

    "فَصْلٌ فِي أَسْبَابِ شَرْحِ الصُّدُورِ وَحُصُولِهَا عَلَى الْكَمَالِ لَهُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ"
    Chapter on "THE MEANS TO OPENING FORTH ONE'S HEART"[1]
    1. The greatest cause for the opening forth of one's heart is Tawḥīd(monotheism) and a person's heart will be opened in accordance to how complete it is, its strength and increase.
    Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى says:

    أَفَمَن شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَى نُورٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ
    "Is he whose breast Allāh has opened to Islām, so that he is in light from his Lord (as he who is a non-Muslim)?"
    az-Zumar 39:22

    فَمَن يُرِدِ اللّهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلإِسْلاَمِ وَمَن يُرِدْ أَن يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقاً حَرَجاً
    "And whomsoever Allāh wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islām; and whomsoever He wills to send astray He makes his breast closed and constricted."
    al-An'am 6:125
    Therefore Huda (guidance) and Tawḥīd are the greatest means for one's heart to be opened forth whilst the greatest causes of one's heart to be closed is Shirk and deviation.

    2.
    From the Nūr(the light) that Allāh places in the heart of the slave is the Nūr of Iman (Faith). This Nūr opens up the breast, expands it and refreshes the heart. When this Nūr is lost from the heart of the slave, his heart will shrink, tighten and will take the form of the most restrained and difficult prison.
    It is reported in the Sunan of Tirmidhi in a Marfūʿ form that Nabi () said:

    «إِذَا دَخَلَ النُّورُ الْقَلْبَ انْفَسَحَ وَانْشَرَحَ. قَالُوا: وَمَا عَلَامَةُ ذَلِكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: الْإِنَابَةُ إِلَى دَارِ الْخُلُودِ، وَالتَّجَافِي عَنْ دَارِ الْغُرُورِ، وَالِاسْتِعْدَادُ لِلْمَوْتِ قَبْلَ نُزُولِهِ»
    "When the Nūr enters the heart, it is expanded and opened. They asked: What is its sign O' Rasūlullāh? He () replied: The inclination to the residence of eternity, to turn away from the residence of deception and to prepare for death prior to its befalling."[2]
    Therefore, the slave will attain its due share of his heart being opened according to his due share from this Nūr. The Nūr experienced with the senses is this type of dark sensation. One will expand the heart whilst the other will restrain it.

    3. From the causes is ʿIlm(knowledge). It will open and expand the heart until it is more spacious than the Dunyā (worldly life). Ignorance on the other hand will generate tightness, congestion and closure. So, more the knowledge of the slave expands, the more his heart opens up and expands; but this is not true for all knowledge. This is only for that which we have inherited from Rasūlullāh (). Thus this is the beneficial ʿIlm. The people who have this ʿIlm, are those whose breasts are opened the most, their hearts expanded the most and those who have the best morals and have the best way of living.

    4.
    From the causes is Al-ʿInābah(returning) to Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى and loving Him whole-heartedly with one's heart, turning one's face to Him and taking pleasure in worshiping Him. There is nothing better than this for the slave's heart to open. From time to time, he will even say ‘if I were to be in such a position in Jannah (Paradise), then that means I am really in a good life’. And love has an amazing effect in opening the heart and bringing about goodness of the soul and delight to the heart. None can know it except the one who feels it. The more the love for Him grows stronger, the more the heart is opened and it is not restrained. In fact, it will only tighten when it sees the lazy who have eluded from this state. Seeing them is a waste to his eyes and being with them is the fever of his soul. Turning one's face from Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى, attaching one's heart to other than Him, heedlessness in His remembrance, and loving other than Him are among the greatest reasons for the tightness of the breast. Thus, the one who loves other than Allāh will be tormented with it and his heart will be imprisoned inside the love for that other being. This means that there is none who is more grief-stricken on this earth, more miserable, whose life is more difficult and heart more exhausted than him. Be Aware of two loves!!! The first is the love for Jannah, the delight of the Nafs (soul), the zest of the heart, the things which benefit the soul, its nourishment and remedy, even its life which is the delight of the eye. This love is to love Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى This is the love of the one who whole-heartedly directs all of his preferences, willpower and love towards Him. The other is the love that is the torment of the soul, the grief of the Nafs, the prison of the heart, the tightness of the breast. This love is the reason for suffering, sorrow and struggle. Beware this is the love for other than Him سُبحانه وتعالى.

    5.
    Also from the cause of one's heart to be opened is constant remembrance of Allāh. Dhikr(remembrance) which has an amazing effect in opening the heart. Heedlessness (at the same time) has an astonishing effect with regards to tightening, closure and torment of the heart.

    6.
    Acting with Isān(righteousness) towards all created beings and benefiting them to the best of one's ability with one's wealth and status and also by physically helping them with all sorts of righteous deeds. The generous who is magnanimous is the person with the most expansive heart, the most pleasant Nafs and the softest of hearts. The miser who is not magnanimous is the person with the most constricted heart, the most difficult life, having the greatest grief and sorrow. In a adīthnarrated in the aī, Rasūlullāh () has set forth an example for a miser and a charitable person by comparing them to two men wearing two iron cloaks and their hands raised to their breasts and necks. Whenever the charitable man tries to give a charitable gift, his iron cloak expands until it becomes so wide that it will cover his fingertips and obliterates his tracks. Whenever the miser wants to give a charitable gift, his cloak becomes very tight over him and every ring gets stuck to its place."[3] The one who gives adaqah (charity), sets an example for the open heartedness and spaciousness of the heart whilst the miser sets an example of tightness of the breast and closed heartedness.

    7.
    Among them is Courage. The breast of the brave and courageous individual is open, spacious within and his heart is refreshed. The coward's breast is restricted the most and he is the most close-hearted person. He has no spaciousness, no delight, no pleasure, nor joy. Even if he does have it, it is of the animal variety. As for spiritual happiness, bliss and delight, it is forbidden for every coward, as it is forbidden for every miser, every person who turns away from Allāh, unmindful of Dhikr (remembrance) and ignorance of Him, and His Names and Attributes and of His Religion and whose heart is attached to other than Him. For indeed, this joy and delight will turn into a garden and Jannah in the grave, whilst that tightness and congestion will turn into torment and prison in the grave. The state of the slave in the grave with regards to joy and torment, freedom and imprisonment, is just like the state of the heart in the breast. And no heed should be paid to the opening of the heart of such a person due to something which befalls him temporarily, nor to the anguish of his heart caused by some mishap befalling him temporarily for verily, the things which affect the heart temporarily are removed by removing their causes (i.e., if happiness is dependent on some material thing, then the removal of that material thing will cause unhappiness); what is relied upon is the quality of the heart that makes it open or straightened for it is the measure of the heart. WAllāhu Mustʿān (Help is sought only from Allāh)!

    8.
    Another cause -Indeed, from the greatest of them- is the Removal of Corruptionin the heart caused by reprehensible characteristics; if one does not expel the evil characteristics from his heart when he appeals to the reasons that expand his heart, he will not benefit from the expansion of his breast. Consequently, there are two matters in demand in his heart and he will act upon the one that is weighty.

    From them are to abandon looking at undesirable things, listening to vain speech, mixing with harmful people, eating bad things and sleeping excessively. The reason for this is that these non-essential things will turn into suffering, grief and sorrow, which embrace, imprison, tighten and torment the heart. In fact, most of the torment of the Dunya and Akhirah (the Hereafter) are from these. Lā Ilāha illAllāh! The one who has been stricken with each of these calamities, how constricted his breast is, how difficult is his life, how nasty his situation and how drastically his heart been surrounded. Lā Ilāha illAllāh! The one who has been blessed with each of these beautiful characteristics, all his thoughts and concerns will surround them, how joyful is his life!
    Thus, this one has an ample share from the Āyah,

    إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ
    "Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure..."
    Al-Infiār 82:13
    And that one has an ample share from the Āyah,

    وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ
    "And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire."
    Al-Infiār 82:14

    There are many different levels between these two and only Allāh Tabaraka wa Ta’ala knows its count.

    In Summary:

    Rasūlullāh () was the most perfect being in having each of the characteristics which was the reason for his heart to be opened forth, for its breadth, a delightful eye, and to have a lively soul. He was the most perfect being in this openness, liveliness, and delight of the eye with what was made specific for him from openness of sensation. The individual who follows him in the most perfect way is the one who will attain the most perfect open heartedness, zest and a delightful eye.

    According to the level of following him, the slave will attain an expanded breast, delightful to the eye and zest to his soul. Rasūlullāh (
    ) was at the peak of perfection with his open heartedness, superior in name and sinless. Thus, those who follow him will have their due share of that according to the extent they follow him. WAllāhul Mustʿān!.. In the same manner, Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى protects those who follow him, keeping them distant from evil, elevating them helping them according to the extent they follow Him. There are those who follow him a little and those who follow him a lot. Whomsoever finds Khayr (goodness) should praise Allāh سُبحانه وتعالى and whomsoever finds other than this should only blame himself."

    -End of the speech of
    Imām Ibnul-Qayyim رحمه الله-

    [1] "زاد المعاد في هدي خير العباد (Zādul-Mʿād fī Hadyi Khayril-ʿIbād)", 2/22-27, Imām Ibnul-Qayyim رحمه الله

    [2] This adīthis declared to be weak by Shaykh Al-Albāni in his book a-aʿīfahno: 965

    [3] Bukhārī #1443, #5797; Muslim #1021; Nasā'ī #2547-2548




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